Friday, October 23, 2020

Grave Mistake #WEP #FlashFiction #2020 #TimeTravel




2020 Twice


Pink neon lights buzz nearby as I regain consciousness. The smell of sweat and french fries assures me that this is not the sterile lab we were in moments ago. 

"Dan?"

I sit up and call to my partner again. Finally, I hear a grunt.

"That hurt more than expected," he says.

"But we made it, didn't we? This is the eighties?" 

Dan helps me to my feet. "Yeah. This decor is distinctive. We've escaped."

I look around the room, admiring the pictures. A door clicks behind me.

"Dan?"

He's gone. I run out after him. 

There are people everywhere. No one in a mask. A few wearing leather jackets and only one glove. Hair defying gravity everywhere I turn. People are looking at each other, looking at me. No one is staring at a handheld screen. A man walks by me, music blasting from a large silver box he's hauling on his shoulder. No earbuds. A few people dance as he goes by, sharing in the joy of the song. Some roll their eyes at him. I'm so caught up in this music man that I almost don't spot Dan in a cafe.

"Amazon, Google, Netflix..."

"What are you doing?" I hiss as I grab his arm. The woman at the cafe table stares at me.

Dan smiles. "Fran, this is Ingrid. Ingrid, Fran. I'm telling Fran what stocks are going to exist in the next two decades so she can invest wisely."

Dan points to the newspaper Fran has laid out before her. She'd been looking at the stock exchange. 

"Is he making it up?" she asks me.

I fake a laugh as I pull Dan away from her. 

"What were you thinking? We can't tell people about the future! The timeline would change. We'd never be able to get back."

Dan grabs my shoulders. "I know. We aren't going back. When we don't show up, they'll think it failed. We can live out our days here, in this time. I've only got ten months left at most. And it's not like better cancer treatments exist now than in the time we came from, right?"

"That doesn't explain why you were giving out stock tips."

Dan smiles that devious smile of his, the one that talked me into this experiment. "I figured it out. Two-hundred thirty-seven changes need to be made for 2020 to not happen, to not go down as it did. Fran is one. She'll invest early in five major companies. Her daughter will inherit those. That will keep her from going through something that causes her to run for office. I have a whole chart, plotted it out. Just knock down the dominoes and what happened in 2020 will never come to pass."

~~~~~~~~~~

Dan lived long enough to see the first one hundred eighty-seven changes. We made so many ripples in the pond of time. I watched in shock as President Dukakis lost to Bush. Operation Desert Shield became Desert Storm. Every day I found one more change to the world I remembered. I believed Dan was on to something, so I carried on with his work. 

We shouldn't have meddled. It was a grave mistake. The Amery Ice Shelf broke. That's when I knew the timeline was reverting. Covid still happened. The murder hornets were born, though did less damage this time, so far. The US Presidential debate disaster was different from the one I knew, but one candidate was a different person. In many ways, this new 2020 was worse than the one from which Dan and I escaped. 

"I have to go. I need to be somewhere by October 31."

My nurse shakes her head. "Yeah, yeah. Gots trick-or-treatin' to do, aye? Think you be a child, gonna get candy? What costume you gonna wear?"

"I don't have dementia. I'm a time traveler. I get things mixed up occasionally because I remember two different timelines. It's not easy!" I can't believe I've been remanded to this place by the state. "I have to get to my lab. If I could just make a phone call."

"Oh aye, fate of the world depends on you makin' calls, does it? Now look, you've soiled yer'self again. Great time-travelin' scientist, can't even master usin' a toilet on time."

Behind her mask, she coughs. I've watched her out the window. As soon as she leaves work, the mask comes off. Probably infected. I have only days to get to my lab to save the world. First, I need to break out. Actually, first, I need a clean pair of pants. 


764 words FCA




Want some real horror from a grave mistake? Stop by Operation Awesome for a true cautionary tale for writers. I took the chance so you don't have to.

32 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Very engaging story. I like the fact that their traveling through time and their attempts to change things so that another 2020 wouldn't happen didn't work. Instead,there is a reverse which makes me think that regardless, we are seeing a repeat of times passed. History repeats itself.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

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  2. Not sure about murder hornets. Maybe bees. I think many people believe they could change the past. Usually they think about giving themselves advice. But would we really follow said advice? The dilemma is real. Great story.
    Nancy

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    1. Ahh... but has she been able to locate herself in the new 2020?

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  3. Hi JL - interesting to read ... reading the future for others - probably not a good idea. 2020 is a challenge though ... all the best - Hilary

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  4. This is so funny. I hope there's a way out for some of these people. My 31/12/2016 (sorry that's the English way) predictions are still not entirely correct... the Queen's still here...
    As for the murder hornets, well...
    Great job, J.

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  5. Read in a breath. Very funny and exciting. Acerbic at the end. marvellous.

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  6. Nicely done and with a bit of humor. I enjoyed this. Perhaps 2020 is just someone's attempt to make a better future that has gone terribly wrong or, perhaps, this is history just repeating itself because there aren't enough people thinking about the future and what's best for everyone- they're just thinking about right now and what's good for them.

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    1. Yeah. I'm seeing a lot of very selfish people lately. It breaks my heart.

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  7. You made me long for the 80s, and laugh at the changes wrought by the "ripples" your time travelers caused. It was those characters that did all of that, heh?

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  8. LOL, and they just discovered a Murder Hornet hive. Darn, are they fooling with things again! Such a great story! Especially for the times, what other explanation is there for such craziness! But once can't help but think maybe we deserve what we've done to ourselves? great entry!

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    1. Yeah, 2020 is a special test, isn't it? Thanks for stopping by.

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  9. Great entry JLenni! Love the tweets which sort of reminds me of the Tweeter in Chief, LOL. A tale with possibilities. A lot of people would like to time travel right out of 2020. Love the Murder Hornet hive. You made the 80s sound very appealing.
    Thanks JLenni. Your flashes are always thoughtful and appealing!

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  10. This is amazing! I love that tweet about time travelers fiddling with 2020, and I'm glad you used that as inspiration. I wish someone from the future would come and tell me which stocks to invest in. Thanks for sharing this awesome story with us!

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    1. Yeah, that'd be okay with me. Time travelers wanted!
      Hey, that's a cool book title...

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  11. Brilliantly done! 2020 is the gravest error of all errors for sure. Loved the light touch and the tongue in cheek humour. You made me smile all the way through the story. Unique and creative take on the prompt. Thoroughly enjoyed the read. Thank you.

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  12. I never know what to answer when asked what I would change in the past if I could go back in time. So many unknowns; mostly what worse would be unleashed for the changes. Butterfly effect indeed!

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    1. True true. Never know what will make things worse.

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  13. A truly imaginative and amusing tale, that takes the notion of 'hindsight is 2020' in a borderline literal manner. Well done.

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  14. What a terrible situation to be stuck in. My temptation would be to stop Dan before he has a chance to go into the past and muck things up even more.
    ~Cie from Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost~

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  15. What a great read - time travel always confuses me but you made it very readable.

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    1. I'm so glad! I just wanted it to be an easy, light read. Not all the science and stuff. Just the fun.

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  16. Oh wow, wish we could really go back and change the things.
    Ruchi Nasa https://thevagabond.me

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  17. I missed this the first time around! Wonderful story that gave me a chuckle, if a somewhat wistful chuckle. Well done!

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