The Sacrificed

alternate universes“I can’t do it, Erickson. I’m no killer.” Rafael Isaiah Johnson had traveled back in time 172 years to stop a global extinction event and save the human race, but the man he hoped to enlist as an ally, Austin Randolph Erickson had another idea, a murderous one.

The two men, one a Hispanic-African-American who wouldn’t be born for another 135 years was standing in the other man’s kitchen between the refrigerator and the stove, the exit to his back, while the opposing person, a white American man of Scandinavian ancestry was facing him and holding out the butt of a loaded semi-automatic Glock 20. The drawer to his left and second from the top was still pulled open.

“You’ve got to do it, Johnson. I believe you. I believe all of the holographic evidence you brought with you, that my unborn son is the key in time, the critical element in preventing the reversal of the effects of climate change. Take the gun. If I don’t exist, then he won’t be born.”

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Rewinding Time

the road

© Sue Vincent

Sixty-six year old Douglas Collier was shocked to find that he was walking out of the foothills toward Idaho State Highway 21 somewhere between Idaho City and Boise. In fact, he didn’t expect to exist at all, let alone be on his feet.

“What the hell just happened?” He stumbled across a low, grassy rise near some abandoned fence poles, gazing down at the asphalt pavement just below the hill.

“Are you talking to me?” The voice sounded like a snarky teenage boy, someone you’d find on social media flaunting their progressive values alongside their World of Warcraft online scores. The harness on Doug’s body, concealed under his faded blue jeans, tan, long-sleeved pullover shirt and dark blue jacket glowed a brilliant white and green as the AI spoke each word.

In a momentary burst of anger, he shot back, “Who the hell are you, Robert De Niro?”

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The Man Who Would Be God

railroad tunnel

© Dawn M. Miller

Fanatic time traveler Michael Robert Obe knew only murder could change the future. “Sorry, kid. This is the only way.” The eccentric (or insane) physicist held the bound five-year-old boy by the collar of his shirt while standing on the railway trestle.

“I loved this view when I was a kid. That’s why I brought you here. Too much at stake in my future world to let you live.”

The child looked up at his captor in terror.

“Good-bye, Freddie.”

Obe rolled Fredrick Christ Trump into the Colombia River to drown.

“Now to see what sort of world I’ve created.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

As you may have guessed, Fredrick Christ Trump was the father of our current President Donald Trump. I know this harkens back to the old time travel paradox of whether  or not you would kill Adolf Hitler as an infant in order to prevent the Holocaust. I’ve written stories like that before, but given that (at least in social media) any action that would inhibit, stop, impeach, erase, Donald Trump (or anyone conservative, or anyone suspected of being a Trump voter or at least not a Democrat) seems justified, I decided to take it one illogical step further. Would you murder Trump’s Dad when he was five years old to prevent a Trump presidency? In other words, would you kill an innocent little boy in cold blood because you think it’s the greater moral good?

Interesting question.

To read other (kinder, gentler) stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

A Slight Miscalculation

grand canyon

© Google 2018

Eccentric billionaire Randolph Houston was making the adjustments on the temporal transfer device at the bottom of Arizona’s Grand Canyon as his fourth wife, 26-year-old Paulette watched.

“Why not wait for that expert, what’s his name?”

“Carlos Bradley, and he’s late.” The aging scientist continued his adjustments.

“What is he? A geologist, paleontologist, archaeologist?”

“All, which was why I hired him. By attaching the TTD to strata here in the canyon, I can travel back to the formation’s origins 2.5 billion years ago.

“How do you know what you’ll find?”

“Bradley, if he had been on time, was to tell me.”

“You’re going now?”

“The battery will only last fifteen minutes. Tempus fugit.” The 75-year-old flipped a switch and vanished.

Carlos arrived and passionately embraced Paulette.

“You’re sure he’s never coming back.”

“My dear, 2.5 billion years ago, there was almost no oxygen in the atmosphere. He would have died in seconds.”

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw challenge. The idea is to use a Google Maps image/location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Grand Canyon, Arizona, which I’ve visited many times. I looked up the history of the Grand Canyon and found that “nearly two billion years of Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock.”

I looked up what was going on about 2.5 billion years ago, and found out, among other things, that there was hardly any oxygen in the atmosphere. Too bad Randolph didn’t do his homework.

To read other tales based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

The New Dragon Saga: Dark Quest

dark woods

Found at wallpapertag.com

Chapter 7: He was seven years old, alone in the dark, and he could hear breathing.

“Who’s there?” His voice quavered and he was shivering with cold and fright. “Daddy, is that you?” He felt like he were in a large room somewhere, but when he breathed out, he could see frigid mist as if he were in a gigantic freezer.

“Grandpa?” How did he get here? The last thing he remembered was…then he realized that he shouldn’t be seven anymore.

“This has got to be a dream. I need to wake up. Wake up.”

Then there was more than one something breathing in the darkness, a lot more somethings, and they were all around him.

“No. Get away from me. I won’t let you hurt me.” He tried to think of a spell, any spell that might get him out of here. The light spell. It was the first one he’d learned a long time ago when he was…seven. How could he be seven again?

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The New Dragon Saga: Reversal

time stone

Image of the time stone in the amulet of Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) from the 2018 film “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Chapter 5: Estaban’s finger poised over the trigger as he pointed the handgun at the little boy and his baby sister. His back was to the paralyzed Landon and Steve, but the wizards could imagine the wicked grin on the villain’s face as he was just seconds away from killing the teenage sorcerer’s childhood self.

“Landon?” It was Grandpa’s voice coming from inside the house. He was about to open the screen door to see what his grandchildren were up to.

Then Estaban wheeled around, pointed the pistol at Steve and fired. In that instant, the temporal field holding the older Landon in place vanished and he tumbled to his left. He could see the bullet crossing the space between the two twins, the expression on Estaban’s face was one of sorrow, not evil.

His blind right eye couldn’t see the shield collapse around Steve just an instant before the bullet was to strike, nor the rage twisting his face. He barely had time to raise an elemental air shield between the combatants and his family. As the .45 caliber projectile struck Steve, he suddenly wasn’t there anymore.

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The Shoals of Time

water

© Sue Vincent

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NASB)

They say time is like water with currents, eddies, backwashes, yet it flows inevitably in one direction, from the past into the future. I’m standing on a narrow shoal looking out over a shallow sea. The clouds are particularly lovely at dawn, the subtle blues intermixed with hints of pink and white.

Of course, it’s all an illusion. No, that’s not fair. It’s better to say it’s all a metaphor. Even though I’m dead, my human senses and cognitive processing won’t allow me to perceive time as it truly is.

I’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as time, it’s just human perception as we have to organize and make sense of our moment by moment existence. I’m living, well, not in a corporeal sense, proof that’s untrue.

I used to be a man, a living human being, just like other living human beings. I woke up, went to the bathroom, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, got dressed, checked my email, and went to work just like everybody else.

And then I died, just like everybody else.

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Time’s Answer

leaves

© Tsukushi – Found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

foggy fence

Photo credit 14946675160vn34 AugustMorgue File – found at Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner

Fifteen-year-old Olivia Caie shook her scarlet mane in frustration. Broden and Nicol had never shown up, tricking her into building the Magika alone. It was sunset on All Hallows Eve. She’d never make it home in time.

Had the haunts already arrived or was it only an owl’s call? “Wait. The Magika can protect me, but I’ll have to stand inside til dawn.” The ancient design was her only hope.

###

Sean Watson walked along the fence in the fog wondering if he’d made it. A girl’s voice from the trees ahead sent him running through dry leaves toward her. He saw the shivering teen dressed in a full length gingham dress, huddled on the ground, arms wrapped around herself, muttering.

Seeing him, she gasped. “Sir, have the haunts gone?”

“I won’t hurt you. What were you saying before?”

She stood and giggled in embarrassment. “A poem. ‘Katy’s Answer’ by Allan Ramsay. I recite poems when I’m afright.”

“Allan Ramsay, but…” After a temporal accident in the 21st century, Sean found himself in 6th century England, that is until he discovered a way to manipulate the gateway. He didn’t quite make it home. Ramsay’s poetry was popular in 18th century Scotland.

I wrote this for two photo challenges, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s Photo Challenge #231 and Week 39 of Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. The former asks that participants use the presented photo as the inspiration for crafting a poem, short story, or other creative work of any length and you can click the link above to read all story entries. The latter asks the same but using no more than 200 words, and normally has a separate link to read submitted stories but today it’s missing (It’s fixed). My word count is 200.

This tale is actually a sequel to a short story I wrote called The Blacksmith’s Well, which I tried to summarize at this end of this story. Time travel is a fickle thing.

Magika is a 2010 film, but at a source I can no longer find, it also references the occult in ancient Persia, at least I think it does. I needed an exotic name for the circle of leaves.

And yes, Allan Ramsay is a real person.

The Blacksmith’s Well

time vortex

Time vortex as it appears on the television show “Doctor Who.”

Sever the Smith hardly ever thought of himself as Sean Watson anymore, unless he was staring down into the bottomless abyss left behind by the Tesseract Effect. Far in the future, he had been experimenting with exotic matter using a particle accelerator in his small, private lab outside of Leeds. Yes, he could still remember. Was it five…no, it was six years ago subjective time.

There was a reaction of some kind. Reality went berserk. Billows of strange energy shot from the accelerator’s ring engulfing the chamber and the labs beyond, and the scientific breakthrough the physicist and entrepreneur had anticipated, became his unending nightmare. Had everyone else been translated to another time or just been killed? He would probably never know.

“Say, ísensmiþ, mi friþhengest…” The voice came from the entrance of his shop. Sever quickly closed the lid over the well and stepped into the main work area, shutting the door of the antechamber behind him.

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The New Dragon Saga: Steve

handgun

Handgun image from freeart

Chapter 4: “We’re ready.” Steve was another member of the resistance, and like Landon, not only was his control collar inoperable, but he could use elemental magic. Steve looked human, a lot of the other soldiers didn’t, not quite, but the seventeen-year-old had never been aware of him back on Earth. Landon had been able to sense a lot of magic users by the time he was sixteen, but somehow, Steve had managed to elude him.

“When do we strike?” They were walking on the parade grounds. Landon’s limp was almost gone and Dr. Swanson, also a member of the rebellion, would have to declare him fit for duty in another few days. It was the same with Steve whose arm had been broken in a medieval combat simulation. He was slightly taller than Landon and a few years older, dark hair and eyes, medium complexion. He said his Mom was from Mexico and his Dad was from “someplace else,” which probably meant another dimension.

“Tomorrow at dawn. All of the magic users have been alerted. We’ll be the first wave, taking out the Master and the top echelon. Once we disable the control mechanisms, the rest will be easy. We must outnumber them a hundred to one.”

“Dawn.” Landon and Steve stopped at the flagpole and saluted. On the flag was a representation of the ancient Roman god Janus, the two-faced god who represented beginnings, gates, transitions, passages, and time. It was a curious symbol for a group of extra-dimensional players, who used intelligent life forms as pieces in their bloody war games. “What about the people in play? There will still be thousands in the different simulations.”

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