“Sit in this chair,” Stone commanded me. Her frizzy brown hair was dark blonde in the light. The room was bright and echoey, but the chair sat in the darkest corner. “I’m not going to lie to you and say this won’t hurt a bit. Sometimes it hurts. A lot.” She smiled before walking out of the sliding glass doors in front of the chair. They snapped shut behind her.
Settling myself in the chair, I didn’t know why I had agreed to this. I was miles from home, 4033 years in the future, and without anyone I knew. I don’t know why I had to press the button that I did. But press the button I had, so I decided to just settle back in the chair and take my best chance of getting back home.
All of a sudden, a shock ran through my body. In a flash it was gone.
Stone was striding back through the sliding glass doors. She pressed two fingers to my neck. “Barely a pulse,” she declared. “I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry? What do you mean, I’m sorry?” I staggered up from the chair, but my legs felt faint and weak. I collapsed forward, and Stone caught me in surprisingly strong arms and pushed me back into the chair.
“Listen,” Stone said softly. “You stepped into a Time Machine, transporting you from 2014 to 6047. The scans I’ve run show that it is a Model 212 Machine. Those were recalled last year because they cast the Contemporaneous Effect.”
“The Contemporaneous Effect?” I lifted my head.
“You have ripped a hole in the space-time continuum. I’m sorry,” Stone said. “You exist everywhere at once. In 2014, in 6047. In 1939. Every time period. You are changing history. One of these days you’ll die in one of the time frames you exist in. That will cause a domino effect, and you will be wiped out in every point in past, present, or future. I’m sorry.”
I just stared at her, blank-eyed. “How can I stop it?”
Stone looked grim. “You can’t. After your death, the universe will go back to normal.”
“And if I live?” I clenched the chair’s arms tightly.
“Then the hole in the space-time continuum gets bigger and swallow us all. I’m sorry. My scanner is hyper-intelligent. It’s determined the best course of action to be to kill you now, in this time period. The poison is already spreading through your veins. It should feel just like falling asleep.”
“I’m sorry?” Stone was thrust out of her soft tone.
“I said, how long? How long before I die?”
Stone checked a machine on her wrist. “The scanner has been generous. It’s given you exactly one week.”
“And what can I do with that week?” I asked, feeling strength return to my arms, some of the fear leaving them.
“Anything you want,” Stone shrugged. “Find your Model 212. Travel anywhere in time. Seven days. Then you will die.”
Seven days. I looked at Stone. She didn’t know me. She could have been cruel. Her scanner could have given me two days, an hour, five minutes. Together, they had given me a week.
“Thank you,” I said, getting up and making my way towards the door of Doctor Stone’s lab. No more fear. I stood up and began to walk out.
“Wait,” Stone suddenly called out. “The Model 212. It’s name… it’s called The Effect.” She smiled thinly. “It suits you. Contemporaneous Effect. The Effect.”
I smiled. “Thank you, Doctor Clara Stone,” I said confidently. “It’s a good name.”
A pretty average space girl: One week to explore all of time. My own time machine. Not a bad life.
What year should I die in?
I stepped into the Model 212 Time Machine. It was a small pod, around the size of a car. It was old. And it was killing me.
I pushed a button to see where it would take me.
(c) Books and Bark Blog & Sabrina Wolfheart
The inspiration for this story was the Weekly Writing Prompt: Time Machine on the Daily Post: “We’re giving you a free ticket to the period and place of your choice: where do you go? Do you stay where you are, or venture somewhere far away? Do you go all the way back to prehistoric times, or relive a fun moment you just had last year?”
Of course I took a simple prompt about myself and crafted it into a complex and probably wrong-sciency plot. Not to mention the writing came out pretty badly. Oh, well. That’s me, for you. I actually really like how it came out for a half-hour story, unplanned, and only about 1,000 words. But alas, it isn’t proofread! Oh, well.