farewells, fate, and the future
Serin broke from her trance when her pocket began to vibrate.
“Oh no no no no!” Serin cried. Her time was running out. She had to get back to the first place she arrived in the future. If she didn’t get back in time, the time machine would attempt to send her back by pulling her towards that place and towards the past at the same time. It had happened to one of the first people to test time travel, and it struck a fear to follow the instructions in all the subsequent time travelers.
Bennett, concerned at Serin’s distress, asked, “What? What is it?”
Serin pulled Bennett towards the elevator frantically.
“My time machine- it’s homemade- I’ll be torn apart- it’s almost midnight- I’m sorry!” She pressed the elevator button repeatedly.
They skidded inside and Serin pulled the remote from her pocket. An alarm clock had appeared on the bottom of the remote, the time 12:58 displayed in piercing blue. Serin’s stomach dropped.
And then her stomach dropped again because she was plummeting back towards the earth. She clung to Bennett and hoped that this speed would get her there in time. The clear shaft made her feel like she was in free fall, but she tried to have faith in the design; she had made it herself, after all.
She tumbled into the ballroom, feeling like the sides of her brain had been flip-flopped.
“Serin, I promise you, I’ll find you again,” Bennett said, trying to breathe and keep up with her as she leapt across the tiles.
The clock changed to 12:59.
Hurrying up the stairs, Serin replied, “I saw tonight that it’s not impossible for my crazy ideas and dreams to come true, so I’m going to hold you to your word.” She said simply, trying to remain lighthearted in the last minute she had.
The remote started ticking, and Serin looked at Bennett in alarm.
She felt frozen in place. Bennett yanked her through the huge front doors. He knew that even though it killed him to see her go, it would kill her if he tried to keep her here.
They both saw the glowing green ring in the lawn at the same time. It was just past the start of the path leading to the mansion.
As they raced to the grass, the ticking accelerated.
Serin grabbed Bennett’s hand and leapt into the circle. It was just big enough for her to stand with both feet inside. Serin knew time was almost up but she wanted to think of the perfect thing to say, something that Bennett would always remember her by.
“Bennett, I can’t wait for-”
There was a flash and Bennett shouted her name.
A moment later there was a circle seared into the ground and Serin was gone. Bennett’s fingers felt burnt. He looked down at his hands and found her opal ring in his palm.
“-the future, no matter what time it turns out to be.”
Serin’s words were partially lost in the dimension that connected futures and pasts. She finished them in the laboratory, where they reflected off the walls of the time machine.
When Serin reluctantly stepped out of the box, she noticed a piece of paper taped to the outside. In neat but slanted writing, there was a message:
Serin: It’s been a year and a half for me, but you’re probably not even missing me yet. Get some rest, I’ll see you tomorrow. - yours everlasting, BF