by Andi Winter
I WOKE UP TO THREE SUNS, green dust, and a gravel bed.
Where was I? When was I?
It wasn’t Landera—too dry. Nor Myr, either—too bright. A thousand other possible planets raced through my brain, and all the permutations with chronological constraints, but none of them described this place.
Then I remembered Pontal cursing me for meddling when I should be at the retirement center boring younglings about my glory days. He had raised his hand and I felt ice cover me before I blacked out.
And here I was with my skin burning, laying in green dust with pebbles embedded in my side.
I was too old for this shit.
I reached into my pants pocket and pulled out my chronospatial locator. Its face was shattered. Its hands still pointed to the Grand Library—the last place I remembered.
Well, I had other options. I tapped at my wrist cuff. No indicator lights shone. Odd. In all the time I wore the cuff, I’d never had a problem with it. Trying to remember how to reset it took longer than I liked. My fingers traced the intricate pattern across the multicolored buttons. Nothing.
I shook my wrist and rattled the cuff, hoping it just needed a little encouragement. And yet it remained lifeless.
No chronospatial locator. No time travel device.
I was well and truly stuck. On a planet I didn’t recognize. In what time, I didn’t know.
It had to have been a joke. Surely no one would do something so heinous as destroy a time lord’s requisite tools.
Pontal’s dark angry face flashed before me.
Or perhaps they would. If sufficiently mad. And insane. Or simply did not want me to cast the deciding vote. The vote that would decide the fate of our planet.
The tools were not just symbols of a time lord’s power. They were the power. And power was what had put me in this position. The power I had wielded over the Council, the Magistrate, over our world.
But without power all there was left was an old woman getting sunburned on some time lord forsaken planet.
I went to push myself upright. With horror I saw my hands were missing. I watched as nothingness slowly ate up my limbs. My body was gradually disintegrating.
At least it didn’t hurt. I’d had a good run. But there were things I still wanted—needed—to do.
Frantically, I tried to think of what could cause this, and how to fix it. There had to be something I could do.
My legs were gone as well as my arms and chest. All that remained was my head. Then my sight started to wane and all was darkness.
Blue overhead lights flashed as a tech removed the time cuff from my wrist.
“You’d better hurry. They’ll call the vote any moment now.”
Relieved, I scrambled to the chambers and heard the tech mutter behind me, “These cuffs may seem dead, but they’ll always bring you home.”
Copyright © 2017 by Andi Winter
“Damaged Goods” was first published in Out of Time and Other Very Short Stories
Published by Rainy Mountain Publishing
All rights reserved
This is a work of fiction. All characters, names, places, and incidents in this story are either the products of the imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to real people or incidents is coincidental. Really.