Gabriel slouched in an uncomfortable wrought iron chair outside an indistinct coffee shop on third. He morosely nursed a stout black cup of coffee and an epic hangover from behind a pair of red tinted lenses. Even though it’d been 16 years for him since he’d taken his vows, people watching never got old.
Half a block down, across the street, a young girl walked her dog. She disappeared briefly and just as suddenly returned. Gabe casually inspected her temporal aura and traced the ephemeral filaments that tied her to her perceived time and place. Gabe took a sip of coffee and concentrated until he found the moment where the girl’s essence bifurcated. He lost interest after he realized the weight of his scrutiny collapsed her wave function, returning the girl to her previous path.
Across the street on the corner of 3rd and Jackson, Gabe noticed a young boy hawking newspapers. The kid wore a Lundberg Stetson and a rumpled, ink-stained linen shirt. Jackson bore heavy pedestrian traffic and a woman carrying a small parcel walked straight toward the newsboy. While she was completely oblivious to his presence, he seemed to notice her and casually stepped to one side to let her pass.
Now that is interesting, Gabe thought to himself.
Gabe had seen sensitives – people who seemed to have a higher sense attuned to the bones of chaotic, frenetic multi-verse they inhabited. They’d appear to suffer a chill or pause thoughtfully whenever they experienced a spatial superposition. Never before had he seen someone who demonstrated an acute awareness of an entity from another time existing in the same space.
He studied the young man and his temporal aura. He teased apart the fabric of space and time and imagined standing slightly behind the boy. The tingling he felt in the back of his head telegraphed subtle differences in the earth’s magnetic field that gave him a sense of his place in time: He didn’t need the boy’s clothing to tell him he was somewhere in the 1920s. Gabe was just about to reach out to tap the boy’s shoulder when he turned around.
“Paper mister?” he asked.
“Why yes, I think I would like one, sport.”
Gabe reached to his breast pocket for his wallet when the boy shook his head, “You’re money’s no good here mister.”
“Don’t be silly chap. How about two bits?”
“Sorry mister, your money’s no good. Those coins are twenty-second century replicas. Don’t worry about it mister. Here just take one.” He handed Gabe a paper.
“Son, how do you know that?”
The boy smiled and vanished in a way Gabe was at a loss to explain. He reached out, searching for the boy’s essence, but felt no traces. With a building sense of dread and panic, he reached out to the essence of Father Murphy. The saintly old man’s sudden presence at his side was a great comfort.
“Father, I’d found a rogue thread but he escaped.”