The Phantom Hands of Time

4/5 (3)

My heart hammered against my chest. The visceral sound of a chainsword arcing toward me drove into my bones, igniting my will to survive. My eyes squeezed shut, and I reached into my pocket, clutching a familiar device. I dared to hope I could escape my execution. The roar of the chainsword faded. A wave of vertigo washed over me, and I felt something odd, like an embrace. As soon as the dizziness stopped, the phantom hands of time released me.

 I loosened my grip on the device and opened one eye cautiously, then the other. Where the assassin should have stood was a large white marble pillar holding up a vaulted ceiling. Everything in this grandiose hall was gold-plated and so bright I had to squint. Glancing at the chrono attached to my wrist, my heart squeezed, and my body tensed in excited pleasure. 

It worked! 

It was my last chance to warn the Emperor of the Heresy. If I succeeded, I would return to my time, and the Imperium would be different, grander, and more beautiful. The Ordo Chronos would not be dissolved, and I would live. The Emperor would not be sitting, broken, on his golden throne but leading his army, and he would be thanking me! People would know my name in the future. I might even become an Imperial Saint!

Focus, I chastised myself. Those fools will regret trying to stop me. The dissolution of the Ordo because of some minor butterfly effect is ridiculous. I know what I’m doing! The others are too scared and intimidated to speak to the Emperor. I’m doing the right thing. I’ll save the Emperor of Mankind and the Imperium. 

‘…I will settle for nothing less than Unification. Send more soldiers, whatever it takes,’ a mighty voice boomed from behind enormous oak doors. I knew in my soul that it was the Emperor. My breath caught in my chest. He was alive, and I would save him and humanity from the terrible future!

My gaze turned from the doors to the sound of echoing footsteps down the hall. A hooded figure strode purposefully toward me. He did not reach for a weapon, but I felt the threat in his step. This man could kill me without breaking a sweat. So, I did not reach for my chainsword or my bolt pistol. Instead, I stood my ground. I might have been a newly minted member of the Inquisition, but I represented the Emperor in my time. Cowering before Him and His entourage was a ridiculous thought. I straightened my back and let the man come to me.

You will go no further,proclaimed the man who stopped three meters from me. I felt like I had seen his face before. On a historical dataslate? My eyes widened with recognition. I stood in the presence of Lord Malcador.

‘My name is Reynald Trepanier, Ordo Chronos. I have a message for the Emperor of Mankind. I come from the future. It is of the utmost importance that I speak with Him.’ My voice did not quiver, nor did it betray my excitement.

The man’s piercing eyes studied me, but his face showed no thoughts or emotions. Instead, he watched me in silence for a very long moment. Maybe, I should have lied, but I wonder if that was an option. I’m a dead man when the Ordo Chronos finds me, unless the Emperor lives and the Horus Heresy does not come to pass. 

The man before me cleared his throat, and creases formed on his brow.

‘M. Trepanier, I am the Emperor’s adviser. I understand you have come a long way to speak with Him, but I assure you, you have no information that may be useful to Him. I would advise you to leave.’

Panic rose in my throat, causing waves of nausea. I swallowed them back as I trembled. 

If the Emperor never received my message, I would return to the execution. It was only a matter of time before the Inquisition called me back. My life depended on this.

‘Lor-Lord Malcador, you are Malcador, right? Please, please hear me out. Terminate the Primarch project. The one named Horus will fatally injure the Emperor. The Heresy—the Heresy cannot come to pass! Please, Lord, I beg of you, you must tell Him.’

The face of the man before me seemed to twist into a devious smile. His dark eyes filled with excitement and cruelty. A burst of malicious laughter echoed through my mind as I fell to one knee. 

‘What is this? Lord Malcador! You’re the Emperor’s most trusted adviser! What are you doing? You must save the Imperium!’

‘That is where you are wrong, young man. Firstly, I am not Malcador. I came here with you. You called me to your side when you used the device to travel through time. Your fear, hope and desperation summoned me from the Warp,’ he grinned. ‘Because of you, I will plant the seed of an idea in Malcador’s mind and have him advise the Emperor to create the Primarchs. You see, the idea may not have come to him if you hadn’t brought me here. Then, I shall watch and wait until the right time, and I will strike!’ The thing’s grin grew, making his face seem inhuman. ‘You have failed, and now, you must die. Safe return to your timeline.’

‘N-n-n-noooooo!’

I raised a hand defensively before my face as a blinding light appeared. In an instant, I heard the roar of a chainsword as it ripped through my body.

About the Author

Geneviève is a mother of three and a French Canadian military wife. She enjoys writing fanfiction and original dark fiction short stories. She also likes to homebrew Warhammer, mostly Sororitas and helps others in their writing journey. She is studying Editing at Queens University.

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