Short story: "Travelling in time"

The time machine has been invented. I look at my brother; I must have misheard. Quickly, I gulp down my cereal and slam the door shut.
The time machine has been invented. I turn my head. No, it can’t be, I must have misheard. Quickly, I push my books into my locker and hurry up the stairs.
The time machine has been invented. I close my eyes and shake my head. I must have misheard.
The time machine has been invented. I must be dreaming. Please, pinch me. My friend obliges. I don’t wake up. It hurts.
They’re looking for test subjects, volunteers. This is new.
My friend looks at me. Yes, we’re signing up.

The wary man in the lab coat stares at my chart, then at me, then at the chart again. I cross my legs. I nibble at my nails. I look down. You’re free to go.
The time machine isn’t what I expected. It’s small, insignificant. I didn’t even notice it at first. I stare at the tiny machine.
My blood is pulsing, my feet are tingling and I’m soaked in green light.
I was told not to touch anything. Just moving one little rock could change the passing of events. I could destroy human existence, with it the invention of the machine, my own conception would be undermined and I would have never lived. But could I then not stand here, not altering the time and therefore still being been born? But then I would exist to alter the time and then I would have changed it…No, I should stop these thoughts. This paradox proves to be too much for my simple-minded brain. 
The stench makes my nose curl. I open my eyes. I have exactly 2 minutes before I dissipate into thin air.

Piles of human corpses stacked next to each other. My stomach turns. Black blisters all over their bodies, gaping wounds! My stomach turns. The black plaque! I have happened to land in the worst possible of times: the Middle Ages. When informing the scientists about my absence of preferences when travelling through time, I hadn’t expected to land here. History books tell me most of what I could possibly want to know about this time of human past. My stomach turns. At least my teacher was right when he told us that romanticized versions of the Middle Ages with Princesses and knights were stories best left to our night time picture books. My stomach turns. Reality is a different story after all.

Green light blinds me. I cover my eyes.
This time I’m not welcomed to rotting corpses but to a radiant sun and giant trees. When was Europe covered by tropical rainforests? A scream wakes me from my thoughts. A giant bird-like creature flies above my head. It screeches again. A group of small dinosaurs (Deinonychus, if I recall correctly) hurry towards me. Weren’t they carnivores? I don’t even have a gun, nothing to defend myself with. I pick up a stick. You can do this; keep them busy for two minutes. I’m ready.
Without as much as a glance they rush past me. What are they running from?
If this were a movie, a Tyrannosaurus Rex would appear or I would have happened to land on the day of the meteorite destruction. A giant insect flies past me. I shudder. Without a human in sight, this part of our Earth’s history plain scares me, everything is bigger than it should be and dangerous giant lizards roam the Earth. Thankfully, the two minutes are over and I’m soaked in light.

A buzzing sound reaches my ear. “Move away, hobo!” A man in an elegant suit shoves past me. Stupid pasties, I hear him mumbling. I fight the urge to smile. This is what we can expect to come? My eyes search for something futuristic: robots, flying cars, holograms, signs for technology having taken over. They can’t find anything.

The buzzing sounds seem to come from actual bees; a woman is walking her bees. She took them on tiny leaches and lets them sniff on flower petals. I shake my head. This can’t be it.
I tap a man on the shoulder. “What happened to Earth?”, I ask. “After the final global warming scare, everything changed. We try to live in harmony with nature. It doesn’t quite work.” I fade into nothingness again.
Knowing about one’s own future can’t be considered to be beneficiary. What if you despise the person you shall become? The people you will meet? Could you bear to continue living your life, knowing what shall come? Or on the contrary will you stop trying so hard just because you know everything will be fine?
I don’t want to know what’s still to come. I want to live my life day by day. I need the unexpected; otherwise my life would be boring.
The same applies to knowing about Earth’s future. Society as it exists now will cease to prevail. Experience at least tells us how volatile human societies are. What would I gain from knowing how everything shall end? Could I change the course of events? I doubt it. I’ll be written off as another wacky doomsday theorist.
My skin is on fire. I open my eyes. The heat is unbearable. Earth is dead. I see no water, no trees, no animals, no life; nothing more than dry desert, burning desert. The sun is dangerously close. My head starts to hurt. I’m getting dehydrated. My head is spinning. Only 30 seconds left.  I need to get away. Only 30 seconds left. The sun is dangerously close. Only 5 seconds left. 5…4...3…2…1
I’m still staring at the machine. It starts vibrating. The wary man in the lab coat looks at me. “Hey lady, it’s time. Where do you wanna go?“ I glance at him. “Friday, two days from now. I’m getting the lottery numbers.”

 by 'Libyana Fortgale'

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