The Time Traveller

Story and Artwork by
Cole Webber

The little boy erupted through the aluminum door triumphant. If not a bit awkward. He fumbled around on legs too small and stubby for his ambition, running out from himself and to the great structure. What irony was it? Or perhaps, perfect fate: that this one meant to travel through time was just a small boy, eyes still filled with waking-up wonder.

He rushed through the door. He had no need to be stealthy, to hide his true achronistic identity. People believed children. That is why he was the perfect and implicit time thief.

He glided over the laminate tiles and tugged on the skirt of a woman at a souvenir stand like a string on a bell. The surge of electricity lit up her lightbulb cheeks at the top. She smiled downwards, brightly. They always smiled to him; he was just a boy.

“Ms?” He announced, “What do you want to do today?”

“I am at work,” she responded as cooly as flowing well water.

“No, no,” the boy countered, “What do you want to do?”

Her sticked lips opened as if to offer automatically, but then they parted slightly, her eyelids scrunched up, and she looked to the sky. Or rather, the pock-marked asbestos looking ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights of the mall. What a robbery for a sky!

“Well, I’ve always wanted to be an animator,” the woman said. She looked longingly at the piles of souvenir knick-knacks displayed haphazardly on her stand, embodying bright and smiley cartoon characters which had taught her to live: or, more like it, how to smile at the people only and forever on the outside. She frowned, in great defiance. And I’ll draw them nothing like that, she said to herself. But the boy understood.

She turned back to the boy, who’s enthusiasm, bubbling through wonder-filled eyes, bubbled her into smiling. “I will do it.”

“Carpe diem,” the boy said.

“You know latin?” She asked.

“Just the one,” he said, “but it’s the most important.” He smiled, and, just as triumphantly as he left the time machine, paraded back down the hallway. Through the Target he had used as his gateway and back finally to the device waiting in the mall parking lot.

It was an odd thing: a time machine which had no specificity setting. It only marched along, delivering the traveller on the same linear path and therefore entirely at random with regard to any significance. Only the boy new better: it was all a day of great significance, each and every one. He had not been taught out of his correct belief yet, and, since he was beautifully stubborn, he never would be. He would be free to go on travelling, and to arrive only where he stepped out into a wholly unheard of instant. Out of the door of that blue Toyota Prius, and into Time.

He resumed his position in the children’s car seat. His siblings wandered back. His mother scolded him for being away, and he rocketed off into infinite possibilities once more.

For we are all time travellers, every day, marching along even more bravely — for we go into the unknown. And, like in those stories, perhaps one small change today can make an entire world of difference in one hundred years. If we would believe it then, why not now? Like they say: there is no time like the present.

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