Excerpted from Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

And then there are the most dangerous monsters: the ones disguised as human.

black tuesdayManhattan, New York, 1929. 29 October (where Ivar gets involved with Meyer Lansky, Joe Kennedy, Bugsy Siegel and just wants to come back)

Ivar was startled as a man darted out from an ally and ran into him. He felt wetness on his face and realized it was blood as the stranger collapsed to the ground. There was blood everywhere and Ivar’s instinct was to flee, but his special ops training upon “joining” the Nightstalkers allowed him at least to stand his ground for a moment.

“Are you him?” the man gasped.

Ivar knelt, trying to find the source of the blood, but it was everywhere and he hadn’t taken the emergency medical training as seriously as he should have. Then his hand sunk into the guy’s stomach, intestines like soft, warm snakes, and Ivar realized the man had been gutted. And there was a gurgling noise and Ivar knew the guy had been stabbed several times, including at least once in the lung as the sound indicated a sucking chest wound.

So some of the training had stuck.

The stranger held out a canvas bag. It was smeared with blood, but Ivar automatically took it. Might be a bomb, he heard Nada warning, but Nada wasn’t here. Wasn’t around in the then (or was it now?) either.

“What is it?” Ivar asked.

The man was looking over his shoulder. “Run. Run. They’re coming.”

“Who’s coming?”

“Them.”

“I’ll help you.”

The man winced in pain. “The mission is more important. Go!”

Ivar looked past the man and saw no one, but he had no doubt that whoever had wielded the blade would be following the blood trail.

Every instinct he had pressed Ivar to run away and leave the man as requested.

Ivar ripped off his overcoat and tied the arms tightly around the stranger’s chest and stomach, partially staunching the flow of blood.

“Come on.”

There was no protest. Ivar wrapped his arm around the man’s shoulder and headed off. Past the statue of George Washington, marking his inauguration at this very spot where slaves had been bought, sold, and rented. He turned into a dark alley, searching for a door or window.

It is 1929. The British High Court rules that Canadian women are persons. The 1st Academy Awards are given out and Wings wins Best Picture. The Graf Zeppelin flies around the world in 21 days. Stalin sends Trotsky into exile. All Quiet on the Western Front is published. Popeye appears for the first time in a comic. The Dow Jones peaks at 381.17, which it will not reach again until 1954. The first patent for color television is submitted. Rioting breaks out in Jerusalem between Arabs and Jews over access to the Western Wall.

Some things change; some don’t.

The world was indeed never, ever, going to be the same.

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