Author : Charlie Sandefer

The elderly scientist took a nervous breath before he stepped into the machine. He typed in May 23, 2016 and flipped the switch on the center console. The machine began to shake violently. His frail frame was slammed against his seat. He tightened every muscle in his body, fighting against the G forces. He felt his consciousness begin to fade away, but before his vision was swallowed by darkness, he thought of his son. He also remembered the crash. At the time of the accident, the old man was checking his phone. It was his own fault that he didn’t notice the sedan pulling out in front of him. He walked away, but his son didn’t. The death of his only child wracked the man with grief and guilt, but he was on a mission to bring him back.

The scientist awoke lying flat on a concrete surface. He jumped to his feet, trying to make sense of his surroundings. He realized he was in the basement of his own home. He tiptoed up the stairs to investigate whether or not his device was successful. He cracked the door to his room and under the covers of the bed was his former self. The scientist celebrated silently, elated that his machine had actually sent him ten years into the past. He looked at the alarm clock next to the bed. It read 5:30 am. In two hours the accident would occur and his son would be killed, he had to work fast.

He racked his brain for a solution to prevent the crash. Then it came to him, he was texting while driving, which caused the collision. If he destroyed his phone, he could prevent the accident. His smartphone was sitting on the bedside table. He snatched it and ran outside. The large rock he found in the backyard smashed the phone into several pieces.

His plan worked perfectly. The father left the house without his phone that morning. After the car pulled out of the driveway, the elderly scientist came out of hiding, a smile on his face. The grin faded, though, when the car turned right instead of left. To find out where the automobile was headed, the old man hot wired the neighbor’s car and sped after it. He was finally able to get the vehicle back in his line of sight. It signaled to turn into the electronics store, but before it could complete its turn, a large pickup truck ran the red light. The old man’s jaw dropped as he watched the car get crushed like a tin can.

He ran towards the totaled vehicle and clawed at the twisted metal, desperately trying to free himself and his son from the car. The damaged gas tank ruptured and caught fire. All hope of saving the two victims was lost when the bodies were enveloped in flame. Tears filled the man’s eyes as he stepped back from the wreckage.

Before he could come to terms with what just happened, his fingers began to tingle. The flesh on his hands started to flake off and the bones turned to dust. The scientist started to scream when he realized that his mistake was also fatal to his older self.

If his younger self died, the older version would never have existed. The universe had discovered its discrepancy and corrected it. The man gulped down as much air as possible and let out one final howl before he was stricken from the record of space and time.

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