I’m 37 years old, and a time traveler. I've been traveling in time for the past 13 years as part of my work as a history professor. I’m also a certified genius in the rankings of the two most brilliant people in the world, a child prodigy, starting college, and advanced subjects at the age of 6. But I never wanted to excel in math or any of the subjects my parents were telling me to pursue. Instead, I wanted to learn more about the subject of history. I loved to teach my classmates and friends all about it, and eventually, the idea of a time machine came into my mind.
I told my parents about my idea, but their reaction was exactly what I expected. They laughed at me and told me I was being silly and not to waste my talents on something that the best minds in the world couldn’t think of. I just shrugged and told them I was going to do it anyway. I wasn't insulted neither was I upset. It only propelled my interest in accomplishing my goal. Throughout my early adult years, they continued to tell me it wasn’t possible. Not to my surprise, they
were devastated when they found out I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s with a concentration in history, and a doctorate for teaching history as a professor when I turned 23. All my friends were happy for me, incredibly supportive and loved being taught by me.
Well, a few months after I graduated and began teaching at a local university, I was able to finalize my plans for creating the time machine. It was a long and tenuous process that required many drawings and throwouts. But finally, I was successful. One of my friends from a group called the Society of Highly Gifted Individuals offered to help me build the project. Like me, she wasn’t interested in anything her parents wanted her to do. Instead, she operated a computer and software technician shop where she would create software and fix computers for people. When I went into her shop on the day we agreed to meet, she was happy to see me. But I showed her my final sketch, she looked worried.
“This is a tall order, Teddy, she said.
This has never been done before."
Immediately, I started to worry that I’d gone too far on the graphics and everything and began to panic visibly. Maddie saw me starting to freak out and put her hand on my arm gently.
“Don't panic, she said. We're geniuses, remember? We can do this."
I sighed a breath of relief and looked up at her.
“Let’s start today, I said, my panic dissipating.
I want to make this happen."
So, over the next year, we constructed the machine. It took months of patience, redrawing of certain elements, and testing before it was complete. A year later, the T42 Scientific Model was complete. It allowed people to go back 200 years, and the time limit of each visit was an hour each interval. There were still kinks with it, like sending animals, objects, or children but so far young adults like I and Maddie could use the machine. After we finished the creation, we decided to return to our normal lives and just use the time machine whenever we wished. It was kept in a warehouse in my house’s backyard. I never told my parents about it, and neither did Maddie. Not only were we not interested in using this machine for the public eye, but we also could not let it fall into the wrong hands either.
So, I began to use the machine for both work and personal usage. For my work, after learning about a culture, I would bring that knowledge back to the classroom. There were a few unforgettable experiences, but there was one time that still haunts me. I don’t even want to mention it here, in fear someone will find out. God knows what they’ll do to me if anyone found out. Maddie doesn’t know about it, and I’m too scared to tell her. I've thought about burning this page in the fireplace or keeping it in my locked storage box underneath my bed. Maybe I’ll go for the second option, it feels safer. So, one day when I came home from my job, I decided to use the machine to get a mental break from everything. I thought about going back to the 1990s to look around areas I haven’t been before. But I wanted to be secluded, so I picked a forest somewhere in North America. It sent me there in a matter of moments.
There was a certain kink in the machine that Maddie and I couldn’t quite figure out, and that was other people weren’t able to see us when we went back. We figured that was probably good, as we didn’t want to attract trouble. Anyway, I began walking around where the machine had transported me. It was peaceful, and I began to relax. After 30 minutes of observing all the trees and birds, I heard something. It sounded like an engine rotary. At first, I thought it was a plane above the clouds. But I noticed that it got closer to where I was. Fear went through me as I thought the government had found my machine. But when I looked up, it wasn’t the government or an airplane. It was something I'd seen before. A black, disk-like shape slowly landed on the ground about 100 yards away. It kicked up dirt and birds flew away from its direction.
Then, silence. I stood, frozen not sure what to think. Then a door opened from the side. Someone or something stepped out. But as they walked around outside, their skin began to change. It seemed to melt off their face and hands as I heard someone start to scream. I wasn’t sure if I should help them or not. I checked my watch and discovered I only had 15 minutes left before my time was up in this time frame. Then another sound came from a different direction, and it was an engine motor. But it sounded more familiar this time, like a helicopter. It grew closer, and as it did, the trees and grass moved violently in the rotor's wind. Once it landed, a group of men dressed in military garb jumped out. They immediately cleaned up the dissolved mess and set little bombs in the black disk. A few moments later, the ground shook violently as it blew up, sending the pieces everywhere.
It left a burned and blackened indent on the ground. I stared, my mouth hanging open. My watch beeped, warning me that I only had five minutes left. I couldn’t help myself and went to the blackened and burned spot as I saw of men take a picture of it. As quickly as the military men came, they were gone in moments, leaving me standing in the middle of where the disk had been. I couldn’t speak, my mind racing. I stood for the remainder of my time before I was sent back. The change jolted my stomach and I felt the urge to vomit. I made my way out of the warehouse, barely locking it behind me with shaking fingers. Once I was outside, I ran towards the house to the bathroom, crashing into Maddie, knocking her down. I weakly mumbled an apology as I ran away. I heard her get up and follow my footsteps rapidly.
“Teddy, come back! What’s wrong?” Maddie yelled. I couldn't answer her, barely making it to my downstairs bathroom before everything came up. Maddie sat next to me and I felt her gently start to rub my back, not saying a word.
I sat up from where I’d thrown up, unable to speak, feeling numb and paralyzed. Maddie pulled me into her arms and held me for a long time until I calmed down. I took a few deep breaths, looked up at my friend, and instantly felt a large pang of guilt. During all the years I’ve known her, I’d never, ever seen her look so scared and worried. Small tears were in the corners of her blue-green eyes.
“I-I’m- I started, my voice shaky.
“It’s okay, sweetheart, Maddie said softly, wiping her eyes.
I just got scared and worried for you. Now, please. Talk to me, what’s going on?”
“I-I, I began. I didn’t want to tell her the truth, I just couldn’t. Not only would she not believe me, but the government would also come looking for us and the time machine. So, I decided to tell her part of the truth, just not everything that occurred. I knew in the end; it was better this way for her.
“I u-used the machine o-outside in the f-forest. But when I-I came back, I got a b-bad reaction, I said.
I h-haven’t h-had that h-happen in an l-long time.”
Maddie looked at me, sadly. I think she knew there was something I wasn’t willing to say.
“Maybe you should take a break from it for a while and we’ll go somewhere next week instead, she said.
Is that better?”
I nodded. For the next week, I had night terrors about what happened, but after taking the walk with Maddie, I started to feel better. After a while, the incident became nothing more than a haunting memory. I’m 37 now, a time traveler who is a history professor at a university and a certified genius. Maddie is one of my best friends, and the T42 Scientific Model is still in use, although not as much these days. But sometimes, I wonder if the government will ever find out I saw something I wasn’t supposed to see. I think I'll burn this entry after all, it's too dangerous to keep under my bed.