Saturday, July 21, 2012

Somewhere back in time ...

   Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge for this week is time travel!  This will be my first attempt at science fiction ever!

Somewhere Back in Time

   Lisa Stetson always felt like she belonged in another era.  Growing up, she never felt like she fit in with her classmates.  While her peers danced around mindlessly to New Kids On The Block, and crooned along with Wilson Phillips, Lisa couldn't wait to get home and put on her favorite records -- Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra.

   Needless to say, Lisa was quite the pariah.  She was an only child born to parents who were old enough to be her grandparents.  She was an old soul, raised with the values of another generation, and her clothes reflected that.  Her classmates wore Hammer Pants and jeans in obnoxiously bright colors, while she dressed like a librarian.  Her mousy brown hair was always pulled back in a bun, and her pale skin never saw the light of day because her free time was filled with countless hours spent reading classic literature in the comfort of her own bedroom.  

   Lisa would spend her lunch hour in the library, taking sanctuary from the mocking catcalls and jeers of the other kids at school.  In the library, she felt at home.  The librarians were kindred spirits, and always welcomed her with a smile.  Surrounded by those who truly understood her -- Poe, Dickinson, Hemingway -- Lisa could truly be herself, and not feel ridiculed for it.

   On this particular day, in this particular time zone, in this particular hour, a strange collection of events was about to coincide.  Mars and Mercury were both in retrograde, and a solar eclipse was just about to happen.  The highest level of interplanetary impact was about to happen at that very library.

   And on this particular day, Lisa was extremely tired, having hardly been able to catch any sleep the night before.  She lay her head down on page 56 of a well-worn hardback copy of Wuthering Heights.

   The next thing she knew, she was surrounded by a group of teenagers she didn't recognize.  None of them were dressed like the classmates she knew.  Lisa thought for a second that she was in a movie.

   "Where did you come from?  I've never seen you here before," said a boy who looked like Buddy Holly.

   Lisa looked at him like he was crazy.  "I'm from here!  Where did you come from?"

   The other students exchanged glances, looking as puzzled as Lisa was.  She looked around her.  The library was the same, but somehow different.  Everything looked newer.  The Wuthering Heights copy she was reading was brand new.  The desk she sat at no longer had Henry loves Susan written on it, or any of the scratches it had collected over the years like so many battle scars.

   Lisa didn't want to attract any attention, so she quietly stood up and went to the librarian's desk, where there was a copy of the daily paper.

   It read, October 5, 1952.  That morning, the newspaper was dated October 5, 1992.  Lisa's jaw dropped to the ground.  Had she somehow traveled through time?  How was that even possible?

   Shaking her head in disbelief, she carefully placed the newspaper back on the desk.  That must have been from the archives, Lisa told herself.  She picked up the desktop calendar.  Sure enough: October 5, 1952.

   Lisa quietly went back to gather her things, and moved to another part of the library.  She knew no one around her would believe she was from the future.

   Before I took that nap, I wished I was back in the '50s, Lisa thought on the way to the back.  But this sort of thing doesn't just happen!  This must be some sort of joke.  Lisa's jaw dropped again when she heard two students talking:

   "My dad's voting for Ike!  Who is yours voting for?"

   This is so weird!  This is way too elaborate to be a prank, Lisa thought to herself.

   Lost in thought, Lisa didn't see the guy she was about to run in to.  She crashed into him, spilling her books everywhere.

   "Oh, I'm so sorry," Lisa exclaimed, her cheeks bright red.  She bent down to pick up her books.

   "That's OK, I wasn't watching where I was going, either," the guy grinned as he bent down to help Lisa.  He had soft brown eyes and huge square glasses.  "Wow, this sure is a crazy picture!"  He held up Lisa's bright binder, gaping at the technicolor Lisa Frank unicorn.

   "Uh, thanks," Lisa said.  "My dad got it in France!"

   "Wow!  Coolsville!  Hey, are you new here?"

   "Uh, yeah!  Do you know where the office is?  I need to register for classes!"

   "Sure thing!"  The boy extended his hand.  "I'm Jerry, by the way!"

   "Nice to meet you, Jerry.  I'm Lisa!"

   "Nice to meet you too, Lisa!  Mind if I carry your books for you?  I'll show you where the office is!"

  "Awww, thanks," Lisa said.

   As the two headed down the hallway, Lisa knew her life had suddenly taken a turn for the better.  Sure, she'd have to iron out a few details -- where to live, what to tell people about her family -- but for once in her life, she knew she was where she belonged.

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