in time


In time
Inspiration: Time travel
Myth: Maleficent
Concept: Sacrifice, loving someone whom you once hated


Janice is just an ordinary woman. She has no desire for adventure, action, or even the mood to finish her police report as she rode on her lonely bus ride home. As she looked outside the bus, the hidden stresses of living in a first world country slowly begun to unravel.

Life, work and family. That was all she knew. As a police officer, she did not have time for an exciting life, and rejected all invitations to parties. What is wrong with her? Is something missing in her life? Even she did not know.

Ding-dong, the bus bell chimed as it eased slowly into another stop. Janice glanced absent-mindedly to the closing door in time to catch a dashing young man alighting the man. As he did so, he throw a casual smile at her.

Her heart fluttered. But it was not because the guy just smiled at her. It was because of the mysterious guy who stalked the young man off the bus. As he did so, he too glanced in Janice’s direction. The look in his eyes made her skin crawl. It resembled an abyss, so deep and dark that it swallowed her eyes like a void. She quickly looked away, as if frightened that the intensity of his glare might burn her.

Within a flash, the dual disappeared. Janice’s thought ran wild. What was it that she just witnessed? Her intuition told her that something ominous was around the horizon, but she could very well be wrong.

Or so she thought.

The next day, she froze upon seeing the headlines of the newspaper. The title screamed “10th missing teen this month” Below the caption was a full-face shot of the young man she met last night. Even though he was a total stranger, the fact that she was one of the last few person to have seen him alive meant something right? She fired up her team from within the police command for this case, but their search yielded nothing. Clearly, this form of crime is very-well thought out, and had underwent meticulous planning. Whoever did this, was no amateur.

“The guy is a killer and kidnapper.” Janice fumed “And I had witness it all happen. I’m a civil servant, I have taken a pledge and made it my life’s dedication to save lives. I will not let this pass so easily”

She flashbacked to the incident which had occurred decades ago. She remembered the moment when her own father had been taken from her. The killer was never convicted and she was raised by a single parent for her own life. She would have given anything to have her father back, but what was done was done, and all she had of him is a photograph which she kept in the inner pocket of her wallet. This was what had driven her to join the police force.

“I can either seat back and pretend I have seen nothing, or help another family recover their lost ones”, thought Janice. She decided to go after the mysterious kidnapper, despite the dangers she know she will face.

However, trouble found her first.

A few weeks later, she found him in near a hospital in the pharmacy department.

“What is he doing here?” Janice was intrigued by his appearance, and warily followed the guy deeper into the room. She thought of alerting the security, but doing so might lose the trail which she had coincidentally stumbled upon. It all or nothing at this point. Janice took a deep breathe, and followed the man into the room.

A warm glow appeared around the corner of the cabinet. The man was fiddling with something which she could not see. It looked like a combination code.

“It’s now or never” Thought Janice. She looked around nervously for a weapon; anything to apprehend the man. The sterilised knives on the operation table looked promising. She inched closer, all the time keeping a wary eye on him. When she was in striking distance, she leapt upon the knife. The man turned around at the sound of a crashing tray and saw a deranged Janice staring back at him.

“This ends now,” Janice said, brandishing the knife to the man. “Whatever it is that you are doing, I suggest you stop it now or this knife goes in where it hurts most.”

To her surprise, the man appearance neither disturbed nor even surprised at her presence. If anything, his look is one of mocking indifference. Suddenly the knife which Janice was holding seemed to be made of paper; the cold steel in her hand begun to falter as she realised that she recognised the voice. Wait, it sounded familiar. Despite the decades which separate the time when she had last heard the voice, she remembered it as it were yesterday.

Before her father’s eventful death, as she clutched him in her arms, she looked up and saw the assailant disappearing through the windows. As she did so, the assailant’s spoke “One day, you will realise why we did this.” And with that, he soared out of the window.

She will never forget that voice, but never of all places did she expect to hear it here.

“You do not understand the importance of what I am doing here,” The man speak with measured confidence, without a hint or trace of emotion, like a cold-blooded killer. “One day, you will, but if you stop me now, you are only accelerating your own peril.”

And with that, he punched down on the combination lock and a blinding white light appeared, opening what appeared to be a portal leading to the unknown. Within the blink of an eye, the man was swallowed by the light. Janice, though terror-struck, was pulled forward by the gravitational force of the portal and was dragged into an abyss, subjected to the blinding light which seemed to be increasing in intensity with each passing moment.

She was thrown out of the tunnel of light, and landed roughly on her feet. She felt disoriented and unfocused, but the sight before her eyes swept all her motion sickness from time travel away and forced her to be focused on the present.

The room was dim and gloomy, but the silhouettes of the people bounded in ropes was visible even through the darkness. Before she had the time to respond, she caught a whispered conversation between two parties outside the room.

“…Once you have moved the subjects to the facility, get rid of the woman. James. The tests must commence at once, lest humanity be eaten up by the plague forever.” The voice of a woman pierced the frozen air in the atmosphere and flew like daggers in her direction.

Janice, more awaken now, felt a surge of adrenaline rushing through her veins. This is where she will die, but having learned now that the man carrying out this deed was the killer of her own father, leaving her to be raised by a single parent, the rage was unbearable.

Driven by anger, she grabbed the nearest weapon and charged out from her hiding spot. The dual in the distance was caught completely off guard, while the woman ran for cover, the man tried to parry her blows, and retaliated with his weapon-free hand.

“You murderer!” Janice screamed at the top of her lungs, “You murderer!”

Janice was choking…. Is this how she is going to die? Suddenly, a pair of strong arms came from behind the assailant and wrapped them around the man’s neck. One of the victims bound in ropes had managed to free himself and had come to her aid.

The assailant, despite being oppressed by a man, was slowly raising his hand to aim his weapon at her. Janice dove upon him and snatched the weapon from him. With hatred, she shot the man and turn and ran to the escaping woman.

A light glimmer shone through the room ahead. Janice raced down the staircase behind the escaping woman. “No! She is not getting away again!” Her mind was 10 steps ahead of her body, and she opened the door in time to see the white light swallow her quarry. Without a second thought, she dived into the portal.

The world shimmered into appearance once more. Except that now it appeared darker and gloomier. The woman was already out of sight. Janice glanced around. It is once again back to the present. She ran to the nearest IT desk and discovered that it was precisely a month before that fateful day when she had witnessed the kidnap.

Total is running short, but for now it is still on her side. One question ran through her mind. If she had killed a person, a living person back before all the kidnapping had started, why they still occur? True, the woman, who appears to be the mastermind, is still at large. But surely by eliminating her accomplice would delay her acts of atrocity? Janice has no idea. But she decides to position herself at the site of the first attack anyway.

To her horror, she discovered that the man named James was still alive, and seemed to have no recollection of her. He went through his plan as reported in the police report, and Janice apprehended him easily. However, something was wrong. This is not the cold blooded murderer whom she had seen that night who had murdered his father. He seemed truthful, polite and innocent. And was whole-hearted cooperative throughout the procedure, and believed firmly that he has done nothing wrong.

Janice was at a loss. Just what happened during the time-line? Was this even right anymore? James revealed that he was paid by a mysterious woman to work for her, which does involve doing strange things like going back into the past to save her younger self from peril. He bought her story, thinking that she was a good person running for a good cause, and that there were many people trying to kill her because of what she was doing, because what she was doing was right. He thought that he was doing the right thing, without harming anyone on the way. He was simply saving a woman in danger.

Stumped, Janice felt the over-whelming pressure of a criminal on the loss crashing over her. Apparently the woman had out-smarted her and used had used James as a decoy. Now she was left with no evidence, or any clues that may reveal the whereabouts of the mysterious woman. In addition, the appearance of James without recollection that was linked to any crime is even more devastating.

Perplexed, James asked her what was the significance of him being held captive.

Janice suddenly looked up at him with a glimmer of hope; if he has yet to commit any crime that means her father…

Before she can finish the thought, the door crashed open with a resounding bang. Another officer rushed into the room, and without checking to see who was in the room, blurted out the latest update from a situation which had reached crisis level.

“ma’am! Latest update from the headquarters, we have successfully located the woman who you were looking for, and ran a background check on her. She goes by the name of Doctor Catherine Lee, a biological engineering specialist. She has been working on a drug which she claimed to be able to cure an epidermia that will claim the lives of many people, but no one believed her. So she disappeared off the grid. We know she has invented a device which enable her to travel through time with ease. Here is a photo of her.” He produced a photograph of the mysterious woman whom Janice had recognised as the mastermind.

Before any of the three could say anything else, Janice leapt up from her seat and grabbed her coat.

“Tell me where she is, now!” She demanded.

“wait wait, hold on a second, would someone tell me why is this woman so important? And why am I related to any of this? How does time travel come into all of this?” James protested.
“Because in a month’s time, she will train you to become a cold-blooded killer. She will transport you back in time to kidnap people, acts of cruelty you cannot imagine; you will be the one who will kill my father.” Janice’s voice was laced with venom. Regardless of how innocent he sounds now, she could not erase the memory of him killing his father.

James’s response was one of muted silence. “But,” he stammered, “That was all part of future which hasn’t even happened yet.”

Janice empathised the boy. He is not the cold-blooded killer he is in another time-line. Janice sensed goodness and a sense of justice emanating from him. What happened to him in the other time-line? Janice did not have time to ponder over this. Without a backward glance, she took the note containing the whereabouts of Doctor Catherine, and dashed out of the room.
Upon reaching the scene, Janice quickly recognised that this was where she had been where she had first been during her first time-travel journey. How fitting, to end all of this where it first started, she thought. Without hesitation, she crashed into the building, and on the second landing found who she had been looking. Strangely, the doctor seemed to be expecting her.
“Here you are. You know, officer Janice, you are fighting the wrong side all along?” The doctor looked younger in the dimmer lighting, but Janice knew better than to be deceived by her words of reassurance.

“Tell me about it,” Janice upholstered her weapon and aimed it at her heart.

“Well, for a start, can’t you see I am doing this for the betterment of all humanity? If you must know, officer, a virus is spreading that will soon claim the lives of many. If we do not find a cure now, then all will be too late”

“And how do you propose that we go about finding this cure? By kidnapping people and using them for experiments? We do not sacrifice a few just so that we can save the majority, I thought you of all people should know that, doctor.”

“Only if the situation allows us to, officer, now time is running short, and I’m afraid I have something more important here to accomplish than you.”

Without warning, the doctor took out a pistol and shot her once. Stunned, Janice fell to the ground, her gun held limply in her immobile hand. She had not expected the doctor to act first. The pain was searing through her wound, and she had to bite down hard on her hand to prevent herself from screaming out loud.

“The end is near, officer, I will be sure to tell the future generation of your sacrifice in the journey to find this cure” The doctor raised the pistol for the finishing shot. Janice closed her eyes. No… not like this.

A loud crashing sound brought her to her senses again, and she opened her eyes to see a sea of struggling limbs before her on the ground. James had disregarded his personal safety and threw himself at the armed doctor just as when she was about to take the finishing shot.

“noooooo!” He roared, trying to disarm the doctor, but she was ready for this type of situation. With shocking precision, she took aim at his foot, and shot him through his feet.

James hollered in pain and collapsed back in a heap.

The doctor stood up, brushed off the dirt from her shirt and pointed her gun back at Janice

“How dramatic, but I’m afraid his heroic efforts will accomplish nothing. It’s ironic, really, seeing how I was about to send him off to kill your father, and there he is trying to save you.”

A look of pure horror crept onto James’s face. Blood was draining from his face faster than his wound. He looked more solemn now, and in between pain tried to stand up and move towards Janice. Janice’s heart reached out for him. Please, he is still young, don’t destroy his future, she begged with all her heart.

“Why can’t any of you understand? I am doing this for our future, not just us here. Everything we were doing James, only to be thwarted by this officer here.” Her words struck home. Janice no longer felt the fight seeping out of her. She had failed the very people whom she promised to protect. Her father, if he is alive on this time-line, would be better off without her. She had exchanged her life for his. Hasn’t she said, a long time ago, that she would give anything to have him back? Even with her life, she will do it. Gently, she began closing her eyes, and wait for in the inevitable.

Bang! A loud gunshot rang throughout the room, Janice braced herself for the impact of the bullet, but there was none. Slowly, she opened her eyes to see her own pistol in James’ hand, which he had pointed at himself. Blood was oozing out from an even larger wound in his chest. Apparently, James was not pushing himself forward to hold her hands in her moment of demise. He was trying to reach out for the gun.

“Janice,” He said through his mouthful of blood, “I had to do this, it’s the only way to save both you and your father. If….if I were to live, surely she would send me to kill your father, and the cycle will repeat itself. I have never imagined myself as a murderer, but I do not know what the future holds. I hope… if my death, I have redeemed myself.
“It’s such a pity” James, choking on his blood now, forced a smile onto his face, “Such a pity that I cannot get to know you better. You seemed like a nice person, the only one who do not make use of me. Go and save the world Janice, forget me.”

And with that, he fell silent. Janice watched she felt his heartbeat weaken, and finally stopped.

Janice cried, she cried out in agony and sorrow for a stranger whom she did not yet understand, but had sacrificed himself so that she can survive the ordeal. She cried, for a good man whom she could not save. She cried, for she had failed the good people of this world whom she had sworn to protect. She cried so hard, she did not notice the doctor Catherine had faded away into nothingness. Through the effect of time-travel which Janice had not foreseen, James, by killing himself, prevent Doctor Catherine from sending him back into the past to save her and carrying out her crimes. He has sacrificed himself, for the betterment of mankind.

A few weeks later, as Janice was seating on the bus ride home again. Her mind was once again filled with thoughts about her life. The past few weeks had passed in a flash. Press conferences about how the hero saved the day, about stories whose true details which only she knew about. And above all, about a hero whom the world would never know.

Janice let out a heavy sign. James didn’t have to sacrifice his life, she would gladly give hers to ensure that he had lived, but he did it to save her and her father from a future which he knew would spell disaster for them. From doing evil to sacrificing himself to save humanity, Janice would never have seen it coming.

Ding-dong, the bell rang again, and Janice looked up to see the dashing young man whom she had saw a few months back, or was it the present? Janice did not know. But he was there again, with the same dazzling smile. Janice returned it, but the person who followed him to alight the bus was one she would never have imagined. Her father, dressed in a suit, was right behind him.
Janice’s hand leapt to her mouth as tears streamed from her eyes. Never again would she have thought that she would see him alive and well again. Ignoring the stares from onlookers, she ran forward to embrace him.

Her father looked perplexed, but Janice only held onto him more tightly.

“Thank you James,” She whimpered between tears,” for everything.”

3 act structure.

1) Act one: Hero’s call to adventure: Janice was being called into action through the nature of the crime. She was just doing her job.
2) Act two: The hero’s encounter with a problem which she appeared to be overwhelmed: She met a mastermind who had outsmarted her.
3) Act three: The hero’s resolution: She went after the mastermind, determined now to succeed.

Second round of problems: Janice failed to succeed at capturing the mastermind. Her own life is now in danger.
Final problem resolved: James came to Janice’s rescue, and killed himself in the process to save her and her father.

Relevance to maleficent:

Maleficent started out as an evil charactor doing evil things because she was once betrayed. Slowly, Aurora opened her eyes to the kindness and love which she was too blinded to see. Eventually, she became good and saved aurora from her fate.

James started off as an evil charactor, who kidnapped many innocent people and helped doctor Catherine in her evil acts. Janice has opened his eyes to the bad things he was doing, and he eventually saved Janice’s life.