Stopping the Assasination
3789, October 23
“Welcome to the Great Time Games!” A voice blared over the speakers nearly deafening us all. “If this is your first time, let me go over the rules.”
I glanced over at David, my friend. He was rubbing his hands anxiously on his jeans, wiping the sweat from them. This was his first time in the Games and I could understand his nervousness. When it was my first time, I was terrified, but, before we get into that, let me explain what the Game is.
The Games are a series virtual reality games in which you “go back in time” and change things. For instance, you change the fact that George Washington was the first president or you change the fact that America was never founded or discovered. That’s what it is.
The Games are also a very high point in society. If you win, you are given hundreds of offers to any college you want to go too, anything. But the stakes are high.
When it was my turn in the Games, I was supposed to stop the Boston Tea Party. Let’s just say, it didn’t happen. I was in the same spot as the tea. In the ocean.
“The rules are quite simple and if you follow them, you will have a better chance to win. Rule 1: Don’t intervene in other things. Rule 2: You work as a team. The more people you have working for you, the bigger the chance of winning. If you follow those two simple rules, you have a chance. Let the Games begin!” The voice was drowned out by all the cheering. David turned to me and gave me a nervous smile.
“It’s okay buddy,” I patted him on the back. “I’m here and I am a pro at this.”
“But Crystal, what if we are actually changing time?” he asked. He shrugged. “That’s dumb, never mind.” Something itched at the back of my mind but I pushed it away and focused on David.
“You’ll do great,” I grabbed his arm and pulled him over to station number 148.
“What’s our mission?” I asked. I hooked up in the vest and headset and then helped David.
“Stop the assassination of Abraham Lincoln,” the woman said. She handed me a fold-out tablet with all the information I would need. “You already know who did it, how it happened, and when it happened, so it should be easy. If you ask me, I think you’ve got it easy.”
“Thank you,” I nodded. She pushed the button and the world melted away.
The fold-out table vibrated in my hand and I pulled it out.
“April 14, 1865,” I read. “The day Lincoln was assassinated. It’s close to five-thirty right now, so we only have a couple of minutes to find this place.” I glance over at David.
“Why are we in different clothes?” he asked, looking down at himself.
“We aren’t. The vest you’re wearing is programmed to help you fit in with your surroundings, for instance, if we were going to the zoo, we’d probably look like clowns.
Got it?” I explained.
“Okay,” he stood up and brushed his pants up. “Where do we need to go?”
“Ford’s Theatre in Washington,” I said, reading off the tablet. I pushed a couple buttons and a map popped up.
“Which would be north,” he said, reading over my shoulder. We headed in that direction.
“So, what do you think so far?” I asked him. I’d noticed that he had loosened up a bit and wasn’t as nervous. He was still wiping the sweat from his hands though.
“Okay,” he said. “I’m still nervous.”
“We only have maybe an hour at the most to get to this Theatre,” I said. “Speaking of which, I think we should find out what time the show is.”
“Good idea,” David said. “Who should we ask?”
“Let me handle this,” I said. I walked up to the porch of some drug store and peaked my head inside. “Hello there ma’am, do you know what time the show starts at Ford’s Theatre?”
“Yes, honey,” the lady smiled. “Six o’clock sharp.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” I slipped back out the door and turned to David. “Six o’clock.”
“Good, we don’t have that long to wait,” David said. “Who did you come with on your first time?”
“Just someone,” I said.
“Who?” he pressed.
“I don’t know,” I put a hand on the back of my head, trying to stop the itching sensation.
“I don’t remember.” I looked up at him and his green eyes bore into mine. I looked away.
“How exactly do you win?” he asked, changing the subject.
“Whoever completed their mission first and in the best time is the winner,” I said. The itching sensation was gone but it still bothered me that I couldn’t remember.
“So,” he paused, thinking. “Whoever has the easiest mission.”
“Not really,” I said as I ducked out of the way of a pedestrian. We were getting closer to D.C, so there were more people. “Last years winner was had to stop the signing of the Declaration of Independence. He had to argue with those guys for like four hours! But yes, he got it done before anyone else.” I laughed.
“That means he met Franklin, Jefferson, all those guys,” David breathed. Okay, there’s something you need to know. David is a history geek and he’ll tell you that himself. He doesn’t care what you think about him, but he does come in handy in the Game.
“Yeah,” I sighed and rolled my eyes. “There’s Ford’s Theatre.” I pointed up ahead. There was a white building with two massive doors that had some beautiful designs on them. There were two rows of windows, several on the bottom and three on the top. “Let’s go.” I quickened my pace, pulling David along behind me.
“What do you know about John Wilkes Booth?” I asked. I pushed open the doors and our outfits instantly changed. I was wearing a big, poofy dress with five skirts underneath and David was wearing a powdered wig and a brown suit. I burst out laughing at the sight but stopped when I got a nasty look for one of the ushers.
“John Wilkes Booth was a famous actor who sympathized with the Confederates but he stayed where he was to do his acting career. It was five days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered that Booth did the assassination. Booth and a couple other men had made plans to kidnap Lincoln but they were foiled, leaving Booth this only other option.” David paused for a breath but I cut him off before he could continue.
“That’s all we need to know,” I said.
I walked briskly into the main room but instead of finding a seat, I took a sharp turn to the left, cutting off to the side of the room. I found a door marked. UPPER BOOTHS ONLY it said. I pulled on the handle and it sprung open. We lept up the steps, taking them two at a time. We reached the top and ducked into one of the many rooms.
“Which one is Lincoln going to be in?” I wondered out loud.
“Fourth,” David whispered in my ear.
“How do you know that?” I asked, turning to him.
“I had to search a lot on Google but I finally found it,” he smiled.
“Let’s go,” we ducked back out into the hallway and quickly located booth 4. We slipped inside and hid in a little closet over to the side.
I grabbed the tablet out of my back pocket and quickly changed our outfits so we were in something less noticeable.
“Now we wait,” I whispered. About fifteen minutes later, the booth door opened and Lincoln and the first lady came in. David gasped and I clamped a hand over his mouth.
“Don’t you dare,” I whispered. “Be quiet!” He nodded and I removed my hand. The show started soon after that and the President and his wife focused on it and nothing else.
“There he is,” I said to David. The booth door had been pushed open and a man poked his head in. He slipped the rest of his body in, pulled out a .44 gun and moved forward.
“STOP!” I lept out of the closet and between Booth and Lincoln. Booth aimed the gun at my chest and was about to pull the trigger.
The First Lady screamed like bloody murder and guards came rushing into the room. Abraham Lincoln was white as a sheet as he was escorted out. Booth glared at us as the guards took his gun away and put him in handcuffs.
“I’ll kill you for this,” he growled.
“Will not!” David laughed and I joined in. They dragged him away.
“We’ll need to ask you some questions,” as guard said. “And, on behalf of the President, I would like to thank you.”
“Oh, it’s no problem,” I waved it away.
“Just stay here and someone will come and escort you to the Police Office in a minute,” the guard left the room. David and I high-fived as the world melted away.
“You won!” The woman that had hooked us up yelled. She wrapped her arms around us, hugging us. “You did it!”
“Yeah,” David said, the enthusiasm draining from his voice. “We did it.”
“Why aren’t you excited?” I asked.
“Look,” he pointed to the machine that we were hooked up too. Blue and white streaks were being flung from it. The strands writhed all over the room and out into the main room.
“Get out!” the woman screamed, fleeing us into the main room. “Get out!” David took off, but I stopped.
“What about the others?” I yelled. The blue and white were starting to whirl around me.
“We can’t save them!” he yelled, grabbing my hand and pulling me behind them. “It’s rewriting time, we changed a fixed point, which changed the future which means our present is changing! It’s the same thing that happened last year. You couldn’t remember your partner because she was erased from time! She never existed!”
The tendrils of light caught our arms and legs, pulling us to the ground. A tendril slipped over my face and I tried to claw at it, trying to get it away, but I couldn’t move. Slowly, my vision became all white.
I sat up in bed, my sheets were twisted around my legs and covered in sweat. It's just a dream, just a dream, I thought to myself. I took a deep breath, trying to calm my beating heart. I looked around my room. Same as before. I heard footsteps outside my door and stiffened, too scared to dive back under the covers.
“Honey, time to get up, the Games are today,” a face peeked inside. My Mom. I grabbed my phone and checked the date. October 23. It was the day of the Games and I had one mission.