I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry (especially to Nicole) that I completely forgot last Thursday was my day to post. But, I've remembered and I've read through everyone's portion again so I can set up something good for Nicole to finish with.
It's been so long, you may need a reminder of what's come before. Let me lead you on your merry journey through Gnat's story.
Part One: Two Doors
Part Two: Shall I Turn On The Lights
Part Three: The Estate
Part Four: You'll Know It When You See It
Part Five: Message, Hold The Bottle
Part Six: The Secret Letter
Part Seven: The Truth
Part Eight: The Secret of Time Travel
That's it, isn't it?
Gnat had always been good at reading people, at knowing when she could escape and where she could hide. She'd learned quickness along the way, following her instincts.
Except, perhaps it was more than instincts that led her. Perhaps it had more to do with knowing than with paying attention.
The world began to click into place.
Naomi the traveler, learning so much in her travels, going back to her time to self-fulfill her scientific discoveries, gaining acclaim, money and confidence. Naomi using her knowledge to try and fix the fire, trying to fix the damage caused by her interference time and time again, shredding the fabric of time more and more.
Tyler coming back in time, regaining a young body to meet the woman he loved while she was just a child, trying to see who she might become before the scars.
Her cubby on Second Street. So many lines coming together, beginning, ending. Freddy finding her and leaving her, missing her when he wanted her, and finally catching her.
A dream that wasn't a dream, but a trip back to a fire she'd learned about in school. Horrified, she'd struggled the wake up, struggled to send herself back, somehow taking the fire with her.
Tyler, seeking her through the years, both her present self and her traveling self. Both versions always knew just when to slip away, just what path to take to avoid him.
Freddy, traveling with and without Tyler, his mind snapping, a desperation greater than Tyler's growing in the hopes that Naomi would know how to fix him.
Naomi planting a notebook, moments and years later returning to plant the globe that held confetti falling down on a broken new year's clock. Would she figure it out? Or would she make the same mistakes she always did?
The world had begun to click into place, but it was broken. There were too many lines cut short, too many lines left too long. The weaving was incomplete and messy.
And all of it started with this moment, when Naomi taught Gnat what she had already always known.
"You see, don't you?" Naomi asked, tears in her eyes. "The trouble isn't in seeing, though, it's in doing. We've made ourselves quite a mess, Gnat. It may finally be broken enough to fix."
The white room faded away to shadow. Freddy stood beside her, unaware she'd gone and come back. The shadow moved slightly, flipping a switch to add yellowed light to the room.
"You have her then." The Freddy beside her was speaking to the Freddy who had just turned on the light. This is how it was really done, then. Too many selves in one place finally breaking time enough so it might be fixed.
Do I want to fix it? she asked herself in the darkness of her mind. This future left her well-known, rich, desired. She was no longer the broken, base being she had made herself after the fire. She could fix time now, then use it again, knowing she would fix it later.
"Of course I have her." Freddy two opened a closet door. A heavy laden chair scraped painfully across the floor. There the older Naomi sat, her head hanging down, dry blood matting her hair to one side of her face.
Gnat looked between the two Freddy's, knowing they were not the same that had found her in her cubby, knowing it was her choices that had lead to breaking this man. Knowing her discovery had been what was killing Tyler.
Before, there had been a set path. Now she could make her own.
"Freddy, can I have the snow globe now?"