The frantic banging on the door at 3am was enough to wake the dead. Thomas was a light sleeper so his eyes thrust open and his heart was already thumping. No-one likes this scenario at the best of times. Who the hell would be at the door at this hour?!
He rolled out of bed, still in his clothes as he often was, and headed downstairs. The thumping didn’t stop until Thomas yanked the door open. She almost fell in. Breathing heavily, a rain soaked woman crumpled to her knees. He guessed she was maybe a couple of years older than he as she looked up towards him and began to cry. Help me please.
Without thinking, he went to lift her up but hesitated – she was severely pregnant. A pause between them as they shared a look.
‘Are you okay?’ he asked the obvious dumb question.
‘I just need to sit down.’ she replied as she moved toward the lounge chair. Thomas helped ease her down among the cushions as her fear returned suddenly.
‘Lock the door, please!’
Without question he spun around and thrust the latch closed – safe.
Thomas tried to be polite but it was the middle of the night and a stranger had awoken him. He wasn’t the most patient man in the world.
‘What the hell’s going on?’ he gruffed. ‘Who are you?’
She shook her head.
‘Best you not know.’ she muttered. ‘I’m in too much trouble to get anyone else involved. I just needed a place to escape from them.’
Thomas didn’t like the sound of that. There were many reasons he lived in a remote farmhouse in the middle of no-where, and this was exactly why. If, whoever ‘them’ were, decided to arrive on his doorstep, chances are he would see them coming. Lucky for him and his new acquaintance, he had a secure cellar system he created for just an occasion; but he wasn’t going into this blindly.
‘I can help but you have to tell me more.’
She hesitated and then proceeded to explain. ‘All I can say is that they have been experimenting on me, well both of us really.’ she caressed her protruding stomach.
She almost choked on her last word as if it was too overwhelming as to who or what she might be carrying inside of her. She quickly regained some composure.
‘I don’t know the details of who they are but for the past four months I’ve been monitoring their security system and planned my escape.’
Thomas was impressed that this frail looking woman would have the guts to pull off such a manoeuvre; but then again a mother protecting her child is capable of anything.
‘But if they catch me…’ she continued then stopped. She struggled to speak. ‘They can’t have my baby. They just can’t.’
He caught another tear escaping her reddened eyes and held back his questioning. He could’ve asked her a hundred but chose none.
‘Come this way.’
He took her into the kitchen towards the food pantry where she grimaced.
‘I know us pregnant people are known for cravings but now’s not the time to eat.’
He was taken aback until he caught her dry smirk.
Thomas allowed himself something he felt he hadn’t done for a while – he chuckled. He admired this woman who in one breath was fearing for her life and the well-being of her child, yet still found a moment of humour despite the severity of the situation.
He clicked a shelf into place and the rear wall of the pantry sprung open; revealing a small flight of stairs. Her eyes widened as she smiled at him.
‘You are clever.’
She made her way down but soon realised he wasn’t following.
‘Aren’t you coming?’ she questioned with a look of concern. ‘It’s not safe to stay.’
A part of Thomas wanted to go along with her but he knew, like many other similar circumstances, he had to take a specific action to guarantee his safety. He couldn’t tell her the truth so it would be better if she just focused on protecting herself and her unborn child.
‘I have to check something first.’ he lied. ‘Just follow the steps down to another door and lock yourself in. You’ll be safe there. I’ll be back in a minute.’
She had a look on her face that clearly didn’t believe him but at the same time understood he must have a reason for hiding the truth.
‘Can you at least tell me your name?’
She smiled as she caressed her stomach again. ‘Thomas. I like that.’
He gave her a look as if he expected the favour returned and she reluctantly agreed.
‘Alright, Kayley. I’m not sure what happens next but whatever you do, don’t turn back.’ he warned. ‘Just stay until morning. Hopefully they’ve given up by then.’
‘If I have that long.’ she sighed.
Thomas just gestured for her to start walking and began to close the pantry wall on her. She paused.
‘Thank you Thomas. I hope I can raise this child as good as your mother obviously raised you.’
He just smiled politely. ‘Which mother?’ he thought. Besides, none of them really cared for him anyway. He clicked the wall back into place, returning the shelf to cover any signs of the entrance.
Finding himself in unusual situations like this was nothing odd for Thomas. He was always prepared for the unexpected since he was about fourteen. His memory of moving between foster families while growing up was hazy but for the past ten years he’d been on his own. Always feeling like he was on the run, he could never stay in one place for very long – but not having any explanation as to why.
However every day, every new adventure provided one more piece to his fractured life. He wasn’t sure what it was right now but had a feeling he was about to find out.
As he raced out of the kitchen to go upstairs, he heard the rumble of a turbo charged hummer skidding to a halt in his driveway. He peeked out through the window to see dust swirling around the twenty inch tyres of the black beast that had thundering spotlights, blasting a high voltage beam across the front of his house.
This isn’t good.
He knew he had to get upstairs immediately. He had to get back to sleep.
As he hurtled upstairs and flew into his bedroom a deafening CRUNCH took his attention. Whoever had arrived had taken the quick way in. Thomas locked himself in and dragged a cupboard over to barricade the door. He quickly reached into a pocket hidden deep within his jacket and pulled out one of many syringes filled with a yellow liquid. Much faster than your average sleeping tablet, this would ensure Thomas would be asleep before anyone arrived to ask questions – as if they were the type to stop to ask anything he thought.
As he sunk the needle deep into an available vein that wasn’t already bruised from previous insertions, he had a sudden realization.
As he now lay drowsily on his bed, less than thirty seconds left of consciousness, he felt a pang of regret. With little energy to lift his arms he rummaged through another pocket and unravelled a few pieces of paper.
The one he was looking for was a faded birth certificate. The details were sketchy but apart from his name being clear, Thomas Drake, he couldn’t read much else. He was never quite sure if his birthday was October 3rd or 8th …until now.
It suddenly made sense.
He looked over to the calendar beside his bed that had a circle around today’s date – October 2nd. Scribbled roughly on the certificate under ‘mother’ had a first letter only…
Thomas was fed up with his rare condition of time travelling in his sleep and out of habit, he’d acted too hastily to avoid conflict. Realising he’d woken up here before, only now it became clear it was exactly one day before he was born. As much as he wanted to know more, the drugs in his system were taking effect quickly – as they were designed to do. Whoever ‘they’ are, that were about to pounce on him, would arrive in a moment to find an empty bedroom.
As the thundering footsteps came trudging up the stairs he knew he had five seconds to allow himself to drift back to sleep wondering where and when he would wake up next. The only comfort was that he finally got to meet the mother he never knew, and hoped one day, that they would cross paths again.