|Patrick wants a life that is (sylvan) wrote in repose,|
@ 2017-01-03 22:30:00
|Entry tags:||*narrative, patrick gunster|
Who: Patrick Gunster
What: Ears and time travel
Where: He isn't sure, so let's just go with that
Warnings/Rating: Nope. There is a PB change here, though.
Patrick had left Connie's with one goal in mind: Use the time machine to see Delilah.
He thought it was a perfect plan, completely foolproof, and nothing could possibly go wrong. Man, he was really going to do this. He'd spent a year talking to her, and he'd never gotten to see her. He didn't even know her real name, and it was driving him nuts. He didn't tell Connie it was bugging him as much as it was, because she would do that protective older sister thing, where she looked at him over his cereal in the morning and tried to read his mind. Okay, so he felt completely fucking stupid. He was a total dunce for falling hard for a girl he never met. Hello, Catfish? Patrick Gunster calling. He knew he'd been punked, but he still wanted to know what she looked like.
Glutton for punishment that he was, he hopped into his Beetle, and he drove back to Shoshone National Forest. He didn't tell the boss he was going to be gone, but he only thought about that when he was halfway to his destination. He should've texted right then, but Patrick was crap at follow-through. He was significantly focused at the moment too, and his iPhone stayed where it was, playing Taylor Swift loudly enough to make the windows rattle. He would deal with it later, he reasoned. Patrick always dealt with everything later. Procrastinating was his superpower.
He drove as far as he could, and then he grabbed his pack out of the Beetle's excuse for a backseat. He relocated Taylor via earbuds, and he took off. The time machine, which he'd decided to call a chronometer, was tucked into the front pocket of his jeans as he hiked the familiar paths, and he felt better with each long-legged step. Man, he'd missed the outdoors. There was something about crisp air, about grass crackling under his hiking boots, that made him feel okay. Out there, in the world, Patrick always felt like there was something he needed to do. Here, he felt like time stopped. Weird for the guy with a time machine in his pocket, but he'd grown up as the only idiot in a family of geniuses, so he couldn't explain why time felt stationary here. He only knew that it did.
He stopped by his lookout first. It looked just like the one in the Repose woods, which the Rangers used. Repose didn't have the money for Ranger outpost and lookout, so the tower there doubled, and Patrick had spent a long time thinking he would live there someday.
Today, he looked up at his old residence, and he didn't procrastinate for once. He took off west, toward Delilah's tower. He'd played around with the chronometer, and there didn't seem to be any way to determine what time it showed, but he did know that he had to be in the space where he wanted it to work. He wanted to see Delilah, so he had to go to her tower.
It took an hour for her tower to come into view, and he stood and stared at it a while. It was starting to get dark, and this was exactly how he'd spent the summer. Trying to work up the balls to climb up to her door, while heeding her assurances that she would bail if he did so. He regretted never taking that risk, which probably explained why he'd ditched his job to come here and try to revisit the past.
He climbed to the tower, taking the steps two and three at a time, and he pulled the chronometer out of his pocket as soon as he shoved through the door. The place was empty, but he watched as the chronometer unfurled in his palm. He couldn't tell when it was in the little pane of glass, but he was impatient. He didn't want to give it the time to glean something distinctive through the glass.
He wasn't accustomed to the whoosh and whir of being transported to another time, but the discomfort was worth it. He was finally going to see Delilah.
Except that wasn't happening at all.
On the other side of the pane of glass, he tumbled onto the floor in front of some unknown feet. The feet were attached to an unknown person. The unknown person was attached to an unknown weapon. And fuck this shit, man. Hello, Chronometer? Start your engines, sweetheart, we're going home. Except that wasn't in the cards. The chronometer was taken from him, and he learned something interesting in the middle of all this shit: The chronometer didn't work for the pointy-eared dude with the weapon. Noted, friend, noted.
What happened next is a blur. Or, not so much a blur. More like Patrick was absolutely refusing to accept that it ever happened. He refused to accept that it happened for as long as it did. By the time he got the chronometer back, which took time, friends, he was determined and decided that none of it had happened at all.
Nope. Nothing to see here. Move along. Not the droids you're looking for.
Patrick was returned to the empty lookout tower a little different than he'd entered it, but he wasn't injured. He was still Patrick. Mostly. And determined to pretend everything was a'ok, he left. Taylor was tucked into his much-pointier ears, and he drove back home without looking at the date on his iPhone. Shit was all so different, which he would also refuse to admit, but he forgot about the date. He'd forgotten dates were things that happened. Not smooch, smooch dates. But dates on calendars. But that wasn't anything to worry about.
He should check in. He should go to work and grovel on his knees. He should go to Connie, and he should tell her all the stuff that hadn't happened. But he couldn't bring himself to drive into town. People, man, he didn't want them. Instead, he drove out to the Ranger station, to the lookout there, and he climbed it. It was empty, and he texted the Forest Office people.
Patrick never followed through on shit. Why start now?