Oh No, Not Another Time

A time traveler tries to right a wrong, only to perpetuate it in an endless cycle.

Audio log, recorded 40 years after time jump, shortly before the arrival of an anticipated visitor from the past…

I travelled once into the future, many years ago
As part of an experiment, our ceaseless quest to know
The workings of the universe, and fate of our own kind;
Little did I realize how much I’d leave behind.

Initially, the pre-flight readings all were nominal;
Our team had done a stellar job; their work phenomenal.
I counted backwards one last time, then pressed the fateful switch.
The temporal-bending engine seemed to start without a hitch.

We’d often joked among ourselves about how history rhymes;
While nothing’s ever quite the same, it happens many times.
But like an untaught child who plays around with kitchen knife,
We nothing knew the power we held, how dangerous to life.
For just as unclean wound will let infection in to kill
So the rift we opened proved itself a fatal ill.

I can’t unknow the things I learned, from time where I have been;
I brought back countless curses in that demon-wrought machine.

The clock-confounding gyros geared themselves to winding stop;
I hastily unstrapped the belt and let the harness drop.

Then it was, so long from now, I met with our demise;
An older me with frenzied glare stared right into my eyes.

He glared as though one driven though the greatest of despair,
As though he had a world of pain to tell me with his stare.

“Your journey here has broken all the natural temporal laws;
Do you have any notion of the damage you have caused?
This laboratory is the only pocket that was spared;
The rest–just look outside!–has come to chaos past repair.”

I looked outside as he had bid, but all was matter strange;
As though the world was inside out, and matter rearranged.
Rubble from a shattered city blanketed the ground.
No other humans could be seen, the world had come unwound.

“Your coming here has caused this rift, our planet all upraised;
What you take back sets this in motion; are you so amazed?”

Amazed I was; what meant this madman? I destroyed the world?
How could I, mere traveler, this havoc have unfurled?

“Behold our work–for you am I–this evil we have done.
You can’t go back to start this plague; this all must be undone.
I’m sorry but it’s time for me to both of us erase;
I’ve waited 40 years to put this curse back in the case.”

Then I saw the madman, I, was brandishing a gun.
A panic seized me when I saw I had nowhere to run.

Instinctively, I pushed him backwards. Then he hit his head.
Blood pooled out as motionless he lay–my old self dead.

Horrified I now climbed back into my time machine,
And went back to my former time, with murder hands unclean.

I’ve waited ever since that day to right the wrong I’ve caused,
To keep myself from going back and breaking natural laws.

Audio log, recorded during time jump 40 years into the future…

I leave upon this temporal quest to know
Which way our generation’s fate will go;
How we, whom our descendants leave behind
Will leave our planet to our future kind.

Our research team exceeds phenomenal;
All readings on my craft are nominal.
We’ve planned ahead for any sort of hitch;
With confidence I now depress the switch.

I’m sure we’ve joked at least a hundred times
About how history’s ever new yet rhymes.

The temporal-bending gyros hum to life,
To cut the timeline like a surgeon’s knife.
To find how we would prosper–well or ill–
My craft leaps forward, decades swift to kill.

The chrono-counter spins like slot machine;
In seconds, decades fly from where I’d been.

Unbuckling the strap to let it drop,
I’m ready to explore this time I’ve stopped.

Imagine the surprise that fills my eyes;
An older me stands threatening demise.

He glares at me with wildest, angry stare,
As though man driven way beyond despair.

“Are you aware the damage you have caused?
You’ve broken all our world’s natural laws!
I’ve spent these decades trying to repair
The harm you’ve caused; this lab alone was spared.”

I look outside to see a world unwound;
No down or up, the sky confused with ground.

Horror-struck, I stare transfixed, amazed;
What cataclysm has the world upraised?

What meant this ghost, like funeral shroud unfurled,
This lonely denizen of future world.

“Your coming here has all our world undone;
You can’t go back, your journey’s truly done.
I’ve waited all these decades just in case
You reappear; now you I must erase.”

I saw the gun; if not I’d now be dead.
I pushed him backward and he hit his head.

He bled and died; with murder hands unclean
I scrambled back into my time machine.

My duty now? Stand guard for natural laws
And keep me from repeating harm I’ve caused.

Audio log, 40 years later…

I travelled once to future time, some forty years ago,
To catch a peak at how we fare, our future fate to know…


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