Sunday, July 15, 2012

F3 Cycle 88 "Altering the Undiscovered Country"

 F3 Prompt: Tell us a story of lost treasure found in your own house. Is it luck or a curse? Fortune or failure? Heart warming or heart wrenching?
Genre: Any
Word limit: 1414
Due Date: Wednesday, July 18th at 9:00 p.m.


All my efforts have finally come down to one more horrific act of murder. The final segment in this surreal nightmare begins with me concealed behind a fallen tree; one of many in a small patch of woods next an old house. I have been waiting in my spot for hours with the freezing Indiana weather doing its best to sap my will and strength. Even with all my detailed planning, the one thing I overlooked in this particular case, the most important of all, was the weather.

The silence surrounding me is near total but I am somehow still surprised at the sudden sound of an old truck turning off the main highway. I raise my binoculars and focus on the driver of the vehicle. I sigh in both despair and relief when I see it is a young woman, her name is Traci Morris. She was born to an honest blue-collar family in 1962. Even after twenty years her dad still works on a Chevrolet assembly line while her mother does part-time secretary work for a minor law firm.

Traci is a pretty young lady of average height and build with brown hair and piercing blue eyes. I know her childhood and teenage years are unremarkable and after high school graduation like millions of other kids, she goes off to college full of dreams about building a better life for themselves. After completing three years of college she meets a fellow student working at bar just off campus and falls head over heels in love with the guy. Three months later, Traci tells him she is pregnant and after that, the butthole disappears into history leaving her all alone. With no other options, she goes home to live with her parents who will help her raise the baby.

This is where I come in; I have to kill her and the unborn child.

Traci parks the old truck under an open-air garage attached to the main house and after retrieving several plastic grocery bags from the back of the vehicle, careful not to bump her growing belly, walks around to the back porch and lets herself in. I know I have a total of three hours to perform my gruesome but desperately important duties before her mother returns home. If all goes according to plan, I will be in and out in less than thirty minutes.

Despite the cold, my body is energized and I rush the short distance between the woods and the house in seconds. My entrance point is a basement door I forced open an hour after Traci’s parents left for work. Once inside I cross the dark basement, go up the stairs, and listen at the door for some sound of Traci. I am rewarded with the sound of her echoing footsteps going down a hall.

Feeling my blood race I use a simple screwdriver to force open the locked door and step into the house. Pulling my ancient Colt .45 from my jacket pocket, I focus in on the sound on my innocent prey. I find her in her bedroom folding clothe from a laundry basket. She immediately sees my gun and instinctively knows her life will be ending.

“Please, don’t hurt my baby, I’ll do anything you want.” She pleads.

Bile runs up to my mouth and I desperately want to explain that I am sorry and that it is her baby that is the monster but I know how insane that would be. “I am sorry,” is all I saw before pulling the trigger. The spot of blood appearing from the hole in her forehead is a stark contrast to the explosion coming from the back. Traci falls to the floor as limp as a ragdoll. Knowing how close to term she is I empty the clip into the unborn child.

My final act in this monstrous crime has me attaching a small device to the incoming gas line going to the furnace in the basement. I walk back into the woods and at the end of my self-imposed thirty-minute time limit, I watch the house explode and burn to the ground. Once I hear the sound of sirens, I pull the small cube from my other pocket and enter a code on the side with the numeric buttons.


My office phone rings and but the equations on my whiteboard demand my complete attention so I let the caller go to voice mail but I still hear the message being recorded. “Daniel,” the familiar voice says, “this is your brother Roger, I’m at mom and dad’s house and found something totally mind blowing while clearing out the attic. Call me you sorry putz, oh yeah, I have a paper here that says to tell you temporal oscillations are inverse to the gravimetric disturbances induced by non-linear means in a one gravity environment.” He then went on to read off a series of numbers that corresponded with different factors. At first, none of it made sense but after several minutes, I realize the numbers were part of a long abandoned research project.

After digging up my old work and input the factors Roger mentioned over the phone into my computer I am dumbfounded to see the equation factoring out to a result that would easily win me a Nobel Prize, needless to say I call my brother back immediately. “Roger, where in the Hell did you get those numbers? That project has been a dead end for five years.”

 I am a meticulous and hopelessly analytical mathematician who works in the theoretical physics department of MIT. To have my brother seemingly pull numbers out of thin air that solves complex equations that seemed unanswerable defies all logic and common sense. My brother is totally opposite from me, he is a carefree musician who lives life on his own terms but he ignores my question and with a hint of panic in his voice surprises me yet again.“Listen Daniel, get home as soon as possible, I found an eBook in the old trunk dad had stored in the attic with gigabytes of newspaper headlines that are spooking the Hell out of me but this shit is straight up your brainiac alley.”

Feeling an uncomfortable Twilight Zone moment emerging I cancel all my appointments and drive up to Maine to see what my brother had found. The trip up to my childhood home takes all night but nothing can stop me from following Roger up to the attic.

The recent passing of our mother and the resulting desire to sell the house was the cause of Roger’s need to clean out the dusty and long abandoned items stored up there. He shows me the trunk that we had both seen countless times as children but our father had forbidden us from touching. Being very cryptic Dad always said we would open it when the time was right. Looking up at Roger, he smirks and says something about curiosity finally getting the best of him.

We both spend hours looking over the contents. Roger reading off the news articles stored in the eBook and me the paper with countless equations about temporal displacement theory. The final two items were in a smaller strong box stored in the trunk and after we pry it open, we find a small DVD player and an enigmatic cube. Common batteries return power to the DVD player and I am soon shocked to see myself speaking to me.


“Greetings from 2024,” this slightly older version of myself tells me, “I wish I had better news to relay from what is to you the future but all I have is despair and terror. The political environment in my United States has decayed to the point we stand on the brink of electing our first true dictator, a man named Glenn Morris. He is like the others all through history in that he is very clever and full of guile. This man and his supporters have carefully managed and spun events to their advantage. Even now it is dangerous to speak out against him and once he is elected the nightmare will become permanent.”

My older self stops and shows me a segment of this future tyrant’s speech promising to restore the country to the way the Founding Fathers intended. Something visceral is able to cross the barriers of time and space allowing me to feel both revulsion and fear at the individual displayed on the screen.

“There is one hope,” my future self tells me when he comes back. “My group and I have identified twenty-two individuals that make up the hardcore base of his support and organization. If they were eliminated before birth, this neo-fascist movement stands a high probability at being blunted if not stillborn. It is up to you but know you must begin before events begin to take hold.”

 After that, my older self explains the working of the cube and give me details on the people I have to kill. I refuse at first but eventually my brother Roger and begin to work out the finer points of the operation.


Akelamalu said...

OMG the first part was so shocking I reeled! Of course by the time I got to the end it made sense. Fab writing Beach.

Ingrid K. V. Hardy said...

Oh this is a wonderful tale! A very punch-gut beginning...O_o

Definitely feels like there is much, much more to it - Oh I do love a good time-travel story. Well done!

Ranch Chimp said...

Your pretty good at writing these short fiction's Bum.

Mike Williams said...

You always whet my appetite for more. I guess it's the format 1414 might be too few or too many words. Good writing

Pixel Peeper said...

Very clever twist, to put Act Three before One and Two!

Symdaddy said...

I like it.

Can't wait for the movie.

Well done!

Beach Bum said...

****As usual I was in a rush and a few hours later when I was able to look over this piece of crap I found numerous typos and whole paragraphs that did not make any damn sense. I apologize and have corrected most of them.....I think.

Akelamalu: The first part turned my stomach a great deal, I don't like to write about fictional cold blooded murder.

Ingrid: Thanks, I could have done better.

Ranch: Thank you so much!

Mike: Since my last story blew away the word limit I did my best to stay within respectable range.

Pixel: With time travel its all relative. A longer version would have allowed me to explain an idea about temporal loops.

Symdaddy: Thank you! A movie? Given the crap I see on American television I probably could swing it.

Randal Graves said...

Heel be back.

Beach Bum said...

Randal: To paraphrase the great Richard Dawson from the movie "The Running Man" the only way this story will be back is in a rewrite.

Mike Williams said...

Rewrites are okay! Flesh it out a bit more and post it as a serial. I would follow it.

Marja said...

Well constructed I kept reading even the shooting of the mum was a bitter pil

Anonymous said...

Nice twist in time, like the Act 3,1,2 layout. Of course, what he doesn't realize, is that in these scenarios he'll stop one tyrant but another will take his place.

Joyce said...

Absolutely superb! The sequencing is perfect. Deliver the horrific outcome first, then go back to somehow try to justify it. I totally agree that this should be continued. I would love to know who the other people are, how this all came about, etc. There's so much more to this story--please tell it!