One of the prompts shared in the writing group I manage on Facebook inspired me to write a small flash fiction piece. It’s been probably a year since I shared anything so I figured this was as good a time as any. The prompt, shared by Micah: Time had run out. “We’ve learned time is a living, breathing thing… And all our jumps through it are giving it cancerous tumors. Time isn’t just breaking, we’re killing it.”
Time had run out.
Or, Jez thought, more accurately: time was f*cked.
At first, the time jumps had seemed harmless. Pop back to the early 1930’s and put a clean hole into the skull of a certain Nazi dictator. You’re home in time for dinner. No one thought about how a timeline would respond to these assaults on its structural integrity. Ultimately, it was simple human error that was going to get them all killed. Error and an inherent willingness to disbelieve anything inconvenient, regardless of its merit.
Jez finished off her cigarette and flicked the still-burning filter out with all the others floating on the semi-solid surface of the sea of asphalt. It had stopped being a mall parking lot about the time the tectonic plates had begun to shift without warning, and once the lava warped everything into a strange, swirling, molten sea it was clear it would never be a parking lot again. Periodically, the discarded stubs sparked, caught fire for a blazing moment, and vanished in a wisp of smoke.
Maybe Kit was right.
Maybe one more trip could save them all. A last one-way trip. With the fate of humanity pinned to the lapel of whatever suicidal fool was willing to be stranded in the twenty-first century, with the entire world on the brink of the war that would ultimately lead to the discovery of time travel. A world in which a sole pursuit dominated the sciences: weapons.
And what better weapon than time itself?
Jez thought of what the experts had been saying on the news. “We’ve learned time is a living, breathing thing… And all our jumps through it are giving it cancerous tumors. Time isn’t just breaking, we’re killing it.”
If everything was on the edge of destruction anyway, what was the real risk in giving it one last go? With a reluctant sigh, Jez pulled out her cell and fired off a text to Kit.
Fine. I’ll be there in an hour.