My flight landed, and I began the long shuffle to the pick up area…
The Dark Passenger
I’d been a delivery man for years.. then suddenly, I was joined by a dark passenger….
Dinner for Two
Days of anticipation, waiting, and coordination had finally led to this: a dinner. To Darren, though, this wasn’t just any dinner. It was a dinner with Tereus, though nearly everyone … Continue reading Dinner for Two
The Human at the Edge of My Yard
Today, I saw a human at the edge of my yard. They seemed strange and stared listlessly at the house my human moved us to. I barked, and I barked, … Continue reading The Human at the Edge of My Yard
It’s been a long while since i’ve posted on this blog. But for any consistent readers, I’ve been working on a few other projects. Specifically, I’ve had a series of short stories published in OFM (OUT FRONT Magazine), and if you have time to read them, that would be great! Just head on over to https://www.outfrontmagazine.com/category/queer-voices/lit/ to see my short stories under the name Brian Aragon-Shafi Byrdsong
Next! I’m planning on turning the byrdiverse into more of a collective project so don’t unfollow this page just yet! just stay tuned for some more updates! With any luck, this page will soon be filled with Fiction, Poetry and visual art that will make. you. gag!
I hope you all will continue to follow me on this journey!
Samitha sat in a chair by the window of her 3 bedroom apartment. She opened the window, letting just a bit of the outside air inside her home. She thought it was becoming stuffy…she also wanted a smoke. She carefully reached in her tiny pockets and slid out the red and white pack. She reached for the table and grabbed a lighter and lit the cigarette, inhaling deeply, and savoring the taste and feel of the murderous pleasure.
Samitha gazed around at her apartment and shocked herself. She hadn’t realized just how many plants she had acquired in the short six months of living there, but they made her feel a sense of contentment. She remembered it was watering day for most of her plant babies, and so with a quick flick out of the window, and a spray of the air freshener, she began to pull them down from the ceilings and out of the windowsills. The grabbed a glass and filled it with water. She took great care not to overwater them as she feared too much would drown them. One by one, she grabbed the potted plants and gifted them with the gift of nutrition. She imagined that deep inside their cells, they were jumping for joy.
Nearly half an hour after she began the task of nurturing her semi-motionless children, she grabbed the final one from the hook in the ceiling and began to pour water in the soil. As she did so, a leaf ever so slightly brushed against her. She placed it back into its initial position as soon as she noticed.
It moved again. This time it was a quick brush against Samitha’s thigh.
“This can’t be happening. I’m losing my mind, right?” Samitha said to no one.
Samitha decided to pour the last of the water in the plant and replace it on the hook by the window. It was the perfect place she thought at the time. As she let the full weight of the plant and its pot rest upon the hook in the ceiling, Samitha noticed something peculiar about the plant. She noticed that it seemed to be swirling its leaves. No plant she had ever seen before had moved in such an obvious way, save the venus flytrap.
Samitha reached towards it, and the stems reached back. Quickly brushing against the palm of her hand.
“Oh, hello there!” Samitha said. Running her hands through the rapidly growing stems of the Pothos. Enjoying the fact that it was behaving more like an animal than a plant. Before she knew it, though, the plant had begun to enmesh itself in the cells of Samitha’s body. It had started to learn who she was, not just in the sense of her personality, but in the very roots of her being.
The Pothos dug itself deep into her muscles. Samitha tried to rip herself away from the thing, but the pain in her muscles forbade her from doing so.
“Stop,” She managed to whisper, hoping that it would be able to recognize her pleas for mercy and show the same compassion she had show it in its early days. Samitha didn’t realize that the more she did while under its grasp, the more it learned. The more it became like her.
The flesh on her arm began to quickly decay as the plant made its way around the rest of her body. It engulfed the whole of her arm, wrapped itself around her torso, and began to silently snake it way down her legs. In mere minutes, Samitha was nothing more than a shell of her former self. A pile of dead skin lay beneath the plan, which continued to grow and form something different than itself.
The stems and leaves of the plant began to wrap around each other, and eventually, they began to form a small foot. Its colors began to morph, seemingly struggling to find the right shade and finally settling on a light mocha color as they continued to grow and pile on one another.
As the minutes passed, a foot turned into a leg; that, in turn, created the beginnings of a torso. Within the hour, the Pothos had recreated itself into a walking and barely talking copy of Samitha herself. It matched the blueprint it had stolen from Samithas cells from the mole near her eye, right down to her glimmering hazel eyes. With its purpose complete, the Pothos Samantha set out, eager to explore its newfound world.
Jessica Ferretti sat quietly at the dinner table with her husband Shawn. They had arrived at le Vrai to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary. They normally hosted a big party, but this year, they decided to do something a bit more lowkey. Shawn had grown tired of her months long planning for the past 13 years so, out of respect for him, she had relented to his desire, and agreed to a small dinner.
The place was dimly lit with romantic lighting scattered across the ceiling. The lighting gave everyone a ‘sexy glow’ and made them all look like stars. The smell of fine French food wafted through the air and made Jessica and Shawn more anxious for their meal.
A tall and sprightly waiter bounded over to refill the water glasses that Jessica and Shawn had drank in anticipation of their meal.
“Apologies for the wait, but please enjoy another basket of bread.”
Jessica’s face twisted, “I don’t want another basket of bread. I’d like the meal that I ordered,” she said as she slammed her hand on the table. Shawn sat across from her and shook his head. He rubbed his lightly sweating forehead and just watched as another of Jessica’s famous tirades began.
“Don’t you know who I am? Offering me bread is like offering water to a drowning person! Useless! Did you really think that I, Jessica Ferretti, a model, would like MORE bread?”
The waiter stood in silence, listening to her berate him.
“Honey, can you chill? Please? The man is just trying to do his job. It’s not his fault things are taking longer than normal. Plus, think of how much better things will be once we get it. The anticipation makes it all the better.”
Jessica shot him a look that would have killed him if her eyes were weapons. “That means jack-all to me Shawn! They need to hurry up and get our stuff. We’re paying a couple of hundred bucks for what? Mediocre service? I will not accept that.
Jessica unleased a slew of curses at the waiter who began to back away and stutter that he was going to get a manager. Shawn looked around and noticed that the entirety of Le Vrai was staring at them. His face grew hot with embarrassment and eventually Jessica calmed down.
“Damnit Jessica, do you always have to do this?” he whispered to her.
“I absolutely do.” She said, indignant at the implication that she might just be mean. “I mean, they have a job to do, and if they aren’t doing it, and that impacts me, then I’m going to say something about it.”
Shawn knew there was no arguing with her. They continued sitting in the perfectly lit room, and Shawn reminded himself of whey he was married to her. She could be horrible, at times, but when they were together, alone, he felt a spark of love. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever dated. She had also treated him the best. Shawn had always considered himself an average guy. He was slightly overweight, and had a bit of a patchy beard that for some reason he always let grow out. He never understood how an international supermodel ended up with him, and yet, 15 years later they were still married. Shawn worked hard to make their marriage the best it could be.
As they continued to wait for their meal, The entire restaurant heard a siren blare from outside. It was unusual, not like the usual sirens they would hear from a cop car or a fire truck. It didn’t even sound like a tornado siren, a sound they had grown accustomed to in the Midwest summers. This sound was almost like a snarl, like a corrupted, demonic animal who decided to let everyone know where it was.
Jessica and Shawn covered their ears and were met with little success. The sound penetrated their ears and they felt as if they were going to go mad. They closed their eyes and hoped it would soon end.
Moments later, the sound suddenly stopped. Shawn opened his eyes at nearly the same time as Jessica. The man she saw before her was not the same man who sat before her minutes ago. His patchy beard had grown somehow into a fully filled out and shaped beard. Something she had only seen on her co-models in the past. The man in front of her was toned, with an angular jaw and near perfectly smooth and unblemished brown skin. The only thing that seemed off about him was his crooked teeth. Somehow though, through all the changes, she could still see it was Shawn. His eyes gave it away.
Shawn was horrified when he opened his eyes to check on Jessica. Her silky hair had turned into a crumpled mess of dry and cracked ends. Her skin was pockmarked with what seemed to be miniscule stab wounds on her face. She now seemed ill proportioned, with a head that was nearly three times larger than her neck. Her teeth jutted in multiple directions, and her eyes seemed to disagree with one another as they faced different directions. The way she looked reminded him of the witch stories he was told as a child.
The people inside Le Vrai all reacted differently. Some couples embraced each other as if they hadn’t seen one another before, others ran away from each other, and you had others where one half of the couple was leaving and the other half begging them to stay. Jessica and Shawn did no such thing. They merely uttered each other’s names to confirm they were themselves and slowly got up and headed to their home.
Moments after they walked through the threshold of their front door, Shawn shook his head.
“Just what the hell is going on? You look like a troll, Jessica!” Even through all the changes that Jessica had endured, he could tell when she was upset. Her face twisted to an expression even uglier than the one that had already manifested itself on her former visage of beauty.
“And now you look like several of the guys I wanted to cheat on you with!” Jessica yelled back.
Shawn lowered his head and ran off into another room of their million-dollar home. They slept in separate rooms that night, afraid of any other statements that would exit their mouths, and afraid of the person that could possibly have been sleeping next to them.
Jessica woke up to bright light shining through the blinds of the windows and the loud sound of news blaring from the main room.
“Our top news story tonight is that god-awful sound that apparently the whole country heard last night.” the anchor said. She was an average looking woman before, but now, Shawn thought, she was downright beautiful. “Officials from the white house are saying they have yet to determine the cause but have determined its effects. It seems that the sound has distorted our vision and somehow entangled them with our perception. People who have been taken ‘ugly’ actions against others now seem to appear the way that they behave. And it also appears that those that have been quote, unquote “nice” to other people seem to have gotten an appearance boost. We will now broadcast the presidents’ press conference regarding the issue.
The president flashed on the screen, looking the same as he always did, as ugly as ever, with maybe just a few more face spots and comically large scars. Shawn muted the tv as Jessica made her way into the room.
“So, that’s what this is, huh? I look how I’ve supposedly behaved?” she said, as she made air quotes with her hands. “I’m a good, and nice person, so im unsure of why I’ve changed to look…like…this.”
Shawn looked over at her and rolled his eyes. “Is that what you really think, honey? You’re downright mean to just about everyone you come across.”
“No, I’m not!” Jessica retorted.
“Oh, come on, Jessica. You told your sister she could do with some birth control because it was irresponsible to bring so many ugly children into the world.”
“I was joking!” Jessica said.
“No, you weren’t. You never apologized, and when I asked you to, you said “why should I apologize for telling the truth.” Shawn slowly closed his eyes and looked back at the tv. “That statement 10 years ago made me wonder if that’s why you never wanted kids with me., after all, I’m not the epitome of beauty…I’m just some average dud who was lucky to even be in the same room as you.
Tears began to fall from Jessica’s eyes.
“I didn’t…I didn’t realize.”
“Of course, you didn’t. You never have, despite how many times I’ve told you that some of the things you have said or done were not ok. I’m going to ask you for something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now.”
“And what might that be, Mr. Perfect?” Jessica said.
That old building on the corner had seen a lot. It served for over 50 years as a beacon of hope and refuge to some of Azuretown’s most hopeless residents. Sure, it was run down, and more than a little dilapidated, but, when someone was down on their luck for some reason or another, The Azzuro hotel always found a place for them.
Toya Spelmon was in a bad spot now. For years, she was the queen of Azuretown. She was widely known as a woman who could get things. Need to renew a license to sell alcohol, but not everything is up to standard? Call Toya. Need a false address so your kid could go to a better school? Call Toya. All you needed to do was promise her a favor down the line and you were in the clear.
Toya’s favors, however, had finally run out, and she found herself inside the Azzuro, hoping for a miracle. As she had helped the residents of Azuretown get what they need, they stopped needing her services and she had to use more and more of her favors, until last month, she used the last one to make sure her rent got paid. Luckily, the mysterious owner of the Azzuro agreed to let her stay there for free.
She’d never met the man who called himself Dale. No one had. Stories floated around about him for decades. Some said he was some tech billionaire who had started his own company years ago after being fired from his job decades ago. Others just said he was a kind man with a kind heart whose rich parents had died, and he felt like giving back. Perhaps none of it was true. Perhaps all of it was. Toya didn’t care that much, but she was grateful that the man had stepped in to help her.
Toya sat in the lightly decorated and uncomfortable room. The bed was too firm, and the stale air around her stank of age. The room contained none of the comforts she grew used to in her own home. There was no internet, there was no place for her to really relax, and stepping out onto the main grounds of the hotel for a smoke made her uneasy. The Azzuro, for all the help it has offered Azuretown’s residents over the years, did not seem the safest of places. It didn’t take long to find the gang members roaming around the place looking for an easy mark. Toya found it astonishing how just five miles down the road, a wealthy suburb popped housed some of Azuretown’s most influential and wealthy residents…not to say that they weren’t guilty of their own crimes. Toya had been there often enough to tell plenty of stories of how the rich and influential live.
As she lamented her lot in life, her phone vibrated in her purse. Her cell had been like a desert in the past month… that is to say, the jobs had dried up. So it was a welcome surprise for her to hear something from it. She reached into her black leather purse with gold trimmings and read the message on the screen.
Need Help. Meet outside Azzuro?
The number was blocked and gave no further details about when. She responded asking the question of when this person wanted to meet. She was met with a quick reply stating that the text could not be sent. Toya mulled it over and it didn’t seem like the best idea, but what could she possibly have to lose, after all, her life was pretty much over. She placed her phone back inside her purse and gathered up her locs into a loose bun. She exited the door and made her way back towards the front door of the Azzuro where the tired-looking front desk attendant sat quietly reading a large book, barely acknowledging her as she left the building.
Through the glass sliding doors, she saw a tall man, dressed in clothing that he seemed to drown in. A long white t-shirt and jeans that swallowed his skinny frame. He looked around nervously and Toya guessed that this was the guy that sent the cryptic message. Instinctively, she grabbed her mace, cleverly designed to look like lipstick and gripped it tightly in her hands as she strolled over to him.
“You looking for Toya?” She asked him loudly from several feet away.
He quietly shushed her and pointed to an alley not far from the front door of the hotel.
“No, tell me what you want first, then we can take this thing to a more private area.”
The man rolled his eyes and sauntered over to her with the grace of a dancer, despite his body being drowned in the clothing that she was quickly becoming to suspect was not his.
He leaned in close to her. “look, I’m looking for something. It’s an object. This is going to sound crazy, but the things I’ve heard about it are amazing. I even met someone who said they used it,” the man said in a
“Well, what exactly is it?” Toya replied, sure that this was a joke.
“I can tell you, but not here. I’m not sure who has been following me.”
Toya nodded her head. She was intrigued. “Follow me.” She led the man back into the hotel. As they began to pass the attendant, he lifted his head from his book and began to speak.
“Hold up, Hold up. All guests, have to be registered to enter into the hotel,” he said.
“He’s with me,” Toya replied firmly.
“I can see that. Doesn’t change the fact that I need to know who he is.”
The man looked around nervously and eventually began to talk to the attendant. “My name is Oscar Acevedo. I’m visiting my friend here to discuss some family business…now is it okay if I go in with her?”
The attendant looked skeptical, but grabbed a clipboard with several lines dedicated to listing some of the personal information of the guests in the Azzuro. ‘Oscar’ grabbed the clipboard, scribbled in his information, and handed it back to the attendant.
“There you go, now we’ll be on our way,” Oscar said.
“Enjoy your time at the Azzuro!” the attendant said gleefully with a wink. Toya rolled her eyes in disgust and began to walk back to the room. Toya took her seat on the bed and Oscar sat on the crumbling chair in the corner of the room.
“Alright, spill it, Oscar.”
“Okay. Well, about 15 years ago I heard a rumor about a pair of brass knuckles that let you ‘skip on life’ for a bit. It’s said that they’ll give you a double who’ll make your life better.”
“And you actually believe it?”
Oscar shook his head, affirming Toya’s accusation.
“Look, I’ve done most of the legwork myself, but I’ve been feeling a little shifty since I got here. Someone gave me your name, and I decided it might be best if I let a professional handle it from here on out. I’ve been able to trace the knuckles last known location to here.”
“And who was this person who you met that has used them?” Toya said, still skeptical that any of this was real.
“My cousin, who lives in Guadalajara, told me he left them here about fifteen years ago, after he bought them from some guy named Dale. I believe him. Before he said he had those things, he was in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, and well on his way to losing custody of his children to his abusive ex-wife. He said he put them on, woke up and it was three years later, and everything had been resolved.”
The rest of the story, Toya wasn’t sure she believed, but the name dale sparked her interest. The same name of the man who owns Azzuro.
“Alright, say I believe you. What are you going to do for me?”
“I’ve heard how you like to be paid. When I come back, I’ll owe you two favors of your own choosing. Just please find these for me.”
Toya extended her hand towards Oscar. “How about we shake on it? I’m one of the best at what I do, so, just know that I will find these for you, and you will owe me TWO favors,” Toya emphasized.
Oscar extended his hands and firmly shook hers.
“Any more detail on where they might be in here?” Toya asked.
“No. I just know he said he left them here.”
Toya shook her head and dismissed Oscar from the room. She set off on looking for the knuckles. She entered the red-carpeted hallway and looked down each side. She noticed that there were several unmarked rooms and decided that that should be her first stop. She walked through the hallway and stopped at the first. She twisted the handle and was surprised to find that it was unlocked. She entered the room and the smell of bleach burned her nose. She had walked right into the cleaning closet.
Toya quickly exited the room and made her way to the next door and found the linen closet. That is when she noticed the stairs. They headed down and Toya was all too eager to get down there and see what secrets the Azzuro held. As she descended the stairs she began to notice how different the building had become. The red carpet had faded into a strange shade of maroon and the wooden walls became a brick façade. It reminded her of a gothic castle. Her nerves began to weaken. She questioned whether she needed this job that badly. Nevertheless, she persisted.
At the foot of the stairs, she found herself staring at a darkly lit room with more unmarked rooms on either side. At the end of the hall, there was an ornately decorated door with a lion’s head atop it. It seemed too obvious to her that the knuckles would be there, and so she headed to the first unmarked door on her left. When she entered it, it seemed as if she had entered an entirely new hotel. Everything seemed new, from the carpet to the walls to the chandeliers that hung from the ceiling and few feet. Toya admired the view down here and wondered why this same care wasn’t given to the living spaces above. She felt a push at the small of her back and tumbled into the hallway as the door slammed behind her. She turned and attempted to open the door only to find that it was locked.
“Hello!” she yelled. “Let me out!” she continued. She was met with silence and resigned herself to making her way out of this place as soon as she could. Something about this felt off, and she planned on cancelling the job with Oscar. It wasn’t worth being this afraid.
Toya stepped silently across the carpet towards the end of the hall. The sound of footsteps filled the hall, and yet, she could see no one that could have been making them. The air around her was cold, and an unfeasible wind seemed to blow her loose top and pants around her. As she walked, the hallway itself seemed to twist and turn, causing her to forget the way back to the door, not that she would be able to make it through it anyway.
As she continued to walk, she began to see a ghostly form take shape. It looked just like her. It had the same chestnut skin, the same hazel eyes and the same jet-black locs hanging from its head. Toya’s eyes widened as two other figures appeared. A small child and her mother. Her doppelganger was speaking to them. She couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she knew this moment from her own life.
It was the time she desperately needed a favor taken care of. The child was crying. The mother had tears welling up in her eyes. Toya’s ghostly self was speaking sternly with them. Soon, she could see the mother handing over a wad of cash.
The figures disappeared and two others took their place as the hallway seemed to flip and tumble. The ghost of Toya was handing a stack of falsified adoption papers to a couple who desperately wanted to adopt the child they had been caring for and soon the image shifted to that very same child, all grown up being beaten and yelled, it shifted once more to that child, all grown up and taking his own life.
Dozens of moments from Toya’s life flashed before her eyes, shown with ghostly figures of her and people she had interacted with throughout her life. They showed the consequences of her actions and after what seemed like days, the playthrough of Toya’s life stopped and a solid black door appeared in front of her, with a pair of brass knuckles at its base. Toya ran at them, grabbed them from the floor and ran through the door. She was back in the darkly lit room with three doors.
She thought she understood. These knuckles weren’t for her. They weren’t for Oscar. They belonged to someone who needed them, and she guessed that they lived behind that door with the lion’s head. She opened the metal door and tossed the knuckles inside. Toya made her way back up the stairs and to her room. She resigned herself to leaving Azuretown. She silently thanked Dale for his kindness to help, and cursed herself for her actions over the years. She stepped past the threshold of the hotel and set off towards new dreams, hoping she would never run into Oscar again.
180 days. It had been 180 days since the quarantine went into effect and finally, it was lifted. The virus that had devastated the country had finally gotten to a manageable level and people were slowly starting to step foot outside. The state had been locked down due to a novel coronavirus outbreak. Few had expected that it would become as much of a problem as it did, but skepticism didn’t stop the quick spread of the coronavirus. Kameron had been relatively calm throughout it all. He had a few bouts of anxiety but knew that the stay-at-home orders had been for the best. In truth, he was more nervous of the aftermath.
His job had suffered major blows but, somehow, managed to keep everybody employed throughout the pandemic. As he scanned his keycard to get into his office on that early May morning, though, his worst fear seemed to be coming true. His manager, Tony, was standing in the office.
“Kameron, why don’t you have a seat. Can we talk?
“Sure,” Kameron replied. He was almost certain of what was coming
“Well, first, I want to welcome you back to the building. We’re so excited to be able to use the offices again. You know, being able to stay home all day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” he chuckled.
Kameron nodded in agreement as a smirk flashed quickly across his face.
“But, Kameron, I have to be completely honest with you right now. The company has suffered major losses as a result of this. As such, the company has decided to cut about 1200 positions…and it really pains me to tell you that one of those positions is yours.”
Kameron dropped his head. “I should have seen this coming; I really should have. You guys did a great job at keeping all of us afloat during the situation, but I wished we’d had some foresight,” He said.
Kameron rubbed his bald head and stood up, preparing to leave the office. He saw a silver lining. At least all his office belongings were already at home. But how much longer was that home going to be his. The company had sent out their last paycheck for the period last week. Kameron would get a small 1-week check as part of this, but one week was not enough to cover him for June’s rent. He headed to the elevator and waited for it to arrive to take him to the first floor of the building so he could make his way home. As he waited, he saw his despondent looking face staring back at him from the mirrors that lined the elevator doors. Pitiful, he thought.
He arrived back at his tiny, overpriced studio apartment, and immediately started job searching. But no matter where he searched, it seemed that no job was going to be pay enough to help him support himself.
Kameron put in at least twenty applications that evening. He didn’t even think about eating that night. That next morning, he did the same. No job was offering the stability or the pay he needed to make it in Denver.
For weeks, he scoured through job boards, hoping that the right thing would present itself or he would find it. But come June 3rd he didn’t. He heard rustling outside of his apartment door. He heard the rip of the tape from the tape holder and the soft rubbing of a thumb on the wooden door. He cried, he screamed, he yelled at whatever being was there to hear him. But when he opened his apartment door, there it was a demand for rent.
He knew there was no point fighting it. He knew nothing would be resolved, even if he managed to find the job of his dreams. So, he started his packing. Everything had to be wrapped up and ready to go. Georgia, his birth home, was finally pulling him back. He had loved just about everything about Colorado, the scenery the people, the atmosphere. But it seems it just didn’t love him.
“Alright, just a few more tweaks, and done,” Lucius said to himself. He was only ten and already he had built his first time machine. He was only slightly above most kids his age, (most kids only built their first one at 12), and he was always told by his parents how proud they were of him. Despite their constant praise, Lucius felt that he wasn’t worthy of it. Because of this, he was going to go on his first time journey and he was going to go back to 2010. Once there, he had planned to find something his parents always believed to be lost. He’d planned to get his great-great-great ancestors’ one of a kind sunglasses. Since the rules of time travel clearly state that you cannot interact with your ancestors, the sunglasses had always been lost to them…until now. He had worked out exactly where and when to find it, so that it wasn’t in his ancestors’ possession.
He hopped into the time machine, closed the hood, set his dial for Savannah Beach, 2010 and turned the key in the ignition. He was ready to be the family hero. Everything began to spin around him. Each color began to blend into the next. He got dizzy. He thought he might puke up his canned CloneBurger© lunch, but before he could, he’d stopped. He saw air bubbles all around him, and he was exactly where he’d planned to land. He changed into his beach wear; a simple pair of black swimming trunks. He examined himself in the tiny mirror he had installed in the machine.
“Don’t I look dapper!” he said as he ruffled his blonde hair up a bit. He placed the time machine on lock down and ejected himself into the water. It was colder than he’d expected. Definitely something that wasn’t characteristic of 2010. He began to worry. Was this really the right place? Maybe it was just one of those days in 2010? What if he wound up on the wrong date? He thought of all the possibilities but, upon breaking the surface of the water and wiping his eyes out, it seemed that his assumptions were all wrong. It wasn’t just the wrong date. It was the wrong time period. It was the era of Rock n’ Roll, The Time of Bebop. By Golly, it was the 50s. It was then that he understood why President Lin opposed child time travel.
He floated at the top of the water for a moment, and considered his options. He could always break the rules and just steal them from his ancestors…of course he didn’t know what consequences would befall him if he did; and he didn’t necessarily want to know. He couldn’t turn around though, even if he wanted to. The time machine was on lockdown for the next 3 hours. He had to do something though. He couldn’t just stay in the water for the next 3 hours.
He stepped onto the soft sand, and that’s when he saw her. It was his great-great-great-great-grandmother and her sister. This was bad. His heart began to race; his eyes darted from side to side. She couldn’t see him! He watched them from afar at first. They then turned to take a photo. He saw his opportunity and ran for it. Just as he crossed behind them the camera snapped; and his heart sank. He knew he had just done the worst thing any time-traveler could do. He’d gotten captured in a photo. Granted, this was the fifties, and blur reduction hadn’t yet been perfected. He had to steal that camera before his time machines’ lockdown mode was done. He had to get it or else the future could be ruined.
He sat down in the sand, far out of the line of sight of his ancestor. He knew he must look strange to the other people on the beach, sitting there with his head in his hands while everyone else was out in the sand frolicking about. It was then that the idea struck him. If he ran fast enough he could yank the camera out of his ancestors’ hands and swim right back to his time machine. He had to have just enough time to get out of there. So he waited….an hour passed, two; then finally he had ten minutes to do what he had to do. She was still there sitting on a beach towel with her sister, they were seemingly having a lovely time and he was going to ruin it. They stood up off of their beach towels and began to prepare to leave. He darted towards them. She grabbed the towels, the camera and her sunglasses. His feet continued splashing against the sand. Suddenly, he was only feet from them. He eyed the camera in her hands and proceeded to grab it. But something unexpected happened. She held on to it firmly.
In a fit of what could be described as fear and anger, he placed his hands on her stomach and pushed her down, then he sped off towards the sea. He gave one last glance backward before he jumped into the water and that’s when he saw several people crowded around her. She was clutching her stomach and there was blood in the sand. He was only ten, but he knew what a terrible mistake he’d made. He looked down at his hands and they began to fade. He could see the grains of sand through them. The camera fell to the ground, and his heart beat slowed. The more blood that leaked out of his great-great-great-great grandmother the more he began to fade. The mistake he made had cost him his life. And there was nothing he could do to stop it. He was only ten, but the choices he made would resonate throughout the future; erasing not only him, but his mother who had been so proud of him. His emotions ran like wildfire. He was scared, then angry at himself, then he accepted his fate.