Saturday, November 9, 2019

Address | Jump | Season | Blanket

Because I have been negligent, here are four stories in one post.

#6-9: Address | Jump | Season | Blanket
by d.f. Monk


6: Address

Hacking time was complex. I mean, in theory it was simple, but the actual mathematics that allowed someone to inject a message backwards in time were incredibly complex. The model was error-checked in real-time and would be confirmed over a thousand times in anything tangible happened.

In those old vids someone would hop through a portal or get into a ship and travel back to stop a bomb, or save a relative... But that was make believe.

He fixed things every day. Not big things, mind you. Not all at once, at least.

“Okay,” he said. “We’re good. I’ve got the absolute relative address of the juncture we want to influence.”

“Code has been cleared for execution,” the man in the dark spectacles confirmed.

The hacker picked up the handset and pushed the green button before holding it to his ear.

It took a moment, then another, before a repeating buzzing ring began, and then abruptly ended.

“Hello?” asked the voice on the other end of the phone.

“Sorry to disturb you,” the hacker said, “but I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions about your choice in internet service providers.”

“Ugh, no,” the disembodied voice said before hanging up the line.

“Looks like that one did it,” the man in the dark spectacles confirmed.

“What is this even supposed to change?” the hacker asked.

“We’ll probably never know. Get ready for the next insertion.”
The hacker sighed. Time travel was tedious work.


7: Jump

She hung up the phone, wondering why it was she even bothered to answer it anymore. It was mostly dumb sales calls… or political polls.

She looked over at the counter, locking eyes with the little boy that was poised on his tiptoes, hoping that his stillness would make him invisible to her.

“I just polished the floor yesterday. If you jump off that counter, you’re going to break your neck,” she said, moving over in front of him, taking the cookie from his fingers before lifting him up into her arms.

“You’re lucky I was even here,” she said. “If I hadn’t heard the phone, I would have been all the way on the other side of the house.”

“My cookie,” the boy said, something between frustration and regret.

“My cookie now,” she said, taking a bite of it before setting him down on the cool kitchen floor.

“Cookie for you if you clean up your room,” she said.

That was the proper motivation. He scrambled off, now single minded in purpose.
Through a window she watched the snow fall. Down the hall, she heard her son starting to jam too many toys under his bed.

“Mmm. I really do make the best cookies,” she commented. Her mother had passed down that recipe to her. They always made her feel nostalgic. She had been a cookie thief, too.

“I should make them more often,” she mused, letting the warm memory nestle into her chest.


8: Season

The world outside the window was white. Sunlight muscled through the naked branches of the trees surrounding the cabin and failed to warm the unbroken sheet of snow surrounding it.

He smelled ginger, cinnamon and cloves. It was his mother’s recipe, and her mother’s before that. The molasses cookies had never been seasonal treats. Not until she’d become too sick to make them herself.

So he and his husband, together in the kitchen, made batches of them for the holidays. The biggest lot would go to his mom, even though she couldn’t eat them anymore... even though she couldn’t recognize him anymore.

“You’re not going to melt that snow just by staring at it,” his husband called out from the other room, where the cookies baked slowly in the oven, filling their house with the smell that would be forever associated with his mother’s failing health.

It wasn’t just the world that was frozen outside, time had crawled to a standstill. He hated feeling stuck in place… frozen by snow… mired in molasses.

“Did you think any more about the adoption?” his husband asked.

He hadn’t. Until this summer, it had been all they talked about, but then his mom…

His phone buzzed in his pocket. He answered it without thinking.

“Congratulations, you’ve been selected to…”

He hung up before it could finish.
“Enough interruptions,” he thought. “Life won’t wait forever.”

“I have thought about it,” he called out to his husband. “I think you’d make a great dad.”


9: Blanket

Her heart skipped several beats. She stared at the phone, that beast of an old phone, spliced and wired and rigged to several computers, each of those feeding a different screen with updated numbers and figures and reports.

“Who’s this?” he’d asked. It was his voice. Strong and vibrant, just like she’d remembered it. She’d almost forgotten to speak, almost forgotten to act her scripted line.

She didn’t even have to mention the “deluxe time-share opportunity,” before he’d hung up. In retrospect, she’d probably scripted way too much of a dialogue she knew she’d never have to use.

Her head was light, probably some from lack of sleep, a bunch from too much caffeine and just the proper amount for succeeding at something that had, until just a minute ago, been only a theoretical possibility.

Now she could tell him… warn him… stop him… from making that trip into the city. She’d proven that it was possible to reach backwards in time, to send back a message. And if she could send a warning back…

She fell onto her bed, too wired to sleep, but too exhausted to keep working. She wrapped herself in a blanket, tried to tie up all of her boundless enthusiasm. She wanted to get working right away.

But she didn’t have to.
She could make time. She could change time.

She had all the time she would ever need. At least enough to save him. And who knows…

...maybe even the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment