Jim walked in through his door and threw himself down on his couch. It had been a long, strange day. As he sat thinking, his phone rang. He pulled it out and saw that it was his sister, Mindy. Finally some normalcy in all of this mess. He picked up, “Hey, Mindy. What’s up?”
“Hmm, I see. Yea, I’m doing alright. Well, mostly.”
“Oh, it’s nothing.”
“No, it’s really nothing.”
“Okay, fine sis. It’s nothing that you need to worry about anyway. I just had the craziest day today. It started this morning. I went out for my morning run, you know, and as usual nobody wanted to wave to me or nod their head. No one even said hello or hi or good morning or anything. I swear the people here are just distant and cold. What’s wrong with greeting someone politely!? I even recognize pretty much everyone at this point. But no matter how many times I throw a friendly hello out, they won’t respond! I don’t even know their names! At this point, I’ve given them my own names. Scruffy beard man. Long haired woman. Sweaty neckline man. Square jawline. Red face.”
“Oh, sorry. I was starting to ramble there, wasn’t I? Anyway, you get my point. This morning was different, though. There was a new runner on the route. I remember her because she actually responded to me. She gave me a hearty ‘good morning’ and ‘how ya doin’?’. It sure brightened my day up.”
“Yes, I am getting there.”
“No, I am not going to keep on complaining about the social habits of people here.”
“Okay, calm down there sis. Do you want to hear the rest of it or not?”
“Then let me go on. Rambling and complaining must run in the family because you’re pretty good at it too, little sister.”
“That’s true. Mom and Dad must be the champions of the sport. Oh, but back to my day. After my run, I got ready for work, but I didn’t have time to make anything for breakfast, so I decided to pass by McDonald’s really quick. There in the window was the same woman who had greeted me on my run! Again she greeted me with a ‘good morning’ and ‘how ya doin’?’. Now, at this point, I wasn’t sure if it was her or if I was just losing my mind. I asked her if we had met before and she said no. I then joked that I must have seen her doppelganger earlier while running. Her response was very strange. I still remember it, that’s how strange it was. She said, ‘Oh, that was probably me, actually. I’ve been meaning to take up running. Just haven’t gotten to it yet, so that event hasn’t happened for me yet. I guess I’ll be seeing you around, Jim. Will you pull up to the next window please?’ After that she shut her window and I had to go.”
“I know that sounds crazy.”
“I’m not going crazy, but just wait, it gets crazier. After that incident, I made it to work without any further weirdness (I mean, other than the McMuffin that I ordered, but that’s kind of expected. Now that I’m thinking about it, remind me to never eat McDonald’s breakfast again). Then, as I’m reaching to push the door open, someone pulls it open and says, ‘Good morning, Jim. Let me get that for you.’ I look up and it’s her! ‘Well, are you going to come in? I’m headed out.’ I could barely nod my head in response. By the time I come around, she’s long gone.”
“I know! There’s no way that she could make it to my work in a different outfit before me. I’m crazy, stupid fast driver. That’s not the end of it, though. At lunch, she was there in the corner booth, sipping coffee and reading the newspaper for today. On the way home, she was biking on the road and I passed her. When I went to dinner, she was the waiter who sat me at my table.”
“I’m pretty positive that it was the same person every single time.”
“Why should I call the police? It’s not like she’s done anything to me. You know, the craziest part about all of this is that she was able to be in so many places in such a short amount of time. No one is that fast. It’s just super strange.”
“Okay, sis. Sleep well. Good luck on that test tomorrow.”
“Yep, I will. Okay, bye bye.”
Jim hung up the phone and got up off the couch. When he turned around, the woman was there. “You,” Jim screamed. “How did you get in!?”
“Calm down, Jim. We haven’t much time. You need to get out of here. Now.”
“No time for questions. Grab your wallet and keys. Meet me outside.” With that, she simply disappeared. Jim stood still for a moment before reaching for his phone. The police could be at his house in just a few minutes. The woman reappeared. “Stop that and get in your car.”
Jim sighed. He could play along for now. Besides, maybe he’d be able to find out who this woman was. Walking towards the door, he grabbed his wallet and keys from their usual spots, and unlocked the car. As he got in, he looked around and was relieved that there was no one in the car. He had thought that maybe…
“Well, start driving. What are we waiting for?”
Once again, Jim screamed. “How are you there?”
“Start driving and I’ll explain. We’ve got to get you to the extraction point before they get here. There’s a team waiting there. They’ll extract you, get you debriefed, then briefed, before sending you back.” Jim’s head started spinning. “You know what. Too much information. Just drive. Get on the highway going southbound. I’ll tell you where to get off.”
“Okay,” Jim managed to get out. He backed carefully out of the driveway.
“And make sure to keep your speed up. We need to get there ASAP. No time for mistakes or for messing around.” Jim started going a little bit faster. “Push down the accelerator to the floor.” Jim went a little bit faster. “Petal to the metal,” the woman finally screamed. With that, they went off with a shot, going an easy 50 mph in the small neighborhood.
After a few minutes, Jim ventured a question. “So, who are you?”
“Second Lieutenant Maria Sanchez of the Time Intervention Task Force.”
“And why am I driving down the highway at a ridiculous speed with you, Second Lieutenant Maria Sanchez of the Time Intervention Task Force?”
“You are compromised and as such, we must extract you from this time for your protection.”
“You’re telling me that time travel is real.”
“Is that how you managed to be in so many places today?”
“As a matter of fact, Jim, I’ve been on this case for the past year. About six months I’ve been in the field in various positions, but all within four weeks of now. Surveillance. And finally, the extraction.” Maria grinned happily. “This is always the funnest part.”
“I get to use the weapons. I didn’t want to mention it to you, but that Ford F-150 and Mini Cooper have been trailing us for the past four and a half miles. Their window shields are heavily tinted, but I’ve been able to identify two wanted criminals from the year 2138. You might want to drive a little faster.”
“What about those weapons?”
“I’ve got to keep a low profile. The weapons are for closer to the extraction point. The extraction point is strategically located at a rural location so that there won’t be any interference from citizens of now.”
“That sounds lovely. Why couldn’t the extraction point be at my home?”
Maria blinked a few times. “I’ll definitely take a note on that. We’ll consider using the subject’s house on the next mission.”
“Wonderful. Great. What, have you never done this before?”
“Now that you ask, no. You are the first person who has ever needed to be extracted.
“This has never happened with anyone in the entire history of the human race. Not George Washington or Selena Gomes or Winston Churchill or Alexander the Great or any other famous person?”
“The answer to that question is classified. I can’t give it to you.”
“How about you just do it anyway.”
“It’s because you invent time travel, Jim. These people don’t want you to invent time travel, because once the world government gave the go ahead, the Time Intervention Task Force was organized to arrest criminals before the crimes took place. After the trial has occurred, the judge can order a past arrest to undo the crime and give the convicted a slightly easier sentence. So all of the world’s criminals hate you. They can’t remember committing any crime, but they’re stuck in prison anyway. Take this exit.” Jim veered sharply. The two vehicles followed.
“I don’t have any foundation in physics or engineering or really anything that would be helpful in inventing time travel. How did I do it?”
“That I can’t tell you. Right!”
“Classified as well?” Jim asked above the sound of screeching tires.
“No. I can’t tell you, because I don’t know. It isn’t documented in history how you did it. Right! Just that you did.”
“I see. Right or left here?”
“Just keep driving.”
“But I can’t, there’s no road.”
“Just keep driving.”
Jim stepped on the pedal going even faster. When he hit the grass, it was going to drop his speed significantly. The car dropped off the road, but instead of hitting the grass, his car speeded up even more, as the tires dug into a well-paved road.
“We made the jump successfully,” Maria said. “You can drop your speed now. Our enemies don’t have the tech to follow us.”
The next week was a blur for Jim. There was so much information given to him every day that his brain couldn’t stop thinking at night. Finally, they provided him with a small time travel unit, to deal with any potential repeats of the incident. After he had been placed back into his house only five minutes after he had left, he lay down on the couch, exhausted. He pulled out his phone, thinking about calling Mindy, before changing his mind. They had talked just a few minutes ago, and she would never believe him. Eventually, Jim looked down at the time travel unit he had received and thought to himself. “I think I know how I invent time travel. They gave me everything I need.”
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I loved the escalation of the plot, started like an everyday coincidence then to a whole new concept. Blew me away!
Thank you Corrie-lynn! I can't wait to read your next story. Please keep them coming.
Hey Eian, what a fun, inventive interpretation of this prompt (and I love that we both included time travel). I really enjoyed the one-sided phone conversation and the striking imagery of Maria Sanchez popping up again and again. You hint at such an intriguing world here, and I think this story definitely has potential to become a longer work.
Thanks, Hayley! I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I also feel like that you managed to make my story sound better than it actually is. Thank you again for that. I'm flattered by your comments. I'm going to go check out your story right now. I'm excited to read it!
I'm so sorry, I started reading the title of your story in Adele's Hello... 'hello from the other sideeeeeeee' XDXDXD but now that I'm under control.... I loved this story, and thought it was a really unique take on the prompt, and time travel!! I am a SUCKER for time travel :D the imagery and dialogue was on point, and you....are an awesome writer!!
The flow Eian, the flow. I loved the flow of your story. Great work you did here Eian. Wow. Applaudible. I would be really delighted if a writer of you calibre took a look at one of my stories. I have quite a lot to learn. I didn't notice any grammatical errors in your work. Wow. Very nice.
i have followed you please follow me too
This was awwwwesome! 😁😁😁 —Aeeerin (Would you mind checking out my stories ‘Rebel Prince’ or ‘A Poem By A Star (No, Literally)’? Thank you so much!)