Cain entered the lift, panting like a desperate animal, struggling to catch his breath. There was woman in a nurse’s uniform who seemed unperturbed by his bloody appearance. On second look, the uniform was more like a costume that you rent for halloween. She was a tall, athletic and had a cartoony beauty about her and totally cool when she saw Cain’s messed up carcass drag himself in.
”What floor?” She asked in a cold but friendly tone.
”Twenty fifth please” Cain said still choking trying to breathe.
As the lift ascended the mysterious woman’s demeanour did not change one bit. She looked at him with a certain degree of interest but had no reason to engage in a conversation or probe into as to why he was leaving a trail of blood behind him. She wasn’t even perturbed at the fact that he looked like he was about to throw up. She didn’t even mind that he was holding a gun.
They reached Cain’s floor and the door opened.
“Have a good night” The nurse said without much emotion.
Cain caught her eyes for a second. Damn she’s gorgeous.
He rushed to his apartment 2514. Cain’s heart beat raced again when he opened the door. He pointed his gun in a frantic manner as he reached for the light switch. Click click, the light was out naturally. Cain looked left and right like a criminal before rushing in and closed the door behind him. It wasn’t pitch black.
The light from neighbouring buildings were enough to let him know where he was going. The shower was running in the bathroom. Cain prayed to god that his dear Sophie was in there alive and well. He was wrong.
Cain slowly opened the door to find her laying lifeless, still in her work clothes. She has been shot in the head twice. Cain quickly turned away and threw up in the tub. He felt a little better. There was no coming back after taking two bullets to the head. Cain looked at himself in the mirror. He was a mess. He couldn’t understand as to why a person would want to attack him with such drive. He didn’t have any enemies. Well, at least not yet. His mind raced.
maybe it was to do with the machine. He regrets getting that damn case from the fleeing stranger on the train two nights ago. Cain regrets bringing it home and hiding it under their bed. He felt like throwing up again. Cain covered his wife’s body with two towels. He decided that he needed a quick shower. Cold showers always helped him to think straight. He jumped in and turned on the cold water. He immediately felt better. He had a plan.
Like a man possessed, he jumped out and charged into his bedroom. He opened the case. It was a silver brief case that’s seen better days. There were few bullet marks, scrapes and scratches. The man on the train told him that it was a time machine. The stranger also told him that when you open it it will be as if the the user have had used it before and the instructions would already be known. Cain just took him as a prankster and stashed it under the bed without his wife’s knowledge.
The lunatic on the train was right. He’s seen it before. There were three canisters but one had already been used. He’s traveled in time before. Many times in fact. Cain had a surge of energy rush to him despite the big gash in his leg. He knew exactly what to do.
The three canisters in the case resembled a bug spray. He opened the lid on the second one and extended out a long syringe attached to a long clear tube. He inserted the ten centimetre syringe into his arm and pressed the button on the top of the canister. Within a few seconds, a silvery liquid resembling mercury made its way into Cain. As he was slowly getting poisoned he adjusted the little dial two three hours. That would be enough to catch Sophie’s killer.
The canisters only allow for few minutes of time dilation. But now was not the moment to hesitate. He dial seemed to not like the amount of time he needs to dilate. He didn’t care. His only focus was saving Sophie.
The liquid reached his veins. He remembered the sensation. It’s the most pain a human can ever experience.
“I’m coming baby!”
Cain passed out.
He slowly came around. He could tell what the time was. It was still dark with the same pink and orange lights creeping into his room from the giant billboards outside. He was still wet and naked from the cold shower. After about a minute he jolted himself up and checked the time, three minutes past nine. The machine works.
Cain quickly got dressed and bolted to the bathroom. Thank god! Sophie’s body is was no longer laying on the cold tiles. He picked up the gun and checked the ammo. He almost emptied it out on the guy that jumped him earlier. He was probably out there breathing.
Cain got a new mag out of his wardrobe and loaded the blood soaked gun. He slowly proceeded to the living room and looked around so he could come up with an action plan. He looked up and thought it would be a good idea to kill the lights. He took out the light bulb.
He crouched behind the couch and waiting for the killer to enter. He knew Sophie comes home after her shift at the hospital after midnight. It was just before ten.
A footstep. It stopped right outside. Cain got his weapon ready. The door opened and a dark figure entered. Cain waited until the figure came in and stumbled towards the bathroom. Cain knew now was the moment. He snuck up to the dark figure and opened fire twice on the head. The figure dropped to the floor with a heavy thump.
Cain turned the bathroom light on.
Cain felt blood rushing out of his body.
The dead assailant was Sophie.
How could he be so stupid. So the original killer was himself. He killed two people tonight. The second life He took was the random attacker that really wanted to hurt him. Cain sighed hopelessly.
The good news was that there was one more canister. What would be his plan now? It was a long shot but Cain needed to do something.
He activated the last canister.
He woke up at quarter to midnight. His plan was to stop himself from entering the apartment. He cleaned himself as much as he could and went out to the hallway. Luckily there weren’t a soul to witness all this madness.
The lift door opened. It was the same nurse. She looked at him with the same friendly yet indifferent look.
As the lift door opened at the ground level she said “have a good night”
Cain ran outside and hid behind a dumpster for himself to arrive. This time he made sure of who he was attacking. Cain put on a balaclava and approached him self and pointed his gun at the back of the head. As of he knew, Cain turned around as he disarmed Cain and gave him a good upper cut. The two wrestled and punched the daylights out of each other for a good five minute. Future Cain took out his dagger and stabbed his past self. Past Cain took out his 9mm and shot the future Cain twice in the head.
Cain was confused as hell. He took the balaclava off his dead attacker and threw him in the dumpster. Cain was soaking in blood and felt like passing out from the adrenaline and loss of blood. He limped his way to the lift and pressed the button.
The lift door opened.
An attractive woman in a nurse’s outfit stood in front of him.
Written by David Kim 2021