I Wonder What Would Happen…

egyptian artifact

© Kathryn Forbes 2009

“Why we’re doing this again, Wyatt?”

“We’ve done this countless times, Josue…take a real artifact and substitute a fake in order to maintain our timeline. If we let any evidence remain of alien visitors to ancient Earth, it would drastically change history and you and I might never exist.”

Wyatt Ellison and Josue Hunter were historians working for an agency that maintained timeline integrity. Whenever the Temporal Event Indicator at their lab lit up, it meant they had another job ahead of them. Today, they were removing the extraterrestrial circuitry from an Egyptian artifact. Actually, it had been in storage in the basement of a museum in London for decades, but tomorrow it would be examined in detail for the first time.

“There. Done. We can go home now Josue old boy.”

“Just once I’d like to see what would happen if we didn’t respond to that pesky light. Oh well.”

Wistfulness and carelessness went hand in hand. Josue followed Wyatt back to the future not noticing he’d left a small but vital control chip behind.

Ellison and Hunter shot forward through the centuries until, crossing over the moment each was born, vanished into the realm of probability.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fiction Challenge of October 8, 2017 (yesterday). The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.

For this one, I decided to dust off a couple of characters I introduced here. I wrote three stories using them and then hit a dead end. Occasionally, I bring back old characters when I find a new use for them. Sadly, Josue’s mistake ends their adventures before they begin (although since they are fictional and I am their creator, I can resurrect them any time I feel like).

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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The Motive

jack colvin

Actor Jack Colvin who I’ve “cast” in the role of my character Gene Ingram.

“Are you sure you want to do this, Gene?”

Gene Ingram was sitting in a rather uncomfortable office chair which had been placed in the temporal projection chamber, something that looked roughly like a hollowed out egg. At age 48, he had experienced his fair share of heartache and headache which was why he had to do this.

“No, Walter. I don’t want to do this at all, but he killed dozens of people and wounded hundreds more. Most of the time you Feds figure out who they are, what they are, why they did it, what they had for breakfast two years ago last Thursday, everything. With this one, you’ve turned up Nada. I’m your only hope…again.”

Walter Rice was the FBI’s Special Agent in charge of the latest mass murder, this one at a pro-NRA rally in Tampa Bay, Florida (an irony fully enjoyed by everyone who hates the NRA, Republicans in general, and the current President in particular). That was six months ago and in that time, the motives of Graham Jesse Booth were still a mystery. He was neither pro nor anti-gun, in spite of the fact that he had been surrounded by several automatic rifles and semi-automatic handguns when local law enforcement burst into his motel room just as he committed suicide. He was apolitical, only voted in three elections over a thirty year span. There were no indications of violent thoughts or posts in his Facebook and twitter accounts. As far as his family and friends knew, he was a perfectly ordinary and even boring married man, father of four, and grandfather of three.

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Walking on Fragile Ribbons of Time

time travel

Found at omni.media

Peridot, Arizona – Date Unknown

Travis woke up with a tremendous headache. The light was dim. He was laying on his back in what felt like a conventional bed.

Was he back home at the Project? He tried to get his eyes to focus. Dim light coming from his right. Shades pulled down over a window. He was in a bedroom but it wasn’t one at the base or for that matter, at his ranch.

He tried to sit up, but it didn’t work the first time. The headache suddenly increased behind his eyes. He lay back down a moment and then tried again. This time he managed to sit up. He could hear a dog barking outside.

Yes, it was a bed. Pillows, quilt, looked hand-made. Pictures on the wall of people he didn’t recognize. A cheap painting of some foothills. Wallpaper. Beat up wooden floor with throw rugs. He hadn’t seen one of those pull down shades since he was a kid (he liked to pull them down all the way, let go and watch them shoot up to the top). It gave the light coming through it a golden cast, as if the world were a sepia tone photograph.

He wasn’t far wrong.

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Scattered Thou Across the Ages

anubis

Burial sled of Anubis from King Tut’s tomb, on display at the Egyptian Museum – Cairo, Egypt.

The Egyptian Museum – Cairo – December 22, 2016

“Here’s what we’re preparing for our 2018 exhibit, Gordon.”

Archeologist Gordon Ashe was being given a private tour of the new wing of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo by his friend Dr. Tarek Sayed Tawfik, the general director.

“This is truly astounding, Tarek. I have to admit to being more than a little envious. All five thousand of the artifacts that had been discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb will be displayed together for the first time.”

“You shouldn’t be envious, Gordon. After all, you’re here almost two years ahead of schedule, and you didn’t even have to pay the price of admission.”

“I guess being a personal friend of the director helps.”

Both men laughed. Gordon and Tarek had become friends at Oxford as undergraduates some decades ago. Both had a passion for antiquities but their lives traveled along highly divergent trajectories. Tarek had eventually gone into administration and Gordon gave up life as a field archeologist to work for the U.S. Government, though of course Tarek wasn’t sure exactly what services the esteemed Dr. Ashe performed for them.

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Eye of the Storm

ancient jerusalem

Jerusalem in the time of King Solomon – found at keyway.ca

Somewhere in that vast throng of revelers was Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, a woman out of time. Gordon Ashe, Ross Murdock, and Travis Fox stood looking down at Jerusalem. King Solomon had dedicated the Temple of Hashem, God of the Hebrews, and the entire region was now celebrating the festival of Sukkot. From what Ashe recalled, during the dedication, blood ran exceedingly freely as 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep were presented as peace offerings.

Now was the great festival. In order to keep their cover, the time travelers erected their own temporary shelter. True, they were conspicuous. By rights, they should be in the city, but then again, as foreign travelers, presumably non-Jews, they did not have to fulfill the commandment to observe the festival.

Yet even if somehow they could get into the city already packed with hundreds of thousands, then finding Aiyana would be a miracle. Gordon chuckled to himself as he regarded the newly built Temple, clearly visible from their vantage point, and imagined it to be a house of miracles as well as prayer for all nations.

“So what now, Gordon?”

“We can’t hope to find her by going in, Ross. We’ll have to wait. I told Kelgarries as much over the radio link.”

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I’m Leaving You For 1966, Dear

colbert

© Provided by Variety

“Where are you going, NaCumbea?”

Martin Fields watched the woman he had fallen in love with put on her skin-tight temporal transfer suit. Both of them were reluctant time travelers, recruited by extra-dimensional beings for the purpose of correcting time anomalies in their little corner of time-space.

She’d gone through hell and was just now beginning to come to terms with her new life. First of all she had died at the age of fourteen, but that was over 700 years ago. She was resurrected by “them” as one of their time travelers, but a rogue “them” named Vanir had captured and tortured her in an other-worldly realm for centuries.

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On a C-130 Flying into Puerto Rico

c-130

Evacuees leaving the destruction of Hurricane Irma board a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft of the Royal Netherlands Air Force at St. Martin airport September 10, 2017. (Netherlands Ministry of Defense via REUTERS)

The Puerto Rico National Guard C-130 was approaching Luis Muñoz Marín Airport carrying evacuees from St. Maarten in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“Guys with swords just popped up in the hotel lobby, like Pirates of the Caribbean only more raw.”

Gus Phillips had been vacationing in St. Maarten feeling lucky he was alive to talk to the young man beside him.

“Anyone get hurt, Gus?”

“No. They seemed confused like everyone else. Their swords looked real, though. Then it was like they vanished or something.”

“Maybe that’s a good thing.”

“Oh, we’re landing. Gotta phone my nephew…tell him I’m okay. What about you?”

“I’ll be home soon, Gus.”

Time Traveler Martin Fields was satisfied after he’d sent those ancient pirates back to 1665, that no one realized who they were. Hurricane Irma spawned a very real time storm which dumped those buccaneers into 2017 during the worst hurricane in recorded history.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw photo fiction challenge. The idea is to take a Google street image of a specific location and use it as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Given recent events, it was impossible for me to not write about the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. I learned that the Puetro Rico Air National Guard was helping evacuate people from nearby islands, and that on St. Maarten, there were numerous reports of lawlessness, including men with swords in a hotel lobby.

It’s been over six months since I wrote a time travel story featuring Martin Fields, but this seemed like the sort of situation that would be right up his alley. The “time storm” concept I took from my current set of tales I’m writing as a homage to the works of Andre Norton (Alice Mary Norton).

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The next Martin Fields and NaCumbea adventure is I’m Leaving You For 1966, Dear.

Diverting Armageddon

ceres

Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov

“Papa, why do I have to go to Hebrew school? You didn’t.”

“My dear little Miss, that’s because I’m not Jewish. You and your Mama are.”

“But it’s so boring. I already know all of the Hebrew, the cantillation is so easy, and Rabbi Endelman drones on and on and…”

“Now stop it. Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, you will not mock your elders. This is important. There are so many Jewish children behind the Iron Curtin who would love the opportunity to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but…”

“I know, Papa. The Communists made it illegal.” Almost twelve-year-old Rachel Aiyana hugged her Papa. “I’m sorry. I love you and Mama. I just sometimes get…well, frustrated.”

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

comet impact

Found at The Verge

Twenty year old Fred Valentich was reaching the end of his rope or at least his dreams. With only 150 hours of flying time, he had been twice rejected by the Royal Australian Air Force and failed all five of his commercial pilot’s licensing subjects, not once but twice. He’d also been cited for deliberately flying blind into a cloud and received a warning for straying into restricted air space.

He wanted to be a professional pilot more than anything, but everyone who knew anything about flying said he was no good at it.

At 1819 hours on October 21, 1978, he took off in a rented single-engine Cessna 182L from Victoria’s Moorabbin airport near Melbourne, Australia with the intension of heading across Bass Strait to King Island near Tasmania. He’d told flight officials that the purpose of his trip was to pick up some friends from the island, but he’d also told his friends that he was going to pick up some crayfish.

Neither was true. He just needed to get away and clear his head. His life was mundane, boring really. He was enthralled with UFOs and thought it would be great to encounter one in the air as other pilots claimed to have done. If nothing else, he could log a few more hours flight time.

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The Lost and the Found

man of the hole

The only known images of The Man in the Hole were captured in the film Corumbiara – Photo credit: Vincent Carelli

“Now we wait.”

Historian and linguist Aiyana Zheutlin sat down on the ground in front of the rough-hewn hut in the Amazon rain forest.

“Wait for what?” Her companion, engineer Lynn Huỳnh quickly sat down beside her, putting her tablet in her lap.

“Him. I told you. We brought the food and water as a gift. This is his land. We are intruders but we hope he’ll accept us as guests. So we wait for him to respond.”

“How long, Aiyana?”

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