The Thirteenth Traveler
by Dave Ervin
Table of Contents|
chapters: I, II, III, IV,
V, part 1; V, part 2; VI
Travis spilled milk down his chin as he attempted to slurp up the last bit of cereal off his spoon. The date at the top of his sports page read April 13, 2013. There was something vaguely familiar about that date. Was he late for a meeting?
Hannah shook her head as she wiped up his mess. “I have three children,” she said, mixing love and sarcasm. Molly Ann, the baby on her knee, cooed.
“I should’ve gone to the funeral,” Travis said.
“Don’t beat yourself up. You haven’t seen Zach in what, eight years? Since the wedding? You sent a card.”
“Yeah, but it’s just so sad. He was so young.”
Blake batted his palms against his high chair and shot applesauce all over the floor. Hannah stooped without missing a beat and wiped up the mess. “You’re getting to be just like your daddy.”
Once again Molly Ann cooed and Travis stood to take her from her mother. “Sweetie, what is this?”
“Look at Molly’s eyes.”
He held her up into the light, and the two parents peered into their infant daughter’s peepers. The irises seemed to swirl a light blue color just below the surface.
“Is that normal?” Travis asked.
“Sure. I think so. Her eyes are still finding their color.”
“That’s amazing,” Travis said. “Looks like something out of science fiction.”
Hannah snapped her fingers and waved her hand in front of the baby’s face. Molly responded by following her mommy’s every move. Beneath her shirt, a faint light glowed through her infant chest. Neither Travis nor Hannah saw this, and it wouldn’t manifest itself again for another twenty years. The baby’s great-granddaughter would inherit the ability to completely transform into nothing but light, and in another two hundred years, this race would be the only version of humanity left on earth.
“See? Eyesight’s as good as her mother’s,” Hannah said. “I’ll ask the doctor next week. She’s got a checkup.”
Travis kissed his wife and headed toward the door. He breathed a heavy sigh as he took in his home. He hated leaving them. He wished he could stay home every day and just play. Play with the kids, take Hannah bowling, hang out on the couch watching Dora.
He hated his job, but what could he do? Kids had to eat. Life had to go on. He was just a guy. Not a millionaire, not a genius. He didn’t know the secret to life. He wasn’t destined to change the world or move mountains. Nothing amazing had ever happened to him and probably never would. He was Travis Burbage, average Joe. And for eight hours a day he had to punch numbers into a computer and let strangers yell at him over the phone. That’s just the way it was.
“Goodbye, dear,” he said. Hannah turned and smiled her sweet smile, balancing the two kids in her arms, standing in the middle of a house that was beyond messy and humming with love.
“Bye,” she said. “Be careful out there, traffic is really rough around that construction. Lots of accidents lately.”
And Travis stepped out the door, already ready to return home. But he pressed on. After all, he had love, he had his health, and there were just some things he couldn’t change.
Copyright © 2014 by Dave Ervin