It’s not actually a farmhouse. That would require a farm. More accurately, it’s a homestead.
The house is nestled in the crook of what passes for a highway in these parts. According to the brief, there’s a vegetable garden, a gang of chickens, a solitary cow, and a well of the sweetest water in this zip code; there’s also indoor plumbing and wi-fi. These folks don’t need much from the outside world, but they’re not cashing in on this scrap of countryside.
You check the coordinates again. This isn’t your first rodeo, and you’re confident you’re right for the job. It’s just the rumor you heard about Harrison last week. Sometimes the psytech spits out the wrong address or wrong name, and then you’re up the Styx without a paddle.
Gravel crunches under your tires as you pull up to the garden gate. You leave the engine running as you get out.
A twiggy, mousy-haired teenager trots up to the fence. “Hey, mister, you lost?”
“You Reynold Cole?”
“Your parents Finnegan and Esmerelda?”
“Yeah? What’s it to you, mister?”
The property’s dense treeline mutes the sudden pop and thud.
You pocket the aneuryser and get in the car. If you hurry, you can be back in the office before Laurie’s birthday cake is gone.
It’s the first thing they teach you in the academy: When a heroic call to adventure disrupts the primary timeline, always kill the farmboy.
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