“What do you mean, it’s going to be harder to reverse the timeline?” Earl asked.
“The Hospital Hitmen chronology was undone when we changed Josephine’s timeline,” Sam said. “That’s what all the streamers and balloons are for.”
Dread filled Earl. everyone knew about the Hospital Hitmen. Over the course of 10 years through the strategic planting of bombs in hospitals around they country. They would go silent for a couple years then take out entire floors at 5-6 different hospitals. People were terrified to go there so even more died because they had no where to go for help. Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff stages walk-outs. An entire department had been dedicated to reversing the acts of the Hospital Hitman and after 30 years they were no closer to finding the key to undoing.
He walked over to the computer station where Sam sat. Sam turned the monitor to face him.
“Hey, how did you access this?” Earl asked, looking over at Sam in confusion.
Sam gave him a guilty look. “I swiped my dad’s password. Now look.” He pointed at the monitor. “When the twins ran into Frank and Josephine the second time, they were actually on their way to find their older brother, Phillip. Before we reversed the timeline—”
“Alright, before I reversed the timeline, they avoided Frank the second time because he had yelled at them on their way up the mountain. But in the new timeline, he was friendly, so they got sidetracked and offered to show him the bat they’d found. They lost interest in the bat after it bit Frank and they forgot to get their brother. Phillip was never bitten, so he didn’t contract rabies, and went on to live his own life.”
“So what?” Earl said. “What does that have to do with the Hospital Hitmen?”
“The twins were the Hospital Hitmen. In the first timeline, when Philip died, their parents blamed them for his death and they in turn blamed the hospital. Philip was valedictorian and had a scholarship to attend University in the fall. The parents pinned all their hopes and dreams on him and when he died, their dreams died with him. The twins didn’t have the same academic prowess, and under the constant condemnation and abuse at home, they didn’t amount to much.”
“But the Hitman didn’t strike until the late 80’s, early 90’s. This happened in the 60’s.”
“Right,” Sam said, clicked through different windows on the computer.
“Wait a second. How do you know how to do all this? You could barely navigate the computer in training and now suddenly you’re a savant.”
Sam shrugged his shoulders. “I’ve been through training 12 times. I guess some of it stuck after all.”
“12 times! Why don’t you just quit?”
“Can’t. Apparently I signed up for this life by being born.” He grimaced. “Here, check this out. They didn’t strike until after their mother died. Apparently, the only thing she left her sons was a letter saying how much of a disappointment they were and again blaming them for the death of their older brother, the golden child. When we changed—” he stopped short when he saw Earl glaring at him. He held up his hand and rolled his eyes. “When I changed the timeline, Phillip didn’t die, their parents kept their eyes on him, and the twins were able to grow up out from under the umbrella of abuse and shame. There was no need for revenge, so no one bombed the hospitals.”
Earl stared at the screen trying to process everything. “Alright. So we need to be careful. But, I don’t care how we do it. Frank has to live at the end.”
“You don’t get it. If Frank doesn’t visit the bat, then the twins get Phillip and we’re back to the original timeline. The Hospital Hitmen killed hundreds of thousands of people. Not to mention all of the people who died because they were terrified to go to a hospital. Why would you risk undoing all of that for one person you don’t know?”
“I’m not saying it’s not sad, but none of this was Josephine’s fault. She shouldn’t have to be the one to pay the price. We have to fix her future.” He slammed his fist onto the desk.
“Why do you care so much? Look around this room, at all of the desks and research! Think of how much manpower has been spent on removing the havoc caused by the Hospital Hitmen. And now it has! And you want to undo it?” Sam glared at him. “Most people say I’m selfish, but even I wouldn’t do that.”
“She’s my daughter,” Earl whispered, helplessly.