I feel her.
She’s in the same crowded subway car I am. I can feel the energy flowing in her veins, powerful, unstoppable, almost uncontrollable. I can sense the sharpness with which her brain perceives the fourth dimension, ticking at unison with every atom.
We’re not many now. Those of us who can jump. Those of us who are unstuck in time.
Who is she? Maybe the redhead girl. I’ve always had something for redheads. Yes, it must be her.
She can feel me, I’m sure. And yet she doesn’t know who I am. We’re so close to one another, in space and in senses. We’re as rare as two identical snowflakes, and as ephemeral.
It’s been a while since the last time I sensed another jumper. Four years, give or take a couple months. It was a kid, he might have been fourteen. One moment he was walking a dozen yards in front of me on a street, the next they were shoving him into an unmarked black van. Nobody would see him again. I jumped and saved myself, but they saw me.
The normals think we’re dangerous. And maybe we are. We humans are not supposed to travel in time. We can make strange things happen. Dangerous things. World-falling-apart things.
The train stops at the station with a jerk.
From the other side of the car, the redhead looks at me, her eyes piercing. Yes, it’s her. I knew it. Our timelines sync for a fraction of a second, just enough to tell each other “Hey. It’s me.” We don’t need words. It’s so powerful and intimate that it reminds me of sex, every time. It’s a bit weird if the other is a man, but you get used.
The doors open.
This time they’re here for me. They’re swift in placing the antijump cuff on my wrist. They’re strong as they drag me away.
I resist for a second, kicking and screaming, just enough to resync my timeline and tell her “Jump!”
Everyone is looking at the show I’m putting on. A blink of an eye and she’s gone, unseen.
She’s the last jumper I’ll ever sync with. But that’s quite all right. It was a matter of time.
This short story also appeared on Medium.