If you had told 16 year old Avery Beckett that this night would change her life forever about six hours ago, she would have laughed in your face. Nothing ever happened in her tiny town in The Middle of Nowhere, Washington.
This night, though, was different.
Avery was biking home from the ice rink, at 10pm, on September 27th, 2019, on the night everything changed. She had just finished work at the ice rink, and her skates were looped around her small backpack, which contained a hoodie, her wallet, and keys.
The streets were quiet and awash with amber light from the streetlamps. Avery biked quickly, humming along to a song playing through her white earbuds. Her phone vibrated against her leg. Pulling over, she took her phone out of her back pocket, pressing ‘accept call’.
“Hey loser” Avery said, grinning.
“Hey dipshit” Her best friend, Jane, said back. Avery could almost hear her grinning through the phone. “Where are you?”
“On my way home. Why?”
There was a little static before Avery heard Jane’s voice.
“-watching Spiderman: Far From Home at Evan’s house. Wanna come?”
Avery began biking again, her phone propped up against the handlebars “watched it last night. Plus, I have that lit analysis essay for Dumar’s class to finish”
“C’mon” Jane complained, “It’s a Friday night! Live a little! I thought you loved this Marvel stuff!”
Avery snorted “And then Saturday will roll around and it’ll be ‘Do it Sunday! Live a little!’ and then it’ll be ‘Do it before class, you’ll have time!’ but I won’t have time and I will fail” She heard Jane sigh on the other end of the line.
“Besides” Avery continued “I do love this Marvel stuff. So much that I watched Far From Home on repeat for days”
“Fine” she groused, “But we are totally going to the beach tomorrow”
Avery laughed “Whatever you say. Bye, loser”
“You suck-” Jane’s last words were cut off as Avery pressed the end call button, still smiling.
The ride took her down long streets lined with pastoral small town houses, but there was one stretch of road that led along a secluded part of the beach. Avery slowed down slightly, drinking in the cool, salty air. She loved the sea.
Her phone buzzed again. She pulled over to the side of the road.
“You really have to stop calling me, Jane” she said, after accepting the call.
“Yeah, ok, whatever, but Jason is here” she whispered furiously
“Keep your panties on” Avery said mildly
“No, you don’t understand” Jane sounded manic “I just told him that I loved Marvel movies, and he has all these questions and I don’t know what to say” she groaned and Avery had to stifle a giggle “This is terrible. I should just go home”
“No, here, I’ll help” Avery said, “What did he ask?”
“Um, if I was Team Iron Man or Team Cap, for one, like I even know what that means, what I thought about Captain America’s character development, whether or not Loki is good, what the hell does that even mean-”
“Ok, slow down” Avery said “Here’s what you’re gonna tell him”
“Wait wait, I gotta write this down”
“If you wanna please more people, say you’re team Iron Man, because Captain America was acting irrationally in Civil War. Captain America’s character development was abysmal after The Winter Soldier, it completely disregarded all of Steve Roger’s personal values-”
“Sorry” Avery took a deep breath “And, Loki is more of your typical antihero, doing good things out of ego or self preservation”
“Like Deadpool?” Jane hedged
“Thanks Ave” Jane said breathlessly. Avery could hear shuffling and someone faintly calling Jane's name "I gotta go"
“Good luck, use protection” Avery said cheerfully
“I hope you know I hate you” Jane said, before Avery heard the telltale click of her hanging up.
She set off again. The ocean was dark and speckled with stars. One was particularly bright. She looked closer. It was odd, she hadn't seen it before
Avery tore her eyes away from the sky just in time to see a blinding flash of light in front of her. She swerved and tumbled off her bike, eyes burning. Her head hit the ground and darkness surrounded her.
her last thought was 'thank god I wore my helmet'
The first thing she felt waking up was the dull throb in her head.
The next thing was the smell. Hot garbage and fuel exhaust.
She sat up and retched, nauseous from both the pain and smell. Groaning, she noticed it was much more hot and humid, and light streamed down from a grey-blue sky.
Wait. That wasn’t right.
Avery blinked, rubbing her eyes. She was sitting in a brick walled alley, her backpack beside her, about three feet away from a dumpster.
That explained the smell.
She stumbled to her feet. Judging by the sun’s position, it was around 10am. Taking the helmet off her head, she stuffed it into her backpack
“How the hell did I end up here?” she muttered, taking out her phone. No signal. “That’s weird”
She opened up her Instagram. The login screen popped up. She put in her username and password
‘Login attempt failed’ She checked, and sure enough, she had WiFi. She tried again, and the same thing happened. It was the same with all her apps.
“Stupid piece of crap” She growled, now more than a little desperate and scared “what is going on”
The phone did not respond. Stupid phone
Avery tucked in back into her pocket, and stumbled out of the alleyway. She was standing on a sidewalk next to a busy street. People walked briskly around her, some shooting her annoyed looks for just standing in the middle of the sidewalk. She grabbed the arm of a businessman in a suit. He looked at her, affronted.
“I don’t have any change” he said coldly, with a faint accent she couldn’t quite place.
“What? No” Avery put on her best I’m-Just-A-Nice-Girl face “Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering if you knew the date?”
He looked confused “September 28th. It’s Thursday”
“Thursday?” She said “The 28th is a Saturday”
He gave her a weird look, pulling away.
"Ok, thanks for nothing, I guess" she said, looking around for something that could tell her where she was. A few meters away she saw a taxi, bright yellow. She read it as it drove past.
‘New York Taxi’, it said, in bold black print
“Ok” Avery said, trying not to freak out “I’m in New York. On Thursday the 28th. The day that should be Saturday. That’s perfectly logical”
She buried her hands in her hair. How the hell had she ended up across the country? She began walking aimlessly with the tide of people, looking around desperately. She spotted a newspaper stand, manned by a bored, middle-aged man. Walking over quickly, Avery peered at the newspapers displayed out front. The New York Times was prominently displayed with the bold headline ‘Stark Industries Announces New Advancements in Clean Energy’
“Stark Industries?” She said incredulously, perhaps a bit too loud. A few people gave her weird looks, but kept walking. She picked up the paper
Avery looked up and saw the owner standing over her, expectant. He held out his hand.
“2.50” he said gruffly
“Sorry.” Avery said, digging through her pockets and pulling out a few crumpled bills. She pressed them into his hand. He grumbled and walked away to get her change. Avery just stared at the headline, trying to fully absorb it.
“I’m sorry, but is this real?” she asked the man when he came back with her change
“Of course” He said gruffly. “Real and really gonna put a dent in the pockets of taxpayers”
“Right” Avery said, only panicking slightly. Then she read the printed date and nearly fainted.
‘Thursday, September 28th, 2017’
“What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuuuuuuck” she breathed. So many things were wrong about this.
“Ok, Avery, pull it together” she told herself, “You’re somehow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.” She took a deep breath “seems legit. Ok” She sat down heavily, putting her head between her knees “Ok ok ok okkkk” she rubbed her temples
“Hey! No loitering” The owner snapped “Kids these days”
Avery sprang up. A plan had formulated in her head. A wild, crazy-ass, bat-shit insane plan. She grabbed the arm of a passing lady.
“Can you point me in the direction of Stark Tower?”