Kim stared at the old man who claimed to be her six year old son, Tommy. His shrunken frame wore a tattered version of the clothes Tommy had put on this morning. A wave of fear and fury surged inside her. What appeared to be a common tortoise wriggled in his hands a small grin on its face. How had the collective found her? She’d been so careful this time. The colored shapes on the tortoise’s shell spelled out its code name. Agent Spencer. Jill felt its radioactive temporium shell begin to affect her, twisting the space-time continuum and accelerating the aging process. At her present rate of time decay she would be dead in minutes and so would Tommy.
She snatched the turtle from Tommy’s hand and raced for the kitchen, dragging him behind her. Life as an intergalactic fugitive was never easy, but this time Kim was prepared. She threw the turtle into the rice batter then plopped it into the pot, watching the hot oil bubble up the sides. Spencer flailed in a desperate effort to escape the tortuous death. Finally he succumbed, floating motionless and crisp in the oil, mouth opened in a silent cry.
Time spun backwards. Wrinkles faded from Tommy’s face. Silver hair darkened to brown. In moments he returned to his proper time form. Kim’s arthritis disappeared as well and the gray hair she had found this morning vanished.
A self-satisfied grin spread across her face as the family sat down for dinner that night. She’d defeated the collective again. Nothing beat tempura turtle soup. And the temporium would protect them all from future space-time tampering.