The Week Before

Submitted into Contest #152 in response to: Write about a character whose life changes for the better.... view prompt


Historical Fiction Romance Adventure

Chapter 2       The Week Before

Daryl had awoken by himself in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar house, in an unfamiliar town, where people seemed to know him. He thought perhaps he had lost his mind. That divorce really did me in, he told himself as he tried to reason this bizarre almost out-of-body experience. He could see he had somehow traveled to another century, unless he had a complete mental break, which was what he was leaning towards. He waved when neighbor’s waved, smiled when people smiled and had kept his complete internal panic to himself. 

Maybe Lara was a powerful witch? Even though it was modern times, and their divorce was complete in 2017 and filed at the Syracuse, New York Court House; he always thought she was different, powerful, wise beyond measure, and more beautiful than any woman he had ever encountered. He was sad they were officially divorced. A process that somehow took on a life of its own until it was completed on May 15, 2017. They had both parted ways after that court date on that cold grey drizzly day in Syracuse. The summer had dragged into the Fall and then into the Winter, until this. What was this? It seemed to be the end of Winter in what century? He had woken chilled to the bone in that unfamiliar bed, in that unfamiliar house, in that unfamiliar town, where he quickly built a fire in the fireplace and tried to get warm while he figured out what the hell was going on! 

Outside he could see a barn that sat on the property. It had a few animals in it, and he set about feeding the animals that all seemed a bit cranky and hungry. The white cottage looking house was well set up and organized just as Daryl would have done it, if this was his residence. Every day came and went, until the seventh day when he returned to the house after the morning chores, and something felt different. He paused in the kitchen to stoke the stove fire, carefully listening. He heard his bed spring squeak again and he raced to the stairs, bounding up them two at a time. He just knew in his heart Lara was there, somehow, she was there! He saw her from the door laying face up on the bed and in two steps he was in the air and then landing on top of her. He smothered her in kisses! He was so overjoyed to see her. He smiled to himself thinking, she must be freaking out right now. He didn’t let on that anything was crazy bizarre like being in the nineteenth century! He marveled at her poise and her take charge attitude in the kitchen, making eggs for breakfast like she’d been there all along. He could hardly keep his excitement in. He had to get outside before he exploded. He said something about doing chores and headed out the door. He just stood out there waiting for her to come out and ask, “WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?”

It took a few more minutes than he expected, but sure enough, she came bounding through the door almost at a run as she smashed up against him and hugged him so tight, he thought he would burst from joy. He smiled at her and she knew he knew. “When did you get here?” she asked him. “SEVEN DAYS AGO!” he exploded.  “I am so happy to see you, I am sorry. I love you,” she said with such sincerity that Daryl just melted and said, “I’m sorry too. I love you so much.”

A barking dog ran up to them in their tight embrace. Lara looked down at the dog, then at Daryl and asked, “Marco?” 

“Yep,” Daryl answered. “Apparently he’s an English Setter now.” 

Lara laughed. She knelt down next to her old sweet Marco, rubbing both his ears and letting him lick her face.  Marco seemed so happy to see her. “I don’t know what to make of all of this. Are we dreaming?” Lara said quietly as she looked up at Daryl. 

“By the way, I think we might be John and Ann here. Come with me,” Daryl said as he turned toward the barn. 

The barn was a good size with a thatched roof. “I’ve never seen a thatched roof,” Lara said, “except for in the movie Knight’s Tale.” She instinctively reached for her cell phone to look up some information and Daryl laughed recognizing that move. “Oh, dear Lord, what are we going to do with no information?” Lara asked. 

“Oh relax, it’s not like we were raised in a city,” he countered. “This is all in our wheelhouse.”

“Time travel is in your wheelhouse?”

“No, of course not.” Daryl recognized the panic that was starting to swell in Lara. He pulled her close and hugged her, kissing her on her forehead, where she naturally fit in his tall embrace. A tear escaped her eye and he wiped it way. “We can get through anything together,” he reassured her. “Now what was happening in England in the 1880s? We’re not heading into war, or anything are we?” he asked her. They both searched their minds. “No, I think we have some time,” she finally said. She felt a pang of loneliness realizing her ancestors had left England in the 1500’s. Her ancestor, Luke Shearman popped into her mind, he was born in 1460 in Yaxley, England. Were they currently near Yaxley? Okay, let’s not start pulling at that thread, she thought to herself. 

“What needs to get done today?” she asked her husband.

“You have a Suffragettes meeting tonight, remember?” he reminded her. 

“How do you know that by the way?” she asked.

“Your friend Peggy was around yesterday, to ask after you,” he said.

“You must have misunderstood her. The Suffragettes don’t exist yet. They are about ten years away from forming, I think.” Lara said, happy she remembered something from history. 

“Well, that’s probably true, it was hard to listen closely while I was freaking out on the inside, and I tried not to speak while still holding a conversation.”

“You are a nutter,” Lara offered. “That’s what my friend from England would say to me back home. How strange is it that the local people think they know us?” she continued. “Who was here in our places, two weeks ago? And where are they now?”

“All good questions,” Daryl said smiling. “Let’s just focus on not getting killed for being possessed or some such thing.”

“Yes, that does sound like a good plan. What’s for lunch?”

Daryl slid the barn door open and said, “chicken or eggs?”

Lara headed for the house, “I’m going to bake some bread. And maybe a CAKE,” she yelled over her shoulder. “We deserve a cake,” she mumbled to herself. 

June 27, 2022 02:17

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