A Story by Kevin Doy Burton

" The strangest thing about time traveling is, you never know what the outcome will be like when you return home. So is this story. Set in the year 2215. When time traveling is common. "

                                                                                         Time Traveler

   Torak is a teacher of high school kids in the city of Milwaukee,Wisconsin. He teaches time traveling as a subject. The class had just finished sitting down.
   “ Ok,lets began. As you all know, time traveling can be very tricky. Can anyone tell me anything about time traveling?” asked Torak.
   A hand was raised.
   “ Tom ?” Torak called out.
   “ Sir? Time traveling has been outlawed due to the fact that someone could change history.”
   “ Correct, and why’s that?”
   “ Well, Sir. It’s been theoretically proven that if someone changes the events in the past then the future, as the traveler remembers, would be changed.”
   “ Yes, but only in theory.”
   Another hand was raised.
   “ Yes Nancy?” asked Torak.
   “ Sir? Will we be able to feel the change?”
   “ It’s never been proven that we would.”
   Another hand was raised.
   “ Yes Matthew?”
   “ Why did they outlaw time travel? They had people that went back into time. It was all in the newspapers years ago and we didn’t feel anything.”
   “ That’s because it was a theory that they all returned in a different time line. Therefore they were listed as missing in action.”
   Another hand was raised.
   “ Yes, Barbara?”
   “ Sir? What if they had all died once they had disappeared? Know one had ever returned. It was said that some more people had gone back into time to look for them and they had never returned either.”
   “ I’ve read that article too. It do make sense. If you go back into time and change anything, you change your original time line also.”
   “ Professor?” asked Borak.
   “ Yes?”
   “ How can we ever get the truth? All we have are theories and yet we have time machines. For all we know those machines are only good for making people disappear.”
   “ Borak? You do have a valid point. How can you guaranty that you won’t change anything? If you even go back into time to stop someone just to asked him what time it is, you might have changed his mind from what ever he was about to do and that could affect the future as you know it. Well class. This session is over and I want you to read pages 102 to 125, and Friday you will have a test.”
   The class got up to walk out of the room when the police came in. The students all stopped in the hallway to look at what was going on. The principal was with the police.
   “ Torak? I think you better sit down,” said the principal.
   “ Principal Daniel. What’s wrong?” asked Torak.
   The police walked up to Torak.
   “ Torak Borinsky?” asked the officer.
   “ Yes. I’m Torak Borinsky. Why ?”
   “ I have some bad news for you. There’s been a home invasion and the house was yours that was invaded.”
   “ Is my wife ok?”
   “ I’m afraid not. You see. She was killed. I would like for you to identify the body.”
   “ What happened to the killer?”
   “ We got him. He was caught on cameras that were placed all around the city. We knew every placed that he went. We just waited until he reached his destination and we picked him up without a fight. He’ll be in jail for life.”
   “ But my wife is dead.”
   “ I’m sorry about that but as you know, we had banned the death sentence. Will you come and identify the body for us?”
   “ Yes, I’ll come.”
   Torak followed the officers out of the school and went home. There were people all outside on the street, in his neighborhood when he arrived.
   “ I’m sorry about your wife,” said a neighbor.
   He just looked at the neighbor and went inside of his house. There were broken lamps and the chairs were turned over. The glass on the china cabinet was broken also. It looked like there was a fight going on inside of his house.
   He walked into the dining room area and to his horror he saw his wife. Half naked on the floor with her dress over her face. She didn’t have her under garment on. She was exposed to them all.
   “ Do you have to leave her like that?”
   He bent down to lower her dress back over her waist.
   “ Mr. Borinsky. This is a crime scene. I have to asked you to only look at her face to identify her,” said the officer.
   “ But everyone is looking at her and do he have to take pictures of everything?”
   “ Yes he do. Now, can you tell me who she is?”
   “ This is my wife, Carol.”
   “ Thank you, Mr. Borinsky.”
   Torak went upstairs to his room while the police continued to examine the body.
   “ Bill, do you have enough pictures?” asked the detective.
   “ Yes. I do. This should do it.”
   “ Ok.You guys can take the body to the morgue,” said the detective.
   They placed the body of Carol Borinsky inside of a body bag and left the house. Just before the detective had left, he took a final look at the stairs that led upstairs to Torak’s room.
   “ Poor bastard. To lose your wife like that. What goes through a person’s mind when faced with such trauma,” he said to himself as he left.
   After Torak had heard his door closed, he raised himself off of his bed to look out of his window. He saw the paramedics take his wife, who was inside of a body bag, to a waiting van. He cried.
   He then went downstairs to look around the house. He saw a chalk design of his wife’s body on the floor. There was blood on the wall where she was cut on her back, and then pushed up against it. Her blood was all over the desk.
   “ He probably lifted her up on the desk and then raped her up against the wall.”
   It looked as though she had struggled a long time but the struggle didn’t end there. There was blood on the carpet, in the form of her back.
   “ She must have been raped there also and still she put up a fight.”
   The blood was smeared on the carpet and it had spread further down the floor.
   “ She probably was trying to keep the rapist from entering her again. She must have been scooting away from him, on her back, but her struggle had ended from lost of blood. She must have surrendered because she was weak. That’s when the rapist had entered her for his final thrill. Carol must’ve died on the spot from the stab wounds.”
   Torak walked over to his couch and placed his hands over his face. He cried.
   “ That sick bastard gets to eat three meals a day while my wife lays six feet underground. It’s not fair. There must be a way for me to get even. There’s cameras all around the city so I can’t purchase a gun. They will know that I might try and do something like that. I will find a way.
   A week later, after the funeral for his wife had ended, Torak drove home. He went inside of his house and got undress. He sat down to look at TV. The news was on and the anchorman was talking about the murder on his block. He was talking about the man who murdered his wife. This is what the anchorman had to say.
   “ We have breaking news for you today. It seems that the man who murdered Carol Borinsky was none other than the brother of Senator Bill Wallace who will probably be the next President of the United States. His brother, who’s name we will not disclose, is a mental patient who escaped months ago. It was kept quiet in hope that his brother would be found.
The patient is not able to stand trial because he doesn’t know from right from wrong. He will be sent back to the mental hospital. We’re not able to disclose which hospital because of the sensitivity of the matter and his right to privacy but rest assure,he will be in a more secured environment. I for one hope he gets the help he needs. Now I will return you to your regular program.”
   “ Isn’t that a lot of crock. My wife’s dead and he don’t even get to go to prison. They’re protecting him because he’s the senator’s brother but I have an idea that no one would expect. They’re doing the senator a favor. Just because he talked a terrorist group out of setting off two nuclear bombs in Washington DC.
   He agreed to let a group of men out of prison as an equal exchange. He even jumped in front of a bullet,which was shot by one of his own men, from hitting the brother of a member of the terrorist group. The terrorist felt that anyone who was willing to die for his brother was a man he could trust and his brother was so happy to be alive that he told the terrorist group to disarm the bombs and they did.
   It turned out that the brother was the leader of the group. Just before the senator went to the hospital he gave orders for the group to have safe passage back to their country.The whole country had made the senator a hero and wanted him to run for president. He excepted the offer and no one else wanted to run against him. He was a sure bet to win the election.
Torak ran downstairs into his basement. He started fumbling through some papers that were in a box.
   “It must be here.”
   He kept on looking.
   “ Found it.”
   He took out an album and opened it up.
   “ The Tantek Corp. My last job and here is my clearance card. At night, there is only one security guard there. That’s because there is nothing for anyone to steal. The only people that works there are scientist. Who would expect anyone to want to break in there. But to me, there is something that is valuable. Tantek has it’s own time machine.
   It’s not guarded because everyone has their own clearance card that works on the machine. No one would ever want to try using it. Therefore it just stays there for decoration. I can go to the Tantek Corp. and slip through the back door because the guard is stationed all the way around the other side of the building. Then I can slip downstairs and enter into the room where the time machine stands.”
   Torak ran upstairs to his room to change clothes.
   “ I better wear all black so it will be hard for the cameras to detect me at night.”
   Torak changed into some different clothes and ran downstairs to look out of the window.
   “ It’s almost dark. In about an hour I’ll leave.”
   Torak sat down to drink himself a cup of hot coffee.
   “ I can excess one of the computers and find out about the senators brother and even the senator himself. All I have to do is look up their family tree. Then I can search out their mother. I wouldn’t kill her but I can fix it so she can never have any kids. I have a special concoction I can cook up that will do the job. I better start making it right away.”
   Torak went into his laboratory where he keeps all of his chemical supplies hidden. He took out some packages with powder in them. He found some bottles with liquid inside of them. He poured them into another bottle and placed it on a burner. It boiled and had risen into a long straw like tube and traveled down through a thinner tube. Then it started dripping into a small bottle. When the bottle was filled he took it out of the holder and placed a cap on it.
   “ I’ve done it. This should make her incapable of having any kids. All I have to do is pour it into her drink and she would not feel a thing. Then I can come back into my own time and be with my wife because if there was never a brother of a senator then he would never have been able to killed my wife. It’s time to go.”
   Torak left his house and got into his car. He drove to the Tantek Corp.
   “ I know those cameras are watching me but I will be passing a tunnel soon. I’ll park my car inside of the tunnel and sneak out. The cameras would never be able to detect me with all this black clothing on in the dark. I’ll be only a few blocks away from Tantek.”
   Torak drove into a tunnel and parked his car. He got out and ran to the end of the tunnel. He then walked around the side. He ran up the hill and into the woods that guarded Tantek. Soon he was out of the woods. It was quiet. He went around the back. There was a door with a box on the side of it. It had a place where he could slide his card through. He did. There was a series of blinking lights and the door had opened.
   “ Thank God. It worked. For a minute I thought the code was changed.”
   He went inside. He walked around to where the guard was sitting. The guard was sleeping on his watch.
   “ I don’t blame him. There’s nothing to do here anyway.”
   Torak left to walk downstairs. He went down the hall and opened the door that leads into the room where the time machine was held. He went inside.
   “ There she is. Big as life. It’s silent when turned on. I could travel back in time and come back here without anyone knowing it.”
   He walked over towards the computer and sat down in front of it. He turned it on.
   “ Now lets just see what I can find out. First the senator’s father. Now his mother. So far I did manage to get his brother and sisters. Now his mother’s age when she got married. I got it. All I have to do is synchronize the time machine so I can appear back when the senator’s mother was in college. I’ll do it now.”
   Torak did just that.
   “ Now to program the time machine for twenty four hours later. That should give me plenty of time to find her. I now know what college she goes to. I’ll make sure I have my credit card for expenses.”
   Torak stepped into the time machine and started it up. The machine glowed and then it disappeared. Inside of the machine the dials started going backwards. It picked up speed. Then it started slowing down. Finally it stopped. The machine was inside of a park. Torek stepped out of the time machine.
   “ I better cover this up with those branches and leaves.”
   Torak covered up the time machine and stepped backwards to get a good look at it.
   “This should be unnoticeable. According to my calculations, the college should be right over there.”
   Torak walked over to the corner of the park.
   “There it is. Now to go to the nearest Telwall.”
   The Telwall has all the information about every citizen in the state.
   “There’s one over there. The senator’s mother’s name is Jane Wallace.”
   The Telwall is a flat screen computer built inside of a wall that’s like a computerize telephone directory. Torek had typed in Jane Wallace and three names came up. He did a background check on each and found out that Jane Wallace did go to the college he was looking for. The Telwall even provided him with a picture for him to print out. He took the picture out of the machine.
   “ I’ve got it. Now to just hang out by the college and ask around. I’ve got a better idea. I’ll just say that I am a professor, which I am, and say that I am interested in her becoming my assistant and that she was referred to me by a friend. I can explain to her what I do and even offer her a decent salary to help pay for her tuition. I’ll go to her Dean’s office to find her.”
   Torak walked inside of the college and found out where the Dean’s office was located. He walked inside.
   “ How may I help you?” asked Dean Robinson.
   “ My name is Professor Torak Borinsky.I was told that I could find Miss Jane Wallace here. I want to offer her a job as my assistant, in my research.”
   “ Why she should love that. We always encourage our students to take on jobs to get the feel of making their own money and this can be used as an extra credit for her. I’ll call her down here for you.”
   “ Thank you very much.”
   Torak sat down in an available chair while the dean paged for Jane Wallace. Five minutes later, a young college student came inside of the office.
   “ Dean Robinson? Did you page for me?” asked Jane.
   “ Yes my Dear. I have a gentleman here who wants to offer you a job as his assistant in his research. He’s a professor. If you take this job, it will count as an extra credit for you.”
   Torak stood up.
   “ Miss Jane Wallace, I presume?”
   “ Yes, I’m Jane Wallace.”
   “ Miss Wallace. My name is Professor Torak Borinsky.You was recommended by a friend of yours who wants to remain anonymous. I am looking for an assistant in my research and I am ready to pay you a decent salary to help you with your tuition. How about $10,000 for this year only?”
   “ 10,000 dollars?” Jane repeated excitedly.
   “ Will it be ok if I pick you up after school ? I can tell you all about it over dinner. One hour of your time is all I asked.”
   “ That will be fine. School will be out in an hour.”
   “ That’s ok, Dear. I’ll credit you for the time.” said Dean Robinson.
   “ Well ok then. Lets go,” said Jane.
   They both left the school and went to a restaurant down the street.
   “ This should be ok,” said Torak.
   “ This is fine,” said Jane.
   They both went inside and sat at a table. The waitress came over to take their order.
   “ What would you like Miss Wallace?”asked Torak
   “ Just a hamburger,fries,and Coke please.”
   “ I’ll have the same.”
   The waitress wrote their order down and left.
   “ So Mr.Borinsky.What’s the job?” asked Jane.
   “ I’m glad you asked. My research involves sleep disorder. All you have to do is monitor their sleep patterns and write down what you see.”
   The waitress came back with their order.
   “That was fast,” said Torak.
   “ We aim to please ,Sir.”
   “ Well, I’m very pleased.”
   “ Thank you, Sir.” said the waitress.
   The waitress left. Jane started sipping on her Coke.
   “Miss Wallace? What is that hanging from your eye?”
   “ I don’t know. What is it?”
   “ I don’t know either but you better go to the washroom before it gets inside.”
   Jane got up from the table while wiping her eyes. She left for the washroom.
   “ Now’s my chance.” said Torak.
   Torak took a small vile and poured the contents of it into the glass of Coke. It dissolved quickly. It was tasteless. Jane came back from the washroom.
   “ I didn’t see anything.”
   “ It’s gone now. Maybe it’s my eye sight. Drink your soda while I tell you more,” said Torak.
   Jane started drinking her soda and eating her burger.
   “ Like I said. I’m going to pay you $10,000 for one years work and I will pick you up from your dorm and bring you back so you won’t have to worry about transportation.”
   “ You’re so kind.”
   Jane started getting weaker.
   “ I don’t feel so good.”
   “ What’s wrong?”
   “ I just feel dizzy.”
   Jane fainted.
   “ Waitress call a doctor. She’s sick.”
   The waitress ran to the phone. Torak left some money on the table and got up to leave. He went back to the park and climbed back inside of the time machine. The coordinates were already set. In a matter of seconds he was back in his own time. The machine was back inside of Tantek Corp. Torak stepped out, and left the building.
   There was something different about the building. It looked kind of not taken care of. Like it wasn’t taken care of by the cleaning crew. There was glass broken everywhere on the floor. The tables were turned over. Torak was now outside of the building.
   There was a strange fog all around him. He heard moaning sounds. There were people laying on the ground with shabby clothes on.
   “ What happened here.”
   A man spoke up from the ground below.
   “ Haven’t you heard? A terrorist group set off two nuclear bombs in this country.”
   “ What terrorist group? Carol!” he shouted out loud.
   Torak ran home as fast as he could. He couldn’t recognize his block. People were wandering around everywhere.
   “Carol?” he shouted out.
   He saw his neighbor stumbling around.
   “ Dale? Have you seen my wife?”
   Dale started coughing.
   “Yes. She’s around here somewhere but I don’t know where. Look over there. That’s the last place I saw her.”
   Torak ran in the direction Dale had pointed out.
   “ Carol? Carol?” he shouted.
   “ Torak? ” said a soft voice.
   Torak turned around.
   “ Carol?” he shouted.
   “ Torak. Where have you been? I thought that you was dead.”
   “ No Carol. I’m as alive as you are. I heard that some terrorist had done all of this.”
   “ They did. Two nuclear bombs had exploded. They had wiped out the city. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed. All because one of their comrades was in prison and our government wouldn’t negotiate their demand to let him loose. Why didn’t they negotiate,Torak?”
   “ You know our president never negotiate and look at what it cost us. Carol, I love you so much.”
   “ I love you too,Torak, but right now we have to find out how to survive in all of this.”
   “ Carol, I know a way.”
   “ What way?”
   “ I have the time machine. I can take us out of this.”
   “ But Torak. It’s never been proven that it works.”
   “ I proved that it do work. Come on.”
   “ But Torak. I'm afraid of those things. The people never comes back.”
   “ I came back for you.”
   “ How Torak? You just left an hour ago.”
   “ Carol, when I left for work the police came by my class to tell me that you was killed in a home invasion. I had to identify your body. You was also raped. I saw who the murderer was and I went back in time to prevent his mother from having her baby. Your murderer was never born, therefore there was no home invasion and you was never killed.”
   “ I don’t understand none of this, Torak. I started cleaning the house right after you had left for work. That’s when the sirens started going off and then the wind started picking up. I hid down in the basement. It felt like a tornado had gone by. When I didn’t hear the wind any more, I came outside and saw that the whole neighborhood was destroyed. I started walking through all of the debris.
   “ Carol, my hunch was right. In another time line you was killed but in this new time line you was never in any danger. We can leave this horror and go to another time together. Lets go to the Tantek Corp. That’s where I left the time machine.”
   “ Well, if you’re sure about all of this.”
   “ I’m as sure as I’m alive to tell about it.”
   They both went back to the Tantek Corp,but to their surprise the building had collapsed on top of the time machine. The time machine was destroyed.
   “ No!” yelled Torak.
   “ Torak? What’s wrong?”
   “The time machine is destroyed. Now we can never leave here.”
   “ I don’t feel very well,Torak.”
   “ Carol,what’s wrong?”
   “ I feel nausea and my body is aching all over.”
   “ It’s radiation poisoning from the fallout. I ‘m beginning to feel the same way,Carol. Lets sit over here, in the shade.”
   Torak held Carol in his arms. Carol, I went back into time to save you from the horror you had faced and in doing so I had destroyed an entire city. I guess you had to die anyway but at least I get to die with you. Lets just sit here and wait a while.”
   “ Torak, I believe that you believe in what you are saying is true but I know that you didn’t cause any of this. I’m so tired. I’m going to just close my eyes for a minute. I feel so weak.”
   “ Rest my darling.”
   Torak, and Carol died in each others arms.

                                                                                                       The End