“Hey, Lori,” Joe called, “come see!”
He stood by the window that peered out to the meadow beyond the backyard’s wrought-iron fence.
Lori joined him.
“What do you make of this?” He asked.
She followed his gaze to where a young man was lighting a campfire. He was tall and muscled and Lori thought he was “ruggedly handsome”, though she would never admit it to Joe.
“Are people allowed to camp here?” She asked.
“I dunno,” Joe replied, “the realtor only said the meadow lies beyond the property line and it belongs to the state park.”
“Huh… Maybe the park allows camping in this area.”
Lori examined the man, both with awe and apprehension. He was dark-haired and with weatherbeaten skin and the way he squatted… There was something odd about him.
“He doesn’t belong here,” she murmured.
“Should we call the police?” Joe asked.
“No, I mean… I don’t know how to explain it,” Lori answered.
Joe gazed at her, waiting.
“It’s like, have you noticed how guys don’t look like him anymore? Like he’s not from around here.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Well, he lit that fire without lighter fluid. How many guys can do that nowadays?”
Joe raised his eyebrows; she had a point.
“Also, he hasn’t taken out a phone or some fancy-pants camping doodad most people use today. And check out his clothes, it seems he’s mixed and matched every clothing style since time began.”
“Yeah, you’re right. And that hunting knife strapped around his waist looks more like the swords they used in Gladiator.”
A young woman approached the man. She wore a yellow old-fashioned raincoat and a cloche hat. Her boots had spats on them, and though the raincoat hid the rest, Lori glimpsed pinstriped trousers.
“She looks like someone out of I Love Lucy!” Joe exclaimed.
Lori nodded, her brow furrowed. The young woman was out of place, too. No, they were out of time, as if they came from another time, or from many other times.
The back door opened, and Lori saw Joe walk across the yard. She stood, frozen in place.
“Hey there!” Joe called as he approached the couple.
They stiffened and stared at him. The rain drizzled, and wet sprinkles appeared on Joe’s shirt.
“Is everything all right?” Joe called.
Lori held her breath as the woman placed a hand on the man’s shoulder.
The man rose, wrapping his arm around the woman’s waist, while his other hand slid across his chest and hovered over the ‘hunting knife’. Not taking their eyes off Joe, they said nothing.
Lori’s heart skipped a beat when the woman slipped her free hand into her coat pocket. Did she have a gun? Lori’s breath came in rapid gasps as Joe, spotting the movement, stood stunned like a deer in headlights.
Thunder clapped, and in a flash of light, the couple vanished. Joe’s ashen face stared wide-eyed at Lori. Wisps of smoke rose from the abandoned campfire.