Romance Science Fiction

This story contains sensitive content

NOTE: This story contains suggestive content, foul language, adult subject matter.

Penny paced back and forth across her living room as police officers took statements from friends and neighbors, trying to determine the where-bout’s of her mother.

“Where have you been? My mother has been missing since yesterday. I came home from school and she was just gone. I waited up all night for her and called you several times. This morning I called the police, they said she had to be missing for 24 hours before they could do anything and that she would probably turn up. That is such bullshit!”

Penny’s anger at the in actionable police force policy was driving her mad.

“She isn’t answering her phone and the message says that the subscribers mobile number is not reachable at this time. What the fuck does that mean?”

Penny’s anxiety was through the roof and Miles had to play the situation in just the right way.

“Do I look older to you?” Miles asked in a rather calm tone.

“What? Older than what?” Penny’s voice changed octaves.

“Then I did yesterday?”

“Not really, maybe a bit more tired than usual, but not older.” She said gritting her teeth.

Penny was not sure what Miles was getting on about, and frankly was not really in a mood to get into it with him. He was playing one of his stupid games or was so self absorbed that the mental state of others was beyond his notice. It’s not really his fault, he has always been like this, she thought. The fact that her mother was missing was less of a shock to him than to her.

“Are you sure? You haven’t really even looked at me since I arrived. Please really look closely at me.” His request was almost playful. So irritating, just like him to see a game in just a situation like this.

What the fuck is his problem.

Miles’ insistence was really annoying, and was worth little attention from Penny.

“Miles, really, at a time like this you want my attention on you? How insensitive can you be!” She turned on the guilt. Perhaps that will get to him and make him understand this is not a game.

She turned, faced him for the first time since he entered the room.

Full of friends, neighbors and police officers all trying to help, except this clown. Her face flashed with her anger bubbling to the surface. She lashed out.

“There, you got the last 2 seconds of my attention you are ever going to get. Please go. The matter of my mothers disappearance is all I have time to focus on. For God’s sake, just go.”

The tremor of her voice and dagger-filled stare would have been enough to drive people away. Yet there he stood, unmoved by her outburst.

“I think it’s time for you to go young man.” The old-as-dirt detective said to Miles.

“Are you okay, young lady? Please don’t worry, we are doing everything in our power to locate your mother.”

How hollow his words are, a script obviously designed to console the young-ins, to keep the sorrowful calm and under control.

Penny had composed herself, continued to stare at Miles and realized, there was something different about him. Had she looked at him lately? Perhaps growing up together and always being around each other, she missed something.

Did he look older?

Now that she had really looked, maybe. She left the detective and walked to face Miles. Inches away now. It was not power of suggestion, it was not hallucination, it was fact. His hair was longer than yesterday, his arms seemed bigger, and in fact he seemed taller. She looked down, same old Vans and skinny legs. She could not put her finger on it, but she did feel there was something different.

Miles smiled at Penny and moved in closer to whisper in her ear. “I have something to show you. Meet me at my house in 30 minutes.”

He turned and left through the screen door. Penny could see him looking back and gave an “I’ve got a secret” grin as he crossed the lawn toward his house.

Penny knocked on the front door, it had been more that thirty minutes, but the police would not let her leave without knowing everything she knew.

As the door opened, Miles smiled.

“What do you have to show me?”

It had better not be a waste of time, or his room, I have seen his ceiling more than enough times. Especially on his birthday.

Penny was still not over Miles insistence earlier and was waiting for an apology. Miles was happy to see her but still didn’t understand why she was so mad. After she saw what was in the shed, in the secret room he had found, she would be ecstatic.

Miles had been looking forward to showing her this for sometime. Well, it really had not been that long, but to him it was still a long time.

“You need to follow me, and stay quiet.” Miles said as he pulled her through the doorway.

Miles looked up and down the street for any moment before he closed the door behind her. He proceeded to guide her through the house and out the back door in the kitchen. Across the lawn passed the front of the barn towards the back. In the back of the barn was a workshop that was full of rusty tractor parts, old fifty-five gallon drums, machine parts, benches, and other neglected farm equipment.

At the back of the room, several floor to ceiling racks had been moved away from the wall exposing a door that had been hidden behind the dust and clutter.

“What is that?” Penny’s gasped.

A door to back of the barn, he took me away from the search for this.

Penny’s anger rose to new highest.

“It’s a door.” Miles answered.

“Great, now your just being a jerk.”

“Look at your phone, what time is it? Right now.”

He has gone crazy.

“It’s 5:30, why?” Her words dripped venom.

“It’s what is on the other side that I want to show you. Come on.”

Miles found the key he had tucked away on the shelve, in a second he was gone, really gone. Penny peered through the doorway and there was nothing but blackness. As from a great distance she could hear Miles’s voice.

“It’s okay, just come through the door.”

What the fuck is he playing at.

On the other side was a room, a large room. It was dark and very hard to see, it was not the inside of the barn.

“What the fu-.” Penny’s voice trailed off.

“I found this place yesterday when I saw your mom talking to my dad just outside the shed. They had been in here. Your mom and my dad, had been in this very room.” He explained.

“What is this place?”

What did he mean my mom and his dad had been in here, where is here?

“I haven’t really figured it out yet, but I think it is a pocket in time/space. We are clearly not in the back of the barn, we have been in there thousands of times and we have never been in this room, right?” Penny was looking around with the light from her phone.

“Look its really hard to understand, but you are one of the smartest people I know besides your mom and my dad, but that is not the coolest part.”

What? He thinks this is cool, what is so cool about a dusty old room.

Miles moved a dial attached to what looked like an old roll-up desk against the far wall.

“If my mom was with your dad here yesterday, then we should go ask him if he has seen my mom, or knows where she is.” She said.

“Funny thing. After I found this place, I did just that. I went to find my dad and ask him about this room. He is missing as well.” His voice cracked with the thought.

“I didn’t know he was missing. I went to your house found out the police are looking for your mom, again I didn’t know she was missing. It was too much of a coincidence so I decided to tell you privately they are both missing.”

As the two emerged from the door, the shed was completely pitch black.

“What the heck.” It was not that late, what happen to the light outside.

Penny nearly tripped. Miles grabbed her arm to steady her. Standing next to her he picked up his phone that he left on the shelf.

“Look at the time on my phone.”

The face of the phone brightly displayed the time - 8:35 pm. Penny immediately looked back at her phone - 5:35 pm. After a couple of seconds the screen changed - 8:36 pm.

“What the fuck just happened?” Penny’s face looked puzzled.

“Welcome to time travel. We just lost a couple of hours.” He said.

Just lost a couple of hours, what, wait. How could that be. Its dark outside.

Her mind was reeling from the images bouncing around in her head. Slowly she said, working her thoughts into words.

“So, your saying we just traveled through time. Like in a movie. But time travel isn’t possible, it’s science fiction.” She paused.

Penny’s mother was a science teacher at the high school and had heard her talking on the phone several times about the possibility of “things that just had not been proven, yet.”

Was it possible, could they have traveled through time? This makes no sense.

“When we were in there, I moved the dial on the desk ahead 3 hours. It works like a clock of some kind. Moving it to the right, moves time in one direction, and the other direction reverses the effects of the time movement. The only thing is” he hesitated before continuing, “it is not very precise. The dial is a bit finicky.” He explained.

“So, if we went in and you turned the dial and lost 3 hours, then you think our parents went in, turned the dial and have been missing for a day, just because they have not turned the dial back?”

“I’m not sure. It’s possible, I guess.” His reply softened as it came out.

“How do we get them back?” It wasn’t that she didn’t believe him but the darkness of the sky and the time changing on her phone made it at least possible. She pushed the thought aside and gave in to the panic now setting in.

“Perhaps, we form a search party and go in after them.” Miles said. She looked up into his eyes lite by the glow from his cell phone.

“How is this possible? What happened to our parents? Why haven’t they returned?” Penny began to spiral out of control.

“We need to tell the police.”

“Then what? How do we tell them our parents entered a dimensional time portal and haven’t found there way back? No, they’d lock us up for sure thinking we killed them, hacked up their bodies and hid the pieces.” Miles said.

“Okay, so we figure out a plan and try to get them back on our own.” Fog-clearing focus brought Penny back to frame. She was focusing on the task at hand.

Miles was formulating a plan. “We need a story that everyone will believe, just in case we don’t get back before school on Monday.”

“So after we set everything in motion we meet back here and begin our journey.” Penny confirmed.

This is not going to be easy. Mom, please come home.

Miles reached out for the dial when Penny grabbed his arm and stopped him.

“When you first found the room and discovered the dial, did you move it?”

If he moved it, what if he moved it in the wrong direction.

“Yes, I moved it here.” Miles pointed.

“But where was the dial before you moved it? That is where we need to move it back. If our parents are stuck in time somewhere we have to go back to where they are to rescue them.”

Miles though about this, reached into his backpack and pulled out a sharpie.

“This is where the dial is now.”

He marked the desk with a dot indicating the current dial location.

“Before I moved it, it was about here.”

The location was in the past, in the past 19 years or so.

“That is a long time ago, back before we both must have been born.

Why would they go back to that time?”

Why go back in time, did they have something to change. What happened back then that they could change?

“Turn it back, carefully?” Penny watched closely as the dial turned slowly to the past.

“At least we won’t run into our younger selves going back this far.”

Why would he say that. That’s the premise to every time travel movie. He was right, at this distance back in time, there was no chance of that.

“We might meet our younger parents back here, that is something we should be careful not to let happen. My mom and dad may still be together this far back, and your mom would still be alive. Are you ready to face her again?”

His face turned pale white from her comment. He had forgotten all about his mothers fight with cancer and how it affected his dad. But that was later, much later. Here she would be healthy, vibrant and young. Miles didn’t remember his mom that way. He remembered her getting sick and slowly fading away, from life, his dad and him.

“I’m not sure I could see here, lets try to stir clear of her as much as possible.”

He would be a complete wreck, and may decide not to return if he sees her here, in this healthy time of her life. I must keep them apart.

At all costs.

“Should we look and see what it is like outside?”

“We need to find a paper, so we know exactly when we are? I know my parents got the Central Valley News back then. There is probably one on the porch.” Miles headed out the shed door across the lawn to the side of the house - Penny followed.

“Okay, so we now know when we are, where would our parents go?” Penny asked.

Why did they chose this time, so long ago? What was significant about now?

Peering through the window, Miles realized that no one was home, his parents were at work.

“Think. Why would they come here - together.”

“I remember my mom saying one time that she saw something that jump started her career back around this time, do you think she ran into herself?” The thought hurt her head.

“Why would she not tell you that?” Miles responded without thinking it through.

If she had told anyone, they would have locked her away and put me in foster care - stupid.

“She was probably unsure as to the outcome of that conversation with any rational person.” Miles got the point.

“Let’s go to your house, maybe we will have luck there.”

The pair ran down the sidewalk to Penny’s house and headed to the back.

“Why are we going around the back?”

Again, the words fell out of his mouth before he could think. The eye contact that Penny made would have split his Neanderthal skull wide open.

“Never mind.”

“Hey the door is open.”

The pair entered the back door and slowly moved through the house quiet as mice. Then a thunk came from upstairs. As they pushed the door open they could see figures beneath the sheets going at it. The creek of the door startled the pair making love and wrestling for cover the two emerged.

It was Miles’s dad (only younger) and Penny’s mom (again younger).

“Who are you? What are you doing here? Get out of my house!” Rebecca shrieked at them.

The two ran down the stairs and out of the house heading back to the shed as fast as they could not looking back until they reached the door. Into the room and back to the console, and before Penny could protest - Miles turned the dial.

“Wait, we didn’t find our parents.” Penny’s words fell on deaf ears.

What the heck did we just see.

“What the hell was your father doing, with my mother?”

The blush in her cheeks displayed her outrage.


Miles said slowly, thinking carefully as he said it.

“Look, this isn't my fault. It appears they had a thing back then. Before we came along. So what.”

Miles’ attempt to defuse the situation just made her more angry. She turned an stomped out of the room, back into darkness outside.

“So, you have no disgust for your fathers betrayal of your mother? How insensitive, Miles.”

“YOU DON’T GET IT!” She screamed.

Calmly, Miles embarrassed her shoulders and pulled her close.

“Then enlighten me.” He said softly.

How do I explain this to him. This will change everything.

“My mom and dad split up when I was 5 years old.” She started.

“Yes, I know. I remember.” Miles voice was soft but assuring.

“They split because my dad found out that he was sterile and could not father children.” She paused.

No light bulbs. He truly is a Neanderthal.

His blank stare brighten like a dimmer switch pushed all the way up.


Finally, he gets it. 

July 09, 2022 00:06

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Diana Margaret
13:28 Aug 01, 2022

I am Diana Margaret by name from England, so excited to quickly Appreciate Dr Kachi. who helped me win a lot of money a few weeks ago in the lottery, I was addicted of playing the lottery game, I’ve never won a big amount in the Euromillions lotteries, but other than losing my ticket, I always play when the jackpot is big. I believe that someday I might as well be the lucky winner. I was in the Aldi supermarket store buying a lottery ticket when I overheard Newsagents reveal saying what happens when someone win a National Lottery jackpot in...


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Diana Margaret
13:28 Aug 01, 2022

I am Diana Margaret by name from England, so excited to quickly Appreciate Dr Kachi. who helped me win a lot of money a few weeks ago in the lottery, I was addicted of playing the lottery game, I’ve never won a big amount in the Euromillions lotteries, but other than losing my ticket, I always play when the jackpot is big. I believe that someday I might as well be the lucky winner. I was in the Aldi supermarket store buying a lottery ticket when I overheard Newsagents reveal saying what happens when someone win a National Lottery jackpot in...


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Kendra Lindholm
16:20 Jul 16, 2022

I love concept of a hidden portal room that isn't entirely accurate with time travel. It adds an extra layer of uncertainty. Nice job!


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Mike Panasitti
20:49 Jul 14, 2022

The twist at the end is all the more poignant considering the main character's inner dialogue: "I have seen his ceiling more than enough times." Perhaps a flashback to one of the amorous encounters in Miles' room would have made the conclusion even more memorable.


K.J. Dyer
17:34 Jul 15, 2022

It was tough to get this into 3k words. I thought that I might go back and add something like that in to the story, but I actually wrote this as one of my very first short stories, just had it in my back pocket.


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