A Brief History of Time Travel

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


A letter from an unfortunate soul in the year 2355AD. A new car leads to an eye opening brush with the past.

Submitted: August 06, 2018

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Submitted: August 06, 2018

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It was 38 years ago that I sat in the waiting room of a car dealership 1600 years in the future. I don't suppose that makes much sense but I'm not sure what does anymore. 

 

Like many others I was brought up in a society dependent on a concept of time. 

 

We are told from a young age that time is a straight line from the birth of a supernatural deity's son to the current moment. Then we learn of the time before that, of the dinosaurs and the cavemen bashing rocks and making fire. And soon a year in our young lives passes much faster than it did before, we realise that 365 days is not long at all.

 

Eventually, we are swarmed with responsibility. A class at 1:30pm, an appointment on the 1st of the coming month at 9pm or a relatives birthday on the same date it falls every year as they march slowly towards death... Or quickly, it's all a matter of perspective.

 

You might occasionally ponder who came up with the idea of a year consisting in 365 days (unless it's the fourth year)? Or a month having 31 days unless the lyrics of a childish rhyme say otherwise "30 days have September..."? Or a week having 7 days, not 8, not 6, but 7 days? And who found out that the world turns in 24 hours and orbits the sun in 365.5 of these 24 hours? 24 hours, precisely, to eat, sleep, work, socialise, relax and brush our teeth twice. 

 

Yes, you might ask these question on a drunken night and never really care the answer but one thing that we are sure of in our mind is that time keeps moving forward in that straight line.

 

I was sure of that straight line too, until Saturday the 5th of November, 2355.

 

Now I don't know when you might be reading this, you might be a hopeful immigrant in the middle of the Atlantic ocean aboard the Titanic having reeled in a floating message in a bottle. Or a visitor from another planet finding this letter on a crumpled piece of parchment after having colonised our planet. Or just maybe you'll have found this letter and discovered your fate in the glove compartment of your new Vauxhall Corsa  2344 like this unfortunate bastard did. 

 

I should probably summarise the perspective of a 44 year old man living in the year 2355 AD.

 

In 2355, the Earth is firmly divided into two groups of people: the land dwelling, working men who generate just enough income to keep them and their families rustic lives afloat on the ground level of the planet; and the aristocratic elite that do their big business on the utopian sky city inaccessible to the impoverished below. 

 

These aristocrats care not for men like me, they fly from their mansions in their Rolls Royce Airbornes and their Ferrari Skysurfers to the city above where they make merry, count their money and do their dodgy deals. Earth dwellers like me take our hundred year old cars and drive, yes like along the ground, to our work, break our backs then come home to our plain faced wives and troublesome children.

 

Before that fateful day on November 5th, I had drove my Fiat Landcruiser every day since I received it on my 18th birthday. The old thing had finally run it's final mile and I had it collected by the recycle robots for a nice profit 1000 Credits. I wasted no time in finding a new vehicle, these things were a necessity in life, a Vauxhall Corsa 2344. I had no idea they were still making these old models and it was incredibly cheap too. However I was no pushover, a test drive was in order of course.

 

 The salesman that hounded me was a rotund gentleman, bald and scruffy looking in his white-ish shirt and tie. He set my car up with a tracker to be sure I wouldn't steal it (not that they'd mind being rid of this heap of junk). It was slow and clunky, with bad acceleration. I made my way onto the ultra highway to really test the power of this beast of creation. I sat for 2 full minutes with the accelerator on the floor and found my speed only just reaching 83 mph, it would clearly never make it onto the supersonic freeway. 

 

I took my foot off the accelerator but was dismayed to find the pedal did not come with me, the accelerator in this old model had jammed to the floor! My speed continued to rise slowly, though it felt much faster to my racing heart. It climbed up to 85 mph and I was beginning to run out of road when I heard the noise of police sirens ringing behind me. 2 blue police vehicles were now chasing me down the road and I could do nothing to adhere to their orders.

 

The speedometer rose, 86, 87, I panicked and started beeping my horn to try to show that I was not deliberately defying them. Then all of a sudden the car hit 88 mph. Everything around me seemed to slow down. The police cars, the buildings, even the sirens felt lazier. Soon I realised the car was slowing down too, "thank god", I thought. Finally, the ordeal was over, it would stop and I could explain myself. 

 

The Corsa then stopped on the highway, I tried the door-handle but it would not budge. I pulled and pulled more ferociously but still nothing. Then I realised that it wasn't yet over. The car began to roll backwards, and faster, and faster until I was reversing at an unstoppable rate. The police cars wizzed past in the opposite direction and my car kept accelerating. Soon everything was a blur, I could not discern what was going on outside the vehicle. I hopelessly awaited death, a horrible crash caused by a rogue Corsa. But nothing came, I just kept reversing.

 

Soon I could make out that I was no longer in the shadowed ground level of my world, the sky was blue and the sun shone down outside the car. Then the buildings disappeared and the trees became less regimented in orderly intervals, they were everywhere in random positions. Eventually, there was no road or pavement or anything dull and metallic, only a world that was green and vibrantly colourful. 

 

I then noticed that the car was slowing again, I could make out people in strange clothing. There was men in jeans, no, suits, no, tunics, no, steel. I saw metal helmets and cloth rags over the bodies of rugged warriors of men. My car decelerated and finally I stopped by a huge tree. On one side of me a forest on the other, in the distance, what I thought was a town.

 

I exited the car as the malfunctioning door handle now seemed to work perfectly. I took a moment to gather myself, I breathed the fresh air and I stumbled on the green grass. I was dumbfounded by this small piece of Eden in my dull wasteland of a world.

 

I made my way towards the town, I had to find out where I was and how far I was from home. Surely there was a telephone or a train station nearby so that I could get back to my city. I had obviously stopped and some rustic, rural village on the outskirts of the city. A village untouched by the shadow of the sky city.

 

When I came close enough to discern the contents of the village I saw that these buildings were not even modern houses. They were made of wood and some were small whereas some were long. There were even some tents on the very edge of the village.

 

It was in these tents that I saw a mountain of a man. He must have been about 7 feet tall and he was full of muscle. He was huddled around a fire banging metal on metal. I approached.

 

"Hello sir!", I said awkwardly, "I'm a little lost, could you show me the way to the nearest telephone?"

 

The brute turned around slowly, wielding in his hand a steel longsword that he didn't look shy of using. 

 

"New recruits to the boats." He said, ignoring my question.

 

"No sir, I am not a recruit, I'm just a little lost. Where is the nearest telephone or police station perhaps?"

 

"Telephone?" He said bewildered. Could it be possible that this rural village had never even heard of a telephone? Or perhaps he just didn't understand my language.

 

I held my thumb and pinky out and put the mime telephone to my ear "ring ring" I said, trying to translate visually.

 

"Oh!" He said as if he understood. He turned and picked up a piece of steel and then plopped it on my head which bobbled as my neck gave way to what was a steel helmet.

 

"Follow" he said. Finally, I thought I had gotten through.

 

We walked through rows of wooden houses and tents. Past fearsome men and ferocious women. I followed him down to the sea where there was a row of long boats made in an old fashioned wooden style. I began to think something was up. 

 

He went over to a woman who was clad in armour and wielded a short sword and shield. He muttered something to her and pointed towards me, the woman then came towards me and grabbed me with one hand and pushed me onto the boat.

 

There was a lot of shouting and suddenly I found the ship was rolling out to sea "No!" I screamed panicking. This was met by only the ecstatic roars of the warriors around me. I began to feel sick, I ran to the side of the ship and spewed over the ledge, my vomit being consumed by the sea.

 

The woman came over to me with a worried look on her face, I fainted and felt the impact of the hard wooden floor.

 

I awoke in a small cabin, the room gently rocking from side to side. I took a moment to gather myself and try to figure out what was going on.

 

I found that my jacket had been stripped off of me and placed on a chair on the other side of the room, I stumbled over and retrieved it. I felt a weight in the pocket, yes the manufacturers guide that the salesman had given to me upon entering the Corsa.

 

I opened it up and discovered what was wrong with that infernal car. "An Introduction to Time Travel" the first heading read.

 

After reading through the history of the vehicle and it's inspirations, men in blue boxes and wild haired scientists who had developed previous models, I found that the unassuming Corsa was in fact a time machine. I was dumbfounded, I thought these things were only found in old movies and cult classics. But no, clear as day I read the guide and found that upon reaching 88 mph the machine would propel it's driver to his desired destination in time.

 

I felt sick again, I ran to the door and began making my way to the deck again to spew into the sea. When suddenly the ship stopped, colliding with some unknown object, I was propelled forward and fell on the stairs. I regained my feet and eventually got to the deck. 

 

I found I was surrounded by the ships passengers who yelled and stormed onto a beach where a cluster of men in metal armour stood to oppose them. A skirmish ensued on the shoreline. 

 

I was then swept up by a storm of warriors running from behind me, I was pushed onto the beach to join the skirmish. I sensed danger and grabbed a shield that was lying beside a dead soldier. I feared for my life but I must admit the screaming, the blood, the sound of steel on steel and flesh on flesh was somewhat exhilarating.

 

I felt inspired to join the action, I screamed nonsensically and charged towards an enemy soldier. I held out my shield hoping to knock him off his feet but  what occurred was the opposite. The soldier held out his shield and my head rattled off my own shield, I fell to the ground unconscious once again.

 

This time when I awoke I was in a tent surrounded by injured warriors. I was back where I came from before I got on the boat. Standing at the foot of my bed was the woman who had ushered me onto the boat.

 

"You are brave but stupid" she said "I saw you fall and was quick enough to kill your attacker before he brought his axe down on your skull"

 

I soon learned that the womans name was Freya, named after the goddess of beauty and fertility. These people were vikings! I was stranded in a different time with feared norse warriors. 

 

The townsfolk had been preparing a feast for us warriors upon our return from raiding the land of England. I had no choice but to follow the ways of the viking. 

 

Later that very night I found myself around a fire in a viking longhouse. Loveable drunks around me were patting me on the back and congratulating me on a successful raid. I had never felt such a sense of victory, of companionship and camaraderie. 

 

We huddled around the fire for warmth, Freya by my side, she had taken quite a liking to me by this point. I don't suppose I'd ever make it home to my loveless marriage and dead end job in the shadow of the sky city, and I don't know if I ever wanted to.

 

And so days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years in the land of the Vikings. I sit here at the ripe old age of 85 by a warm fire, writing my story on a piece of parchment. My wife, Freya, playing with our grandchildren on the other side of the room.

 

I suppose I'll bottle this and toss it to the sea, a letter lost in time. A message for the ages.


© Copyright 2018 a.d. hunter. All rights reserved.

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