By H M Garber
Rain pelted the surface as she dropped into the churning water. Her heart stuttered remembering the Nazi gunfire killing the survivors from her wounded hospital ship. This had to work.
Carol focused on her present task. Solo night dives were dangerous enough without her memories intruding. Farther down the sea calmed. She checked her oxygen and depth gages. The diving light illuminated the Hilma Hooker shipwreck. Vibrant orange, violet, azure, gold coral and other sea plants on the propeller dazzled in her diving light. She recognized the stern and swam to portside then across the barnacle covered deck until she located an entryway to the hold.
Carol brought an extra oxygen tank and diving mask for Dr. Harold Winston. Wanting to track shifts from this minor change, her Apple Watch displayed Barack Obama as the current president of the US.
Once inside the hold she activated the antique device, programmed to the minute when the HMHS Llandovery Castle was halfway submerged. Water swirled clockwise to form a twisty portal. She swam through, removed her breather, and tasted briny air of the doomed ship.
Carol’s flippers were unwieldy. She searched for and found Harold in the main ward, bundling up patients to load onto lifeboats. She wanted to cry with joy and grief. Her husband was finally in front of her then remembered how many were lost. Maybe they could go back and save more once they arrived in the future.
She gestured for him to follow her, but he didn’t listen. She grabbed his arm.
“I have to help these people, Squid.” He shook her off.
“You have to help yourself first. Then you can help everyone else.”
“Nurse Carol? Why are you in that getup?” He stopped resisting.
“The Germans murdered all the survivors except twenty four. You died with the ship.” She tugged him down the corridor.
“How can you know that? Why are you talking like it already happened?”
“I found a way to the future. Once there we can return to save the others.” She handed him the oxygen tank and mask.
“Do you trust me, Dear?”
“Yes.” He put on the gear and followed.
The way back took longer and the portal water swirled counter-clockwise. Carol noticed, but kept going. Her husband was alive and with her.
They returned to a shipwreck, but this one languished in cooler water. The coral were different colors and no storm raged on the surface. The changes were small and Carol wondered. Did time altar when she came through the portal five years ago?
They swam to the surface and Carol checked her Apple watch. Hillary Clinton was president while Barack Obama was her vice president. This was a major change that would have far reaching consequences.
Her heart sank. They couldn’t risk damaging the timeline any further. There wouldn’t be another rescue mission.