Rediscovering Serenity

koi pond

© Sora Sagano, Nemichi-Jinja, Seki, Japan

It had been years subjectively since Tamara had been to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, years since she’d let herself relax and stare at the serene Koi pond. For the last ten years, she struggled, on the run, hiding from Slaver Gangs, scrounging for food, making alliances, and often being betrayed.

Then she found the bunker. She’d traveled further into the Forbidden Zone than she ever had before, further than anyone dared. The disaster that caused civilization’s collapse started here. She found a breach in the bunker that led to the Temporal Accelerator. The power source still worked. Tamara had been a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore Labs before the collapse. She figured out how to opeate the controls.

She went back before the collapse, back to a more peaceful time in her life, a time when her Mom and Dad used to take her here, to this pond, to the Zen Garden. She used the time machine to send her on a one-way trip to the past. Tears streamed down her face as she watched her parents holding her hands. She was only five years old. “I miss you both so much.”

I wrote this small piece of flash fiction in response to the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner – 2017 Week #05 challenge. The photo prompt is at the top of this page.

Stories can’t be more than 200 words and mine comes in at 197.

To read other stories based on this prompt, visit


10 thoughts on “Rediscovering Serenity

  1. So sad to have one’s world change so drastically. There are many times when we wish to go back to easier and a more simple life. She, unlike most, had the opportunity to go back for a short while, but even that was hard for her since she knew it was only for a short while. Great story.


    • Actually, she went back in time permanently. But she’s middle aged now, going back and watching her parents and her five year old self. She’ll make some sort of life for herself, knowing the collapse is coming, knowing she can’t stop it. She’s saved herself. She’ll be old when the collapse comes again. But humanity will still suffer.


  2. Wonderfully written tale. I can see why she’d go back to this moment. I think it would be hard to see this but not experience it, be able to actually talk and relate with her parents. Perhaps being in the past, Tamara and her present fpday knowledge can change the future. I hope for that!


  3. i so identified with the story on so many levels – the heart connected with seeing her parents again, would love to make a time machine so i could have one last chat with my father – the brain connected with the science – I work in radiation oncology in an accelerator every day!! so science and spirituality will connect in the new world I hope like in your story.


    • After everything she’s been through, she certainly is strong. The thing is, the way I set up her age and history, the collapse will occur when she’s right around 60 years old. Of course, she knows what’s happening ahead of time, so maybe she can be prepared. On the other hand, she’s a physicist, so maybe she can find a way to prevent the event that leads to the collapse.


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