Author: Kevin P Michaels

George Tompkins hated almost everything. He hated buildings for being too tall, he hated cars for being too loud, he hated animals for being wild, and most of all he hated people for being . . . people.

George yearned for a time when things were less complicated and the world was a bit smaller. Most of all he yearned for peace and quiet, a silencing to the pointless yammering of all people.

The one thing George Tompkins did like was flying. The speed, the view, the freedom, but most of all he loved the solitude. Up in the sky away from everyone and everything George Tompkins found peace.

The flight was wonderful at first, white clouds above, stretching green fields leading into dense forests below. George’s troubles were finally beginning to fade when air traffic control radioed, instructing him to drop a few thousand feet to safely avoid an oncoming plane.

Lowering his altitude George found himself level with the city, the sight of which brought back his anxieties. Oh how he wished to be in a different time when man was not so complicated and annoying, a time when people respected one another and called each other neighbor, a time when technology served a purpose rather than as a distraction.

So lost in his own thoughts George is caught off guard as his plane enters a dark cloud. Thunder rumbles as hard rain pelts his windshield. A bolt of lightning strikes the plane. George fears it will explode. Instead an electric blue glow wraps around the plane. The glow fades away as George’s plane exits the dark cloud back to clearer skies.

Exhausted from all the excitement George turns toward home. Flying back he notices something strange, the city is regressing through time. Buildings and the surrounding landscapes grow younger with every passing moment. Time is reversing, everything within view is changing, the new replacing the old.

George, giddy with excitement at the sight of his dreams coming true, fails to notice the subtle changes happening around him. The gauges in the cockpit are first, regressing through time changing as the years past. Next his steering yolk regresses, constantly changing to earlier versions, as does everything else in the plane.

George’s clothes change as well. Now his clothing consists of an aviator hat and goggles, a leather coat, and a white scarf around his neck.

George ponders what life will be like in a different time until the steering yolk in his hand fades away. He watches with surprise as pieces of the plane disappear: gauges, buttons, seats, and so forth fade from existence until the entire plane vanishes completely, leaving poor George Tompkins free falling toward the Earth.

Luckily George always wears a parachute. He grabs the ripcord, yanking with all his might.

. . . Nothing happens.

George watches the ripcord in his hand fade away, realizing he has traveled back to a time before parachutes were created.

Plummeting toward the ground George thinks, “Perhaps if I fall long enough I’ll travel back to a time before the Earth existed and not hit the ground.”

He had no such luck.