Colors of Time (Sample)

PROLOGUE

Do you believe in time travel? Have you ever wondered why people go back in time and rarely forward, in movies? Some might think that this is because the future is uncertain while the past had already taken its place in history and it’s also easier and more entertaining to rewrite the past than imagining the future, altering one tiny event in the past and changing the future. Actually, that’s true, but to what extent? You may have heard of the butterfly effect; when a tiny change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system would result in huge different outcomes in a later state. Just like a butterfly flapping its wings at a specific location and time, causing a hurricane thousands of miles away, perhaps a week later. Let me give you an example or rather something that really happened. Something that only a handful of people know the real reason behind a major event in history: World War I.

In 1914, a young Serbian nationalist assassinated the archduke of Austria-Hungary which led to the breaking out of one of the most destructive wars in history. Could it have been prevented in any way by going back in time? Perhaps by killing the young Serbian before he acted? It’s not as you think! In fact, there had already been an intervention by a time-travelling agent, who had to remain in the shadows at the time. You know, not to interfere directly. Did the agent want to start a war that claimed millions of lives? Was he evil in nature? Of course not, but he didn’t have a choice. If he hadn’t acted the way he did, the world population would have been reduced by 92% because of a pandemic, which would have commenced, had the archduke continued to live. It was believed at the time that Franz Ferdinand, the archduke had been trying to cultivate black roses and for that era, the appearance of a black rose meant war and destruction. Anyway, if the archduke hadn’t been killed, he would have been successful in growing a black rose, resulting in more than half of Europe covered in fields of black roses. You see, all those fields of black roses would have triggered a world-wide pandemic: A lethal disease spread by the pollens of the hellish flower. We only survived thanks to the actions of that time-travelling agent, who had to choose between the annihilation of the human race and sacrificing millions of lives through a world war. He did fine and prevented our total annihilation but he had made some mistakes as well and the details of those mistakes were written all over history. Those with some deduction skills can interpret history correctly and spot them: The agent had recruited seven Serbian nationals and convinced them to take out the archduke by giving them nationalistic pep talks. He also gave cyanide pills to each of the men to be consumed after their assassination attempts whether they succeeded or not. The initial plan seemed perfect. These seven, armed with bombs and pistols, would scatter along the road from the station in Sarajevo through Appel Quay, the main road which would be followed by archduke’s driver and attempt to assassinate the archduke on the way. If one failed, any of the others would have been able to finish him off. There were seven of them after all. The first two assassins were too scared to act, but the third one named Čabrinović hurled his bomb to the archduke’s car but failed miserably as it bounced off the folded back cover of the car, rolling under the next car before it went off. After his failed attempt, Čabrinović swallowed his cyanide pill and jumped into the Miljacka River, trying to ensure his demise. The cyanide pill just made him vomit and he was fished out of the shallow river by the police. He really hadn’t thought of the hot, dry summer to affect the water levels of the river to that extent. The water level had reached only up to cover his ankles. But, why hadn’t the pill worked. And it wasn’t only him who was unfortunate with the poison. On the return trip of the archduke, Gavrilo Princip, who had missed a chance before, succeeded in shooting both Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, killing them both. He consumed the cyanide pill which made him throw up all over the place. Can you guess why the pills hadn’t worked as they should have? The answer is simple: They were expired! The agent had brought the pills from his timeline in the future and going back in time ruined them. There’s a lesson to be learned here: Taking medication or food with you and travelling through time will ruin them. So, don’t prepare yourself a cheese sandwich and leap through time.

I can almost hear you asking how I come to know all this stuff. Well, I was recruited myself to be a time-travelling agent last year or next year, depending on your place in the timeline or your perception of it. Before going on with my story, let me tell you about some stuff involving the basics of time travel and some facts, too:

  1. Time is a two-way street where you can go back or forward. But going back is risky and not preferred as the tiniest thing altered may lead to a world-wide catastrophe. So, after every major event in the present, TTA’s (short for time-travelling agents) leap forward in time and report the outcomes of that specific event. If the outcome is greatly undesirable, we are sent back in time to our present for corrections or minor altercations.

  2. Observing the future and altering the present, not the past is also a good idea in terms of avoiding time paradoxes as they are almost always related with the past. One tiny change in the past affects the present and may create a paradox, but a huge change in the present only results in the future to be rewritten. You’ll certainly think I am contradicting myself when you read my next point, but I am not, as time; the past, the present and the future, although ubiquitous, flows only forward.

  3. Timeline has been pre-recorded and it seems like we are living through the replays. The past, the present and the future exists on the same plane so there’s no such thing as a self-visitation paradox, meaning you can travel through time, find yourself in another time and even slap your double. I ensure you; the world will not end in total chaos. This is not a desirable action, though as your past or future self can recognize you and will live the rest of his, her or your days trying to figure out what had really happened. And that will certainly change the future.

  4. Consumables, especially food and medicine which are carried through time will certainly deteriorate and will cease functioning like they should as I mentioned earlier with the cyanide pills. Non-consumables just risk to be considered being out of time if seen by the locals of that time period.

  5. Time travels for everyone but not everyone can travel through time. You have to have a special, dormant gene called the TDG in your DNA. Only 0.2% of the world population has it. I’m one of the lucky ones. However, the gene is not enough on its own to leap through time. Other things are needed like a drug injected into your system which awakens the gene’s functionality.

  6. A TTA can travel through time more or less twenty-five to thirty times. Exceeding thirty trips will affect the TTA’s sanity. Have you seen any lunatics travelling through time?

  7. All TTA’s have to keep diaries of daily events as a reminder of the current flow of time or maybe because we like talking like: “Oh! I did that tomorrow.” No, seriously, after making a few trips in time, a TTA will get confused about the major events or the history itself.

  8. Group time travel, although possible, is not advised. It’s kind of like one person, one job kind of thing. This is no get-away weekend with friends.

  9. A TTA should study the events along with the surroundings of the specific time very well and dress, act etc. accordingly. Wearing a leopard print bikini in the age of cavemen might just work when trying to blend in, while doing that in the Victorian era in England will certainly end in unwanted ways for the TTA.

  10. Most of us are amazed by mythology, right? Mythological events and characters are mostly true, but forgotten or deliberately twisted through history. What would you think if I told you that the mega god Zeus was actually an electrician in the 2070’s? A TTA who could hurl wireless electrically charged thunderbolts?

  11. The organization behind time-travelling falsifies records and rewrites history when it’s absolutely necessary by paying off the right people at the right times. Some events in history are altered on purpose in order not to cause havoc or raise questions

    Now, let me tell you my story starting with my recruitment and my adventures before I succumb into total lunacy and become far less credible.

    COLORS OF TIME

    It all started on a cold winter night in 2016. I can’t give you an exact date as I wasn’t keeping a diary at the time. I was home after a super ordinary day and I heard a gentle knock on the door. That was strange. I had never had visitors before. I had been an outcast through my whole life. My mum and dad were both highly respected professors of physics and art history consecutively. They had always been strict, very strict about my education. I went to all the best schools and I was constantly homeschooled by them, which resulted in me excelling in every subject, ranging from Science to Arts. I now know that it wasn’t the best of ideas trying to connect to your primary school friends by constantly jabbering about topics ranging from black holes to the renaissance. They were more interested in farts, burps and making fun of our teacher Mr. Baxter’s huge belly and his baggy green pants. The same thing happened all over again through middle school, high school and even college, the only thing that changed was my classmates’ idea of having fun conversations. That’s my story of how I became a reject from society. For me, the world was much more than “The adventures of Burt Simpson, the spiky-haired brat!” Anyway, never got married, had any real friends or felt a connection to anyone throughout my entire life. As for family and relatives; I still receive a text message or two at New Year’s. Nothing more. So, the knock on the door had to have been a lost salesman or a drunkard who got confused. As it was night time, it was probably the latter. I opened the door without even bothering to ask who it had been. There stood a woman at the doorway. She smiled and something in my heart tingled. Her appearance had all the qualities I sought in a woman. If it wasn’t for that short brunette with glittering eyes, I could have just shut the door. 

    Hello!” she said.

    Hi!”

    I sense that you are looking for a connection. Here I am!”

    Huh?” I said although I clearly heard what she had said.

    Won’t you invite me in?” She bit her lower lip. “It’s kind of cold out here.”

    That was then when I realized she didn’t have a coat on. She was wearing a blue dress and matching high-heels without anything else to protect her from the freezing weather. I was about to stick my head out to check for a vehicle that dropped her off when she said:

    Nobody dropped me off. Can I come in now, please?” She touched one of her weird-looking ear-rings.

    She appeared to have read my mind and used the magic word “please” at the same time. That was the only word I had a weakness for and it came from a beautiful woman, inappropriately dressed for a cold winter night just outside my door. I invited her in and quickly shut the door once she was inside. She took off her high heels and carefully placed them in the show cabinet I had in the corner. She had to have seen me not wearing shoes in the house, I thought, but that still didn’t shed any light to how she knew about the well-concealed shoe cabinet behind the door. She started walking to my living room as if she had known where exactly to go and settled on the armchair, opposite the one that I always nestled in. I was hesitant in following her. This had to be a weird dream.

    You’re not having a dream and I’m certainly not a mind reader.” She said from her chair without even looking back at me.

    You would say exactly the same thing if I were dreaming.” I said, not really making any sense.

    Ok, then do what you were thinking about. Pinch yourself!”

    I was still behind her without any chance for her to see me and my hand was resting on my arm, ready to pinch myself. I did it anyway and felt a soft pain on the spot. I walked to the armchair opposite her and sat down before I asked her:

    Do we know each other?”

    We did, we do and we will.” She chuckled.

    What does that even mean? Which of my –“I couldn’t finish the sentence which was almost instantly completed by the woman.

    “– friends played a prank on you?” She smiled. “You don’t have friends.”

    I just stared at her. “Of course I have friends.” I said in an unconvincing tone.

    I’m a time traveler. You can call me White.” She introduced herself.

    I nodded at her but not because I accepted what she had told me. I did that because of the absurdity of the idea.

    I spent a good deal of time to appear to you as someone you would like and not turn me away. Hence, the hair, the make-up and even the color of my dress.” She explained.

    I’m guessing that you shrank yourself, too.” The lame joke I made was ignored. “OK. Let’s say I believe you. Why are you here? I’m nobody significant. Are you here to give me the winning numbers for next week’s lottery?”

    Oh! I’ll do that just before I leave as an incentive for you to join us.” She smiled. “And it will also be the final proof that I’m telling the truth.”

    Hmmm!” I reacted, not because I believed her but because I was enjoying the conversation we were having. “Would you like a drink before I listen to your story?”

    Sure. We can share the bottle of the blueberry wine you have in your fridge.”

    She knew about the wine in the fridge, too. This was getting kind of weird, but not the freaky kind of weird. I nodded, got up and went directly to the kitchen. I wanted to play a little game on her, to prove that she was having me on. Once I was in the kitchen, I gently closed the door so I could not be seen and grabbed the bread knife and pricked my left shoulder, making a tiny cut under my t-shirt. I would tell her that I cut myself and ask her exactly where I nicked myself. If she was indeed a time traveler or had this conversation with me before, she would know. “Got you!” I murmured to myself before I opened the fridge for the wine.

    “……….. the eggs!” White shouted from the living room. With the closed door muffling her voice, I was unable to make out the first word which sounded like “sign” or “find”. Whatever that meant. At that instant, something fell off from the fridge as I was closing its door. A couple of carelessly placed eggs had fallen, making a mess on the floor. Her voice had distracted me, I thought. I wouldn’t let the eggs fall if I hadn’t been trying to make out what she said. Then, it occurred to me, she had told me to “Mind the eggs!” I left the floor in its messy state and poured the wine equally into two glasses. I wasn’t sure if I needed to carry on with the little game I had planned for her, anymore. I took the glasses and went to the living room. White was holding patch of bandage in her hand that she handed me after I set aside the wine glasses.

    It’s for your shoulder.” She said. “Keep it pressed for a moment. It has antiseptic on it.”

    I took the bandage and applied it on my tiny cut before I settled into my chair.

    Need more proof?” She asked me as she reached for the wine glass. She began talking again before I could answer.

    You peed this afternoon exactly at 4:52 for 18 seconds and you’ll empty your bladder again in 54 minutes and 10 seconds later for 21 seconds.”

    I don’t really keep track of my bathroom time but I did pee this afternoon.” I took a sip of my wine. “You surely didn’t come here to chat about my bladder, Ms. White. Are you from the future?”

    Time is a plane which goes both ways. So, you can say that!” Small wrinkles appeared on the sides of her eyes as she smiled. She was probably older than she seemed. “Or, I am from the past for that matter.”

    You are not my great-grandmother or my daughter, are you?” I said as I took another mouthful of the blueberry wine and allowed it to sizzle into my mouth. “You know, travelled through time to warn me about something.”

    You’re right, grandpa!” She chuckled. “I travelled from the future to warn you about the unsteady eggs in your fridge. However, I have failed my mission.” She stopped smiling and stared at my face for a reaction, which I provided her with a smile of my own.

 — END OF THE SAMPLE —

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