The cramp in my legs was started to reach crisis level but still I daren’t move. It had to be soon. I was far too worried that I would spook it to move. I knew it was a ridiculous fear but I didn’t want to have to wait another 546 days or however long it was ‘til the next solar flare.
Years I had spent pouring over accounts if ghosts and apparitions. You wouldn’t believe how many new reports there were every single day. Any one of them could have been valid so each one had to be researched and matched up with records. Who knows maybe ghosts did exist. One day, I would be able to give a ghost hunter some very detailed research but that was not my focus.
Finally, after being near ready to admit defeat I found one that matched. The chance of finding an echo report and finding some kind of historical documentation to match was astronomical but it had happened. An account of the life of a Vietnamese scholar had crossed my desk after putting out requests for any and all information that could shed light on that area of the country. A description of the scholar had matched perfectly with the ghost. The red and gold robes. The proud and determined stride as they walked between the houses towards the temple. And the route they took every single day, without fail. Now I crouched peering out from inside one of the ruins waiting, looking out on the very same route.
It had taken a while to realise that the last sighting had matched with the timing of a solar flare. It was the last piece of the puzzle. Plenty had scoffed at my theory but this final fact made it all make sense. Events, etched in history, embedded in the fabric of a place could be accessed. A bridge between two times, made real by the solar flares. Once this had fallen into place all I needed was the time of the next flare and to wait, making arrangements to ensure I was in the right place at the right time. So that was how I found myself waiting for a figure from the past to appear ahead of me.
A few seconds more was all it took. At first it was a shimmer, a red haze. Then the picture solidified and he was ahead of me, striding onwards as he always did. Grinning ear to ear, I held the camera out and hit record. The small device emitted a high-pitched beep as it began to record.
The figure hesitated. He’d heard the sound. He looked in my direction. His face contorted in shock and confusion as he saw me. This body seemed to flash and shudder as he recoiled. He fell back against a ruin and collapsed into a heap against the bottom of the wall. Slowly I stood. He didn’t disappear. His eyes were still fixed on me, fear leeching into his expression. Suddenly, he seemed to register the state of the building around him. So much for an observation only mission.
I reached out a non-threatening hand, “Welcome to 2018.”
Written in response to a Creative Writing Ink prompt