Outlander Ch. 01bysirreadsalot10©
Author's note: This is a fantasy tale about a heartbroken man who must learn to love again despite being pulled into a magical world and being the central figure in a titanic struggle between freedom and tyranny. I hope you enjoy it. I would like to thank the members of the guild for all your support and advice. I also want to give a special thanks to my editor JillieB
Twenty minutes ago, Jack Forester had been the happiest man in the world. To most people twenty minutes is the time until some event or thing. It would be twenty minutes until their favorite TV show aired, or twenty minutes until dinner was ready. For children, it was usually twenty minutes until bedtime, or twenty minutes until it was time to leave for school. For Jack Forester, twenty minutes was all that was needed to reduce his entire life to ashes.
He staggered mindlessly through the streets of Boston, heedless of direction or destination. The pain inside him was so palpable that it took every last bit of his strength of will to contain it, leaving little room for trivial thoughts like where he was going.
Despite his determined effort, the agony would occasionally burst free and a groan of anguish would escape him before he would somehow manage to quell the outburst and fight off the urge to collapse in a sobbing heap.
Passersby looked at him with concern, but he shambled on, oblivious to their stares. At any other time, he would have been mortified to be showing this kind of emotion in front of strangers, but in this moment of misery, he was beyond caring.
Occasionally coherent thoughts would surface in his mind. Why? What did I do wrong? How could she do this? The answers were elusive, and his mind replayed the events of his life in the years since he met his wife, desperately seeking an explanation.
By the time Jack was a junior in high school, he stood just under six feet tall, and was of medium build. He wasn't a pretty boy, but wasn't ugly either. His hair and eyes were brown, and he had the muscles of youth, but not the kind of muscles that girls went crazy over.
In fact, Jack was an average teenager in almost all respects save one. He never quit. He played all the sports his school offered and wasn't exceptionally talented at any of them, but what he lacked in talent he made up for in determination. He never gave up, he worked hard, and he earned his place on the athletic teams through force of will.
His mom called him stubborn, but would laugh and say he was just like his dad. Jack always felt proud when she said that. His father had worked as a bricklayer his whole life to support them, and had passed that work ethic on to his son.
Jack knew he was nothing special and was astonished when Barbara Edwards, a cheerleader and one of the most beautiful girls in school, let it be known that she wanted to date him. She didn't tell him outright, but instead told her friends, who told his friends, who told him.
Fearing that it might be a joke, but praying that it was true, he gathered his courage and asked her out on a date. For the rest of high school they were inseparable. He was smitten by her from the start, and it wasn't long before he was hopelessly in love with his blonde haired cheerleader.
As seniors, shortly after she turned eighteen (he had turned eighteen the month before) they took each other's virginity. Afterward, she whispered that she loved him and his heart soared. He couldn't believe that this wonderful, beautiful girl was his and his alone. He loved Barbara with the same tenacity that had earned him the nickname Iron Head on his football team, and they began planning a life together.
His grades were good enough for college but his parents didn't have the money, so he and Barbara came up with a different plan. They got married right after high school and Jack went to work building industrial equipment while Barbara went to college. It was hard to make ends meet and Jack even had to work a second job a few times when things got especially hard.
They lived in a one bedroom apartment while Jack worked to put Barbara, first through college, and then through law school. After Barbara passed the bar and got a job at a good law firm, she wanted Jack to quit his job and relax, but Jack wouldn't hear of it. What kind of a man didn't work?
At his job, Jack earned the same reputation he had in high school. He never missed work, and he could be counted on no matter what. He was promoted and became a supervisor. Unwilling to let others do all the work he labored right along side his men, earning their respect.
By the time Jack was thirty-six his knees were wearing out. All the heavy lifting and kneeling on the concrete floor of the shop where the industrial equipment was built had damaged the cartilage. His company, rewarding him for years of excellence, transitioned him into an office where he oversaw shipping and receiving, and would be able to work without further damaging his knees.
Not being able to work as hard as he used to, combined with sitting in front of a computer all day, caused Jack to put on a few extra pounds. He wasn't fat, but was about twenty pounds overweight as he approached his forties.
Through all of this, his love for Barbara never wavered, and he thought she felt the same way. They had seemed to grow even closer after they found out that Barbara was unable to have children.
Barbara had focused on her career and became a successful corporate lawyer. With Barbara's salary, they led a very comfortable life. While a successful woman would threaten many men, Jack felt nothing but pride for his beautiful wife's achievements. He had never loved or been with any woman but her and would have been happy to continue that way for the rest of his life.
Today was Barbara's thirty-ninth birthday, and Jack decided he would take a rare day off work. He'd kissed Barbara goodbye that morning as usual and left as though he were going to work, but had gone birthday shopping for her instead. He bought her some diamond earrings that she had seen in a catalogue and said were pretty. He picked up the birthday cake he had ordered for her, and bought some balloons and streamers. Lastly, he went by the grocery store and picked up a few items. He wanted to have dinner ready for her when she got home.
It was a little after noon when he unlocked their front door and slipped into the house. He headed for the kitchen with the groceries and then ran back out to his pickup truck for the cake. After putting the groceries away, he headed upstairs, earrings in hand, to look for some wrapping paper. He was sure Barbara had some in their bedroom closet. His knees protested as he climbed the stairs and he stopped to let them recover once he reached the top.
His head snapped in the direction of their bedroom when he heard Barbara giggle. What was she doing home? His first thought was she was going to ruin his surprise. He turned to head back down the stairs to hide the cake, but froze when he heard her giggle turn into a moan.
His brain tried to process what he'd just heard. Did she moan because she hurt herself? Was she masturbating? He slipped the earrings into his pocket and walked down the hallway toward their bedroom door. He told his legs to walk quickly but they refused to obey him. Instead, they moved reluctantly as if they had knowledge that he lacked and wanted to delay his acquisition of that knowledge as long as possible.
His open bedroom door loomed before him. The room slowly came into view as he moved in front of the door. For Jack, the entire universe came to a stop when his eyes lit upon his and Barbara's bed.
Barbara was on the bed and she wasn't alone. Jack, like all men, had wondered what his reaction would be if he ever caught his wife in bed with another man. And, like most men, he had told himself that he would kick the shit out of the bastard. Now faced with the reality, he could do nothing.
He couldn't breathe, he couldn't think; all he could do was stare in horror. He wanted to curl up in the fetal position and cry, but like a person who can't help but look at a gruesome car accident, he couldn't tear his eyes away from the scene before him.
Barbara was straddling the man with her back to Jack. Her long blonde hair hung down her back and swung from side to side as she rotated her hips, grinding her pussy on the man's cock.
Jack could clearly see the lips of her pussy grasping at the man's shaft as she swirled her hips. The man's hands grasped her waist and his toes clinched and released as she worked him. They both made little grunts of pleasure as she fucked him on her and Jack's bed.
A wave of dizziness and nausea threatened to overwhelm him and Jack had to put his hand on the doorframe to keep from falling. He almost fell back out of the doorway when Barbara suddenly swung around to face away from her lover, and used her hand to stuff her lover's cock back inside her.
She put her hands on the man's knees and rode him hard. Jack could see her face now, and his pain intensified at her expression. Her eyes were squeezed shut and her mouth was half-open in a silent moan. She was crinkling her nose the same way she had a thousand times before when he had made love to her.
Barbara would only have to open her eyes to see Jack standing there, but she was oblivious to his presence.
"Oh yeah, baby," the man moaned, and began thrusting his hips up to meet her. "Fuck yeah, I'm gonna come!"
Jack's horror reached new heights when Barbara pulled off her lover's cock and slid back up his body until she positioned her pussy over his face. She grabbed his cock in one hand and pumped it quickly while stroking his balls with her finely manicured red fingernails. She licked and sucked on the enflamed purple head of the man's cock.
Her lover bellowed as he came. Barbara continued to suck and lick as his jets of cum splashed off her lips and tongue. In the throes of his orgasm, the man thrust upward pushing Barbara's head up. Her eyes locked with Jack's.
Her expression changed from one of passion to shock and fear. Her eyes remained glued to Jack as the last of her unknowing lover's cum pulsed out of his cock and onto her hand, which still grasped his shaft.
"Happy birthday, baby," the man said relaxing after his orgasm.
"Oh god, Jack," Barbara said.
"Hey! Quit accidentally calling me Jack," the man said with a laugh.
Barbara scrambled off the bed, and the man sat up with a surprised look on his face.
"What's wrong ba..." he trailed off seeing Jack in the doorway.
Jack knew the man. He was Roger Chapman, a junior partner at the law firm where Barbara worked. Jack had met Roger many times at Barbara's company functions, and had thought he was a nice guy. He was tall and seemed to have a way with women, but Jack had trusted Barbara completely. He felt like a fool.
Finally, Jack's mind seemed to wake up and the only thing he could think of was getting out of there. He needed to escape the horror and the pain that threatened to destroy his sanity. He turned and hobbled toward the stairs as fast as he could. He almost fell on his way down and had to grab the banister to keep his balance. He grunted as pain shot through his tortured knees.
Barbara caught up with him as he reached the front door.
"Jack, wait," she begged and grabbed him by the shoulder. She pulled him around to face her.
She had managed to slip on the green and gold silk robe that he had bought her last Christmas, Jack noticed. It hung open slightly in the front, revealing the inner slopes of her breasts. The sight of her soft flesh would have normally thrilled his senses, but now seemed lewd and repulsive.
"Let me go," he said. He meant it to sound angry, but even to his own ears he sounded like what he was, heartbroken.
"Jack, listen," she begged. "It was just a fling. It didn't mean anything to me. Please Jack." Her eyes were brimming with tears.
Seeing her tears tore at him, and for a moment he felt an urge to forgive her, to find a way to work things out. He was about to breakdown and take her into his arms when he noticed something next to her mouth. There was still a drop of Roger's cum on her face.
Anger surged in him for the first time. How many times had he kissed those lips that were now decorated with another man's cum? How many times had he caressed and lovingly worshipped her pussy with his mouth? The same pussy that had been filled by another man's dick just a few minutes ago.
"It was just a fling? It meant nothing to you? You betrayed me for something that meant nothing to you?" He hurled the questions at her.
"I," she paused as though grasping for words.
"Fuck you," he yelled. She had never heard him yell like that and flinched back releasing his arm.
He spun, flung open the door, and hurried outside. His anger lasted until he got to his truck. He had left the keys inside the house, and there was no way he was going back in there. He needed to get away before she changed in to more suitable clothes and came after him, so he started walking down the street on foot.
That was twenty minutes ago; the Twenty minutes that had forever changed everything for Jack Forester.
After he had been wandering around in a daze for a while, Jack's knees began to ache in earnest. He found a bus stop bench and sat down to rest. He didn't even notice the city transit bus pull up.
The driver opened the door and called to him, but Jack only stared ahead unseeing. The bus driver shook his head. 'Another fucking crazy person,' he thought as he closed the door and pulled back into traffic.
Jack sat there until the pain in his knees subsided a little, then rose slowly and limped down the street. He lost track of how long he wandered, and how many times he had to find a place to rest.
As evening set in and the sky began to darken in a tapestry of oranges and purples, Jack shambled past a liquor store. Though he wasn't a drinking man, drowning his pain in a sea of liquor sounded like a damn good idea. He hobbled back and entered the store.
Jack emerged a few minutes later with a bottle of vodka concealed in a paper bag. He waited until he got around the corner before opening the bottle and taking a long pull. He coughed as the fiery liquid burned its way down his throat.
He took another drink, and then glanced around. He saw an entrance to the commuter train that serviced Boston. Riding around the city instead of walking seemed like a good idea so he paid the fare and boarded the train.
He took a seat and stared blindly as the train pulled away from the platform. He took a drink of the vodka then noticed an elderly woman looking at him disapprovingly. Jack ignored her but decided to wait until he got off the train to drink the rest. He wasn't sure if alcohol was allowed on the train, and didn't want to be kicked off.
Jack rode the train until night had fallen completely, and finally disembarked when the train made one of its scheduled stops. The smell of the sea was strong in the air as he emerged onto the street. He looked around and realized he was near the harbor.
He began to drink in earnest as he made his way in front of the brightly-lit hotels that lined the street adjacent to the harbor. Jack drank the vodka with the same determination that he approached most things, and it wasn't long before he was drunk.
He watched the people emerge from the fancy restaurants and hotels as he staggered drunkenly down the street. He thought it morosely funny that they all smiled and laughed while dressed in their fine clothes, and seemed to ignore the stench of salt, dead fish, and wet garbage that permeated the harbor air.
Suddenly he hated them. How dare they go about their perfect lives when his very reason for existing had been taken from him? He had to get away from their sickening, smiling faces. He turned abruptly and headed down a side street.
The side street led him behind the glamorous street side façade of the hotels and restaurants. It took him to the alleyways where the hotel garbage and the uneaten food from the restaurants were piled in dumpsters and smaller tin trashcans. 'Yes, this is where I belong,' he thought.
Suddenly, a life without Barbara flashed in front of him. What would he do? His whole world and identity revolved around being with her. He realized that the alcohol wasn't deadening his pain; instead, it was eroding his will. His last barrier against the hurt crumbled.
Finally unable to stem the tide of anguish, he sat down against a brick wall that hid the alley from the eyes of the patrons who visited the hotels. Even drunk he still had the presence of mind to hastily glance around the dark alley before he completely lost it. He was thankful no one was around as he broke down, buried his face in his hands, and wept. He didn't know how long he sat there. Time didn't seem to exist in his new reality.
"Hey buddy, you alright?" some one slurred at him drunkenly.
Jack glanced up and saw a homeless man with a scraggly grey beard and a baseball hat that said I heart boobies on it. "I'm fine," he said. "Please, just leave me alone."
The man didn't take the hint and put a hand on Jack's shoulder. "You need any help?" he asked.
Jack set what was left of the bottle of vodka on the ground. "I said I'm fine," he replied and tried to get up. His right knee buckled as he surged to his feet.
The homeless man quickly jumped back as Jack staggered into some tin trashcans and crashed back to the ground, the cans spilling their contents all over him. He lay there in the garbage and didn't even try to get up.
"Yeah, you look fine, buddy," the homeless man said as he picked up Jack's vodka bottle and hurried away down the alley.
Jack lay there in the refuse and stared up at the night sky. He had loved Barbara so deeply and completely that her betrayal had wounded him in the very fabric of his soul. The wound changed him and something deep in his soul died.
His pain evaporated, leaving emptiness behind. He felt dead, or at least as dead as you can be while your heart still habitually beat and your lungs still mechanically inhaled and exhaled.
He climbed to his feet and looked around. He noticed a door in the brick wall that he hadn't seen before. It was made of wooden planks like the door to some ancient torture chamber. He could have sworn that the door wasn't there a second ago. He noted dispassionately that he was drunk and probably just hadn't noticed it.
He was about to turn away when he caught the faint sound of strange music coming from the door. He listened but it was gone. He stared at the door. The music was different from what you normally hear these days. It sounded simple and melodic, like something played in a movie set in a time long past.
How could music be coming from a wooden door in a one-foot thick brick wall? He felt an urge to open it. The door was calling to him on some primal level that he didn't understand. He didn't really care one way or the other. Going through the door was as good an option as any. He shrugged, grabbed the handle, and turned it to open the door.
He expected to step through the wall and into the parking lot of the hotel; instead he squinted as unexpected light assaulted his eyes. The light wasn't bright but having come from the darkness of the alley his eyes needed a second to adjust to the flickering dim light.
He was in a room of some kind and the music that he had thought he heard filled the air with its unfamiliar chords. He blinked his eyes in astonishment and looked around. The room was lit by several lanterns mounted in sconces on the wooden walls. There were old, stained, wooden tables spread around the floor. A young woman dressed in a gray, low cut wool dress moved briskly among the seated patrons bearing a tray and distributing drinks in what appeared to be clay cups.