only I had opened that letter. If I had,
my friends and family wouldn't be in constant fear and depression due to a hovering threat, and I
wouldn't be unable to help them. If I
had read that letter yesterday, I wouldn't be outside a world I love, tired of
looking in. That letter would have saved
an unspeakable number of lives, if only I hadn't been so thickheaded as to
disregard it as unimportant or junk.
story is a very long and complicated one. Though it was only a just over day,
it felt much longer. If I were to tell
this story accurately, I suppose it would start with a hobo and rush hour.
38 hours earlier
walked quickly down the back alley, trying in vain to block out the freezing
autumn chill with the collar of my black trench coat. The breeze nipped at my unprotected fingers,
freezing them solid. The sun was setting
very quickly, casting eerie shadows over almost everything I saw.
was going to be late home, having been held up at the university by my friend
Andrea, who wanted me to teach her ballet class. My first instinct was, of course, to decline,
I wasn't good with little kids and they never seemed to like me. Plus, I was previously engaged in a rather
large project with Professor Fornix, and it would require my full
attention. Still, Andrea was my friend,
so I felt the need to help. Once I had finally
agreed, she started to go over everything I would need to know at top
speed. All of these instructions held me
up, so I ended up missing the bus, not to mention I had to teach a bunch of seven-year-olds
right after class the next day. On top
of that, it was rush hour when I left, so every single street was swarming with
people and cars, which meant the alleys were my only option--it was that or the
was about a block away from my house when I heard it, the faint sound of
shuffling and muffled words. I peered
into the darkness and saw an old man hunched over and shivering.
got a bit closer and I noticed he was muttering the words, "He sent me
back. He sent me back. Why did he do
it? Why? Why? Why?" With each 'why'
he got a little louder until his voice was practically a yell.
I turned to walk away, hoping to avoid confrontation of any sort, but I only took
a step when the old man's hand shot out and grabbed my wrist.
whipped my head around, causing my short black hair to temporarily obscure my
vision. The old man was face-to-face
with me. I could see his thin gray hair,
decrepit yellow teeth, the bulging veins in his forehead, and the look of
slight insanity in his eyes. The
scariest thing by far, was the fact that he looked slightly familiar.
you her?" he whispered. His breath smelled of stale bread and rum.
"He said--he said you would be her.
He said you would be her, at exactly 7:48
p.m. October 23, 2056,"
he paused and took a deep breath. "Are you her?"
slowly shook my head. He narrowed his
eyes and tightened his grip on my wrist.
are her. He said you would be. You have to be her. Why aren't you? Why
aren't you?" He released my wrist and started walking around in circles
hitting his head with his fists still muttering under his breath.
bit disturbed, I gathered myself together and hurried the remaining distance to
moment I stepped into the house I was overwhelmed with the wonderful
smell. It smelled like pumpkin pie,
turkey, and cinnamon, all of the things that make autumn my favorite season.
home!" I called out. Immediately my
lifelong best friend, Henry, popped out of the kitchen and turned towards me.
first thing I noticed about him was that there was flour all over his
face. It looked as if the bag exploded
all over him. There was probably some in
his hair but it was nearly impossible to tell since his hair was so white
anyway. For most people, his white hair
indicate that he was old, but to him it simply meant that he was 'extra
are you late?' he asked in a suspicious tone.
rolled my eyes. "Relax, I was only held up by Andrea-- she wanted me to
teach her ballet class. Plus, last week
was only a one time thing, I already told you, you won't have to come bail me
out of jail ever again."
Henry said. "As long as you are completely certain that I will never get a
phone call saying that you tried to hack in to the White House's databases
again," Sometimes when Henry got protective like this it was annoying, but
now it was merely amusing. There was no
way anybody could take him seriously with that much flour on his face.
held my hands up in mock surrender. "I am certain that I will never try to
hack into the White House's databases again." Henry nodded, satisfied.
"Now is there anything I can eat? I'm absolutely starving."
dinner's already on the table. Just help
smiled and made way my over to the dining room.
Everything smelled delightful and I was famished.
came wandering in, holding an envelope in his hands. "You got mail." "Mail?" I said confused.
"At this time? I didn't even hear
the mail truck."
shrugged, "Well, it says 'urgent' on it.
Maybe the post office has a new system where they deliver 'urgent'
snorted, "It's clearly just junk mail, it can wait. Plus if they had a new system they would send
out a memo or something."
rest of the night went as usual and it wasn't until the next day at college
that something odd happened again.
Andrea called, while frantically waving me over.
I asked, hurrying over to join her.
Fornix is gone. No one knows where he is, apparently he left to get coffee this
morning and disappeared. The only thing
people have found is a funky looking box with your name on it," Andrea
said quickly in a soft voice.
"My name?" I questioned incredulously.
yours. Some people think it's the
project you've been working on with him. Is it?" She looked at me with
didn't make any sense. Professor Fornix was missing, and all he left was a box
with my name on it? How could he just
vanish? People don't just poof for no reason.
I said slowly, "I've barely even started on my project with him yet."
opened her mouth to respond when a voice rang out over the intercom,
"Glory Emir, please report to the Dean's office."
that heard the announcement looked at me.
I felt my face flush. They all
probably thought that I had something to do with Fornix's disappearance--if I
were, them I probably would to.
slowly stood up and walked out of the class, all eyes following me. Andrea made to get up and join me as I walked
out, but someone stopped her.
the door to the class closed, I steeled my nerves and walked down to the Institute
of Technology, where the Dean's
office was located.
I got to the Institute, a bunch of men in dark, official looking suits
appeared. One of them grabbed me and
said, "You will follow us Ms. Emir.
You must remain silent and not speak unless answering a question."
and the other men began to walk quickly, dragging me with them. " You must
understand that this is a very serious matter. Professor Fornix was working on
a very specialized project that could put us all in danger." Why was this
starting to feel like a bad science-fiction movie? "We believe that it is
a transportation device that travels through time."
I gasped and stopped walking. A time machine.
Was that possible? Was this what
the professor had wanted me to work on with him? If so, did that mean it wasn't
finished? If it wasn't finished, then going through it could have disastrous
consequences, such as insanity, or your life being sped up so that you are many
years older than you should be. There
are many complicated parts to the science of time travel.
fact, one of the reasons Professor Fornix had wanted to work with me on a
project was because of my paper on time travel.
He said it was very thought provoking and had excellent ideas that could
change the course of humanity. It was
pretty high praise for a seven page extra-credit paper.
that didn't make any sense, the project we were working on had to do with dark
matter, not time travel. What was going
men grabbed got a hold of my arm again and forced me to keep walking while they
plowed onward with their speech. "You will have ten minutes alone in the
Dean's office with the machine, if you cannot either destroy or deactivate it
we will be forced to terminate you and the machine with the only way
'only way possible' could only mean one thing--they were going to bomb the
building. With. Me.
we reached the Dean's office and they shoved me inside and locked the
doors. Immediately, I looked around the
room. It was a typical room for a
Dean. There were bookshelves, paper,
pens, a big chair, two little chairs opposite the huge desk, probably for
visitors, and atop the huge desk was something entirely out of place--a time
was rather small, to be honest, just a box. But you could tell that it was so
much more. The whole thing seemed to thrum with energy and excitement. How was I supposed to destroy this?
didn't help make this so I had no idea how it worked, or how to turn it on for
that matter. There was no way for me to
take this apart and destroy it that way, it was made entirely of solid metal. Time was running out, and then it occurred to
me. I could just stop this from
happening. I could write a letter to
myself explaining what would happen, and then none of this would ever take
place at all. If I read it, I would have
known what was going to happen and could have found a way to prevent it.
quickly hurried to the paper and pens, and scrawled down everything that I
would need to know. I signed the letter with a flourish, and that's when I
realized that it was useless.
I had already
received the letter. Last night, a letter arrived-out of nowhere, and I didn't
read it. If I didn't read it then, who
is to say I would read it if I sent it now?
I was doomed--I am doomed. I was and am going to die in this very room.
I sent the letter. Hoping for the best,
I placed it on top of the machine and it disappeared the second I turned
around. What if I went through this
machine? What would happen? Would I end up insane? If I went back I would survive, but not as
disappeared and it would never get read by the person who could change all of
this. Just last night, I ran into that
homeless man, and now that I think about it, there's a good chance that that
was Professor Fornix. He must have tried
to go back in time and it went horribly wrong.
The only problem with that was that the old man said 'he sent me back,'
so who is 'he'?. Plus, Fornix should have seen this coming, he
would have done something to make sure his genius machine wouldn't be
Henry and Andrea, they'll have no idea where I went. Andrea will be expecting me to teach her
class and Henry will probably have another fantastic dinner ready and waiting
I gasped and started sobbing, as what was
happening finally sank in. I'll never
see anyone or anything that I loved again, and in a heartbeat I knew my time
was up. I closed my eyes and said
goodbye to everything I ever knew. Right
before the bombs landed, I open my eyes one last time just to see the darkness
This is a very important
letter. Right now both of our lives
depend on you reading and understanding this.
Professor Fornix has created a time machine. He will go through it and cause massive
panic. Nothing will be safe.
This time machine means that people
could go back and do awful things. It's true that this could be a good thing to
have, but messing with time can never end well.
This machine is a threat to the government and they will do everything
in their power to destroy it.
Right now I am dying, dead, and
about do die all, at the same time, and you are too. This moment and this life, they are fluid,
like water over stones. While I die I
also live--does that make any sense? If
not, it will.
Please, do me a favor and give Henry
a hug, tell him you love him and his wonderful cooking, and that you could
never ask for a better best friend. Talk
with Andrea, tell her how you think that it's awesome that she teaches ballet,
and that she is one person I will most certainly miss. Call up Mom and Dad,
tell them that you love them, share some warm memories and cry over sad
ones. Remember the people you have long
forgotten and appreciate them. Please do
these things. For me.
I realize that this letter will
probably never get read, but this needs to be stated:
I am happy, so happy to have been
here in this world.. And I am so happy to have known the people that I know.
Keep this letter Glory, if you ever
read it, keep it and remember.