More Than Hours: A Short Story

He stumbled through the darkness, the light at his back forcing everything into angrier shadows that toyed with his perception. His fingers curved and clawed at nothing as if to anchor himself to where he was.

Where was he? He felt as if he’d been in a terrible accident like his body had been jettisoned, head-first through plate glass, accept there was no road nearby, no sound of distress from on-lookers who’d had the misfortune of watching him play with death.

No. He was alone, disoriented and meandering through dark woods with the brightest of light ebbing down into a dim glow around him. He stopped and gulped at air, wishing it was water. How he thirsted. His heart thrumming an erratic tattoo in his chest, he lifted his eyes upward and glanced through the canopy of the trees.

Dark foliage and branches like skeletal fingers wove above him, yielding very little ground to the setting sun above. It was dusk here. Here, not where he’d been only moments ago.

He’d stepped through time. How much time…he didn’t know. He felt his chest tense as his lungs fought to take in air. His fingers clumsily met with the cold metal of a ticking clock dangling from around his neck.

The Ministry of Time, but not the sanctioned ministry, he was of Ionic, a covenant far more complex than any the ministry had known of.

With careful fingers, he pried open the clocks face saw the numbers and the arms and knew their pointing and telling was more than that of hours. The year was 1936.

“1936,” the words were dry on his tongue. Still, a tinge of hope rolled through him like a wave against the shoreline. He wasn’t very close to his true timeline. But he was indeed closer.

You will never see that time again, Cassius. You’ve been blocked. In 77 A.D you are a dead man. Outside of time, you are worth more alive than dead.

The words of his Lanista echoed in his ears. No, in there were no Lanista’s in Ionic, still, the man had purchased him, purchased him from the grip of death and sentanced him to a fate fare worse.

Cassius would never see his life or loved ones again, but he would live through time, redeeming time for others. His current mission was in 1936.

Growling and shaking off the fuzz of confusion, he straightened himself as if in the Colosseum and focused his mind on the task at hand. He was still a gladiator, no matter the millennia. And like a gladiator, he would win his life back no matter where he stood in time.

THE END…FOR NOW

*More tidbits and side stories from Ministry of Time or, as you’ve just read, not the Ministry, but a branch called ‘Ionic.’ I’m sure more will come. I think I will gather up each of the other short tales that have come from this thread and create a page for them on my author site. In the meantime, you can sample the first few chapters of my debut novel, Nexus Gate 4037: The Animal, which introduces the Ministry of Time and thusly Ionic. NG 4037 will be out soon! These are my results for Monday’s Muse Writing Prompt March 26th, 2018.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

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