Life is hard. Sometimes the toughest parts hide beneath the smallest actions. Like getting out of bed.
I swore I set an alarm before sleeping, but I heard nothing then. Such discomfort! My bed felt as if it was made of metal and as I swirled around, I realised it might as well be. Rubbing my eyes was essential to get them to open, and I marvelled at the room around me.
This was certainly not my room.
"You're up?" A middle- aged man asked me. I turned around to look at him. "Don't worry son, you are safe now." I didn't get it. Was I not safe before?
The man helped me to get down from the metallic capsule I was in. I looked at the strange machine supporting it in awe while noticing the letters on its buttons and switches and how they were in a foreign language.
I sat in an old, rusty chair thanks to the man's help, and he sat next to me. The room itself wasn't much different. Grey, dirty walls formed a simple square room. The lights looked centuries old and didn't do a good job of letting me see. Although, when I shook the dizziness from my middle-aged surreal awakening, I could see just fine.
Surrounding us were lots of chairs just like the ones I sat at, but also lots of tables. Ancient computers and piles of burnt paper were placed on top of them. The man that guarded me wore light armour beneath his black sweater and tie, and I could spot a gun in his back pocket.
It finally hit me. I was kidnapped. Some gang got me to this age-old abandoned building and it would ask my family for ransom. I shook at the idea of it. But it was the only reasonable explanation I could come up with. Though the man seemed calm and oddly familiar.
"Are you ok? Do you know where we are?" he asked calmly.
"New Jersey?" I asked. "Except if you took me out of the state." but the man didn't answer. He simply frowned.
"God..." he whispered to himself. "I knew taking you would be a bad idea, son. I told the supervisors, but..." I stopped him.
"What are you on about? Where are we?" My voice cracked when I pronounced the words.
"In Minsk," he said simply, and I was left to wonder.
An awful sound of metal was heard behind us and when I turned to look, I saw an iron gate opening up. Lots of men dressed and armed like the one in front of me came rushing in. One of them, clearly a leader, demanded all windows and doors are sealed and the machine that brought me here secured.
"We were too sloppy!" he declared to the man I sat with.
"Why, what happened?" his curiosity peaked.
"No way we have the time to discuss this. The Russians are coming. Prepare for combat and to retrieve the machine." He loaded his gun. "Is your son capable of fighting?" added, referring to me.
"No... He lost his memory." was the response that made the chief furious.
"Listen to me!" he grabbed my shoulders. "You are agent Nathaniel Brooks of the CIA. You were kidnapped and experimented on here, but this is no time to rest. You might lose your memories but certainly not your skills. Fight with us!" and he gave me the handgun he loaded.
In the meantime, people outside the room could be heard, speaking a foreign language, most likely Russian. I pointed my gun at them and took cover behind a chair, the man next to me doing the same.
Perhaps he was right. Perhaps I was... I couldn't. I started thinking. My name is Brian Brooks. I am certain I would know that. Everything surrounding me went silent as I was lost inside my thoughts. The only man I know named Nathaniel Brooks was... my dad. And if that man says I am his son. Then he is my grand...
I ticked in surprise. I didn't see the explosion coming. But the gate was blown up and rounds upon rounds of bullets rained down on us. The Russians stormed the building, many of them being gunned down before setting foot inside.
I strengthened my grip around the cold handgun I held. The chief's words came to mind. I am an agent. Getting out of my cover, I shot once, immediately pushing myself behind. I didn't know guns could be that heavy and their recoil made me lose my balance. Moreover, the gunshot temporarily got me deaf.
The man was next to me, shooting his gun. The loud shots didn't help me concentrate. This man, with his small beard, determined eyes and brown hair, was familiar. At this point, more familiar than myself. Was I Nathaniel? Did I dream of being my son? Or was I Brian, dreaming I am my father?
A bullet flew through the chair I hid behind, catching my attention. I got out of my cover again, pointing the gun at the enemies. It seemed heavier than before. I rested my hands on a table and shot from there. The recoil and weight had less impact and behind a table, I felt safer.
I am not sure if I hit anyone, but these agents didn't need me. The room was soon cleared and the chief pressured us to make a move. The man I woke up next to stood up but I firmly grabbed his hand.
"What's your name? What happened to me?" I asked nervously.
"Paul. You were captured. Experimented on with this machine." he tried to be fast having the chief yelling at us to hurry.
"What does it do?" I asked.
"We don't know. The Soviets burnt all of their research." I froze. I tightened my fist, nearly hurting him. The soviets...?
"What year is this?" I said above the chief's screams who lost his temper.
Leaving his hand, I ran towards the machine. Four men were there, trying to unplug it. "Don't do it!" I demanded, pushing them back. They quickly grabbed and immobilised me.
"What's the meaning of this?" the chief asked my grandpa.
"I don't know... he seems confused."
"This is a time travelling machine!" I declared. "I am not Nathaniel. I am Brian. Brian Brooks. Nathaniel is my father. And you" I looked at Paul. "You are my grandpa."
The chief laughed and order me to be anaesthetized, but Paul didn't let him. "He does look similar to Nathaniel, but not identical."
"That's just the atrophy of being locked here for days." the chief brushed it off.
"We can always find out!" I said. "Dad has a mark on his back, doesn't he? From when he escaped from that fire?"
Both men went quiet.
"Take out his shirt." the chief demanded the men who held me and they followed suit. Soon, my back was exposed to them and it was clear I had no burn.
"Unbelievable." my grandpa admitted. "My grandchild... where do you come from?"
"2023" I whispered. "Don't shut off the machine. Let me get back first."
"We shall..." the chief took a step closer. "But first you will tell us everything you know about the Soviets."
I giggled. "There is no need to worry. We'll win. And while I could tell you the details I know, maybe changing the tactics you will inevitably do will change the outcome negatively."
The chief turned his back on me, visibly disappointed, and started walking towards the back exit.
"Just get him back and let's go." and turning to me. "And when you are done with that... Blow up the place."
Life is hard. But sometimes, you can find ease and comfort in the simplest of actions. Like getting out of bed, and starting a new day.
This one, it was my dad waiting at me at the door. Disturbed, worried.
"Something strange happened," he mumbled. I froze. How could I not expect it? If I got there, that means he came here.
"I met Grandpa..." I said. "I didn't know you guys were in the CIA."
"That's not something I would tell you. Well, how was he?" he crossed his arms and took a deep breath.
"Looked like you. It felt... strange." I looked down.
"Well I felt more strange." he paused. "I met...me."
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