TIME ZONE

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TIME ZONE

13.99

The Chance to Go Back and Fix One Fatal Mistake

A speeding train, a blinding rainstorm, and the twisted remains of a car would haunt his life.

His petty decision had cost the life of his prom date. That event was such a deep cut that he spent the next twenty years living like a hermit, working on a speculative theory to manipulate the relationship between matter and energy, and thus alter the reality of time. When his efforts paid off, and the technology to jump time was in his hands, it had seemed easy enough to jump back and fix that one fatal mistake.

But nothing is ever that simple.

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I landed facedown on the cold floor. The crashing jail cell door reverberated violently, and then all was silent except for a persistent drip. I assumed that came from the tiny sink in the corner. The place smelled like an animal cage that needed to be cleaned. I tried to move. Everything hurt.

I probably shouldn’t have fought against those guys, I mused, reflecting on how I had frantically struggled against the two burly guards. At that point there was nothing I could have gained. But what it got me was cussed, kidney punched, and body slammed through the doorway.

“They must have been holding back on account of my age,” I moaned under my breath.

My anger dried up quickly. But I was still desperate. I was especially desperate.

Urgently, my mind raced through my plight. What am I now? Sixty-seven? I hate this instant-aging thing. And they’ve got my phone. I’ve got to get the phone and get out of here. But then where? I’m running out of safe places.

My mind flitted around out of control for a few minutes. The sound of the cell door replayed in my memory, and I mused wryly, At least that sound is constant. Well, everywhere I've been so far. It made no logical sense, but I found some consolation in the consistency.

When I finally mustered the willpower to push myself up to my knees, it was abundantly clear that the age factor was not working in my favor. I attempted to reach where the TASER had bit into my back. I was certain it was still bleeding. It was not.

Another irony struck me: Those things seem to be getting hotter every time I get hit with one. Or maybe, I considered, that’s an age thing too.

As I cataloged my sources of pain, a nagging concern surfaced. Why had I not been read my Miranda Rights?

It was disconcerting that the police had been dismissive, even contemptuous, of the notion of any suspects' rights. I wondered if that was a sign of the times or if the officer had taken it personally when I had yanked his TASER and tried to use it against him. I made a mental note not to do that again. It was too bad, as that had worked particularly well a couple of times in the past. I muttered to myself, “Electric shielding incorporated into body armor. It’s brilliant. Why didn’t I invent that one?”

With some effort, I reached for the corner of the cot in the cell and gingerly pulled myself to my feet. It was more difficult than I had anticipated. But once I got straightened up, I found myself face-to-face with my own reflection in the polished stainless steel that passed for a mirror. I looked like something an alley cat had regurgitated.

The shock of that view drove home an agonizing realization: I had failed.

I put my hands on the wall on either side of the mirror and leaned my forehead against my reflection. It was cool against my skin. I felt like crying. “I’m sorry, Farren,” I whispered. And I knew at that moment there was no longer any possibility that I could rescue him.

Then my mind briefly skipped back to the day that Ellen had died. In a flashback, I relived that nightmare for several surreal seconds before I stuffed it back into the recesses of my memory. It had been a fool’s hope to try to undo that day. Again I whispered, “I’ve failed you too.”

I tried to force myself to rationally assess my current predicament. There was no denying that I had been flirting with death at every jump. And at that moment, my reflection candidly affirmed that I had flirted too much.

“It’s 2046. You’re sixty-seven years old,” I accused my reflection. “Beat up. Locked up … again. And if you go any further, you’re going to get yourself killed too. Idiot.”

As I tried to comb my hair down with my fingers, I muttered, “But you’re not going anywhere without your phone.”

Then, for the hundredth time, I asked myself, “Am I completely insane? Maybe I do belong in a psych ward.”

The old man in the mirror did not reply, but the look of defeat was an unmistakable indictment. In despair I chided, “They’ve got your phone. They’re going to set off World War III.”

TIME ZONE
The chance to go back and fix one fatal mistake!