Note: I grabbed the picture for this week from the old Monday Flash Fics page from before I ever started posting there. Thanks to Brigham Vaughn for posting the original picture!
When the Wind Blows the Cradle Will Rock
by Jeff Baker
Agent Shawnna DuQuesnie stared down at the bundle of blankets in the car trunk. She glanced at the device in her hand, looked at the sleeping child wrapped in the blankets, checked the display of the device and glanced over at the group of agents standing by the van in the field in the twilight.
“Um, Paolo, would you come here a minute?” she said, gesturing.
Paolo Silva broke of his conversation and walked over. The other agent, was busy checking something inside the van.
“What’s up?” Paolo asked. “Kid still asleep? No complications with the transfer set-up are there?”
“Not really,” she said. “But see if you read this the way I do.”
She handed Paolo the device, he scrolled through the readout on the screen.
“This…looks…like…noooooo…” Paolo’s voice trailed off. He glanced over at the van.
“We can send the kid back,” Shawnna said. “He wouldn’t remember anything and he’s in the sleep-stasis mode anyway.”
“Yeah,” Paolo said. “Kidnapping kids from the past and ordering the families to pay ransom is one thing, but I never guessed…”
“We’re just lucky there was so much displacement it showed up on our monitors and we caught the guys. So we can return the kids even before any ransom messages could be sent. And he’s the last one.” Shawnna said. “Should we tell him?”
Paolo glanced at the van again. “I don’t think we have any choice,” he said. “This fits into the idea of not being able to change history because it’s already happened. Even going back into the past is a part of history. But we need to be sure.”
Shawnna cleared her throat. “Craig, could you come over here for a minute?”
Agent Craig Fischmann, tall, young and dark haired, filling out his white t-shirt like the field agent who-could-chase-down-bad-guys that he was walked over to the car they’d grabbed from the chronal kidnappers.
“Sure,” Craig said. “What’s up?”
Paolo held up a hand. “Not too close,” he said. “Check him.”
Shawnna held up the device to Craig and swiped the screen with a finger. After a moment she nodded. “It should be okay. Come over here and look in the trunk, but don’t touch anything.”
“Okay.” Craig said quizzical. He stepped over to the trunk and stared down at the sleeping bundle. After a minute he looked up. “I’ve seen that blanket before. A long time ago. It reminds me of the one that…hey…” He broke into a broad grin. “That’s…not me is it?”
“We think so.” Shawnna said. “Where were you when you were four years old?”
“Wow. I grew up in Oklahoma but that was after my folks split when I was five. Before that, I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents in Jersey City.”
“That’s the time/space co-ordinates we have, along with your own bioscan,” Shawnna said. “It’s you.”
“Wow.” Craig breathed again, grabbing the lid of the trunk as he stared down at his sleeping younger self.
“That’s why we have to ask; do you remember anything like this or anything strange happening back in 2067?” Paolo asked.
“No.” Craig said. “But I do remember that blanket. It had been my Mom’s when she was a kid. I loved that thing back then.” He looked up and grinned. “Then I discovered toy trucks and dumped the blanket!”
“So, what happens to him? I mean, me?” Craig asked.
“We send him back, and according to you, nobody will be the wiser.” Shawnna said.
“Wow,” Craig breathed. “Where’s the transfer team?”
“On their way,” Paolo said. “Just in case, you’d better get out of here.”
“Yeah, we don’t want to risk my getting zapped back twenty years when they transfer, well, Little Craig.” Craig said with another grin. “Even though I didn’t feel so much of a twinge of anything unusual over the past few days.”
“We may be worrying over nothing, but we don’t want to take a chance with either of you,” Shawna said.
“Okay. I’m outa here,” Craig said. “Should I take the van?”
“Sure,” Shawna said. “We’ll call when we get Little Craig back to 2067.”
“Great,” Craig said. He looked down at his sleeping younger self. “You have fun now, Kid. Enjoy it all while it’s happening. Childhood doesn’t last.”
Big Craig wandered over to the van as the Transfer Team vehicle pulled up to a corner of the field.