I hadn’t meant to stay so long. Orders were clear: get in, gather the data, get out. Unobserved, preferably. No tampering with the timeline; no drawing attention to yourself. I’d made other trips without incident and didn’t expect any this time, even if it was Paris, 1831.
I dove into the culture and studied the societal and political factors that would lead to the June, 1832 death of 800 insurgents. Falling in love with Amélie was a surprise, but by June, 1832, we’d been living together for months and our child was nearly due. Any thought of going back home had long left my mind.
I was confident I could protect her. We would leave the city for the day. It was her political student brother, Alain, that drew her to the streets that day to try to save him. By the time I saw her face-down on the Rue du Bout du Monde, the city was in chaos. I took a blow to the head and all went black. I woke in our apartment to find Alain had survived and had dragged me off the streets. We searched but never found her body. In my desperation and grief I knew the only way I could save her was to go home.
Transport back to the Twenty-Fifth century was simple. Activate my Travel Device and I would return, arriving the same day I left, February 15, 2415. If not for the fact that it was DNA specific, I would have taken Amélie back with me long before. Somehow I managed to appear coherent and convinced our project manager it was vital I return to Paris, 1832. I tried two more times but no matter how I tried to alter the events of that week, Amélie died, her body never found. My project manager was beginning to look at me strangely so when the assignment to study the Anasazi, 1275 A.D., Southwestern U.S. came up, I took it, hoping my nightmares of Amélie dying would fade with in the heat among the Anasazi.
It had been over two years, the memories of Paris getting dimmer, when I met Amy in the company cafeteria. I’d been many places in time and she was fascinated by my history stories, though she never knew I was relating actual travel. She was in Genealogical Research and only those of us in History Research time-traveled. It was so easy to be with her. It felt like coming home and I was able to finally put Paris, 1832, to rest.
Today’s trip had been tough, a week’s blizzard in 206 B.C. at the first section of the Great Wall of China in the Qin Dynasty had left me chilled to the bone. I had just sunk down in my easy chair next to a roaring fire when Amy got home.
“Darling, how was your day?” She called from the kitchen and went on before I could rouse myself. “I’m so excited.” she said. Mimi meowed as Amy put out fresh food; water ran at the sink, a drawer opened, closed, ice tinkled in a glass. The welcome sounds of home, especially after a tough travel trip.
“I just wish I had been able to find this before Mama died,” Amy hung her coat in the closet, “the missing link, my 7th great grandmother! From there it was easy and I got back to 1832, Paris, to my 13th great grandmother, Amélie Gaubert.”
The truth was clear, even through tears; the tilt of her chin, her blond hair, wide smile, twinkling eyes; all so familiar; not identical, but a strong resemblance. I had descendants generations older than me.
“She had a son, during the Paris insurrection of 1832. She died giving birth so there’s no clue to the father.” Amy crossed the room and lowered herself carefully onto my lap. “Are you crying, darling?”
I wrapped my arms around her and our unborn son, “There’s nothing like coming home, to the ones you love; to family.” I said, and kissed her.
[2nd Place Award, LinkedIn Writing Contest #15]