Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Time Traveler

The Time Traveler
By Michael Cannata

He sat waiting anxiously. For twenty-four years he'd been trapped in a time that had ended centuries ago. Today, he was finally going home. The portal should open in just a few minutes. He prayed his wife wasn’t home when he got there!

She never believed him when he told her he was building a time machine down in the basement workshop.  For over 8 years he had used all his free time and more money than he saved to complete his project. He had to dip into his retirement money too. If his wife found out he wouldn't have to worry about retiring, she would kill him for sure.

Now, after years of work, it was finally ready to test! His wife wouldn't be home until tomorrow. If every went according to plan he would be back in his lab before she ever knew he was gone. He was beyond excited; he was thrilled to the point of trembling when he stepped into the chamber and pushed the button. He felt a strange tingling, then numbness and suddenly a great surge of dizziness. He blacked out for a few moments, maybe minutes and when he came to he suddenly found himself sitting outside a colonial village 300 years in the past.

He had twenty-four hours to explore before the pre-set return portal opened to transport him back to the future again. He would return exactly one minute after he left.

There was just one little glitch he hadn’t counted on. Actually it was a typo. Back in his time, what was now the future,he had set the time for the portal to open in 24 hours. In his eagerness, he'd accidentally set the date to be returned for twenty-four years after the date he arrived. He had arrived in the year 1712.  But the portal wouldn't open until 1736! He realized the error when he checked his remote panel. He was, thirty-six, now. When he returned he would be, sixty! How would he ever explain that to his wife?

A solution came to him. But for it to work he would have to survive the twenty-four years. When the portal opened, he would return home, 24 years older than when he left, even though only one minute would have passed in his basement laboratory. Once home, he would reset the portal to open in the past an hour from the time he first arrived.

He waited by the tree. If his plane was successful a portal should open in an hour. But after several hours he knew that, for some reason the portal didn't open. It was then that he remembered that he needed to be there in person to reset the time machine itself before a new portal could be generated. He waited for weeks before he knew that his plan hadn't worked. His only hope now was waiting for the portal to open again twenty-four years from now.

He managed to survive the twenty-four years despite knowing nothing about the ancient era he had become an unwitting citizen of. His knowledge allowed him to become a successful businessman and very rich. He had arranged to invest his money is such a way that, should he make it back, he would be a rich man then too.

 He had made a life for himself during the years he was in the past but none of that prevented him from getting back to the tree where he had arrived. He waited with both fear and anxiety and fell to his knees with joy when the portal opened. He had no idea why his first plan didn't work. Hopefully when he returned to 2012 he could correct the problem and try again.

If his calculations were right, and he set the time machine correctly this time, he would go back to the day in the past he arrived and find his younger self standing by the tree. He would explain what happened to the 36 year old him and send him back in his stead.

When his younger self stepped into the portal and returned to the future he would arrive 10 minutes after he left. Once he shut down the time machine the 60 year old version of him that was still in 1712 would cease to exist.

When he arrived back in his basement he felt weaker than ever. Despite the fatigue, he set about resetting the time machine. He worked as quickly as he could. But he moved as slowly as the old man he had become could. And then he heard the sound he dreaded the most.

In, 2012, his wife screamed when she saw the old man in colonial garb in the basement. She ran from the house before he could explain.  He almost finished resetting the time machine when the police stormed his basement. They opened fire on the crazy old guy holding the loaded musket when he turned to face them.

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