The Time When We Went Back to the 80's

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

This story follows two siblings, Marie and Roger, who go on an unexpected journey when Roger does something he wasn't suppose to do- - mess with his younger sister's invention.

I decide to look up practice writing prompts and choose this one:
Stuck in the ‘80s
Write a story about a millennial teenager who, through a high school experiment gone wrong, time travels back to his/her same high school in the 80s and has to spend a day in that era before finding a way to time-travel back.



Beep, beep I hear my alarm clock go. I slam the button on it to quiet it. I groan as I wake up at 6:30 a.m. I wasn’t the least ready. I had finally made some minor changes to an experiment of mine and was going to see if it was going to finally work. It could change my life as I knew it. Ok, maybe a little dramatic but it is a BIG deal. It didn't know it then but I was about to go on an adventure. I struggle to get out of bed and drag my butt in to my bathroom. I throw off my clothes and climb into my shower. I feel my body start to wake up because of the hot water. I’m not fully awake yet but enough to put on my skinny jeans and a plain t-shirt. I brush my teeth and run a comb through my long locks of brown hair. I could hear someone moving around in the kitchen. It is my mom making breakfast. I smile at the thought of eggs, bacon, toast, and coffee. 


I rush in to the kitchen to find my brother, Roger, shoveling down food like a wild animal.  I understand my mom, Cecilia, food is delicious but it doesn’t have to ate like that. 

“Morning, Marie,” says my mom, “how is my little scientist doing?”
“Morning, mom,” I say, “I’m doing fine.” “I’m planning on testing my experiment today.”
“Be careful, dear,” she says worriedly.
“Yeah,” Roger quips in, “don’t want to burn anything down like last time.”
I cast him a look and say, “it was perfectly under control until YOU came in.” “I still don’t know what YOU did to my machine.” 
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says rolling his eyes.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my older brother dearly but sometimes he drives me bonkers. 

“Does that mean I can’t see you test your latest failure?” 
“Roger, be nice to your sister,” says my mom.
“You can come,” I say trying to be nice, “but you have to promise not to touch anything.”
“Fine,” he grumbles, “I promise I won’t touch a thing.” “You’re no fun,” he mumbles under his breath. 

Mom hands me a plate and I pile food on to it. I eat like my brother but more refined and elegant. I grab a yellow coffee mug from a cabinet and pour some coffee in to it. Then, I pour in some creamer and sugar. I take a sip of the wonder known as coffee. Now, I am awake and ready to take on the day. 

I go to my lab or as it is better known as the garage. It isn’t much but it is better than nothing. I go through my checklist to make sure I have everything I need. My dad’s tools that he let me use because like my mom he supported me in my quest, check. A fire extinguisher, just in case, check.  My blueprints to reconfigure the object I am making, check. I slip in to my lap-coat and put on my goggles. I put my machine and blueprints on the table somewhat side by side. I didn't want my blueprints to catch on fire. That is if it caught on fire. A little distance away but close enough to grab is the fire extinguish. 

Everything is as ready as it is going to be. Now to go get my brother I thought. I don’t like the idea but I did say he was allowed to come and watch. I grumble and mumble to myself as I go find him. I find him in the living room watching cartoons. He must of heard me coming in because he turns his head. 

“Experiment time?” he asks. 

I nod. I hand him a pair of goggles. 

“To protect your eyes,” I say, “even though hopefully you won’t need them.”
“Ok, sis,” he says slipping them on, “time to see you either fail or succeed.”
“Wow, what a vote of confidence.” 
“So,” he ask as we make our way to my ‘lab’, “what is your little invention supposed to do anyway?” 
“Well, it’s suppose to be like a personal assistant that you take on the go,” I say “like the  app on laptops that you can search the web or things located on the computer.”
“But it just looks like a tiny box,” he says as he points at my blueprint.
“Looks can be deceiving, Roger,” I say, “I mean I don’t look like a ‘nerd girl’, do I?

Sure, I’m super smart but that doesn’t mean I wear glasses or like Dungeon & Dragons. 

“You’re always be my nerdy, younger sister,” he says.
“Ok, back to the task at hand.”

I take the blueprint away from him and place it back on table. I start to work my P.A. (short for Portable Assistant) and Roger watches from a safe distance. I fiddle and play with ideas on paper and in my mind. Every now and then, Roger will suggest something. He may be annoying but has good ideas. After working on P.A. for about an hour, I decide to take a small break. Roger stays to keep an eye on my machine. I’m not completely happy with the idea but know that I should try to trust him. The worst thing that may happen I have to start over. I have taken notes of what I’ve done thus far, so, at least I have those. I wish I hadn’t made the mistake because I wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Much less the 80s. 
I come back after making some sandwiches for myself and my brother. I find him messing with my machine. I drop the plate filled with rage. 

“What the heck do you think you are doing?” I scream. 

He tries to speak up but I stop him. 

“I told you not to mess with it and what do you do,” I say, “you mess with it.”

I take it out of his grubby little hands and shout, “how dare you?” 

“I’m sorry,” he says in a whimper, “I was just trying to help.”

“What were you even doing?” I say trying to be calm.

“I was trying to use it to look up stuff about the 80s,” he says, “but it didn’t work.”

“Probably because you don’t know how to use it,” I say.

I see that he has 1980’s in the search box and decide to test it out. 

“You want to know about the 80’s so much, press this button.” I say as I press a green button that performs the search.

It makes a sound like a thunder clap and it shocks me. 

“Ow!” I let out. 
“What is happening?” he exclaims. 
“I don’t know,” I say confused.

This shouldn’t be happening.

“What else did you do?” I say as something surrounds us and pulls us in. 

I wake up beside my brother in an empty and house-less area Where is the garage? The house? A newspaper flies out of nowhere and hits my brother in the face. Why is there a newspaper? Mostly everything is online these days. I grab it and see the date and fall back out of shock. It is September 2nd, 1984. 

“Roger, get your lazy butt up,” I say, “we’re in trouble.”
“What are you talking about?” he says groggily. 
“We are in the 80’s,” I say as calmly as I can muster. 
“You’re joking, right?” he says, “trying to get back at me.”

I hand him the newspaper. I wait for him to register it all in to his big fat head. 

“Hey, your P.A. worked. . . well sort of,” he says.
“It is suppose to be a portable assistant, not a damn time machine.” “How the heck are we going to get back?”
“Um. . . use the time machine,” he says.

I look around for it. I can’t find it. 

“So, Mr. Smart Guy, where is it?” I say. 
“I thought you had it.”
“Me too but I don’t,” I say, “it either disappeared or. . .”

That is when I hear something like a bark. Oh, god what if a dog got a hold of it and gave it to it’s master. Roger and I run in to the direction of the dog. We end up at a familiar place: the park that we went to as children. I look around for anything box-shaped or shiny. That is when we see it and her. More specifically my mother. I would recognize her from anywhere. Well, it’s her kind of. It is her as a teenager. Her hair is longer and less gray. She is wearing a pair of faded jeans and tie-dyed shirt. She looks confused as she takes my P.A. from her dog. 

“How are we going to get that away from mom?” I say to Roger. 
“Well, you are a girl, she’s a girl,” he says. 
“So, I’m suppose to approach our mother and says that the thing in her hands in mine,” I say, “what proof do I have and don’t you think she’ll think I’m nuts.”
“I’m sure she’ll trust you, just approach her,” he says, “it’s easy.”
“If it’s so easy, you do it.”

We don’t notice in our bickering that she has walked off somewhere. 

“Now, what do we do?” I say.
“Well, it’s Wednesday in this time. . .” he says.
“Oh god, we have to go to our school,” I say, “but how?” “We aren’t students and they aren’t just going to let anyone in.”
“So, we sneak in, I’m done it plenty of times.”
“What?” I say. 
“Only a few times, usually no one notices when I forget something like an assignment or book.”

I don’t know how to feel about this but shrug it off for now. It’s our only option. I glance in the direction of the town’s old clock-tower. It reads 7:00 o’clock. We need to get there before she does or we have to wait until after school. We get lost a few times because the town is a bit different and not wanting to ask directions because of our unusual attire. When we finally make it, it is a quarter past 8. Crap, we didn’t make it in time and classes will be in starting. 

“We should still try to get in and try to get to her after 1st period,” Roger suggests. 

I think about his idea and decide it might work. Of course, we don’t know what her class is though is the one hitch. 

“Fine, I guess but we first have to figure out what her first class is to catch her.”
“Which just means we have to be sneaky,” he says, “I can be sneaky.”

We get in through apparently the basement level. I don’t even know how my brother found this place nor do I want to. We maneuver around and finally find our way to the 1st floor and the hallways. We see her with a  hall pass in her hand heading to somewhere, mostly likely the bathroom. I see a janitor’s closet near by look at my brother and point it out. We quietly make our way out and grab her shove her in. 

“What the-” she says, “wait, I recognize you two.” “You were at the park this morning looking at this.” 

She holds out my machine. It is messed up. Her dog must have messed it up. 

“Who are you? What is this thing?” she says, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Well, we can’t tell you, Cecilia, but you are going to have to trust us,” I say, “it’s a time machine that was suppose to be something else until he ruined it.”
“How do you know my name?” she asks, “and time machine really that is so cliché.”
“I know your name because I know you- well from another time.”
“Prove it.”
“Ok, your middle name is June, you have a small birthmark on your knee shaped like a crescent moon, and if it’s September 1984, you’re dating Da-David.” 

I almost say dad but catch myself. Her eyes grow wide but she seems to believe me. 

“I don’t know how you know that but you seem to be telling the truth,” she says, “and I am sorry my dog, Jorge, messed up your time machine.” “I’ll try to help you get it fixed.”

I think about letting her help us, I mean it would be easier to get parts and have a guide. I look at Roger and he seems to be thinking the same thing. 

“Ok sure, Cecilia,” I say, “We’ll have to meet after school ends.” 
“Ok, I better get back to class,” she says and slips out, “I will meet you at my house at 189 Sawyer’s Lane.” 

Now, all my brother and I needed to do was wait patiently until 3:00 o’clock and try to do something so that we didn’t go insane. We go out the same way we went in. We find the house and hide in what looks like clubhouse/tree house. We are careful to make sure grandma or grandpa doesn’t see us. Time goes by slowly and we past the time by playing board games. 

“It’s almost three and I’m so bored,” says my brother exasperated. 
“You don’t get to complain,” I grumble back, “you’re the one that got us in this mess.”

That shuts him up and he looks hurt by my comment. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings but sometimes things just happened. Neither one of us is willing to speak to one another as the time passes by. Eventually, I hear a noise beneath us and it is our mom, Cecilia, coming up. 

"Sorry for running late but. . . I had to put some things away and say hi to my mom.” 
“It’s alright,” I say, “I understand.”

After discussing about what sort of parts we needed and ‘borrowing’ money from her mom we head out to get supplies. It difficult to find some items and some things just had to be substituted. I worked long into the night being protective watched over by my brother. I was still not very happy with him but realize I’m being petty. 

“Roger,” I say approaching him, “I’m sorry about what I said earlier.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he says, “it is true it is my fault.”
“That is true but in a way we both contributed to the invention and made it into something unexpected.”

He smiles at that comment and says, “does that mean when you unveiled you will. . . well. . . um give me half credit.”  
“Sure,” I say “but maybe not the time machine but my original invention.” “I think if everyone knew a time machine was possible it would be very bad.”
“Ok, I understand,” he says obviously thinking of the complications of the time machine, “I’m cool with that.”

I hand him the machine and says, “ok, it is sort of how I had it.” “Now, try to remember what you did so that we can hopefully get home.”
“Ok, sis,” he says under pressure.
“Would it help if I left like I did before when you initially messed with it?” 
“Maybe,” he says unsure.

I do as I did before hoping that we can get home. It has been a long day in 1984. I’ve met my grandparents and mother when they were younger. We both got fed very well. It’s nice here but I know that we need to go home. To our own time. I’m praying that this works.  When I head down I see Cecilia talking to a boy. It’s my father, David, and part of me freezes. Cecilia sees me a waves me over. I slowly go over to them.

“This is the girl I was talking about,” says Cecilia beaming, “Marie meet David, David meet Marie.” 

We awkwardly shake hands and says, “Marie, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too, David,” I say a little shyly, 
“No need to be afraid I won’t bite.”

Luckily before we can exchange any more words Roger calls me. 

“Roger calling so I better go,” I say.
“Already?” says Cecilia a little sad, “but you just got here.”
“I chuckle and say, “if my machine works how I want it you will see me again in later time.”

Cecilia and David look at me confused but I don’t say anymore.

“Good bye,” I say. 

The pair hug me and head up into the tree house. I make a mental prayer that it works. Roger and I exchange a glance as he types in July 8th, 2017. I press the green button and feel same electricity as before. It’s working. The same thing that pulled us in before comes back. It yanks us in and we wake up in a somewhat familiar yard. It’s my grandparent’s yard and we are in my mom’s old tree house. We climb out and go inside to find our grandparents and they give a confused look. 

“What are you two doing here?”
“That is a long story,” I say. 

Submitted: July 16, 2017

© Copyright 2021 Sylvermyst. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Super-neat idea, well written! The premise of a time machine is one that has captured people's imaginations since before H.G.Wells! I love how you portrayed the process! Mighty fine authorship my friend!

Mon, August 21st, 2017 9:24pm


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you liked it. I wanted to write something and get out of my writer's block (should do it again soon). So, I found a site for writer's prompt, let my mom pick one randomly, and went with it.

Mon, August 21st, 2017 8:39pm


I'd love to maybe do a collaborative project with you someday! I think you are an amazing writer!

Sat, September 9th, 2017 10:58am


Awww. . . thanks it's nice to hear that every now and then. :)
I would love to do a collaborative project someday. Hopefully I can find the time I've been so busy lately.
Thanks for the read and comment

Sun, September 10th, 2017 8:07pm

Ian D. Mooby

I love the story, my question is did mom remember meeting her kids in 1984 when they got back?

Tue, October 24th, 2017 11:36pm


Thank you for a read and comment. I'm glad that enjoyed my short story and to be honest I do not know if she would remember them. I mean I barely remembering my teen years, it's bits and pieces. It could be possible she could remember in a way.

Thu, November 9th, 2017 8:16pm


I really enjoyed reading this. I liked what you did with the prompt, it was a good idea with the meddling brother and the smart sister, and how they had to end up working together to get themselves out. The plot was really nicely developed and structured; there was a good sequence of events and it all worked together
One small thing which I noticed is that a lot of sentences start with 'I', especially at the beginning. I know it can be hard, especially when using the present tense (which is one reason why I usually avoid both), but it can become a little repetitive to read. It definitely though lessened as the story went on which was nice to see. Also it lacked a bit in the setting; they go to the 80s, but there's nothing really which would suggest it is the 80s if it wasn't mentioned. There are a lot of things which make the 80s iconic, and it would've been nice to see just a little bit of it. I think if the setting were developed a bit more, it could help strengthen the story as a whole.
I really enjoyed seeing Marie's mental approach to it all, which is one thing writing in first person allows for. Marie seems like a very smart and methodical character and it was great to be able to see that come through in how she thinks. You really developed her character well.
Overall, the setting could use a little work but there's definitely a strong structure to it and the plot was really well developed.

Mon, December 11th, 2017 12:02pm


I can surely try to go back and edit the setting when I get the time. I wrote this mostly to write and try to get over some writer's block. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm glad to hear that you enjoy the siblings and that you think the plot was nicely developed. This was completely impromptu so it is somewhat raw to me and I wasn't exactly happy with it because it needs work. Yeah, I do have a problem with the word I. I'm glad you'd enjoyed it overall. Thanks for the read and comment.

Wed, December 13th, 2017 9:58pm


This is pretty good I really liked it. It was pretty ingenious how you came up with the idea of going back in time with that thing she was making. You could probably turn this into a full blown book if you wanted too. Having them stuck in the 80s for a while dealing with things. Either way it was very good.

Fri, December 15th, 2017 5:44am


I'm glad that you enjoyed my short story. Thanks for the read and comment.

Thu, December 14th, 2017 9:53pm

Oleg Roschin

A very nicely written, well-flowing story, that feels like a “Back to the Future” episode. The dialogues are lively and believable, and I like the details (such as the girl saying Da... David), those little things inject life and charm into the story. My only complaint would be the plot itself - I feel that you could have done more with it. Obviously, not “Dad and Mom aren’t dating, how to bring them together?”, because that would be a literal retelling of “Back to the Future”, but some other dramatic turn of events. It’s still a very nice story though, and in terms of writing quality, one of your best so far.

Sat, December 30th, 2017 4:09am


I'm glad to read that you enjoyed my short story and yes, I know it needs a little work (like my other writings). Any ideas of how I could improve the plot other than I could have done more with it? I wrote this story to try to get out a writer's block and picked a writing prompt. Thank you for the read and comment.

Sat, December 30th, 2017 8:51pm


I forgot that I had already read this! As I said the first time, you have a unique & wonderful talent for telling an awesome story! I gave you a few typos that I caught as I reread it, they can be easily fixed & then deleted, as can this comment! Well done though!

Wed, June 6th, 2018 10:58am


Thanks for the re-read. I will look and correct the typos.

Thu, June 7th, 2018 4:50pm

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