“What’d he do?”
“You’ll think I’m, oh fuck it. He raped me. I killed him. I’m here. End of story.”
“Okay. So to enter a portal we must’ve committed something deemed unacceptable to the people around us.”
“But I didn’t mean to…” She hesitated and placed her hands on my chest. “I did it.”
I took her hands in mine and lead her to the chairs on the far side of the porch. “I ran away from a pandemic. I’m an immune. I was told I could save people, but in the end it looked like I’d die with them so I ran.” I guided her into the chair, dropped her hands and sat alongside her.
“I don’t care what you did,” she said softly.
“Nor do I care about what you did. Here we get a chance to start over, hopefully.” I thought of Attrea and felt the love I had for her swell in my heart.
“What if when we exit this place through whatever portal we step into a different time as well?”
I looked at her. “Would you want to return to twenty eighteen?”
She shook her head. “But if I end up in your time will I catch the virus?”
“Maybe they seal portals that lead to places destroyed by war or disease.”
“If I can get another boat, we could row across to the base of the foothills in front of the mountains.”
“I think I’d like that.” She stood and walked down the steps, waited until I followed and went to the small outbuilding where we’d spent the night.
Inside, I located a small metal door no more then ten inches high by six wide. There was three holes drilled into the right center large enough for fingers. I slowly inserted my fingers, felt a lever and managed to pull it down. Nothing happened, then a siren wailed loud enough to double us over with severe pain.
I dropped to my knees, hands over both ears, but it only helped marginally. I began to think I’d made a serious error in portal selection. Then the noise stopped abruptly.
Margaret was crying. I struggled to my feet and went to her, helped her up and put an arm around her shoulders. She folded into my chest arms around me hands clutching as if should she release me death would scratch the breath from her lungs.
I hugged her not wanting an emotional attachment but unwilling to abandon her to the pain and sorrow she seemed to carry or drag behind her.
When she was quiet, I released her and stepped back. “You okay now?”
Her eyes moved as she examined my face seeking examining. “Thank you.”
I nodded. “Let’s get outside.” I went and opened the door, looked at the dock and saw a boat tied up. It was far larger than a rowboat, appeared to have a cabin, and twin engines hung off the stern. I frowned while looking, not understanding what I saw. Nothing from home looked the same.