Author : Danielle Bodnar

Listen. In the basement, there is the shelter. You’ll find everything you need: canned goods, camping gear, cell phone, travel router, multilingual slang phrasebook. Inside the phrasebook there is a list of numbers and letters. This is the code to unlock the time machine – the big black box at the far corner of the room. Put on the jacket that hangs on the chair by the bed. It might be cold. Inside the inner pocket of the jacket is a tablet with inter-dimensional GPS installed and an electronic spanner. It’s an old one, but it should still work.

When you get inside the box, go to the control panel. The correct coordinates have already been put in. You’ll be back home, albeit 50 years earlier, in no time. How do I know it works? I’ve tested it before, of course. With apes, like the first spaceships. You’ll be the first human to go back. But forward – unfortunately, you can only go the long way round..

Try and stop it. Tell the world that the comet is coming. You’re a bright young kid, get into the best university you can, study astrophysics. Don’t worry about papers – I’ve already forged some for you. I plan for everything. You will find these in an envelope, also in the inner pocket of the jacket. Don’t look for yourself thirty years later. And for the love of science, don’t come looking for me, ever. If you succeed, this will never have happened, but right now it looks like you’ve failed. It’s all right, though; we can try over and over again, forever if we have to. Katy, this world is too beautiful to lose like this. I have faith in you, but this is an inevitable event. If you think you can’t stop it, advocate for humanity to travel to the stars. Maybe you can save some of them. I have included a list of coordinates of the closest inhabitable planets inside the phrasebook, page 116. But don’t reveal them unless this is the course you must take.

Don’t worry about me. I brought you here without meaning to. I had every opportunity to keep you away from danger, and I didn’t take them. I knew it was coming, that it always would come, but I waited too long. I thought, with all my intelligence and clout, I could swoop in and save the world at the last minute. Genius that I am, I let Hollywood delude me. This is the least I can do. I know you can do it, Katy. You’ve been a tremendous help in my research. The others always nodded along to everything I say, but you spoke up. You asked questions. But I shut you out. I should have listened to you before, told you what I knew, but it’s too late now. Another thing – don’t wallow in regret. Lucky for you, Katy, you can try again.

Don’t worry about Muffy – she’s safe in her carrier in your room, right where you left her. No time. You must go alone. Hurry; it will be here in half an hour. I’m old, Katy, so old. My life is lived. Please go. Now. I’m so sorry.

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