Author : Roger Dale Trexler
He opened the door. He stood there a moment before he turned on the light. On the far wall, opposite the door, he saw the picture of Jane Russell. He stepped into the room, and placed the bag and the roses on the bed. The bag was heavy, and he wasn’t as young as he used to be.
His arm ached.
He walked around the bed of Room 137 and stood before the picture. She was dead now, but he remembered watching her on the Saturday afternoon movies when he was a boy. She was so beautiful; so elegant.
He looked at the picture a moment longer, then turned to the bag on the bed.
He bent over and a wicked cough shook his body and burned his throat. In a moment it passed, but his chest ached from the exertion. The cancer had eaten him down to a stick of a man. The doctors had given him six months to live over eight months ago. He was living on borrowed time.
He opened the bag and took out the four tripods. He placed the mechanisms on the tripods and set them on the four corners of the room. When done, he sat on the bed, out of breath, and looked at the picture of Jane Russell on the wall.
“See you soon,” he said.
He had lived a long, rich life, but his time was at its end. In his day, he was considered one of the top physicists in the world. Upon retiring, he turned his attention to the concepts of time travel.
He held the remote control in his sweaty hand. Should I? He thought. He snickered. What do I have to lose? I’ll most likely be dead this time tomorrow, anyway.
It was a morbid truth.
He looked at the remote. He had never taken a wife, never had children. He was alone in the world with only his video library of Jane Russell films like The Outlaw and Hot Blood to keep him company. He had watched them all a hundred times over and, in his own way, he loved Jane Russell.
But, would she understand?
He hoped so.
He reached out and picked up the bouquet of roses. He knew that she was beautiful, that men swooned for her. He decided he would write a note and leave it, along with the rose, beside her bed. He didn’t want to be a burden.
He went to the desk and penned the note, doing a dozen rewrites until he was happy. He folded the note and tucked it in the roses, then he stood by the desk, hoping that nothing physical occupied that space back in 1986 when she had spent the night there.
He took a deep breath and punched the remote.
It wasn’t a bright flash, not a spinning multi-colored tunnel. That was all Hollywood glamor. Instead, it was like the blink of an eye. One moment, he stood in the motel room in 2014, the next, he was there in 1986.
It was dark in the room, but he could hear soft breathing.
She was asleep.
His eyes adjusted and he saw her. She lay there. Alone, like he was.
He stood there awhile.
Then, when he knew he could stay no longer, he placed the flowers by her bed.
The cleaning crew found him the next morning on the bed, a single rose in his hand. He had died in the middle of the night with the picture of Jane Russell next to him.
No one noticed she now held roses in the picture.
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