The Traveler from Earth

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

A scientist travels back in time to stop himself from destroying the world, but time flies out of his control.

If you can hear this, know that I'm talking to you.

I used Earth to imprison myself. Earth was a prison by my design. Every day the sun failed to find a hole in the black clouds. Every night a few more ounces of my blood froze. Snow shrouded the abandoned little town I grew up in, with its dinky homes, silent schools, and surrounding dead farms.

My cell was my childhood home. The home where I grew from an infant to a boy, and then from a man to wad of shivering old meat. I had no furniture. Just a black doughnut-shaped time machine in the living room. It was so big that it nearly touched the walls on opposite ends. I had stolen parts for that time machine from dead folks on each freezing continent. They were dead because of me-- because of my other invention, an interplanetary bomb with godlike power.

A head-shaped mirror was taped to a wall in my living room. For the last time, I ogled my face in that mirror. The hood of my parka covered my jagged forehead and my eyebrows. A black scarf blanketed my chin, mouth, and nose.

Only my green eyes showed in the mirror. I had given the reflection of my eyes the genius nickname, Green Eyes. Green Eyes said, “Nothin' like a good time travel to wake you up in the mornin'.”

I knew I was talking with my reflection, but I didn't care. In front of the mirror, I said, “Yup, 2015 awaits.” I pulled a crumb-sized phone out of my parka’s pocket. I dropped that tiny phone into my mouth. It dissolved. Tiny parts of it would soon reach each lobe of my brain.

Green Eyes said, “Ready to talk with your impressionable 15-year-old self?”

I said, “Who knows? Maybe he’ll ignore me, or maybe, after I time travel, I might just pop up in the center of a star.” That was the risk. I didn't have enough energy to control where I would pop up after time traveling. A crumb-sized phone, though, had such little mass that it didn't take much energy. I had one set to appear in my fifteen-year-old self's brain.

Green Eyes narrowed like he was smiling. He said, “You’ll see. It’ll be easy to convince yourself not to build the bomb.” Sheets of tears blanketed Green Eyes as he said, “Godtime, Seth.”

“Thank you. Thanks for everything.” I turned away and ripped off my scarf. I peeled off my parka. All I had on was my gray one-piece Pajamas. The cold nearly paralyzed me. One spider-like limb at a time, I put on a glowing gray spacesuit that had sucked up my savings. I had lost eighty pounds because I could only afford a small one. Even with my fatless, hairless body, the suit felt like tights. The material was thin as paper. The helmet was a fishbowl. I got what I paid for.

I pulled open a door in the metal, time traveling doughnut. Inside, there was a dim golden glow. I slid into the machine, shut the door, then punched a big red button above my chest. The machine rumbled like a motorcycle engine. Instantly, I spun headfirst around the hallow doughnut at over a thousand miles per second. My body blurred like a smeared watercolor painting. The golden glow brightened to a blinding shine. The engine rumbling amplified into a painfully loud explosion, followed by a heartbeat of explosions going off louder, and louder, and even louder. I couldn't hear myself scream. My speed increased to near light speed, 'round and 'round. My dentures dislodges and ricocheted off my helmet. They slammed into my forhead. Fire surrounded me.

And then, nothing. Everything was black except my head and my glowing gray suit. I just hung there in space. My dentures floated around my head like a screen saver. I did a one eighty. A white dot fit right into the corner of my eye. I brought it to the center. That white dot could be a star, a galaxy, or even a spaceship. Maybe I was a trillion light years from Earth, but that didn't matter. My phone was quantumly entangled with the phone in my 15 year-old-self's brain. That allowed for instantaneous communication.

“Hello fifteen-year-old Seth, this is the first message from your future self. Don't believe me? Well, in tonight's B-ball game, on your fifteenth birthday, Ray Allen will have 33 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 steal, and he'll win 96 to 82. Now let me know that you're listening. To start recording a message, spell the word send in your mind's voice. To send it, spell the word send also in your mind's voice. By the way, so you don't filibuster, I'll only let you respond once after each of my messages.”

The quantum phone in young me's brain could send more than words. It could send a glimpse his mind. And here it came: A teen girl's freckled, vanilla face flashed before my eyes. My chest felt like it was filled with acid. The teen face belonged to Amy Anderson, my first and last love. I never rallied the courage to speak to her. If I had enough time, I could change that.

My young self said, “You sound way too loud to be just a voice in my head, so I must be extra crazy. I know you're not from the future. You predicted those B-ball stats 39 months after they happened, dummy.”

“39 months late? How?” Then it hit me like a pair of time traveling boots. “Oh, fuck.” I figured the doughnut shot me through space at near light speed, which causes time dilation. Every five seconds for me was about a year for my young self. In a few minutes, it would be 2045, the year my bomb was born. I snapped. “Write this down. In 2027, there's gonna be an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in San Francisco. It'll kill about 90,000 people. I don't expect you to save them. I just need you to accept that I'm from the future.”

More images of Amy Anderson flashed over and over. I had no time for her now.

My young self said, “All those hundreds of sci-fi movies and books-- they must've poisoned my brain, but I won't give in to insanity. Please, just leave me alone.” He paused, but I heard faint static on his end. “Oh yeah, you'll only listen if I spell the word send.”

I said, “Did the earthquake happen yet? Just answer 'yes' or 'no'.” The burning of whiskey spread in my mouth and down my throat. This must be around the time I moved away from my dad. We didn't speak for years, and then he died. No time to change that either.

“Oh fuck yes! I knew you were from the future! Hey listen, you gotta respond faster. This lag is ridiculous. Okay, so in case you don't know, it's December 19, 2029. Now tell me a winning lottery number.”

“Idiot, keep you messages concise. Here's the whole point of this: The President of the Universal Nations, Flex Winslow, is gonna tell you to build a new kind of bomb for defense purposes. The truth is, Winslow needs it to kill assassins on Earth. But that bomb will also kill billions of people. You have to refuse to build it. They'll torture you. They'll keep you alone in a tiny, lightless cell for life, but you can't give in to them. Now here's the fucked up thing: even if you don't build that bomb, other scientists will. Building it might take only a day longer without your help, but one day for billions of people is easily worth your sacrifice.” A tingling sensation spread in my brain.

He said, “Oh fuck.” For a several seconds, all I heard was faint static. He continued, “I promise you, I won't give in. Wait a sec. If they keep me in a cell for life, I could never time travel, and this conversation could never happen. It's a paradox.”

“Not true. Once I traveled to the past, I changed the time line. I stopped being your true future self. Nothing that happens to you could effect my history.” I saw flashes of young me placing roses on my dad's tombstone. I hadn't visited it before.

Young me said, “I have no idea what that means, but okay.”

I said, “President Winslow told me to build the bomb in 2045. What year is it?” Felt like blades were shoved under my fingernails. I crunched into a ball from the pain. That must've been President Winslow's torture.

My younger self said, “The year is 2046. I broke my promise. I gave in to them.” He chuckled. “But I only pretended to build the bomb. Before they found me out, I stalled them for fifty-one days.”

Heavenly chemicals jolted up to my brain. Goosebumps sprung from my skin. My arms and legs spread in an X, and I triumphantly roared at the universe.

Suddenly, my younger self's mind erupted in me. I felt his tears rolling down his cheeks. I heard his misery-infused humming. His loneliness was so unbearable, I grabbed my fishbowl helmet to pull it off. Then, all at once, the loneliness vanished.

My younger self continued, “I'm in that tiny lightless room you described. I can't even stretch or stand up. I'm no longer sure if you're real, or if my memories of you are made up. I'm losing my grip on everything.”

I'm sorry, and I'm sorry that being sorry does nothing. Try not to think about your life. Just focus on all those people you helped-- the billions of relationships you prolonged.”

Listeners, if you're there, you're now caught up to my present. My other self hasn't responded again. He must be long dead by now. As for me, I have twenty seconds until my oxygen runs out. The white dot looks a little bigger than it did before. Maybe I'm flying right to it, and maybe someone lives there. I'll won't hold my breath.


Submitted: February 05, 2013

© Copyright 2020 AdamKadmon. All rights reserved.

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Sasa Sijak

This is a very nice story with and I like it.

Wed, February 13th, 2013 5:26am

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