Burning Daylight

Santa Ana winds topping 60 miles per hour had dried out the Ortega Mountains. Whitecaps on Lake Elsinore beat the shoreline relentlessly, tossing watercraft around like toys and battering them against anything solid they might come in contact with. Scud clouds raced across blue sky, and played peekaboo with the sun.

High up on the ridgeline, right next to the road that twisted up out of the valley into the Ortega National Forest, the parking lot of the Mountain View Restaurant made a perfect landing zone. All I had to do was hit time and place accurately.

I almost missed. The inferno that history said would burn everything on this mountrain to a crisp was already well under way. My target lay unconscious at the side of the road, overcome by smoke. I sprinted to him and scooped him up in a fireman’s carry, then hit the redial button on my time watch. Daylight exploded in flame 200 years and three seconds ago.

Dead to his own world, the young math prodigy would make a fine addition to ours.

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