The Jug of Milk

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Trevor's father went out to get a jug of milk one day, but never came back. Now Trevor lays on his death bed, only to find his father standing at the door with a jug of milk. What comes next?

Submitted: February 28, 2017

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Submitted: February 28, 2017

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THE I.V. AND THE HOSPITAL BED

 

My children surround my hospital bed, tear-streaked faces looking down at mine. It seemed like only yesterday when I was by my wife’s side teaching them how to walk. Now they have children of their own, and they cling on to their parents, small and innocent eyes filled with worry. I’m old now, laying in my deathbed. My eyes have faded, my skin has gone pale and is now covered in wrinkles. I hear the noise of footsteps getting closer among the hushed voices of my children. The nurse walks in.

“You have a visitor,” she says quietly. As she finishes this sentence, a man, presumably in his late 30s, walks into the room. My children walk out of the room, leaving this man and I alone. My gaze wanders to his arm. His hand is wrapped around a jug of milk, and with this detail, I immediately recognize the man standing before me; my father.








 

 

THE VISITOR

 

My father stands before me, looking lost and confused. I stare back at him with confusion written all over my face, and I take in his features that I hadn’t seen in decades. He stands at around six feet tall, and his brown hair is disheveled. His gray eyes look me up and down, and they are filled with concern.

“Dad?” I ask weakly, and I open my mouth to say more but quickly close it again. I realize I could very well be already dead, these past few minutes being nothing more than a scene being played to me from the afterlife.

“Trev, is that you?” he asks as he walks closer to my bed, worry evident in his expression. “What happened to you?” I scoff at this.

“You tell me. You went out to get a jug of milk on October 29th, 1934. You never came back, but mom waited every day until she died. She believed that you’d come back. You abandoned us, so I shouldn’t be the one explaining -- you should!” I say with as much anger as I can muster, pointing a bony finger at him.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know,” he says silently.

“You’re lying. If there’s one thing I’ve learned how to do, it’s being able to tell when someone’s lying. You come back after over 80 years and see your child on their deathbed, and you lie!? How pathetic.”

“Okay, fine. What I’m about to tell you could potentially lead to danger, but I’ll tell you anyways,” he gulps. “I’ve always aspired to be someone who changed the world. My dream became a reality when I discovered this! As ridiculous as it may sound, I’m, uh, a time traveller.” He says this quietly, I chuckle at his statement, but soon realize that he’s not joking, seeing as to how he looks at me with a straight face.

“You’re… not… kidding…” I trail off, and my father shakes his head. “So how’d you end up here?”

“I went out to get a jug of milk, and some prick started a fight -- I didn’t even know what I did wrong! When I went out, I unfortunately forgot to take my time travelling watch off, and that led to all the misfortune that happened in the following decades. Buttons were pushed in the brawl, things were broken, dinosaurs and mammoths were involved-.”

“Basically, everything went wrong,” I cut him off, and he nods. “Tell me a bit about what happened.”



 

JOE’S EXPEDITION THROUGH TIME (1700s)

 

I walk out of my home and onto the streets, admiring the scenery around me. The scent of freshly baked bread fills the air, and I take in the scent. I consider buying some, but quickly shake that thought out of my head. Times are tough right now. We still have our bread and I only need a jug of milk. I can only spend our savings on what is necessary.

“Hey!” I hear a gruff voice say from behind me, and I turn around. I’m faced with a muscular man, and he looks angry.

“Huh? I don’t understand, I’m sorry. What’s the problem?” I reply in the kindest tone I can muster. Apparently, that didn’t work, and I’m met with a punch to my stomach. I double over, and the man grips my wrist roughly, squeezing the watch I wore on my wrist. I suddenly feel the world spin, everything growing blurry. I black out.

***

I wake up on cobblestone streets. I hiss at the cold hard surface that was currently pressing against my back. I feel no more pain that came from the fight, the only pain I now feel coming from loose jagged stones that feel as if they are going to go right through my spine.

“Oi!” someone yells, and I hear the clopping of horse hooves coming toward me. I quickly roll to the side, and as I stand, I see a carriage pass me. A woman sits inside, and she’s dressed in old-timey clothes - 1700’s perhaps. She had nicely styled hair, so I assume that she was quite wealthy.

I begin to walk towards a market, taking in the sight of all the people around me. Women walk the streets in big dresses, men in a hurry to wherever they’re supposed to be. I am almost at the market when I hear the firing of cannons. People scream and run, panicking and desperate to flee.

“The Tories are here!” I hear someone scream.

In that moment, I had realized I landed in the middle of a revolution in New York.

 

Soldiers flood in from the harbour; they come by boat. They yell at citizens, screaming about Loyalists and Rebels. I see people of colour -- slaves --  running out from a corner, being chased by Tories. The soldiers demand the Rebels’ location, and some of those who know happily give the location, while some refuse, ending in them being shot.

I do wish greatly I hadn’t landed in the middle of a revolution.

As I think this, a soldier, no, a general, comes up to me. I freeze suddenly, and frightened, I don’t know what to do. In that moment, I find myself saluting the stranger. He lets out a small chuckle at my gesture.

“General Washington,” the man introduces himself. Washington? As in, George Washington? I feel small and weak at his presence.

“At your service, sir,” I blurt out, and immediately get flustered.

“Of course,” he chuckles. “I’ve come to ask if you had any interest in joining the militia.”

My tongue feels too big for my mouth, and I frantically push the buttons on my banged-up watch. Everything goes dark.


 

 

PONDER

 

I lay silently, too stunned to speak. After a while, I begin to ask questions.

“You’re telling me that you met George Washington? What did he look like? Anything like how the artists depicted him?” I say rapidly.

“Very similar. He had pale, gray-blue eyes. Cold, lacking emotion -- even when he laughed! He had wrinkles around the corner of his eyes; very prominent when he smiled. Powdered wig just as we see in the paintings,” he describes, and I hum.

“Tell me, why time travelling?” I ask him.

“I’m not sure. I’ve always idolized people with great minds like Albert Einstein. Either way, this discovery was astounding! Once I release this to the public, I’ll become a legend!” he exclaims, eyes gleaming.

“But, will you ever age? It’s been 80 years now.” I say, voice low.

My father freezes.

“I’ve never thought about it,” he admits, voice wavering in the slightest. He’s afraid.



 

FEAR OF AN ANOMALY

An anomaly. It’s entirely possible. I could die without even expecting it.

“My hair’s not turning gray… is it?” I ask my son quietly, and he smiles feebly.

“No.”

I have no idea how to fix this. Perhaps it’s nothing I have to worry about. Maybe I’ll never age! Have I just found immortality too? Or will this just slow down aging, maybe not even age at all. If this is something to worry about, I have no solution! An elixir, perhaps?

“Maybe I discovered immortality! If this doesn’t last, what do I do? You’re a smart kid, help me! We have to discharge you!” I say this hurriedly. A nurse walks in and I proceed to ask her this question.

“Sir, he’s D.N.R. I’m afraid not,” she tells me calmly, checking my son’s vitals, her eyes not even meeting mine.

“He’s my son! Do I not have the right to take him home with me!?”

“Sir,” she says, stopping to look at me. “Your ‘son’ is in his late 90s while you, I presume, are in your early 40s. Unless you’re immortal, it just doesn’t add up.” At the mention of immortality, I knock her out cold.

I grab the wheelchair that sat near the bed, and quickly pick up my son and place him in it. I wheel him out of the room and begin to sprint towards the nearest exit which earns me a few strange looks. I keep sprinting until I reach the exit. I push the doors open and hurriedly get my son and I away from the scent of disinfectant used in the hospital. Once we are off the premises, I place my hand on my son’s shoulder and look at my wrist. I hesitantly reach over to the watch and press the buttons.


 

HOME SWEET HOME

 

I find myself standing in a familiar place. The same ugly old couch that I knew and hated because of its ugly shade of olive green. My mother’s china is still displayed in the antique cupboard that stood in the corner. The floral vase remains on the small glass table that sat in the middle of the living room.

I’m home.

My father must have noticed my state of disorientation, because he turns to me and smirks.

“Look familiar?” he asks teasingly, and I roll my eyes. “You’re lookin’ pretty young there bud,” he continues.

I look down at my hands and notice that the veiny, wrinkly, and pale skin has now been replaced with soft, healthy, young looking hands. I run to the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror and can’t believe what my reflection is showing me! My reflection is now a young teenage boy, around 6 feet tall, with warm eyes and chocolate brown hair. My father has not only achieved time travelling, but also managed to somehow change appearance so it suits with the time period that the person has time travelled to. He truly was a genius.

I nearly squealed out of excitement and disbelief, but whoop and cheer instead as I run down the stairs. I’m so joyful, I could do a jig!

“Enjoy it while it lasts. You’re only here to help me with this anomaly,” my father reminds me.

He tells me to follow him, and he leads me to the basement. I was surprised, anxious, and excited all at the same time - I was never permitted to go down there, but now I can see why.

Scraps of metal and shards of glass litter the floor as if something exploded. I notice a foul smell lingering in the air, but my father doesn’t seem to mind.

On the counter to my right, a variety of tools are scattered among sawdust. Something else lies beneath it though; something blue and flat. I push all the tools aside and pick up the object; a blue print.

The edges are ripped, there are spots where it looks as if it’s been burned, and stains cover the design. I can still make out some outlines and writing, and realize that it must be the design for the time travelling contraption he refers to as the ‘iTravel’.

What an absurd name.

“I see that you’ve found my design,” my father’s voice comes from behind me, and I quickly drop it.

“So how exactly are we supposed to fix this thing?” I ask.

“That’s what I need you to help me with. First, follow me. I have something to show you.”

My father leads me to a darker area of the basement, revealing a foreign object covered with a sheet. He grabs a corner and pulls it off.

PLANS

 

Underneath the sheet stood a bulky pile of metal, decorated with buttons and levers. A worn out, rugged leather seat sits among silver, covered with glass. I’m assuming, based on my father’s interests, that this is a time travelling machine.

I turn to my father and make a gesture towards the machine, looking at him with a confused look.

“A time travelling machine,” he explains, confirming my guess.

“So, how exactly does this work in comparison to your little… watch?”

“You see, I designed this,” he says, pointing to the watch, “So it would have longer use compared to this big honker,” he explains, gesturing to the large contraption. “Unfortunately, my award-worthy design got messed up during the brawl. Anyways, the machine is a lot bigger than the watch, taking up a ridiculous amount of energy. I made an energy core for it that contained lots of power, but would need to be replaced over time, but  I came up with a brilliant idea. I would design a much smaller contraption -- a watch -- that would be powered by a smaller core that contained the same amount of energy.  It was risky, but I was willing to take it.”

“However, it led to some pretty bad malfunctions, yes?”

“Yes. The impact was on the core from the fight was much too great, and the core exploded inside, leading to a series of unfortunate events. I finally ended up at the hospital you were at afterwards.”

“I see,” I nod. “So you want my help to redesign your contraption as well as the core?”

“That’s the plan. I want to get back home and start over again. I don’t want to be an absent father.”

My heart aches a little, and that’s what gets me my answer.

“Alright. I’ll help.”

My father beams, his face glowing.

“Here’s the plan.”

 

METAL

 

I listen intently as my father describes the plan. I’d never seen my father speak so passionately about something -- not even my own mother! I make sure to take in all this information for tiny Trevor’s sake. I want nothing but the best for him.

My father finally finishes and leads me to a workbench. I zone out as he rambles on about energy cores, blueprints, overheating, blah blah blah. His speech becomes slurred as he tends to do when he’s excited. I don’t process any of the information coming out of his mouth, and simply nod every 45 seconds.

“I’ll show where you’ll get your materials. Come,” he says, this sentence breaking my trance-like state. He leads me to a room that’s heavily protected ? and I mean heavily.

The metal door is covered with huge chains with a large padlock in the middle. Upon closer inspection, I can see that the padlock also had an optical scanner and a fingerprint identification system.

I wonder how my father was able to create such a complex and advanced security system in the 1900s.

My father then continues to unlock the door, having to place all his fingers on the fingerprint identification pad and line up his right eye with the optical scanner. He proceeds to pull out a small key about 10 centimeters long from his back pocket. Not gonna lie, I snorted. But boy I sure regretted that 30 seconds later. The small key had turned into an enormous one in a span of 15 seconds with just a click of a button. I hear a faint ‘beep’ come from above us, and my father pushes the door open.

I find myself standing in a room lined with all sorts of organization systems. My father tells me that the room is full of metal, energy cores, and other essentials for building contraptions. My father explains the basics, and turns to face me.

“That’s all you need to know,” he says. “Let’s get to work.”




 

ALL FOR NOTHING

 

My father and I work nonstop for weeks. We take very few breaks, determined to get this finished. I very much would like to return to my death bed. My eyes begin to feel heavy as I work with the metal, but occasionally pinch myself to get rid of the fatigue. After a while, I decide to take a short, one hour nap. I’d been working for 12 hours straight now, an hour of sleep wouldn’t hurt.

***

My neck aches from the uncomfortable position that I slept in. I assume it also aches due to the hard surface of the workbench. Despite this, I continue to work, albeit rather slowly.

***

I quickly run out of metal, forcing me to get up to go to the materials room. I unlock the door but quickly regret my decision.

My father lays on the floor, but he no longer looks young. His hair is gray, and his skin is now a sickly pale tone. His breaths come out short and ragged and he clearly struggles to breathe. His dull eyes meet mine as he says two words.

“Finish it.”

With those two words, he takes a final breath, and his body goes limp.

He was gone.

As I try to comprehend what had just happened, a burning sensation grows in my chest. I place my hand on it to try to relieve it, but the feeling just spreads faster. My skin grows sickly pale like my father’s, and I feel my bones snap. My legs grow weak and I fall to the ground.The burning spreads throughout my body, and my head is pounding. As I lay on the ground, slowly dying, I can only think of one thing; this all began with a jug of milk.


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