An Adventure in Time

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A mysterious time machine has been discovered in a small town and scientists are eager to recruit a human guinea pig to test it out. Janel Moonshined is unexpectedly chosen and forced to time-travel forward 100 years. Welcome to the future . . .

Titusville, in the present is a small, nobody town filled with small, nobody people.  That’s why, when a time machine was discovered in Pennsylvania, it was hushed up and a certain nobody from Titusville was experimentally sent into the future.  When the contraption was first discovered and fixed up, experts didn’t know what to do, but humans have always had an interest in the future.  First, they decided what was the most important to discover in the future.  The person traveling would have to be young, in case that accidentally aged in the event of an error.  They would have to have half-decent grades, be able to survive, and know their task like the back of their hand.  The scientists rounded up all of the worthy candidates, (not very many), and randomly drew one.  News Flash:  It was me.  Janel Moonshined of Titusville.  What an honor it was!  (That was sarcasm.)

 

I had not wanted to be chosen.  It was horrifying to hear the news, but I was rounded up by the government to be a guinea pig for the world.  Like I said, what an honor.  The scientists gave me a trunk the size of a cooler and told me to fill it up with stuff I thought I would need and bury it somewhere within Titusville.  They gave me a few cameras and sample - collecting devices that I was required to pack, but other than that, I was on my own.  I sat down and thought.  I would need money in the future, I could pay for food and possibly a place to sleep.  What if I got injured?  If I was planning on eating, I should bring a toothbrush.  Always pack an extra change of clothes.  Even if I didn’t buy food, I would still want some water.  Here is my list:

 

- First Aid Kit

- 3 Changes of Clothes

- Toothbrush, Dental Floss, Toothpaste, etc.,

* 1-week Food Supply

* Sample Collecting Tubes

* Camera

* Something to pick locks

*Maybe a few other things that I can't think of right now. 

*Most Important: Toilet Paper

*Money: $75.00

*A backpack

 

Now to bury it . . . . . What if I buried it somewhere where they built a structure in the future?  What would I do if a building was on top of my supplies?  I would dig a hole by Drake’s original well.  No one would ever disturb such a historical sight like that.  And, I would put a large rock on top of it to mark the spot in the future.  At last, I was ready, after a couple of weeks, and the day came for my timely departure.  Nerverackingly, the technicians were working on some last-minute repairs.  I was briefly educated on how to function the basics of the time machine and climbed aboard.  The time machine resembled a large bouncy ball, with a wall that surrounds you on the inside.  The wall resembled an extremely crowded pincushion, full of buttons and a springy floor.  The scientist didn’t care if I lived or died time traveling, so long as they still got feedback.  The door shut behind me, and everything went eerily silent.

I pressed a series of buttons that I had freshly memorized, and the machine rumbled to life.  I was going 100 years into the future.  The contraption shook, then jumped.  I didn’t think it was supposed to do that.  It continued jumping, and I was bounced up and down through time on the cushion-like floor.  I was being thrown so violently that I was hitting the walls and several buttons I didn’t know the functions of.  Then, everything went dark.  Small warning lights flashed around me, and a moment later, I met a harsh impact and the machine ceased all movement.  Only the door slowly opened.  Outside of it, there was light.  Light and silence.

Slowly, I crept out and gazed at my surroundings.  I saw directly ahead of me, a pond.  Behind me, there were discolored chunks of plastic in one general area, and to my left, a crumbling pile of stone.  Burgess Park was very nearly unrecognizable.  I winced when I saw the large indent the time machine had left in the ground.  If I was here, then the High School was not far away.  During Cross Country season, we always began our runs at the High School and went all over town from there.  I began jogging at a steady pace to my destination, the chest.

There was no sign of life whatsoever.  As I ran on the remains of roads that I once knew, I vaguely recognized very few buildings.  All of the structures were covered in ivy, and either crumbling or collapsed completely.  I saw no signs of human life whatsoever, only the occasional squirrel or bird.  At last, I  saw what I thought was the sight of the chest burial.  Sure enough, a large stone was nestled in the brush.  It took almost all of my strength to roll it aside.  That’s when I realized I had nothing to dig with.  Although the ground was soft,  I couldn’t do it all without a shovel or at least some type of tool.  I sighed and began to shift the earth with my hands.  After a while, I found a sturdy enough stick nearby to aid me and a few small rocks.  I dug and dug some more for several hours.  With each passing minute, I grew more tired, thirsty, and doubtful.  At long last, I struck something hard.  Another hour, and the chest was out of the ground.  Slowly, I lifted the lid.  Inside were all of my century-old supplies.  They seemed sturdy enough, and there was water!  I hoped it was still safe to drink after ten decades.  I pulled out one of the cameras.  I filled up the backpack with most of the supplies that I had brought.  The money would be useless, because no stores were open running, or had anything worth taking anymore.  The chest would stay here.

 I returned back to the heart of Titusville and stopped to take pictures and hydrate as I ran.  I traveled to all of the places I used to go to during Cross Country season for training.  Plants were still coming back in old gardens that were no longer tended, and I was able to snag a few vegetables off of those.  I took test tube samples of the ground all over the abandoned city.  However, the most concerning thing to me was how empty everything was.  Was everyone just inside of their homes?  What had happened?  Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and I found one of the less decayed buildings.  It appeared to be a house.  Cautiously, I stepped inside and took a photo before looking around.  It looked normal, other than being 100 years old.  The coats were still hung on hooks and all of the furniture was in place.  A bowl was on what resembled, but the contents had long since withered away.  It seemed as though normal life had been going, and then humankind had suddenly ceased to exist.  It was unnervingly eerie.  Next, I ran to one of the only places I hadn’t been.  The cemetery out by where Walmart used to be.

As I arrived, I didn’t know what I was seeing at first.  I slowed to the walk at the rusted gate.  It took me a moment to realize that all of the graves had freshly turned dirt near them.  Upon closer inspection, they all were completely empty.  Compelled by duty, I snapped a few photos, took a ground sample, and was quickly on my way.  My job was done.  I was going home.  When I reached the time machine in Burgess Park, it looked, for the first time, welcoming.  I knew that I could transport all of my stuff back with me, so I climbed into the cockpit, and pressed a few buttons.   I waited.  Nothing stirred.  I tried again.  No response.  I hopped out and circled the sphere.  The impact of the landing must have altered something.  I went back inside and searched all of the walls until I found the RESET button.  Then I tested a slightly different combination of buttons, levers, and switches.  The time machine whirred to life and the door whispered closed.  I felt like I was flying, up, down, and in every direction.  Then, the sensation came to a gentle stop.

As the door opened, I once again saw light and discovered that I was back.   The scientist awaited me, and immediately checked my bag.  I told them that I had filled all of the vials with samples from the future, and filled up several memory cards with pictures.  A surprise to all of us was that all of the evidence has disappeared.  As the frantic scientists searched for something, anything that might be left, I smiled to myself as they looked away. 

Only the mere memory of the future remained.

 


Submitted: November 30, 2020

© Copyright 2021 janel b. moonshined. All rights reserved.

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