Note to the reader: this story is being shelved for the time being. I have other stories I want to focus on and I don't have the time to make this story work. As you can guess from the title Raymond is the Traveler. Leonard gets first billing for a reason, but I can't explain why thoroughly as the story is on hold. To be honest, I'm not sure how to make it work with the storyline I want to develop. This story isn't open for review or rating because it's incomplete and is likely to remain incomplete for a long while. By all means continue to provide comments and suggestions, but it's unlikely I'll do revisions any time soon. For now, please send me an email and let me know what you think. Are there any odd errors I've unintentionally put in? Do you like the direction this is going? How do Leonard and Raymond strike you in their interactions? Any and all feedback is appreciated.
Raymond looked down, knowing there was nothing that could be done for Leonard. The blood coursed through the cracks in the cement, pooling around Raymond's boots as he took in the scene before him. Leonard, struggling to hold his own innards in place, blood coating him from fingertips to elbows. It poured from his mouth, soaking his lips as it rushed through his chattering teeth.
“Help me,” Leonard said as he choked on his own blood. “Please—harrrck rafff—please help me.”
Raymond looked into Leonard's eyes. He had tried. He really tried his best to save him, but it was as is fate itself was against Leonard's survival. “I'm sorry Leonard, there's nothing I can do.”
“Please—aaaarrrr—help me.” Leonard's eyes brimmed with tears of blood as he looked up at Raymond.
Raymond couldn't understand how he was still alive. Leonard was practically torn in half by the gunfire, yet not only was he conscious, he still had enough strength to cry out for help. Raymond didn't understand. He should be dead by now.
How long had they been looking at each other like this Raymond wondered. Minutes? Hours? To Raymond it felt like they'd been staring at each other for days. Leonard calling out for help that could not possibly save him, and Raymond standing over him, watching helplessly as he suffered. He couldn't think straight, not with Leonard's constant screams of pain and calls for help. Raymond wished he would shut up for a moment so he could think what to do. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying his best to block out the sounds, and then it finally occurred to him.
“I'm sorry brother,” Raymond said. “I'm afraid this is the only help I can give you.”
Leonard's eyes widened as he watched Raymond draw his gun and slowly point it at him, at his head. “No. . . wa—”
The gunshot was loud. It was the loudest sound in the world. Raymond staggered back from the jolt and fell to his knees, the hollow ringing reverberating in his ears. His skin crawled as the blood soaked through the knees of his pants, soaked through the fabric and into his skin. As the fetid stench rose through the air, e felt nausea overcome him, but held it at bay. Leonard's suffering was finally over, but his own would remain with him for a bit longer.
Once the ringing subsided, complete and utter silence greeted him. Raymond looked around at his surroundings, at the war torn buildings. They were dead, all of them. The buildings were rubble, and bodies lay broken around him. Everything was covered in ash. He didn't understand. He should have been able to stop this. They had anticipated the war and the destruction, but it shouldn't have been this bad. Something, some unexplainable factor, caused all this. This world was dead, like the one before, and the one before that.
Little by little his team had been stripped away from him until Raymond was the only survivor. There was nowhere to return to; the scientists who started the project had died long ago. His world was long gone. The button on his travel device no longer sent him back to previous worlds. With the destruction of each old world, it could only send him forward. They should have been able to stop it, but then they should have been able to stop it in the last world as well. And the world before that and the world before that. . . Raymond had lost count of how many worlds had come and gone. He hadn't been able to save the Leonard from the last world either. Or the other Leonards that had come before him. This world was dead, but it might not be too late. There were other worlds. Perhaps humanity could still be saved. There was still hope, there had to be.
Raymond took the device out of his pocket, dusting it off. Thank God it's still intact, he thought. He stood back up, wincing in pain, and hoping the injury to his leg wasn't permanent. He pressed its single button and the boom tube opened. He staggered back as the wind from the portal rushed at him. He looked at the tunnel of rippling circles of light, amazed at how much it looked like the boom tubes in the Superman comics. It even had that strange odd humming when it first opened. Wind rippling against his shirt, he walked towards the portal and stepped though. As it closed around him he thought to himself, This time will be different. This time I'll save the world.