Changing the Future.
Suppose lightning struck a place seventy years ago.
And let’s say lightning struck the same place today.
Would that create a time tunnel?
“Believe in things much greater and far more mysterious than we can explain,” Nancy Pennwater Stephenson told me after she came from the house with Dave and Lenny and Dave’s dad. They had no problem believing Vree had vanished; Nancy had prepared them inside Parker’s kitchen while Vree and I had been inside the tent.
I stood over the rope Parker had lowered into the sinkhole before he and I searched the hole for Vree. Now I gazed inside, drenched and feeling defeated. The rain had stopped a few minutes after Vree had fallen, but new storm clouds threatened to unleash their burden upon us.
Nancy said, “When the earthquake struck, I knew it had happened. Again.”
“So what can I do?” I looked dumbly at the journal in my hands, the words spoken by Vree almost seventy years ago. “She’s gone. I went inside the hole. There’s no way out but up.” I kicked at the rope tied to a cement block that was part of the back doorsteps. The other end was swallowed by the sinkhole. Parker and Dave and Lenny stood between the hole and the house, watching quietly.
“The lightning, plus the green crystals, must have created the time portal,” I said. “But if Vree went into the past like you say, then the portal would have been created at that timeline. And now it’s gone.” I sighed. “There’s no way I can possibly go to where she’s at if the portal no longer exists.”
Nancy stood at my side for a time and said nothing until thunder rumbled overhead. “It’s late,” she said. “I have a room at a motel at Alice Lake. Call me if you need anything. I’ll help as much as I can … whatever I can do.”
I showed her—my fictional daughter from another time, another dimension—to her car. After she left, I stayed with Dave and Lenny inside the kitchen while Parker went to talk to Vree’s parent. The three of us sat at the table and barely spoke. I left a half-hour later with no idea what to do.
As I passed the sinkhole, I saw inside a green glow. Then another, and another, until I counted twenty-three crystals aglow inside the sinkhole, filling the empty chamber with eerie green light.
The last of the exposed crystals inside were attracting electricity from the sky. I was certain another doorway waited to be entered.
Thunder boomed. I yelped. Electricity filled the air.
The sound of a thousand bees came from the sky. My hair stood.
Lightning struck the ground; thunder crashed into my chest. I stumbled, almost fell, then caught my balance and stood upright.
Green light swirled inside the sinkhole.
I dove headfirst into the light.