This fiction was an entry for the Sci Fi Eclat contest held by IIT Guwahati as a part of Techniche’
The story revolves around the life of a body from teenage to adulthood and how it changes when his father invents a time machine.
The story begins with the boy’s father inventing a time machine. The body out of curiosity uses the time machine and arrives at a time in future when the whole is being invaded by aliens. With the help of his younger sister, who is a full grown woman by then, he manages to come back to the present.
After his journey he tells his story but nobody seems to believe him; except for his best friend Ryan.
The third part of the story involves Ryan the only guy who believed that the boy has actually gone through time-travel. The disappearance of his best friend Ryan in a mysterious way in a Birthday Party leaves the boy broken.
The last part is situated much ahead in future where the boy is a full grown man and has his engagement in two days. But mystery follows as he confronts again with Ryan after 17 years.
“MyFather!!! He’s Einstein …” this is what I said when my teacher asked me about my father. But on the contrary, my neighbours have a totally different opinion. They say he is crazy. Even I wouldn’t totally disagree with them. He does acts like one, spending days in our basement after being kicked out of his job as a Scientist in the Local Research Centre; but then I am nobody to pass judgement on this.
As of me, I was a simple 13 year old boy & life was pretty ordinary for me. But this all was about to change on one of the sultry dinner times I was having on 28 October 1995. I could still remember that strange smile my dad had on his face. As if his heart was thumping with joy. But even on repeated enquiry by my mother, he simply kept his lips sealed. This wasn’t the only surprise that he delivered that day. Apart from coming to the dinner table on time; which he rarely does, he also volunteered to tell me a bedtime story(which he NEVER does).
That night when my father began his story; there was a certain excitement in his voice and to an extent a degree of truth. He told me that he has built a TIME-MACHINE. The word was new to my ears. On enquiring he told me that it’s a wardrobe that opens into a ‘Whole New World’. I asked him “Like Narnia!!!” And he replied, “Yes my son; but only better!!”
That night I couldn’t sleep. The words of my father kept bouncing in my head. I simply had to see it for myself. So at midnight when everybody was sound asleep, I slowly slipped out of my bed. There was a pin drop salience. Even the creaking of the wooden stairs seemed to be loud enough to wake my parents. Usually at this hour my father would be working. But today was something different, as if he was finally sleeping in peace. As I made my way through the dim lit stairway towards the basement, things slowly became visible. My eyes were finally adapting to the darkness. I was scared to open the basement door. But the fact that my father always prohibited me from going there created a strange sense of curiosity. And as it happened my curiosity overcame my fear. I hardly walked a step or two when I stumbled upon a bunch of wires. I was scared that the sound might wake my parents but luckily it didn’t. As I dragged my hands against the wall, I finally felt the switch. The moment I turned on the switch, there stood in front of me the wardrobe my dad called the ‘Time Machine’.
As I took my steps towards this time-machine a mixed feeling of fear, excitement and curiosity enveloped my heart. With my trembling fingers I opened the door. But to my surprise there was nothing inside. It was just a metal container with lots of wires.Just then I heard someone coming down the basement. I quickly hid inside the ‘Time-Machine’ and closed the door.
Suddenly the whole thing began to tremble. There was a loud noise outside as if thunders have just struck the container. With my guts in my mouth I tried to open the door but it was stuck. With each passing moment the noise became only louder. Engulfed with fear I sat in a corner of the container. With my eyes closed I grabbed myself so tight that nails dug into my flesh. Suddenly there was a blindingly bright flash of light and I fell unconscious….
The next thing I knew is that I woke up in my bed. I thought…. ‘ This was just another bad dream.’ I had hardly reconciled myself when I heard a commotion of hues and cries outside which only grew louder and louder. As I peeped down my window, a strange chill ran down my spine. All I could see was a burning graveyard of ashes. The grasp of fire has taken everything under it.
I shouted for my Mom and Dad but all that came back to were empty echoes. I ran down to my younger sister’s room only to find my fears changing to reality. She wasn’t there. My heart raced like a train engine. Suddenly a stack of newspapers caught my eyes. As I skimmed through these papers slowly the mist in front of my eyes cleared and everything became clear to me. In the year 2020 a large meteor crashed onto the Earth and before long an army of aliens flooded the streets, destroying anything and everything. The Earth as we know it has seized to exist…
Even though I was shaken to my bones, I had to search for my family. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a knife, the first thing I could find. With the knife tightly gripped between my fingers, I slowly proceeded towards the main doors. As I opened my heart sank. What happened to be a beautiful colony just a few moments before is now just a pile of rubbles. Don’t know why but somehow I felt like it was all my fault.
As I walked through boulevard of broken dreams my heart pumped against my chest so hard that I thought it would literally come out. But as it happened to be, my search ended even before it began. I saw there shadowy creatures speeding towards me. I tried to run but my legs won’t move. I was like a helpless lamp crying out for his mother. So I did what any other “coward” does best… closed my eyes and started crying.
Suddenly I heard a loud thrash. I slowly opened my eyes and there stood a beautiful girl with flowing hair and a gun. She shot down all the three creatures just in a flash. I might be hallucinating, but I swear at that point that girl appeared no less than an angel to me. She grabbed my hand and pulled me back up on my feet. While I was mesmerised by her beauty and agility, she yelled at me “Let’s get you out of here br……” I couldn’t hear the rest because of all the noise. But somewhere in my heart I knew I could trust and anyway she was the only human I have met till then in that hell hole.
I followed her through canals and narrow streets, most of which involved me standing at a corner and her protecting me as we made our way to an underground garage. My nimble legs were hurting by then.“You shouldn’t have come here!!” she scolded me as if she already knew me. But before I could ask anything shoved me inside some kind of metal cylinder. When I enquired about her she smiled and said “Its only made for one of us, brother”. On hearing those words I was dumbstruck… could it really be!!! But before I could say anything she shut the cylinder closed and darkness spread all around me.….
The next thing I remember was waking up back at my bed. I jumped down the bed to glance out the window. I took a breath of relief as I saw our same old colony outside. I raced down and told my mother the whole story. But as expected she never believed me. Slowly the news of my so called “dream” spread fast in the colony and people started thinking that I was just as ‘delusional’ just like my father. Couldn’t blame them completely though, after all my family has a history of insanity.
The only person that believed in me at that point was my best friend Ryan. He always showed interest in my story even though I have repeated it in front of him quite a few times. Expectedly over months all we would talk about was my so called ‘dream’. Thisstarted making Ryan curious about my Dad’s machine. He always wanted to see it. But I could never gather enough courage to go back into that basement again.
It was the year 1996 and the day was my Birthday. Many of my friends and relatives were there including Ryan. I took a deep breath and blew all the 14 candles as people sang Happy Birthday for me. I took the first piece and wanted to give it to Ryan but could not find him. As all the commotion settled down I tried to find Ryan, but all in futile. I searched for him all over the house but couldn’t find him. It wasn’t long before Ryan’s parents discovered the same. Suddenly Ryan’s mother broke into tears. In a few minutes the echoes of “Happy Birthday” transformed into cries of sorrow. My parents asked me to go inside the room.
That night for the first time police came into our house. They searched the whole place but could not find even a single trace of Ryan. As if he simply vanished into thin air.I tried to convince them that he must have got into my Dad’s Time Machine. But as always I was struck aside as nobody believed me. The only person who did believed in me was now missing. The incident left a very deepscar in my heart. The vaccum left by Ryan in my life could not be filled by anyone else. Somewhere deep inside my heart I blamed myself for Ryan. Neither would have I told him the story, nor he would have gone in pursuit of the time-machine.
Ryan was never found. But as they say time is the greatest medicine, over the years, tangled in the cobweb of the rigorous life, these memories slowly faded away.
The year is 2012. With two days left for my Engagement, there was a commotion all around the house. All my relatives are visiting and we were short at hand. So Mom asked me to go to the market for some shopping.
As I walked through the market road I felt a strange presence… I turned around only to find out nothing. We were just about to returns when I suddenly saw a familiar figure at a distance. “How can this be possible…?” I ran after the boy as fast as my legs would carry me.
“Ryan!!!” I shouted. As the boy looked back, my heart skipped a beat. Could it really be him? Could it really be Ryan after all these years? There was no mistaking. It was Ryan. As I ran behind the boy, he turned and smiled.But just as I was about to get to him’ he disappeared in the crowd.
I could not believe what my eyes just saw. I thought that my minds must be playing tricks on me. I could not decide….
Was it a day dream???
Was it the spirit of Ryan trapped in this mortal world???
Or did he actually Time-Travelled and this was reality????
By – 1/ Angshuman Ch. Baruah
2/ Deep Sarkar
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