A teenager by the name of Toby sat in his new bedroom, displeased. He didn’t understand why his parents moved. They kept telling him that it was for “the best” or “you’ll understand when you get older.” It didn't make any sense. On a sunny afternoon, Toby wandered outside to the backyard to get some fresh air and stumbled upon a warehouse. There was a note taped on the door that read:
February 2nd, 2010
The Machine is at risk of being discovered by the authorities. Under no circumstances can this device be used. We have decided to live in a year somewhere safe where no one will know where we have gone. The set time that we can stay used to be an hour, but we have extended it to 25 years. I don’t know when we will be back, but we will dead before then and the machine will no longer be operable so no one can use it. It’s too dangerous to be kept in this world.
Theodore & Madeline
Toby wrinkled his nose curiously. The note looked aged like it had been there for several years. Looking around to make sure no one was watching, Toby attempted to open the warehouse door, but it was locked. He started looking for a key around the yard, and eventually he found it in a flowerpot on the porch. After Toby opened the warehouse door, he peered inside. There was a machine inside that had light bulbs, screws, and a black door. Toby walked to the side and found another note taped to the inside of the door of the machine. It read:
This is the T42 Scientific Model. Not for use for young or elderly persons. There were a variety of buttons, a keyboard, and a light bulb hooked up to it. Toby grew increasingly curious. Suddenly, he heard the back door open and he heard his parents calling his name.
Toby looked over the buttons quickly, and the keyboard. There was a paper attached to the computer monitor that looked like some sort of manual. Toby quickly skimmed through it. Then as he heard his parents’ footsteps walking over, he ran towards the open warehouse door and slammed it shut. Carefully placing the key on a desk, Toby ran back to the monitor. He quickly pushed a few buttons and typed the date on the keyboard and stepped inside the door. He could hear his parents’ shouts. A light bulb flickered, and a motor sputtered to life. There was a sudden flash of light, and Toby felt a big jolt in his stomach. A few seconds later, Toby found himself in a small town, set back in the year 2000. It was a breath of fresh air being away from his parents and the stress of his life. There was so much he could explore by using the object he found in his new house’s backyard. So, he started walking around and exploring. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much around to see, so Toby decided to walk past the town.
But when he attempted to leave, he ran into an invisible barrier on the edge of town. Toby threw his weight against it but didn’t do anything. Suddenly, he could see people walking on the other side. It looked like an entirely different time zone with horses and carriages, and people wearing historical outfits. Toby was in awe and wondered where the geniuses who created this time machine were. He put his hands on the glass and peered around. There was a certain couple with historical outfits who walked by, but then stopped and turned around. The man walked up to the barrier where Toby was and widened his eyes in obvious shock when he saw Toby staring at him. The man motioned to the woman, and they looked at each other in horror. Are these the geniuses that sent themselves back in time? Toby wondered. Then, an idea popped up in his mind. Toby took his hands off the barrier and walked over the other side of the town to see what was there. Along the way, a few people passed him by car, and someone offered him a ride. Toby took it, hoping to leave the town. But it didn't work. Toby was thrown out of the car and watched it pass through the barrier.
So, he got up and walked to the other side of town to see what was there. Toby put his hands on the invisible barrier and saw his parents in the backyard, looking to see where their son had gone. They didn't see the warehouse, because it was underground. The door was hidden underneath moss and brush. Toby suspected that was why it went unnoticed for so long. He continued watching them until they ran back into the house.
I didn't think they'd miss me that much, Toby thought. All I ever do is annoy them. He walked away from the scene but there was no way to leave. Until Toby suddenly remembered something while skimming through the manual. On page 32, it read: Under no circumstances may more than two people enter this machine, lest drastic consequences occur. Based on calculations, the user would be trapped in time, unable to leave the proximity of space. Unless you die or someone else using this machine dies, there is no way to come back.
A horrifying thought came over Toby as he ran over to the barrier where he saw the man and woman. They are the creators, that's why they can see me. He saw a note pressed against the glass.
We are going to pass away so you can come back, but please, destroy the machine. I wanted to make it for years but now I see that it needs to be destroyed. Can you do that? Toby looked at their pleading faces and nodded yes. The woman quickly wrote another note and put it on the barrier. The way to destroy it is on page 52 of the paper manual. It will self destruct and leave nothing behind. Burn the manual too. Toby felt so guilty and wanted to cry, but knew it was for the best. He turned around, and a few moments later, he saw a flash of white. Toby's stomach jolted as he found himself back in the underground warehouse. Taking a breath, he steadied himself. Then he set his focus on one thing. Destroy the machine. Toby picked up the manual and flipped it to the self-destruction page.
Under such circumstances, this machine must be destroyed, the combination must be employed in quick succession. The timer for the explosion is approximately 20 seconds. Warning: This will completely disintegrate the machine's particles. Anyone who is left behind will be turned into nothing.
The combination is as follows: Red button, blue button twice, green three times. Type these words very carefully but quickly or the destruction sequence will not engage. Mary had a little lamb. Little Lamb, Little Lamb. Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as snow.
Toby barely closed the door of the warehouse on time before the machine self-destructed. He went back to living his life with his parents but never told anyone about what he witnessed to protect the legacy of the two inventors. Eventually, someone did find that old warehouse, but no one ever found out the truth.