Lost In Time: A Short Story

Tagline: Should you risk your present and the future for a different past?

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The most important thing in life is to know what isn’t important. It’s better to let go of all the things that are weighing you down, especially, when they don’t even matter.

“Don’t let others tell you how to live your life,” that was the advice my mother gave me when I was twelve, “ask yourself, look into your own heart, you already have all the answers you need.”

I always listened to my mother, because she knew what was best for me. She loved me more than anyone ever could, and instinctively, I knew that she would never ever lead me astray. Even though she is no longer with me I still remember everything she ever said to me.

She had raised me to believe in myself and to be persistent. She always told me that it is very important to be decisive and never regret things that go wrong. She was a scientist like me and we know that life is just an experiment, a trial, and a lot can go wrong.

“Life is uncertain, sweetheart, things can and do go awry now that then and that’s okay,” she often said and like a fool, I believed her.

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“You’re so stubborn. It’s not always a good thing to take such risks even if your plan seems to be perfect,” Sandy warned me, “sometimes instead of going forward it’s okay to take a left or a right turn.”

“I don’t care what you think. I love you, but there are things that you don’t understand,” I replied.

“We’ve been friends for ten years now, I know you well enough,” she sighed, “you are going to do it, aren’t you?”

“I must there is no other way. The day I lost my mother was the worst day of my life. If I can turn back time and save her I am going to do it, at any cost.”

“You’re not thinking clearly.”

“I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life. I want to do this. This is important to me.”

“Why?”

“First of all, it’s something that my mother started. She invented this time machine and somehow I feel that she wanted me to continue her work. Secondly, I may actually succeed and save her.”

“Really? Have you considered that your mother had a good reason to stop working on this experiment?”

“No, she just wasn’t as stubborn as I am,” I winked at her.

It was the truth though. I remembered how passionate she was about time travel. She used to talk about her theories a lot. That’s why I wanted to continue it and I wasn’t going to get discouraged that easily. Besides I was almost there, everything had been planned to the smallest detail. I know where I was going, I knew what I must do once I’m there, and I knew how to get back to my time once my mission is complete. My mother’s time machine was operative.

“I hope you don’t regret.”

“Do you think I haven’t considered the dangers involved in this venture? All the things that can go wrong? Trust me I have. I won’t regret it even if the worst happened.”

With that thought in mind I pressed the button and suddenly the doors closed. The room I was in went dark. It was a small room, size of an elevator, there were no windows just a door and mirrors on the three sides. I pressed the red button that was going to take me back in time. To the time when my mother was still alive.

I wondered how my mother would feel when she found out that her time machine actually worked. She would be so happy. It was unfortunate that her life’s work went to waste simply because she wasn’t brave enough to continue with her experiments. I was though. I was a risk taker and I had just betted my whole existence on something no one had ever done before.

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“Some things are just not important Anna,” someone was speaking in hushed tones, I vaguely recognized the voice, “it was never about courage sweetheart. I knew when to stop, I didn’t give up. You think my life’s work was wasted? Dear girl, I invented that machine in the hopes of finding a way to travel in time. I knew it would work but testing it was never important. My present was so perfect. I didn’t want to go back in time to change my life. My life with you was perfect.”

My head felt weird. I couldn’t feel my limbs. I was hyperventilating. Something was terribly wrong. Where was I? Who was this person whispering in my ear and what kind of gibberish were they spouting? Nothing was making any sense.

“Honey, I love you, know this. The only thing you can do now is let go of the past, let go of me, and live your life for yourself.”

That’s the last thing I remembered before I blacked out again.

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I woke up in a hospital. I had no idea how I got there. Those words someone had spoken to me so softly still reverberated in my mind, but they meant nothing to me. It must have been a dream.

“Anna, you’re up,” the lady from the church said, “they say you can go back to the orphanage in a few days. Thankfully, nothing was broken.”

That’s when I remembered. I had fallen from the tree behind the church and hit my head on the pavement. Ah! So, that’s why it hurt so much. I tried to smile at her but I’m sure it was more of a wince.

“Don’t worry, you’d be good as new in no time.”

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“What do you think happened?” Sandy asked.

“She went back in time and lost everything,” Mrs. Stevenson replied.

“What do you mean?”

“How much did you girls actually know about Dana’s project?”

“We have been working on it for more than six years now. Anna wanted to continue her mother’s experiments. We’ve read all of her notes and instructions. I think we know enough.”

“Clearly, you didn’t know the most important part or you wouldn’t have let Anna use that machine.”

“What do you mean?”

“What year did she choose to go back to?”

“2023.”

“Ah! That explains it then.”

“What?”

“She was never born.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s true that Dana’s invention works, but there was a glitch in the system. You cannot go forth in time, only back, and even that has serious consequences. She went to 2023 you say, she was seven-year-old back then. So now she is a seven-year-old girl in 2023. However, not as our Anna. Our Anna is gone. She would be starting over as an entirely different person. Dana realized it during the last stages of her project and just gave up on it. To go back in time when you were alive meant that you would lose your existence and start over as someone else. Time travel is a tricky business. Too many unknowns are involved. No one can predict what kind of life they would end up having the second time around.”

“You mean Anna Brown ceased to exist?”

“Yes.”

“But if she never existed then how come we still have memories of her?”

“We always will. We knew her in this timeline. Everyone who knew her here will remember her. Unfortunately, she won’t remember any of us. She won’t have any memories of her past or present. She would have very different memories. I just hope that she found a better life.”

“I don’t think that’s possible because what can be better than perfect?” Sandy said sadly.

Some things are not important and must be left alone. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should. Anna wanted to see her mother again, even save her from death. She wanted to prove that her mother’s work was worth something and, in the process, she lost everything. She lost the woman she loved the most. Most importantly, she lost herself somewhere in time, forgotten forever.

© 2018, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved

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Originally published at Wattpad

P.S. What are your thoughts about the message in this story? Does it make sense to you? Did you like it? Thank you for reading it.

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