Authors: Melissa Lynne Blue
Edge of Time
Edge of Time
The question weighed
heavily on twenty-six year old Marissa McClafferty’s mind as she prepared to leave the war zone her work place had recently become.
Or better yet
just drop off the face of the earth entirely?
The oversize wall clock behind the nurses’ station read eight-thirty and angrily Marissa kicked the blood spattered white shoes from her aching feet. She should have been out of there an hour ago. Her shift had ended at seven-thirty but as usual disaster struck at the stroke of seven and here she was preparing to trudge home
and microwave another lonely TV dinner.
Wearily she shrugged a light jacket over her pale blue scrubs, the second set she’d changed into that day, and stuffed her feet into the worn brown shoes that would carry her home. Slipping through a side door behind the emergency department Marissa made her way through the ever darkening parking lot. As if her day hadn’t been bad enough
Brian had dropped by that afternoon to inform her that if she didn’t get the rest of her “stuff” out of his studio by the end of the week he was going sell it or dump it.
As if she’d had the time! Brian knew how busy she was and how much stress she had been under lately. Oh well, Marissa sighed,
it didn’t really matter anymore. I
t was over between them and with her two weeks of vacation starting tomorrow, she would have plenty of time to gather up the remnants of her engagement from his studio and shut him out of her life forever. But she didn’t really want to go over to his place. She didn’t want to see him or…
A shooting star streaked across the black oblivion of the nighttime sky and Marissa could not resist throwing a silent wish heavenward
I really want a new life… A different life…
Sliding behind the wheel of her sporty white Chevy, thoughts of Brian and Marne
and Marne and Brian
refused to be thrust from her mind. Two weeks ago that day her former fiancé had appeared unexpectedly at work, work of all places,
to announce that he had fallen in love with his latest model.
Marne was essentially everything Marissa was not: tal
l and willowy with radiant raven
curls and blue-green eyes that perfectly matched the color of the ocean before a summer gale. Marne could best be described as Marissa’s polar opposite. But as much as Brian’s devastating betrayal hurt, the knowledge that she should have seen it coming, had known it was coming, was far more depressing. She had always been a strong
career oriented woman, one who would never allow herself to get caught up in girlish romantic fantasies.
Or so she had thought. One look from the dark brooding artist and she’d practically swooned in his arms. Following a whirlwind courtship
after a mere six months. Marissa had felt like the luckiest woman alive. Busy schedules had prevented them from getting around to setting a date for the wedding and after two years…
She should have known better than to fall for such a romantic illusion of a man. But the bottom line was that as much as his betrayal hurt she could not allow this one man to wreck her… She was Marissa McClaff
erty strong, independent
woman and she did not need Brian Whitely. Even as she pounded the words through her brain they felt hollow, unconvincing and the powerful realization was that Brian
wrecked her… The miserable break up had left the shreds of her heart and soul like a shoddy patchwork quilt, barely held together with old yarn, and a gaping hole in the very center.
The silhouette of a man in the middle of the road became visible in the yellow glow of
Marissa’s headlights, snapping her
from her musings.
“That’s weird,” she murmured slowing and shifting to the shoulder of the road
away from the frantic figure standing
the dotted yellow
. Cautiously Marissa inched ever closer and spotted a beat up little car stopped on the opposite side of the
. The Toyota compact definitely appeared to be out of service with all of the lights out, and the vehicle was parked at an extremely odd angle in the road. With a contemplative sigh Marissa warred over the wisdom of stopping and cursed under her breath when good conscience won out. Inching the window down just enough to speak with the man she opened her mouth to speak
“I need help!” The panicked voice exploded through the window opening.” My girlfriend is having an asthma attack.” The boy couldn’t have been more than 18. “But the car broke down before I could get to the hospital and my cell phone is dead!”
“Okay, Okay,” Marissa said soothingly feeling instantly guilty that she had considered not stopping. Subconsciously an internal switch flipped to ER nurse mode and
Marissa sprang into action.
“I’ll call an ambulance for you.” Quickly she dialed 911 and filled the dispatcher in on the present situation. Stepping from the car she snatched the stethoscope off the passenger seat and handed her cell phone to the distraugh
“What’s your name?”
“All right, Tom, I want you talk to the dispatcher while I go to check on your girlfriend.” Though soft, her voice held an authoritative tone that brooked no argument from the teenager.
“Are, are you a doctor?”
“No, I’m a nurse.
” Marissa tossed him a quick reassuring smile. Sliding into the driver’s seat of the young man’s car it was immediately apparent that the girl wa
s in a severe state of distress.
“Hi. My name is Marissa, I’m a nurse in Community’s ER and an ambulance is on the way. Right now I want you to try and relax, okay?” Even as she laid a gentle hand on the teen’s arm a siren
coming rapidly closer.
The flashing lights of the ambulance cast a reassuring red and blue aura over the landscape surrounding the car and as the large vehicle sped to a screeching halt in front of the crippled automobile a burly man leapt from the back of the wagon and strode with urgenc
y to the car. “Oh, hey, Marissa.
he EMT was
obviously surprised to see her.
” Marissa gestured to the distressed teenager and quickly relayed
her assessment of the situation.
“Do you think her boyfriend could ride in on the ambulance with you? Their car broke down and it’s only
a couple of minutes into town.”
“Hey, that’s no problem.” The EMT grinned widely at the worried boyfriend. “Hop aboard, kid!” Dan had an appealing manner that could lighten even the most dire of situations.
The teenager tur
ned a grateful smile to Marissa.
“Thank you so much. I hope you don’t mind but I called a tow truck about my car.” The boyfriend placed the cell phone back in Marissa’s hand.
She shoved it into her pocket.
Marissa just smiled.
“That is absolutely fine.”
Within moments the ambulance
away. Marissa sighed, more than ready to begin her two weeks off. The black cloud of disaster seemed to be following her even when she wasn’t at work! Sliding behind the wheel of her car Marissa felt as though she were functioning on autopilot. Automatically she stabbed the key into the ignition and slipped the gearshift into drive. Steadily she pressed her foot to the gas pedal and began to accelerate past the broken down car.
the hell?” The curse escaped her mouth as her own vehicle’s engine made a strange whining noise and died. In vain she wrenched the key in the ignition willing the car to start, but it was no use, it seemed as though the entire electrical system was out. Grabbing her wallet she threw open the car door and stormed from the vehicle. Lifting the hood wouldn’t do any good because she was anything but a mechanic. She would never recognize a problem much less fix one. Leaning against the car she flipped the cell phone open to call Triple A. It was dead. It wouldn’t even power on, which could not be possible as the phone had been fully charged when she’d left work not twenty minutes ago.
up and down the
not a single, solitary light
anywhere! How far had she come from the hospital, anyway? And where were some of the nearby houses? Dusk became darker. This must be a massive power outage.
“Ahhhrrgg!” In total frustration Marissa pounded her fists on the top of the
car, sending her cell phone flying in the process.
Could one more thing possibly go wrong?
The phone bounced and rolled into the roadside ditch between her and
edge of a barren field bordering an old brick farmhouse. “Well, I guess that’s what I get for l
osing my temper,” she grumbled.
In what light the full moon lent she stumbled down the embankment and bent to pick up the cell phone. As she reached for it, Marissa noticed that her watch had also stopped. Taking it off, she shook it beside her ear. Nothing. Growling in dour frustration she beat down the urge to hurl the watch into the field and stu
ffed it into her scrub
pocket instead. It was then she noticed a single light shining from the first floor of the rustic brick house in the field. Marissa surmised that was her best bet for a working telephone. She’d always thought the place was deserted, but maybe someone had recently bought it
n the chance there
someone there, s
he set to her jaw
across the field at a brisk clip, more than a little nervous about approaching this particular house.
Most people in Charleston said it and the woods behind it were haunted. A hundred or so years ago there had been a murderer in those woods. Everyone knew the story and many claimed that every twenty years someone disappear
in the vicinity of the farmhouse. Every Friday the 13
or Halloween night a group of teenagers from the nearby high school
out here looking for ghosts. Marissa had never put much stock in ghost stories but just the same she’d n
ever seen fit to tempt fate. E
en now a bizarre white mist visibly emanated
from the woods, creeping around the moss laden tree trunks.
way across the field she slowed as it bec
the pale beacon shining from the farmhouse was neither
a reflection of sorts or
from an electrical source. The way the glow bounced and flickered, Marissa thought it
candlelight. Swallowing back the unease welling in her throat she reasoned that the farmhouse must h
ave lost power as well
. Carefully she averted her gaze from the ‘haunted’ woods and pondered the possible causes of such a mass power outage.