Broken Protocols(8)

By: Dale Mayer

Milo explained, “It’s just a modern elevator.”

That didn’t deserve a response. His idea of a modern elevator and hers were miles apart. She shifted Charmin in her grasp but dared not loosen her hold. Not that there was any chance of dropping him with the way his claws dug into her arms. She wouldn’t be surprised if he’d drawn blood. If she were unlucky, she’d be dripping blood down onto their glass floor.

The elevator changed directions again, sending her lurching sideways. Oh shit oh shit. She felt the beads of sweat rise on her forehead.

“It’s going to be fine,” Milo said with a wide grin. “We’re perfectly safe.”

At the end of his words, the glass box came to a complete stop. And it dissolved around them. As in here one minute and gone the next. The men exited – if there was a cube to exit. They’d barely travelled. It almost looked like the same building – or maybe the same set of buildings? There’d been no sign of the outside world at all.

She straightened, took one step in their direction and without warning, her stomach heaved.


“Oh yucky. That’s so…yucky.” Milo danced away from her, his face a picture of morbid fascination. “I’m calling someone to come clean that up.”

“Fine, but let’s not be here when they arrive.” Levi knelt by the woman’s side, trying to ignore the reek from the mess at his feet. Sweat had beaded on Dani’s forehead, at least that’s the name he thought Milo had called her, and her color had gone pasty gray. Probably a delayed reaction. Rushing forward a few hundred years had to be tough on the stomach, if not the rest of her. That she could even walk and talk and…look half as sexy as she did was amazing. And he shouldn’t be noticing. Now she’d curled into a small ball, her slim frame rocking back and forth. The massive furry critter in her arms was making a horrific howling sound that set his nerves on edge. He might have sympathy for her, but that animal…

Through the noise, he heard her whispering into the animal’s fur, “It’s okay, Charmin. It’s going to be okay, baby.”

“I know it’s hard to believe, but you are right. It will be okay,” Levi said, hoping he wasn’t lying to the poor woman, “but there is no way I can agree with you calling that…that thing baby.”

And damn if that furry thing didn’t rear back and glare at him. As if it heard and understood.

Dani froze, lifted her head to stare at him, and then she did something that completely disarmed him.

She started to giggle.

Chapter 4

Dani couldn’t stop giggling. She tried, but laughter came in never ending waves. She had to stop. If she didn’t, they’d turn into tears soon. And that would be bad news. For everyone.

“Oh brother. What an ass,” said Charmin in that low guttural whisper. “You can pass on this one.”

Her laughter rolled out freely. She caught sight of the two men and the combined shocked looks on their faces. They might have managed to toss her forward a couple hundred years, but she’d managed to shock them. And she planned on keeping them off balance.

She had to find a way home and she needed their help. But she’d be damned if she’d let them walk all over her. Knowing what was outside the building scared her shitless, and for all she’d been trying to shake off her old life, she hadn’t meant to shake it off this far.

And who was this Levi? With each new look, she realized Levi looked so similar to Lawrence, she had to consider he’d come forward in time as well. But there were just enough visual differences, too. Then again, she hadn’t seen Lawrence in over a year. That could account for some of the differences in appearance. No, Levi was younger, much younger. Besides, how likely was it that the two of them were dragged forward in time? And if they had, were there others like her here?

“It’s not the same guy,” Charmin muttered.

She wiped the tears from her eyes as her laughing spell ended and whispered, holding Charmin so the men couldn’t see her talking to him. “Why do you say that?”

“Because you’re in the future. That means he’s not the same man.” He shot her a look of disgust, adding, “Duh!”