Timothy Turner’s Time Machine (June Contest)

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   Timothy Turner was a man of science. He considered himself to be one of the greats. This thought of being so great is not without reason, for he was the one to create the first time machine. Not only that, but a time machine no bigger than the modern-day cell phone, and far more durable than such a fragile little piece of technology.

   This great invention was now the reason why Timothy was stuck in 1348, somewhere on the European countryside. He had no idea which countryside he was in, though. He had gone back in time to see for himself what it was like in this particular time period, and only a few days in, he had completely forgotten where exactly in Europe he was.

   He seemed to have misplaced his time machine. The only issue with the theory that he had misplaced it was the fact that he remembered specifically placing it down on a stump at the edge of the clearing he was currently in. He was staring at that exact stump now.

   He had put a theory together. Someone must have stolen his machine while he had his back turned, and run off into the woods to find someone to sell it to for a devilishly high price. Because that is all people do when they find something that seems intricate. They try to get rich by selling it to the highest bidder.

   Timothy’s suspicions were confirmed when he spotted tracks leading away from the stump. The tracks were definitely human-sized. With as much courage as he could muster, Timothy followed the tracks into the dense European forest.

   The further Timothy got from the clearing, the darker it became, making it gradually harder for him to see his own hand in front of him, much less the tracks. If only he had a flashlight.

   Just as he was questioning why he had decided to not bring a flashlight, he tripped. His trip sent him rolling down a steep hill. This hill was nothing like those clean, groomed fields from the present day, where you could roll down them forever and not get a scratch. No, this particular hill was littered with all kinds of sharp plants and sticks.

   Timothy’s painful adventure down the hill ended with his rolling into a rosebush. The plant’s thorns sliced up his already battered and bruised body. He felt blood trickle down his arms and legs.

   Not quite ready to give up, Timothy stood and searched for the tracks he was following before. He found them soon enough, and once again carried on following. Luckily, he could now see the tracks, as they went through the clearing.

   This particular clearing was far bigger than the one he was in before. It had a nice view of some nearby mountains. Timothy saw a few animals in the clearing, but there were so few he could probably count them on his fingers. He also noticed a problem.

   The clearing had a river that split the whole place into two halves. It would not be such an issue if the tracks Timothy had been following were not leading directly into the river. This was an issue because now he had no idea if the thieves swam across or took a boat down the river. Another problem was the fact that the day was nearly done, and as soon as it got dark, the river would be too cold to travel across.

   Now he had a choice: should he try to get across the river, or go along the river, or wait until morning when it would be warmer? Timothy looked to the sky. He saw the sun still just above the tallest tree. From that, he guessed it would be around seven o’clock. He then made a choice.

   Timothy knew that even with the sun up, the river would still be cold, and even in perfect conditions, he still had a chance of getting severe hypothermia. Nevertheless, if he waited any longer, he would be unable to gain any distance during the night, and he was worried that the tracks he was following would disappear. He had to cross the river before night fell.

   Deciding it would be best to get it done quickly, he raced into the river. Upon going in, he thought of it as no big deal. It was not as cold as he thought it would be. That changed quickly.

   A half hour later, Timothy was shivering. He was only halfway, and he felt like he was going to look like an ice cube if he stayed in the water for much longer. Coming from someone who spent his whole life in the city, this was the first time he felt like he was going to die.

   His first half of the swim across the river was easy compared to the last half. It took him about an hour and twenty-five scares from something brushing against his leg to swim from the middle to shore. Upon reaching the other side, he crawled a few feet from the water, cried in victory, and fell asleep.

   Timothy woke up to a beautiful sight. He saw the sky in pretty colours of pink, and purple, and orange, and the mountains, now on his side of the river, looked over the forest in all their rocky glory. He decided to get up and walk around. Maybe he could find the tracks again. Sure enough, he found them. They led into the forest, towards the mountains. Once again, he followed into the woods.

   With it getting darker by the minute, it was even harder to see anything. Timothy did not have to walk blind for very long, though. The tracks soon led to the mountains, and soon he was standing at the entrance to a little cave. With the tracks leading inside, there was only one possible explanation: the robbers were in that cave. He entered.

   Now, Timothy was not the strongest guy in the world. He was more comparable to an organized pile of twigs than a weight lifter. Even with this, he was still readying himself for the fight of his life.

   He never got that fight. Not long after entering the cave, he found the corpse of a man. Must have been one of his robbers. He noticed what had killed him. He saw boils that were leaking blood and pus. Considering the time period he was in, he could guess what it was. Bubonic Plague, also known as Black Death.

   He hurried further down the cave. He saw another corpse, this time holding Timothy’s Time Machine. He picked it up, then hurriedly ran outside to use his precious device.

   Timothy turned it on, then pressed a few buttons to set it to June 4th, 2014. Finally, he pressed a button and was sent back to the modern age.

   Timothy later found he had been infected with the Bubonic Plague, but luckily he had prepared a cure beforehand in case he did. After his experience, he decided to never mass produce the time machine. As much as it hurt him to do this, he knew it had to be done. He thought a bit more about the possible consequences of time travel, and decided that it would be a bad idea to let the machines go to other people for money.

   He came to believe that nobody should own a time machine, not even him, and this led him to destroy the only time machine ever built and hide the notes he had spent so much time carefully writing down.

   It has been three years since the day of Timothy Turner’s return. Three years since the only time machine ever built was destroyed. It was destroyed because of one bad experience that the inventor had.

   And that is why we don’t have time machines.

Karl Fahrmann

VC class of 2020 I'm currently writing a full-length fiction novel, email me if you want comment access for the current drafts

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