Our flash fiction challenge this week from Terrible Minds was 1000 word short story somehow featuring time travel. Part of this is loosely based on true events, but what parts, I’ll let you figure out… Enjoy.
Time Travel in a Peterbilt
“I think I’m going crazy,” my brother said to me over the crackled cell phone connection.
“Why? Where are you?”
“Home now,” he replied. He cleared his throat and was quiet for a few moments.
Worried by his silence, I urged him to continue. “What happened? Why do you think you’re going crazy?”
“I think… I think I went… fell back in time.”
At my stunned silence, he took a deep breath and began to explain.
My brother had left a rest stop in his Peterbilt around eleven o’clock at night, taking the night shift while his partner slept. He was equipped with a thermos of coffee and snacks to keep him alert. He had music set at a level just audible to him, but not loud enough to wake his coworker.
“It was a nice, decent, quiet drive,” he said.
I was trying not to laugh as he continued.
“Remember that area where I saw the UFO a few months ago?” he asked.
I did laugh now. “You mean the area near the army base where you saw something flying in the sky that was most likely a government contraption and not an alien? Yeah.”
“No,” he said. “I told you, I swear on my wife’s life that it was a UFO—I was only like thirty feet away from it. I know what I saw.”
“Anyway,” I said, “yes, I remember.”
“Well, I remember looking at the clock,” he replied, “because I guess I wanted to be able to document a time in case I saw the UFO again. You know how many people have seen UFOs in that area?”
“Why the hell would a UFO keep showing up in the same place, huh?” I demanded. “Do the aliens have a cottage in the area? Doesn’t it make more sense that residents of the area are seeing some flying thing that the military is testing again and again? Think about it.”
My brother cleared his throat again and said, “Uh, no. I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. There’s no way this thing could be made by humans. It was like a cylinder with a spinning thing in the middle, and port holes, and just… there’s no way it could be human. Anyway, are you going to listen or what?”
“Uh huh,” I grumbled.
He explained again that he looked at the clock so that if he did see this UFO again, he’d have a precise time. It was two forty-three in the morning. When he saw no signs of UFOs in the sky, he passed through the area and stopped to fill up his coffee thermos at a local twenty-four hour coffee shop.
“I remember stopping there, because there was another trucker in there, carrying a load of timber back to the Toronto area. He was a big guy, and I remember him because he had a jolly face like Santa Claus. I was bitching about having to drive in the middle of the night just to make next to minimum wage. He told me I was working for the wrong guy if I was making so little. I remember looking around me to make sure my partner hadn’t woken up and followed me inside to hear our conversation.”
His partner was his employer.
“Fair enough,” I said.
He said he went back to the truck, checked the time again. Three twenty-five in the morning.
“I got driving again. You know how when you’re driving the same roads, you can kind of go into a daze?”
“Yup,” I replied. My drive to work had been much like that. Straight roads, ridiculously slow highway speeds, and nothing of interest to look at. “I know.”
“Well, that’s what happened. I wasn’t sleeping or tired or anything, but I was just like… on autopilot.”
The song ‘I Believe in Miracles’ had been playing on the radio.
“Suddenly there was a flash,” my brother said, “like someone had gone past with their high-beams on, but way brighter. And then that song wasn’t playing anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“It just stopped in the middle of the chorus and some Bee Gees song was playing, part way through already. As if it was all one track.”
“So? Maybe there was a glitch.”
My brother was quiet, and I could almost hear him shaking his head. “No,” he replied after a few more moments of silence. “I had already heard that song earlier. Just as I was heading into that UFO area, where the military base is.”
“No, that’s when I saw the sign for the turn off for the base.”
I furrowed my brow with skepticism. “Uh, what?”
“Yeah, I was an hour further from my destination than what I had been. I was entering the base area again. The snack wrappers I’d thrown out at the coffee shop were sitting beside me again. My thermos was empty.”
He explained being totally confused, and it being the middle of the night, he couldn’t be sure if he had been dreaming everything up or in a fog or what. He looked at the clock again.
“What did it say? I asked. “Had to be almost four in the morning.”
“No,” he replied, “it was two forty-three again.”
An unexpected chill coursed my body. “Yeah, right. That makes no sense.”
“Uh… how do you think I feel? I went back in time almost an hour. I don’t even know if there’s another me somewhere in the future just an hour ahead of me or what? Or are there two of me right now occupying this same time and space?”
“Where are you?”
“If there were two of you, where would the other you be?”
“Home, I guess.”
“So there’s probably just one of you, or else you’d have run into him by now.”
My brother sighed. “I guess.”
“Does that mean I went back in time, too, but I just don’t know it because I was sleeping?” I asked, allowing my brother’s crazy ranting to infect my rational just a little.
“I don’t know,” he said, “but all I know is that when I passed that exit for the military base, I looked in the opposite direction this time, and I saw the UFO again…”
© Lindsay Mawson 2012