A Legacy of Time

Submitted into Contest #108 in response to: Write about a person or object vanishing into thin air.... view prompt


Historical Fiction Adventure Science Fiction

All she could think to do was file a missing persons report, but how? where? who would believe her, for all she knew she was probably the one who should be considered the missing person, one minute she was enjoying a coffee with her best friend and the next thing she knew she was standing in front of a burning house.

Olivia Woods gave a cursory glance at her surroundings, she had to be dreaming but it felt so real.

The ground shook, and the not so distant roar of cannons boomed, Men were shouting and screaming, horses galloped and neighed all around, and that house, that burning house, seemed remotely familiar, in that moment she realized she was standing in front of her Grandmothers house but not in the 1960's, no this was obviously 100 years earlier during the civil war, she remembered her Grandmother telling stories of how the house had burnt to the ground during the war, but her great Grandfather had it rebuilt and it stood ever since.


Maggie was horrified, where did Liv go? had she been so engrossed in the story she was reading, that Olivia decided to get up and walk away? she swore she had only looked down for a minute, Liv had to be messing with her, but she had a gut feeling that was not the case, she dropped the Manuscript she was proofreading for her friend, she noticed Liv's drink was tipped and the drink was splattered on the edge of the table, dripping onto the ground, Liv was kidnapped right in front of her, what kind of friend was she? frantically she started asking the servers and passersby if they had seen anything unusual, but no one could answer her questions.


Olivia had no doubt she was on a battlefield in front of her family's house, the question was how did she get here? and then "I better get out of here" If any one saw her, they would be mightily confused by her attire, not to mention war raged all around her and she was not safe by any means, coming to her senses or at least as much as she was able under these strange circumstances she turned to run, as she reached the edge of the woods, she heard someone calling her name "Livy what are you doing get out of here, I thought I told you to take the baby and get out of here, it's not safe"

The feeble voice came from a soldier lying nearby, how did he know her name? Olivia turned to the soldier, he was lying on the ground wounded, he looked to be about twenty, it kind of remind her of the picture Grandma had of Olivia's Great Grandfather, that made perfect sense! for that was exactly who it was, and how he must have recognized her, she was Great Grandma's namesake, and look alike.

She dropped to the ground at his side "Shh it's alright, you'll be okay, were gonna get you out of here" he didn't have the energy to protest, as she attempted to drag him into the dense copse of tree's all the while trying to bring to memory what Grandma had told her, Great Grandpa had survived the war, and lived to rebuild the burnt house, but right about now, he didn’t look like he would last the next five minutes, maybe that’s why she was here to make sure he survived and his legacy continued. 

Great Grandpa looked at her again through half closed eyelids, a weak smile spread across his face “Livy how many times have I told you trousers don’t suit your figure, people will question if I’m the man of the house, Is Joey safe?”

Olivia didn’t know how to respond, she knew Great Grandma was hiding in a nearby cave at this very moment with their son Joey, Grandma’s big brother. “Hold on Mr. Woods, we are almost to safety, Livy and Joey are safe I’ll take you right to them” 

The soldier looked confused “But you’re Livy!”

“No, no I’m not, I look like her, but-“ Here she broke off, she couldn’t tell him she was his great granddaughter, it might give him a heart attack, and she would alter history, how did that work anyway? would she just disappear altogether if Grandma had never been born? As it was, she wasn’t even sure how she would get back to her time, Mag’s must be freaking out right now.

As quickly and quietly as she could, she dragged her Great Grandpa to the mouth of the cave, it was well hidden and few knew of its existence making it the perfect hideout, she stopped a moment to take a breather, when she heard a faint echo of an infants wail, Great Grandma must be close, quickly she surveyed the area and when she deemed safe, quietly called out to her so as not to frighten or further injure her Great Grandpa, if the woman chose to fire a shot.

“Olivia Woods, is that you in there? I have your husband, he’s been wounded, can you help me get him in?”

Mrs. Woods appeared out of the shadows, carrying Joey on her back, she gasped and rushed to Olivia’s side and helped her carry him in further, She could tell the woman had questions, by golly Olivia could barely contain herself, looking at the young woman was like looking into a mirror, they could easily pass for twins.

Once Mr. Woods was settled, Mrs. Woods began tending his wounds as he drifted off to sleep, she worked furiously for a few moments before finally looking at her namesake “So tell me, who exactly are you, and what is it you are wearing? I feel as if I’m looking into a mirror!”

Olivia smiled “I know right, it’s so surreal, I never imagined this could happen, Oh boy! Gran would be jealous” she let out an excited giggle, but Mrs. Woods was still clearly puzzled “Could you explain yourself girl, I don’t understand”

Olivia cleared her throat, this was going to be an awkward conversation.

“Why don’t you…Uh have a seat”

Mrs. Woods didn’t question her and squatted on the hard floor spreading her skirts elegantly around her “I’m seated”

Olivia coughed, where to begin?

“I’m Olivia Woods, I’m your Great Granddaughter” There she said it, no going back now and now that the cat was out of the bag, she didn’t stop there, and went on to tell her Great Grandmother everything, Mrs. Woods listened intently, taking it all in, when Olivia finished her tale, she accepted the facts, but she still had one nagging question “What. Are you wearing?”

Seriously! Great Grandma had no issue, with the fact she traveled in time, but she was stuck on Olivia’s choice of wardrobe! “It’s just pants and a t shirt, all the girls wear them, where, or I guess when, I come from, I mean we still wear dresses like, to church or to parties, or you know, when we feel like it”

Mrs. Woods looked her up and down “Well I approve, I confess I may have slipped on Eli’s trousers a time or two, he doesn’t like it, but I’m glad to hear times have changed and you seem happy, that tells me this dreadful war gets better, Now we must tend to your Great Grandfather, he has suffered greatly, but thanks to you I think he will survive, It does my heart good to know his legacy continues.


Maggie was still quite frantic, minutes seemed like hours, she battled her tears as she tried to figure out how she would tell Liv’s mother, she was in the middle of taking a deep breath when she saw Liv walking toward her, she would have fainted from the shock, but Liv caught her and hugged her tight, “I’m right here Mag’s it’s okay, I know I have lot’s of explaining to do, I didn’t mean to scare you, I can scarcely understand it myself”  Together they walked off into the sunset, happy to once again be united, and Liv told her friend everything, as if it were only a grand idea for her next book.

August 24, 2021 00:46

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Daniel R. Hayes
19:59 Aug 30, 2021

Hi Hannah, I read this earlier but didn't have the chance to leave a comment. I thought this was amazing! Your prose is delightful and I think you have a wonderful talent for storytelling. From beginning to end this story gripped me and wouldn't let go. I was really lost in the words. Great job on this one. I can't wait to read your other story, and I hope you keep writing! :)


Hannah Foust
23:04 Aug 30, 2021

Daniel Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed it, This prompt was a great excuse for a little time travel topped with my favorite subject, History. I grew up reading books full of rich and meaningful vocabulary, so I always try to include it in all my work.


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