A Whim Of Violets

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

In slats of medium sunlight, Archer watched the world around him slowly come to life.

He found himself in a bustling train station, although he had no idea which city it was in. The fortune teller hadn’t been able to see that far; her reach only extended to what Claudia would be wearing and the year she would be living in. 

“The rest is up to you,” the old woman had said, her cloudy eyes regarding him carefully. “In the year 1946, you won’t have access to my shop or to my machine, so you must get it right. In that year, I was a girl of seven. Time travel wasn’t a concept for me then.”

Of course it wasn’t; time travel wasn’t a concept for Archer, either, even though he was a grown man living in the future. 

“She won’t look like the Claudia you remember,” the old lady had said, “But there will be something familiar. Some small thing you recognize. Reincarnation has a cheeky sense of humor in that way.”

He had told no one about his plans, obviously. His friends would have thought him utterly mad. They didn’t understand that it wasn’t about the money; the old woman could have asked for a million dollars and he would have found a way to pay it. She had told him things about his Claudia that no one else could know, private things about their relationship. If this didn’t work, he would go home and sleep and forget the old woman existed. He would move on.

Except that wasn’t quite right. The truth was a punch in the solar plexus: home didn’t mean the same thing it once did. It had become dry, used up. Smelling of emptiness rather than warm bread. The bathroom, once redolent of Claudia’s crushed-violets scent, now reeked of chemical cleansers. Her mother’s doing. All the better to scrub away the illness, to mask the suffering cancer brought.

He looked around now, inside the train station, feeling a wave of disorientation crash over him. There was nothing familiar here. He was wearing someone else’s clothing, carrying a stranger’s briefcase. He wasn’t even sure what to look for, apart from a petite blond in white gloves with a handbag slung over one arm.

“Oh, dear. Whatever is the matter?” 

Archer turned to find a small, elderly woman looking up at him in concern. She dipped a hand into her bag and brought out a handkerchief, holding it out like an offering, and he realized he was crying.

“That’s very kind,” he said. “I’ve just...I’ve lost my wife.”

The woman smiled and patted his hand. “Happens all the time. This is the largest station in the state, you know. I’m sure you’ll find her momentarily.”

A soft breeze suddenly whispered against Archer’s neck and he closed his eyes. Something familiar, the fortune teller had said. A whim of violets trembled in the air. 

“Yes, I’m sure you’re right,” he said.


Submitted: February 10, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Amanda Crum. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:



Oh that was such a perfect ending. It was this mix of sadness but utter happiness that he had found her. I loved the line the woman said, it was very clever and a great way to build into it being Claudia. I really enjoyed reading this

Tue, February 11th, 2020 12:57pm


Thank you so much! This was such a fun project. :)

Tue, February 11th, 2020 9:58am



Mon, February 17th, 2020 1:11am


Very good. I love a good time travel yarn

Mon, May 31st, 2021 8:16pm

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