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Learn more about Time Harbor at tscpl.org/novel.
Han started to turn back when he realized the medallion was gone. However, he was trapped in a mob of Law School students trying to escape the dark basement of Carnegie Hall. Han had no choice but to follow the crowd out. Maybe he would help with the damages. After all Robert Walker had freed from him from the rubble and he felt he owed the man a favor. The medallion was worthless anyway if the failsafe button had already been damaged.
Han looked up and was stunned to find a jumble of cars piled in front of the building. The whirling tornado had reduced them to scrap metal. A baby blue Chevy lay turned over with its tires to the sky and a red Dodge Dart was badly dented and the door ripped off. But, cars were the least of the damages. Every window in the old brick building on the horizon was gone, and it took Han a moment to get his bearings. The building had be Stoffer Hall. In his time, the building had been completely rebuilt out of hard-glass.
“All right, everyone wait here,” Robert called out. “We need to make certain the coast is clear.” Robert rested a bulky weather radio on his shoulder. Han had ducked out of the way of the two-foot antennae.
A voice crackled on through radio, “The tornado is heading northwest toward Philip Billard Municipal Airport. Seek cover immediately if you’re in the area.”
Han stumbled across the lawn of the Washburn Campus. At the mention of the airport he had a vivid image of a tornado huddling through Time Harbor’s time platform, which was set up at Forbes Field. The platform had looked as solid and safe as the any of buildings on Campus.
“How fast things can change,” he mumbled to himself.
He looked at Rice Hall. With the roof gone and windows cracked, it looked like a ruin of a British castle. He knew the building would never make it to 2050, and now it looked as if he wouldn’t get home to the future either. Not that 1966 was a bad time to be trapped in.
Han saw four brick sorority houses all torn to pieces and he remembered the cute girl in yellow and navy that had run into one for cover.
“Robert, come on, let’s check the wreckage over there,” he said and ran across the debris in the road. The sky was still dark and the sun was setting. Thunder rumbled off to left. Han and Robert both dodged the fallen tree limbs.
“Does anyone need assistance?” Robert called out.
“Yes, help!” was the terrified reply. It was definitely a woman’s voice. Han began to move forward at once. There was no way into the house through the front door. Han looked up to see if he could jump to the second floor which was now completely exposed to the elements.
“I can’t move,” she called out again. It was coming from the basement. Han decided to jump down through a broken out window. He found himself once again in a dark basement. He reached into his pocket for his cell phone, but they had not been permitted on the trip. So, he wandered through the darkness. He stepped on something round that shattered like glass. He began to move slowly through the rubble.
“Don’t worry,” he said to himself and the girl.
“My legs are trapped under something really heavy.”
He probably should have waited for Robert, but a part of Han was enjoying being the rescuer. In the dimness he saw a torn orange skirt and the sleek profile of her face.
“Was anyone else down here or was it just you?”
The girl laughed a little, “You sound like you expected someone else. Sorry to disappointed you, but I’m the only one crazy enough to come back just because I forgot my curling iron.”
“Well, that’s better than me,” Han chuckled. “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
They smiled at each other and the mood seemed to lighten.
“Oh, wow,” the girl laughed a little. “This whole day has been crazy. I can’t believe I lived through a tornado. I could hear the roar overhead. I thought it would last forever. The sound was like nothing I’ve heard before, like the world was being sucked up.”
Han put his hands under the heavy piece of ceiling and lifted with all his might. His sore arm began to throb. “Can you move?” he strained.
The girl twisted and Han dropped the rubble back to the ground, “I can’t stand up,” the girl said panicked, “Oh God, I’m bleeding!”
Han pulled off his well-made 1860s vest and tried to rip it into a bandage, like he had seen in the movies. But, the vest was too well-made to come apart. Awkwardly, he wrapped the vest around the girl’s leg.
“You’re out of this world,” the girl said, “My name is Mandy Bero, by the way. Yours is?”
“Han,” he replied, wondering now if Mandy would have died down here if he had stayed in his own time. The thought was too much to wrap his head around right now. He carried her to the window and luckily Robert was there to help them climb back out of the house.
“We need to get her to the hospital,” Robert said, “My car is parked on the street.”
They hurried across the lawn. The sun was going down behind the dark clouds. After Mandy was in the car, Robert turned to Han.
“I believe this is yours,” Robert said, holding up the Time Harbor medallion. Han put his hand to his chest in amazement.
“One of the law students found it, and he was trying to pry it open,” Robert said, “I know it’s some kind of machine, Han.”
Han took the medallion and polished it on his shirt sleeve. As far as he could tell, it still looked servable. “I can’t tell you what it is,” Han replied, “I don’t even fully understand myself.”
Robert nodded, “Thank you for saving the girl. Let’s get to Stormont Vail.” He ducked inside the car. Han hesitated. After the hospital, where would he go next? He could claim he lost his identity in the tornado. He could make a new life for himself drinking Coca-Cola and listening to pop songs on the radio. He smiled at the idea.
Suddenly, a blue flashing light caught his eye. He looked down. It was the medallion. He could barely believe it still worked. What if it was just short circuiting?
“Are you coming,” Robert Walker called out. Han took in a deep breath. It was time to choose.
If Han chooses to ignore the flashing light, CLICK HERE
If Han chooses to push the button on the medallion, CLICK HERE
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“Han Helps Search for Survivors” written by Kristy Kinnan
Han drawn by Heather Kearns