26 comments

Science Fiction Romance

This story contains sensitive content

Please note: child/spousal abuse and alcoholism are mentioned.

Errors with science are all mine ;)


144 517.25 Librarian Calendar

Update: Clients 25672 and 25673

Female and male human couple have chosen Infinite Realities package 2A.

Choice by Client 25673 has grave issues and will negate the Escape Clause. 

Request alternative options for her contract.

Eeeoooshyiii

Librarian, Highest Order


***

In a room with diaphanous walls, billowing white as if blown by ocean winds, a couple sits with the Librarian. Alongside the illusion of breezes, come the changing colors to the air around them; light touches of peach, mauve, pear, honey and larimar. Rather than distracting, the swirling colors play gently with their senses and bestow feelings of contentment. The couple instinctively trust the Librarian who is guiding them through their choices.

“While it is unusual for couples who are as … secure…as you are to seek separate destinations, it can be done,” says the Librarian. The couple hear his/her words voiced telepathically; the woman hears a male voice; the man hears a female voice. Both understand that it is the Librarian speaking to them. The man reaches down by the surround seat that hugs his wife’s lithe body in comfort and takes her left hand in his right. Just a gentle touch that after decades conveys a world of support and reassurance. 

A translucent screen appears above the trapezoid table where they are seated. An exact view of the Deucalion-Earth wormhole flickers in intensity as it pulses during a cycle of opening and closing. A grid is overlaid on the Einstein-Rosen bridge.

“This is where we are in time now. Your destination, Ananyaelizabethrehema-littlebuffalowalksonfireliketiger, will be here in the wormhole.” The librarian highlights the spec in bright yellow to show where Ananya will enter the alternative place in Earth’s time, in her past. 

“For you, Littlebuffalowalksonfireliketiger-ananyaelizabethrehema, this is where you will travel forward to the future as per your choice.” The tiny spot is highlighted in bright orange.

The Librarian downloads the documents that both husband and wife require to complete their passports. She/he hands a shimmery case, the size of an ancient eye-glass case, to his/her clients.

“The red disc has the caveats and FAQs for you to further understand the transference to another dimension, the blue disc has your destination and necessary re-entry data and the black disc is to record your permissions and dying wishes.” 

Except, neither of the humans is dying. The Librarian is akin to a salesman for the alien technology that has come from TRAPPIST-1e (the planet known to the earthlings as Deucalion.) With the use of the Einstein-Rosin bridge between the two planets, beings from either home world can choose an alternate reality to the life they have already lived. It only costs the form of money now used--bitcoin from the one institution handling Earth-Deucalion monetary exchanges.

It is the Earth year of 2374. First contact was happenstance -- just 258 years earlier. As the home planet for the alien race exists in the Aquarius constellation, the beings are euphemistically called Aquarians by humans from Earth. It has been a partnership with little rancor or strife; the Aquarians are aptly named for their celestial gifts of understanding and harmony.

“Please take your time to go over all of the contents. Discuss it with your family and friends and with others who are also in the application process. As always, you can contact me at any time.

“When you are ready, please record your time for departure on the blue disc. We will proceed from there.

“Any further questions or concerns?”

Littlebuffalo exchanges a glance with his wife and asks their shared thought. “Will we remember this life and each other?”

Both husband and wife hear a sigh as light as a single snowflake brush their ears. 

“You, Littlebuffalo, will have the history of your past life travel with you. The memories will be shrouded as to details but you will carry a general sense of what you have lived before. Your feelings will be retained but again, not intensely; rather like a dilution of what you once felt.

“Your choice, Ananya, to travel back to your past erases all that you have had in this life. You will not remember Littlebuffalo or your lives together.

“When you read through the black disc, you will note 'The Escape Clause.' It is vital that you read it several times as it will only apply to your journey, Littlebuffalo.

“Ananya, again, because your journey is back in time, before we developed the worm hole technology of alternate realities, we cannot offer you the escape clause. It is another factor to consider in your final choice.”

The Librarian pauses, waits several moments in companionable silence for any additional questions and then flicks the switch to pull back the moving walls. She/he does not stand as many humans find the tall, willowy height of the Aquarian to be intimidating. Instead, the Librarian indicates the path to the teleporter with delicate suction-cupped finger tips and the couple hear a benign whispered ‘goodbye’ as they leave.

***

Ananya and Littlebuffalo sit quietly on their well-worn recycled composite sofa. Each feels a maelstrom of emotions and opposing thoughts but neither can describe the hurricane to the other. They are miserable.

“I do understand, I do, Ana. You were born to alcoholic parents and have always yearned for the childhood you dreamed of as an abused child. I just wish we could be more to you than that dream.” Littlebuffalo is hurt. They have been married for an entire century; have children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren together and yet, his wife wants a family she never knew.

Ananya is a vital 132 years old; Littlebuffalo is a healthy 139 years. 

Ananya is torn. Love for Littlebuffalo and her family is overcome by a drive to erase the life she lived as a child. She cannot change her origin parents but she can be born to her alternative parents in another reality. The Aquarian technology has given her that hope. 

The drawback is: Ana will be caught in whatever reality she arrives in. The choices and life she may encounter will be permanent.  

Ananya pulls herself into Littlebuffalo’s arms. She is trembling, exhausted and overwhelmed but unable to let go of the inner child she protected and nurtured. Deep within her is the desire for wholeness.

“When we first considered Infinite Realities, we were going to travel together.” Littlebuffalo’s voice is without reproach; he is only stating the facts. “We would see other worlds, cultures, species and enjoy visits with our descendants. I thought you were excited by the adventures we could entertain with retirement and our new freedom.”

“I was …but, even by your side, I feel we will be strangers wherever we go. I guess I am more of a homebody than an adventurer after all.”

Littlebuffalo is swimming against a tsunami. “We could change the destination back to Earth and consider a new marriage in another parallel time. Possibly the timeline where the Aquarians don’t arrive until 2246.”

“Please understand Buff, I need to have another start to my life. To see what my potential was meant to be. In this timeline, I am broken. My existence is full of holes -- as if made from a bolt of lace. You can start over again! You can have more experiences and partners and another family. You could be the person who did not have to deal with my depressions, my irrational thinking or my quick anger. You wouldn’t have to be the one holding our marriage together. The one who mediated, acquiesced and gave in to me to keep our lives functioning.”

Littlebuffalo’s heart beat slows to a deadly rate; he is going to lose Ananya, his love. And all because she will not accept herself as the unique woman she is. This, then, will be his last gift to her; to grant her the one choice she desires most. 

The final few weeks are tumultuous – filled with all the last-minute considerations of a couple leaving a world behind them, forever. Littlebuffalo meets, alone, with the Librarian. The couple is ready but both are simmering pots of emotions: anticipation, nervousness, and doubt as well as excitement. An overriding feeling of loss.


144 519.58 Librarian Calendar

Update: Clients 25672 and 25673

Client 25673 will be joining her parents in sector 263 of the year 2105. Adult parameters for the personalities of the parents are attached and the exact parallel dimension has been pinpointed. The transfer will occur on 144 520.41.

Please confirm that alternative plan for Escape Clause has been approved by both planetary governments.

Eeeoooshyiii

Librarian, Highest Order


Ananya kisses her husband a long and tender farewell. She waits to hear that his transfer has gone well and his future is successful. She lets go of who they were.


Ananya’s transfer is complete. She is born, Donna Joy Blackwell, to a talented couple who bring copious amounts of love into her world as she grows up. They are artist performers who teach others to delve into their beings to become happy and healthy. Donna is loved and grows up to be a confident, well-adjusted adult working in physics focussing on string theory. She feels as if the world is hers. She has no memories of Littlebuffalo.


Littlebuffalo has married and is loved by his two partners— Rehema and Little Haven and their six offspring. There are times when a child’s cry or a spouse’s laughter brings a feeling of something illusive or missing for Littlebuffalo. The moments of disquiet are temporary; easily quelled, living in the now. 


145 917.38 Librarian Calendar

Update: Clients 25672 and 25673

Need to instigate Escape Clause for Client 25672.

Requires immediate reunion with Client 25673

Requesting permission to proceed.

Eeeoooshyiii

Librarian, Highest Order


Littlebuffalo had never wanted to leave Ananya. He and the Librarian had discussed a means to implement Littlebuffalo’s Escape Clause if Ananya was ever in danger. Both were concerned: Ananya’s focused desire to have a perfect childhood could have unforeseen consequences in her future. Littlebuffalo’s revised package had been carefully structured – there would be no repercussions to the space/time continuum should he be retrieved.


Ananya, despite all the peaceful and positive happenings of her childhood, marries a beguiling and manipulative physician. Their life is one of discord and Ananya suffers abuse to an intensity that far exceeds her first timeline. The Librarian discovers that this husband absolutely murdered his first wife. He activates the Escape Clause for Littlebuffalo.


Littlebuffalo transfers to a point in time that is three Earth years prior to the year Ananya would meet the doctor. 


“Is this seat taken?” The earnest young man asks Ananya as she scoots over on the air train bench. His smile of thanks is as stunning as observing the Witch’s Broom Nebula as a virgin astronomer. The connection is made; the couple’s fate is synchronized once more. And they live together—perfectly.


147 134.88 Librarian Calendar

Update: Clients 25672 and 25673

Actions successful. Both clients living in new reality. (Date, time, location recorded on master disc.)

Eeeoooshyiii

Librarian, Highest Order


April 22, 2022 22:23

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

26 comments

Zack Powell
06:14 Apr 23, 2022

This is definitely my favorite story of yours, Lavonne, and I'm not even a sci-fi guy. The language in here is top-notch (I made a lot of notes to myself as I was reading). Really, really thought-provoking stuff. Totally gave me Twilight Zone vibes. I loved the plot of this. Time travel is something we constantly see in this genre, but you made it infinitely more interesting by 1) having the characters (SPOUSES, of all people) choosing to go to separate points in time, and 2) having Ananya explicitly lose all memories of her previous life. L...

Reply

Lavonne H.
14:54 Apr 24, 2022

OOOOOOOhhhhh Zack. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I treasure each and every point you made. I actually "worked" at this as it is my first sci-fi ever and I had to do research...like did you know Deucalion takes six earth days to circle its sun?? I had to come up with the math to make the numbers work for the Librarian Calendar ;) And math is NOT my strong suit. I loved the words I chose for this story as well! I am learning, because of all the comments, to balance the sparse, terse style I have with some descriptive language. Larim...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Riel Rosehill
05:51 Apr 23, 2022

Hi Lavonne! Oh I love the name of the librarian, so fun to read! And, I think, this is my favourite story from you so far. Though I'm not a sci-fi fan, this was such a creative take on the prompt, a touching story with a happy ending, and your writing was just so beautiful, I really enjoyed reading this!

Reply

Lavonne H.
15:08 Apr 24, 2022

Awwww, Riel! I believe you are too young to know about 'warm fuzzies' (1970s psychology begun by Eric Berne) but your comments (always) give me warm fuzzies. I just explained the Librarian's naming to Zack. I feel I learned so much from researching and agonizing over the details. HOWEVER do you write your stories within a week??? This almost didn't make it... ;) ;) Thank you for liking this story. And about that idea for the two of you to co-author--I had hoped it was a tantalizing idea for you both. When I've read your back and forth com...

Reply

Riel Rosehill
15:49 Apr 24, 2022

Oh I've just read that comment. I'm so impressed by all the research you've done, and how you thought about the Aquarian language when naming the librarian. Great work!! PS On the co-authoring suggestion, I feel bad making you feel guilty about it! It was a fun idea & I don't think we feel pressured by it, at least I know I don't, as I said, for me if happened I'd be very happy, but if not I still wouldn't be mad nor hold it against anyone. It's all good. Really (back me up, Zaddy?) And we indeed got a fun hashtag out of it, LOL (if we didn...

Reply

Lavonne H.
16:15 Apr 24, 2022

Warm Fuzzies!! You are so kind and supportive. [I have residual Catholic guilt I should bottle and sell ;) ] Yours in writing, Lavonne

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Cindy Strube
01:01 May 20, 2022

Wow - Lavonne… Wish I’d read it sooner! Fabulous sense of otherworldliness here. It’s eerie and unsettling. The descriptions are beautiful - all the shifting, shimmering, glorious colors that aren’t really there. Quite an original concept, and I love the fact that the title element “doesn’t apply” to Ananya’s choice, yet Littlebuffalo is able to use his own escape clause to redeem her.

Reply

Lavonne H.
02:21 May 20, 2022

Dear Cindy, Oh, thank you! Thank you for appreciating the story (my first sci-fi); it's my favourite story (that isn't about my grandchildren, lol.) And thanks for commenting. I love it when a prompt just gets the creative juices flowing and the story writes itself :) :) It's a type of possession, eh? It had been suggested that I could've left Ananya in her own time. But, I really am not good with dark sides of humanity nor aliens... Yours in writing, Lavonne

Reply

Cindy Strube
02:54 May 20, 2022

No, I think the ending is as it should be. I’m also not good with the dark sides!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Kl Wolters
05:14 May 04, 2022

Hi Lavonne, Thank you for critiquing my story! Wow your story is so imaginative and poetically emotional. It left me definitely wanting to know more. I enjoyed your out of the box take on a Librarian, and thought putting it in the format of a log was a great idea. Look forward to reading more from you.

Reply

Lavonne H.
19:12 May 04, 2022

Thank you Kl! I love how you found it 'poetically emotional' as that was one of my goals for the story that week...writing more beauty rather than my usual prosaic, terse style. With a bit of sci-fi ;) This week's prompts have me all over the place. How are you doing with them? I hate it when the story that wants me to write it requires more research than I have time to do. I may have to just write about cats or grandchildren--lol. Here's to our stories! Yours in writing, Lavonne

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Michael Danyluk
04:21 Apr 29, 2022

That was beautiful. I think it would've been better if they couldn't reconnect and she was stuck with the physician. That way it would've been a dark and sad ending that she was chasing a perfect life, but she had a perfect life all along. I get it though, I'm a man, so I kinda look at it that way. I really liked the idea that she was chasing this perfect childhood, but even when she got it, there were other sources of unhappiness. It shows that life is what we make of it, so yeah, I kinda wish you didn't give her character the happy ending...

Reply

Lavonne H.
04:59 Apr 29, 2022

LOL-- all very valid comments, Michael! I have never written this genre before; I am sort of stuck reworking boring pieces of non-fiction. So I do appreciate all your input. I just can't handle too much darkness (family of origin issues-wink, wink.) Maybe, she gets out of the marriage herself and Little Buffalo never returns?? I hadn't thought of the irony of having a happy childhood vs her first happy marriage. Thanks for putting 'the bee in my bonnet,' I may try sci-fi again.... Yours in writing, Lavonne

Reply

Michael Danyluk
07:25 Apr 29, 2022

I was actually thinking something similar after I wrote that comment. He goes back and stops her from marrying him, but he has to go back to his own time afterward. But they have some sort of sweet little moment before he goes where she won't know who he is, but he'll know her.

Reply

Lavonne H.
15:16 Apr 29, 2022

Ahhhhhh, brilliant! Wish I had thought of that ;) ;) Most of my stuff is nicey, nicey. Will have to work on my darker side. Thanks Michael. Yours in writing, Lavonne

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Kathleen Fine
22:46 Apr 27, 2022

I love a good futurist story! Great work!

Reply

Lavonne H.
23:07 Apr 27, 2022

Why, thank you! Needed some humor though ;) ;)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Felice Noelle
12:02 Apr 25, 2022

Lavonne: What a story! We all suspect something like this is in our future and wonder if we're heading towards utopia or dystopia. You have a vivid imagination that helps provide details and dialogue that authenticate your tale. Of course, I appreciated the fabricated names that gave the POV of the characters. Well-written, again. Good story, with open-ended conclusion. Loved it. Maureen

Reply

Lavonne H.
15:11 Apr 25, 2022

Ahhhhhh, shucks. Thank you for liking it! Sometimes, names are difficult to find when one has taught so many students. Did you find that when you named your sons or characters? Some are just too closely associated with a student that I find it hard to separate the name/child. Inventing new names seemed the only way to fight my way out of that paper bag ;) ;) Have a great week. Yours in writing, Lavonne

Reply

Felice Noelle
16:14 Apr 25, 2022

L: I keep forgetting to answer your questions. I have a running list of most of my students for 33 years, but not for the college students. I can remember fondly every intern teacher who worked with me as well as my classroom aides. I had all three of my sons during and right after college, before graduate school, so my selection of their names came from family members. My daughter was named after Jenny Lind from the early twentieth century and my stepson came with a name already. When I read comments, I usually can kind of tell whe...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Chris Campbell
05:04 Apr 25, 2022

Lavonne, I've always believed that our journeys never end, they just move onto the next destination. However, to have to choose not to continue with your life partner - so as to re-exist in another time - would be heartbreaking. I feel for Ananya. In her many years of life, the pain of a lost childhood still outweighs the happy years spent with Little Buffalo. This is her opportunity to start again, but the cost is her memories of a life spent with LB. Love conquers all and if you believe in soul mates, the vast cosmos of atoms, time, and d...

Reply

Lavonne H.
15:20 Apr 25, 2022

Chris!!!! That was so cool of you to attach the Trappist1e poster/NASA explanation :) Site bookmarked and will see if I can order the poster from the main NASA site; their calendars are gorgeous ... and dreamy. Isn't it funny that I am trying to find my 'voice' and you have highlighted this story. I think I have to really, really work on my sci-fi flights of fantasy ;) ;) Thank you for noting that sometimes a painful childhood can offset a happy future. So many children suffer PTSD due to early family violence. I truly appreciate your time ...

Reply

Chris Campbell
23:58 Apr 25, 2022

You can download large copies of the posters for free at Nasa.

Reply

Lavonne H.
04:29 Apr 26, 2022

Oh, yes! We had to learn about their site when our grandson got a telescope.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Michał Przywara
03:09 Apr 23, 2022

Very interesting story! There's a very alien feel to the librarian and the product packages, and I certainly enjoy messing with time travel. I also like the lawerish approach to getting around the escape clause. One thing I noticed is: "I need to have another start to my live." Seems like it should be "life." The story is thought provoking, in what it means to "have a lifetime". If this kind of technology was available, it's hard to imagine all the ramifications, but this is an interesting case. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Lavonne H.
04:10 Apr 23, 2022

Michal! Thank you for catching the typo!!! I was able to edit before deadline and I am so grateful you mentioned it. You bring up points about the story that I didn't even know were there...the legal aspect of the clause and philosophy of time travel. I am happy to hear that the 'alien feel' to the librarian was communicated; this was a first time sci-fi for me and I know it reads like that ;) Thank you for reading the story, for commenting on it (and catching silly errors in my proof-reading) and mostly, being an author who shares your time...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply