The Last Travel
'Do it again.'
She was there in front of me. A few meters away. Waiting.
I was there, in front of her. A few meters away. Watching her.
She ran a hand through her red hair to put them back in place.
I wanted to put my hand in her hair to shuffle them.
She was looking at the screen of her phone with concentration.
I was looking at her with admiration.
She raised her eyes to a man who approaches her.
I stared at the man with doubt.
I had to hurry.
I tried to run towards her.
A woman lost her balance because of her heels.
I helped her.
A moment later.
The young redhead was hit by a truck. A few meters away from me.
I shouted. In fear.
She screamed. In pain.
I sat down next to her.
She lay there, unable to move.
I stayed with her, tears in my eyes and blood on my hands.
People took her away. To save her.
She barely breathed.
I hardly breathed.
She entered the operating room.
I stayed in the corridor. Waiting.
The man, traumatized, went outside the hospital.
This time, I didn't follow him.
This time, I stayed in the hallway.
I heard screams in the hall.
I went to see.
The man became aggressive.
Police held him.
I tried to calm them down.
Other cries rang out. From the operating room.
The alarm shouted. Strident.
I felt the heat rising. I felt the smoke envelop me. I felt my sister die.
I was stuck. Again.
The Other Sister
I opened my eyelids quickly. Too excited that the trip could have worked. The capsule liquid slowly decreased, letting my body become heavier. I helped my body become familiar with the gravity of this planet by moving their fingers, hands and forearms. Once the capsule completely empty of liquid, a blue light illuminated in front of me. I smiled when the noise of the opening of the passenger compartment was triggered.
I leaned my head forward to disconnect from the System and regain full sense of my body. An influx of energy evaporated in an instant. I breathed slowly to avoid fainting. And took a step in front of me, outside of the time capsule. The white suit I wore was sticking to my skin after spending the last three days in another space-time, but was waterproof. The drops of the liquid had dried instantly at the contact of the ambient air.
I raised my red hair in a ponytail, then watched the other nine time capsules. Some were empty, others not.
These human-sized capsules had many benefits, but only a handful of individuals had the physical and mental skills required for a trip back in time. And, me and my sister were part of that handful of people.
'So she's back?' I asked Dr. Stein.
He supervised each trip since the beginning of the project.
'She is stuck,' he said, shaking his head, sorry.
'She's still stuck in the time machine,' said a scientist who had a touch pad in his hands.
'I thought it would work this time,' I said with disappointment and sadness.
'It would seem that your sister wants to save you, no matter what, and will not come back without having done it...'
I grimaced, staring at her face through the window of the capsule. Stacy was peacefully asleep. But in reality, her mind was stuck in another space-time. Her own space-time.
An anomaly in the system, Dr. Stein had said.
During the initial trip, we managed to save a man. But, in this issue, I was dead too. However, I had been able to relive for a few minutes, lying on the hospital bed, and I had used this precious time to return to the present. This effort had consumed all my vital energy.
Stacy also thought of going back in time to save me. But in reality, she was stuck in her memories. She thought of doing as much time travel as rescue, but she rewinded the scene by being stuck in her own memories of that day. From that day, she had thought me dead and desperatly tried to save me.
Taking her out of the System by force could damage her nervous system, so I would go on trips once a month to try to get her back from her memories. But I could never get my hands on her again. I went back to the past and arrived in time to save the man, but I never found my sister on the spot.
Despite this, I continued my travels to bring her back among us. Her subconscious made her believe that she traveled every time, without being aware that the events were tirelessly repeated. And every attempt I made to find her in time to tell her that I was still alive and that she was in a dream was useless. However, I didn't give up hope.
'Travelers are out of time. You can go back in time as much as you like, but each time you create a new past and therefore a new future. That's why I had limited to one trip per month. In truth, after these two years, I discovered that there are as many parallel worlds as time travels made. You are ten persons to go on a journey a month. You can do the count, Stella,' once explained to me the Doctor.
I knew that my effort was useless, but I didn't know what else to do...
'See you soon, Doctor Stein.'
I went back to the cloakroom, where several suits like the one I was wearing hung. I removed this second skin and hung it in its usual place where the program sterilized it. Suddenly, I realized while I was getting dressed in another bigger suit that I had forgotten to ask for my ring and Stacy's ring that I kept since she was stuck in her memories.
The Doctor kept them preciously in the pocket of his white coat. A garment that only he wore while the youngest scientists had a unique combination that were like so many others.
I stopped at the step of the big place where the capsules were arranged. The Doctor's laugh had frozen me on the spot.
'This idiot can always try; she will never be able to find her sister. Stacy has always been here in the present while Stella continues her travels in the past. I had never seen one person as stupid as Stella,' said the Doctor, laughing.
'But you can admit that her determination is impressive,' says the scientist still working.
'That's sure,' confessed the Doctor. 'But with all these trips, Stella will end up no longer agreeing with the System.'
'Yes, her body weakens with these travels and her state of mind is lower than before. Even if she doesn't see the consequences, the System sees it. And according to the data, in four months, Stella will not be able to travel anymore,' added the scientist.
'But I can't risk the travelers knowing it. For the moment, only Stella makes trips that are useless, but the others' journey to the past are still useful. Imagine if you admit that their bodies will decay faster than a normal human being. They would stop traveling and we would lose all the money raised by our contributors. Each of us would be left without a penny to live,' said Doctor Stein.
'It's a good thing we locked Stacy in her capsule before Stella saw her...' said the scientist. 'I still don't understand how she managed to understand.'
'She was smart,' mumbled the Doctor, dissatisfied. 'Keep locking her in her memories. It's important to not disconnect her from the System.'
Horrified, I let a tear flow down my cheek. Angry, I tried to calm myself. How could they do something like that? I wiped quickly the tears before entering the room as if nothing had happened.
'Doctor! I forgot my ring and Stacy's!' I said cheerfully.
'Oh, of course.'
He returned the rings to me, but I remained watching my sister's face through the capsule..
'Doctor, can I touch my sister? Just a moment,' I asked, keeping my eyes on her.
'I guess so,' he said hesitantly.
I saw the liquid empty and the capsule open. I approached the sleeping beauty and stroked her cheek. Her skin was so soft. Her body seemed so alive.
'You know Doctor, each of the travelers have been trained to counter all the dangers that might be encountered during our travels. Especially for journeys in the Middle Ages where barbarism reigned with greatness.'
'I know that,' whispered Dr. Stein with confusion.
'But you, you haven't been trained for fights.'
I turned around quickly and punched the Doctor's face and continued my attack by hitting the scientist in the stomach. The Doctor fell into unconsciousness as the man knelt down with stomach pain. I didn't listen to his complaints and hit him again so that he slept too.
After that, I pulled Stacy's body forward so that her neck disconnected from the System. Her eyelids opened with panic and fear. I smiled and took her in my arms.
'Damn it, I'm so happy to hear your voice again. It's over, Stacy. We will tell others that travel is harmful for us and we will prove to this world that we must live in its time and not return to the past to change it tirelessly. '
We cried in each other's arms for several minutes before waking others from their travels. We were going to rectify the mistakes made in this world before creating others. Together.
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Tevun-Krus #49 - Best of 2K17Science Fiction
Well, we here at Tevun-Krus have been doin' this sort of thing since 2014. What is "this sort of thing"? Best-Of issues, of course! And 2K17 is no different-- That's a lie! Best of 2K17 is different, in that this time we wanted* to bring you 38 bran...