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Time Rots Everything

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You were making your way to work after another sleepless night. You never slept well, but since being promoted to detective, things got worse.

Being a detective in New York City was never a boring job. Certain cases you worked on seemed to stick with you no matter what. Therapy didn’t help and you refused to let anyone at work learn about your problems.

A long sigh escaped as you pulled into your designated spot. Maybe today would be a dull day. No dead bodies, no missing people, no conspiracy theories. You look at yourself in the rearview mirror and scoff. Who were you kidding, nothing was ever dull in this line of work.

The bags under your eyes had bags. “I need a vacation,” you say to yourself.

You grab your stuff and get out of your car with a groan. “Ugh, how old are you, [y/n],” you ask yourself. “Get it together.”

Climbing the stairs to your office almost took all of your energy. That used to be so easy. You look at your desk and let out a sigh of relief. Your partner was obviously here going by the large cup of coffee sitting on your desk. “Thank you, Moretti,” you say to no one in particular. You take a long sip and smile. I feel better already.

“Someone looks happy and relaxed today,” Moretti quips walking over to your desk.

“Something tells me it won’t last long. Thanks for the coffee, buddy.”

“No problem and I’m sorry to say, but you were right: your relaxed state will not be sticking around.” Moretti sits on the edge of your desk and you groan.

“Lay it on me.”

“We got a guy in this morning claiming that yesterday he was in 1912 and now he’s here. He also claims to have worked for Pinkerton.”

“Pinkerton?” You had to hold back a laugh. “Isn’t that Securitas AB now? No one has called it Pinkerton in years.”

Moretti shrugs, “We were about to send him to the psych ward, but then he said something about a missing daughter. He gave us two different names for her, but neither name is getting us anything in the system.”

You rub your temple, “Does this time traveler have any ID or anything?”

“I’ll let you see for yourself. We have him in one of the interrogation rooms. He ain’t too happy about it.” Moretti walks you to where this so-called time traveler is. He doesn’t look very threatening just disheveled. He actually looked more tired that you, if that was possible. His right hand was bandaged and he just looked like he’s been through hell and back.

Moretti held his hand out towards the door, “Want me to come in with you?” he asks.

You shake your head, “No, maybe I can get something out of him that you guys couldn’t.” You open the door and enter the room slowly. The man turns to you looking angry but then his face relaxes.

“Ma’am,” he nods.

“Hello, Mr….?”

“DeWitt. Booker DeWitt, ma’am.” He holds out his bandaged hand, you take it gently and shake it. You held it a little longer than you should have. Letting go quickly and clearing your throat, you sit down. You motion to the seat across from you. “Please take a seat, Mr. DeWitt.”

Before he sits, you look at his clothes. Pinstripe trousers, black button up shirt with the sleeves rolled up, showing off sinewy, tanned skin, a blue vest and his gun holster. He certainly dressed like he was from the early 1900s, but there was no way.

His ID was sitting on the table. You pick it up and look at it. This was definitely old, but you could probably find stuff like this online.

Booker DeWitt. Born April 19, 1874.

1874? That would make him 142. Impossible. You look up at him, his green eyes bore into you. He leans in closer and you can smell alcohol. Now things were starting to make sense.

“Can you help me miss? Everyone here seems to be real reluctant and you seem like a nice lady, Ms…?”

“[Y/N]. Detective [Y/N].”

Booker looked shocked for a minute. “A lady detective? That is incredible,” he says sitting back in the chair.

You weren’t sure if you should be offended by that or not. He seemed like a nice guy so you let that go.

“Mr. DeWitt, I’m sure my associates have told you that it is 2016. If we were to believe this ID, that you were born in 1874, that would make you 142. People don’t tend to live that long and honestly you don’t look a day over 40.”

Booker sighs and sits up, leaning on his forearms. “I’m just as confused as you are, ma’am. I told those men that just the other day I was in 1912 and now I’m here, but obviously I’m here for a reason. For my daughter. I need help.” He stops, trying to calm himself.

Yeah, this guy needed help alright. Help that you couldn’t give him here.

You stand and he stands slightly, an old sign of respect. You couldn’t believe this guy. “Okay, Mr. DeWitt, sit tight and I’ll try to get you some help.” You smile as nicely as you can and leave the room.

“So what do you think?” Moretti asks.

“Everything about this is weird, but he doesn’t seem like a particularly insane person. He did sort of smell of alcohol though,” you point out.

“Yeah, I got a whiff of that too,” your partner says. “What do we do with him?”

You look at Booker through the glass. “We really have no reason to keep him here, but I doubt he has anywhere to go.” So much for that dull day.

“I wanted to show you something else,” Moretti leads you over to a table with some of Booker’s things on it. You pick up a large weapon with three strange hooks in a circle. You pull the trigger and the hooks spin. The look you give your partner says it all: what the hell is with this guy?

You pick up another one of his weapons. “This has to be over a hundred years old, but it’s in perfect condition. What the hell?” This was starting to drive you mad.

You storm back into the interrogation room and Booker stands. “Mr. DeWitt…if you want our help you’re going to have to start telling me the truth! Please tell me who you really are and where you got all this so-called vintage stuff. Did you find it on the internet?”

Booker squints at you, looking genuinely confused. “The in…ter…what?”

You shake your head, “I can’t believe this. And about your missing daughter…you gave us two names, but we didn’t find anything about her anywhere. We’re not sure what to do with you.”

He sat back sadly, his big green eyes looking into your [e/c] ones.

“Do you have anywhere to go, Booker?” you ask.

He looked a little shocked by you using his first name. “I’m from New York, but this is not the city I remember…so no, I have nowhere to go, ma’am. I’m on my own.”

God, this man was pulling on your heartstrings now. “Do you have any money?”

He shakes his head. “No ma’am…well probably nothing I can use here.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a handful of silver coins. “Will these do me any good?”

You take one of the coins from his hand and inspect it. It was marked with Columbia at the top and 1900 at the bottom. An image of a woman with wings, a key around her neck, holding a sword and the Constitution was in the middle. The back of the coin showed the Constitution again with the sword and key flanked by seven stars on either side.

“What is this? I thought you said you were from New York. Where is this Columbia?”

“I…it’s a long story…but a real one. A true one. These are silver eagles.” He shakes the coins in his hands, looking at them in deep thought.

You couldn’t just leave this man out on the streets especially in New York. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll let you stay in one of the holding cells tonight. It’s not very comfortable, but it’s better than sleeping on the street.”

He grabs your hand, making you jump at the sudden contact. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

You smile warmly, “You’re welcome, Mr. DeWitt.” You glance at his bandaged hand and notice blood seeping through the cloth. “Follow me,” you say.

“Yes ma’am.” Booker stands and follows you out the room. All conversation stops as you lead him to the holding cells and let him into one.

“Like I said, not the most comfortable.”

He gives you a sideway smile, “This’ll do, ma’am. This’ll do just fine. I’ve slept in much worse conditions during my time with the 7th Calvary.”

Your head pops up at him, but you don’t say anything. You point to his hand, “I’m going to find something to fix up that hand of yours.”

You leave the cell and walk to your desk where Moretti is waiting. “So?” he asks.

You shrug, “I just don’t know. Can you get me the first aid kit?”

Moretti nods and is back in a flash. “He doesn’t have any money, nowhere to go. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy.”

Your partner sighs, “You and that big heart of yours.”

“Shut up, Moretti,” you say as you walk back to the holding cell.

“Let’s see that hand, Mr. DeWitt.” He hesitates but holds his hand out for you.

“You can call me Booker,” he says.

“Fine…Booker, but only if you stop calling me ma’am. Makes me feel old.”

Booker lets out a light laugh, “Sorry, just a habit.”

“Oh my God,” you say as you get a good look at his hand, “What happened here?”

“I-I was stabbed, but it’s not that serious. Really, ma- Detective, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.” He smiles at you and you can’t help but smile back.

You notice that his hand had also been branded with the letters AD. You wanted to ask him about it, but you had a feeling that there was an even longer story for that and you really couldn’t deal with anything else today.

While cleaning his hand, you notice his other hand gripping his knee, knuckles white. He was in pain. “I’m sorry if I’m hurting you.”

“Its fine,” he says through gritted teeth.

“All done,” you say as you wrap his hand again.

“Thank you, Detective.”

You nod, “No problem. Um, I’ll be right at my desk if you need anything.”

Booker flashes you a smile again as you leave the cell.

“Hey, [y/n] it’s lunch time. You want to go grab something?” Moretti asks.

“Do you mind bringing something back for me? I want to work on some things.”

“Sure, no problem. Pizza okay?” he asks.

“You know me so well.” You wink at him as he puts on his jacket.

You turn your computer on and type Booker’s name into the system. Nothing. Maybe Google would show you something.

Instead of typing his name you type in 7th Calvary Regiment of the U.S. Army. Wounded Knee catches your eye right away. No way.

A few images pop up and you look through them. You click on a picture to enlarge it and almost fall out of your chair. There he was. That was Booker with a few other men. You shake your head. Maybe it was his great grandfather or something. Then you see his name written at the bottom of the picture. “Impossible,” you say to yourself.


Either this was an extremely elaborate hoax or life as you knew it was about to change.