The slap was brutal, striking John from his reverie and bringing the cold light of day into sharp focus. The wood of the chair held him tighter than a schoolyard bully and he fought against the binds until the welts on his arms began to bleed.
“You are British?”
The voice came from behind a lamp, shining upon John’s face. John slumped against the wood. This wasn’t real. Just another prank. Nothing more.
The hand felt like a freight train screaming into the side of his jaw, his ears popping at the force and sending man and chair alike tumbling to the ground with a great crash. He spat out a globule of bright red blood, watching it seep into the dirt on the floor before a jackboot stepped into his vision and the world tilted upright once more.
“You are wearing a British uniform. Yet my men say you speak like an Amerikan.”
It wasn’t real. It wasn’t real. The thought rattled around in John’s brain. Like getting your ass kicked in high school, the secret was not to show weakness. Don’t let ‘em see you bleed, his father had said. Don’t let ‘em see you bleed.
“What is this?”
The simple black oblong of his phone appeared in John’s vision and for a moment his heart leapt into his throat and he strained forwards, tensing every sinew to get as close as possible to home. The last vestigial remnant of home.
But then the phone was snatched away.
“Press it.” John coughed, bloody phlegm pooling in his mouth, and repeated himself. “Press the button. The big one on the front.”
“Now my freunden, you would not be playing a trick no?”
The phone returned, it’s screen illuminated for a few brief seconds. Midnight. Tuesday, 6th June. John let his eyes linger on the notification beneath, until finally the obsidian block reclaimed it’s meagre light.
“Who is Gaz? What does ‘hang tight’ mean?” the voice asked.
“Knock knock,” a voice called from behind the heavy door.
John kicked his feet forwards with what little motion he had, the chair tilting backwards. He crashed to the ground the same moment the door flew off of it’s hinges, the crack of a rifle deafening in the enclosed room. The silence was deafening.
Hands began to pull at the bindings, before the schnick of a knife begat a feverish pace of cutting and sawing. John tore at his other wrist once the first was free, letting his rescuer cut at the bindings on his legs.
“I thought I’d lost you,” Anna said, offering a hand and pulling John to his feet. She was dressed like a commando, the bulky parka hiding her figure. Soldier first. “The jump co-ordinates should have put us further inland.”
“What’s happening Anna? Where are we? When are we?”
She wrapped her arms around him and for a moment John felt like embracing the hug, until her hands continued their motion, searching him for wounds. He pushed her away and she had enough decency to look away.
“You said you were another reenactor,” he said furiously. “You said you knew something more authentic. ‘The real thing,’ you said!”
“I’m true to my word.”
“Welcome to France John,” she said, scooping up a pistol and tossing it to him. “We’ve got six hours.”
“Until the greatest slaughter in human history, unless we do something about it.”
“What do you mean?”
She ejected the magazine of her rifle, checked the rounds and re-inserted it. All so fluidly John doubted even a marine could beat her. She stepped towards him and pointed the rifle at his head. He acted on instinct, snatching it away, years of special forces training reflexively taking over.
“The Germans have been fighting two wars. One on the beaches and one in time. I’ve tried to do this alone. Over and over. But I can’t. I need you to step up John. I need you to stop what comes after D Day.”
“What do you mean?” he asked, looking at the antique rifle in his hands.
“A lot of good men are going to die today. And tomorrow. And forever. Unless we finish the fight.”
Prompt originally posted by steinclown on reddit and received 2 upvotes.