The man in the doorway was yawning, and his bright chestnut hair, flecked with threads of gray, was tousled. He wore half glasses down on his nose and held a thick typewritten report in one hand. His navy silk tie was pulled down, his white shirt was rumpled. His eyes, though bloodshot, focused on us politely.
I was face to face with President John F. Kennedy.
He looked at us, puzzled, and glanced around the empty hallway.
I knew if I didn’t speak that I’d never have another chance, but I couldn’t think of a thing to say. The President looked at us, raised an eyebrow.
Quick, Cady, say something. “Mr. President, my name is Cady Cuyler.” Beside me, I felt Lee start at the words. “I’ve come a long way to speak to you. Please, it’s very urgent.”
He was still puzzled. “Where’s my Secret Service detail?”
I took a deep breath. In for a penny, in for a pound. “They’re out drinking at a nightclub called The Cellar, here in Fort Worth. They left some Fort Worth firemen to guard you. They’ll be pretty hung over in the morning.”
Kennedy looked down at me. His eyes were a bit brighter, though it was now close to 2:00 a.m. He looked over at Lee, who gave him a tense smile, and stood almost at military attention. He looked back at me and asked quietly, “And how do you know this?”
It was time. His hand was on the doorknob. Almost imperceptibly, he was inching it shut.
I took a deep breath. “I’ll tell you, but you’re not going to believe me.” I waited; he waited too. But he was listening; I still had a chance.
“I’m from the future. I don’t live in Dallas in 1963. I live in New York in the year 2000. I’m here to warn you, sir, and save you if I can. If you don’t listen to me now… you’re going to die in less than 12 hours.”
Oswald had turned to me in alarm. Kennedy’s gray eyes never left my face while I spoke. When I stopped, hoping, praying I had reached him, he glanced down for a moment, then down the hall. All was quiet, the annoying yellow lights still burning overhead. Like casinos in Vegas, it was impossible to know from the artificial light in the hotel whether it was noon or midnight.
“You’re right,” the President said in that distinctive accent. “I don’t believe you.” He started to close the door in my face.
Before he could, I was talking again, as quickly and persuasively as I could. “Why would I make up a story like that? It makes no sense. Unless it was true!”
His gaze was even and noncommittal, but at least he’d stopped closing the door. “Can you prove it?”
Susan has also written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including the children’s biography Ray Charles: Find Another Way!, which won the silver medal in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Awards. Mysteries Unwrapped: The Secrets of Alcatraz led to her 2009 appearance on the TV series MysteryQuest on The History Channel. Amelia Earhart: Challenging the Skies is a perennial young-adult Amazon bestseller. She has also been a sportswriter and a screenwriter, managed two recent political campaigns and founded an author’s festival in her hometown of Mount Pleasant, SC.
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