A Safe Place by L.M. Brown
A male/male short story (PG for language)
“Hey, Bastian, you okay?”
The voice seemed to come from far away and Bastian groaned as he tried to move. “I thought they said it was perfectly safe?” he grumbled.
Ash chuckled. “They said we’d be safe here, not that the journey wouldn’t be rough.”
“That wasn’t rough. That was like being torn to pieces.” Bastian opened his eyes and saw the clear blue sky about him. “Are we dead?”
Ash’s face moved into his line of vision. “Maybe. You always were my idea of Heaven.”
Bastian rolled his eyes and struggled to sit up. “Heaven wouldn’t be this painful.” Looking about he took in his surroundings with surprise. Ash was doing the same.
“I don’t see the city or anything,” Ash said. “I know they said we’d be sent to the outskirts in case someone saw us arrive, but surely there’d be some sign of civilisation.”
Bastian wobbled a little as he got to his feet. “I can’t even tell which way to go.”
“I guess we start walking and hope Athens isn’t too far away,” Ash said as Bastian reached out a hand to pull him to his feet.
Bastian saw their packs of supplies had landed just a short distance away. At least they had food and the essentials to keep them going in the meantime. Ash took the lead and Bastian followed after him, already excited at what they were likely to see during their time in Ancient Greece.
“Why did you pick Greece?” Bastian asked. “Why not some other time to hide out in?”
Ash shrugged. “Don’t know really. When they told us they could hide us in another time I was too stunned to really think about the options. I can’t believe the government has this technology and no one knows.”
Bastian snorted. “I can’t believe the government has this tech and hasn’t fucked up history altogether. How long do you think we’ll be here?”
Suddenly Ash wouldn’t look him in the eye. Bastian grabbed his arm and spun him round. “What aren’t you telling me?”
Ash sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Just before we were sent back I thought I saw…”
“The senator who ordered the hit on the president. I thought I saw him come through the door just as the men were mucking about with the dials.”
“He didn’t shoot them team, did he?”
“No. They seemed to be friends. Maybe I was mistaken.”
Bastian caught a glimpse of movement behind Ash. “Oh shit!”
“It was kind of dark.”
Bastian shook his head wildly and pointed over Ash’s shoulder. “I don’t think you were mistaken. I think he was there and we’ve been sent back here to die.”
“Oh don’t get all dramatic.”
“Ash, would you just look over your shoulder and tell me I’m imagining things.”
Ash turned to look behind him and squeaked in surprise. “Holy smokes. That’s… that’s…”
Bastian grabbed Ash’s arm. “A fucking dinosaur. Somehow I don’t remember them being around in Ancient Greece.”
“I think we need to run.” Bastian agreed wholeheartedly and they raced across the plains, hoping they weren’t running right into another.
They eventually took shelter in a cave, one that seemed to stretch deep under the ground and was part of a large network. They stumbled around in the dark until they came to a large cavern with an underground waterfall and stream that disappeared into one of the other caves. An opening in the roof let in some sunlight and they sat down to take stock of the situation.
“Do you think anyone is going to bring us back home?” Bastian asked.
Ash shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry I dragged you into this. I shouldn’t have suggested you come with me.”
Bastian smacked Ash hard in the chest. “Don’t go there! Do you think I’d want to be back there on my own?”
“It’s got to be better than where we are right now. We’ve got barely enough food to last us a week and we’re in a time so far in the past humans don’t even exist. And in case you missed them, there are fucking great dinosaurs out there. I thought this witness protection programme would keep you safe and instead I’ve put you in more danger than ever.”
“And how long do you think I’d have survived back home without you taking care of me?” Bastian whispered. “You’ve looked after me for as long as I can remember.”
“But you’d have been safe.”
Bastian wrapped his arms around Ash and squeezed him tight. “I feel safe now.”
“There are dinosaurs out there! How can you possibly feel safe?”
“Because I’m with you, of course.”
Ash sighed and hugged Bastian back. “This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I said we should think about buying our own place.”
Bastian looked around him. “Well, it’s got running water, most of a roof, and while the neighbours aren’t exactly friendly, I think if we keep out of their way they won’t bother us too much.”
Ash laughed. “What about food?”
“Not a bloody clue. Did you recognise any of the plants we passed?”
“Then I suggest we go spy on the neighbours and if they’re eating it we’ll give it a try.”
“I’ve seen cows eating grass, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t good for us to try it.”
“We’ll manage. It could be a lot worse.” Ash gave him a dubious look. “We could have been separated during the trip. If I’m going to be stuck here, millions of years in the past, with no future except as the next meal of a dinosaur, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be here with than you.”
“Are you going to start taking care of me now?” Ash teased.
“Damn right. We’ll take care of each other. We might be trapped in the past, but we’ve still got a future together, and I don’t intend to waste it.”
Also Flashing this week