-The best stories on the web-
Read or link to over 1000 stories listed under Stories to the left.
Submit your short stories for review as a Word document attached to an email to: Read@Short-Story.Me

Latest Stories

July 28, 2018
Mystery Stories Roger Ley

The Wheel Fiddle

The melody drifted across the garden as she was picking fruit to make a summer pudding. She put down her basket, wiped the sweat from her forehead and walked around to the front of the cottage. The man stood waiting at her garden gate, he raised his cap. He…
July 28, 2018
Flash Fiction Rekha Viswanathan

Pills and Capsules

I wake up to a crisp, clear and sunny morning. The fresh coffee smell beside my bed tempts me. One long sip of the coffee and my senses kick in! I have a long day ahead. At least that's what the papers at the foot of my bed say. Glancing at the paper I see…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Stephen A Murray

Russia,Russia,Russia.

There existed in Russia a small group of intelligence operatives left over from the KGB. They are known as Sputniks. From Wikipedia: "Sputnik was the first artificial Earth satellite. The Soviet Union launched it into an elliptical low Earth orbit on October…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Paul Anobile

A Portrait of Slam Bang City

I was hired to paint the portrait of a billionaire who founded a small city twenty years ago in a ghost town he purchased in Arizona. Danny O’Keefe, professional wrestling promoter and executive, convinced a number of investors to build a fourteen-thousand…
July 28, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Majoki

The Deadest Generation

Sergeant Taylor always checked us thoroughly before sending us in: regulation uniform, backpacks, anti-ballistic helmets, Kevlar vests, and, of course, your gun. You couldn’t go anywhere in this place and be safe without your gun. Sergeant Taylor was strict…
July 28, 2018
General Stories J.B.Stevens

Dead Camel

The improvised explosive popped off to the convoy’s left. The armored black Suburban Neil drove muffled the sound to a dull thud. The blast seemed smaller than normal. “Anyone hurt?” the medic, Luiz, called across the radio. The team members, in four matching…
July 28, 2018
Romance Stories Jerry Hogan

He'll Ask Me To Dance Again

Jay I’m Jay, and I have never been to the My Time Dance Studio before tonight. As I entered, the interior projected a garish 1930s Art Deco motif. Greenish, glow-in-the-dark, semilucent plastic tubing wrapped around the hand railings separating one sitting…
July 28, 2018
General Stories Jim Bartlett

The Comebacker

Cornstalk stretches forward, the look almost as if he’s about to fall headfirst off the mound, saved only by the slapping of his left hand to his knee. He locks eyes with his catcher, then lets his gaze wander down just below his glove for the sign. Uncle…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Susan C. Nigra

Never Kill The Author

Oh My God! What’s happening? This has never happened before. I am cornered, trapped, boxed in with no safe way out. There has always been a way out before, miraculous last minute saves. I think back to how I got here and I remember I was assigned this case as…
July 28, 2018
Crime Stories Thomas Schmidt

The Streets of Camden

Saturday night was cold and wet. Mike Joseph walked cautiously down Norris Street on his way to the Whitman Park Field, a large green space inside the depressed neighborhood. Propositioned twice by street walkers, he kept moving while shifting his head from…
July 13, 2018
Mystery Stories Rekha Viswanathan

The Enchanted Woods

The boys are on a trip. A trip into the woods. Accompanied by their family they trudge along a narrow path, a route that had obviously been traced by human footsteps, a trail that had been trodden many a time. They walk cautiously, startled by the snap of a…
July 13, 2018
Flash Fiction Carl Perrin

What Could go Wrong

If you plan every detail carefully, nothing can go wrong. I believed that when I was a teenager. Like the time Billy Long and I decided to make our own beer. Once in a while we used to steal a couple of Billy’s father’s beers, but we were always afraid we…

 

 

After years, months, weeks, days, the moment had arrived—the moment they would be reunited. Walter Smith carefully inspected his invention, making sure every nut had been fastened, every screw had been tightened, and everything was in place.

The machine looked like a dull metallic beehive with a sliding door, and it was just big enough for someone to step inside of.

 

This was to be his third and final attempt, as he had invested everything he had, all his time, effort, and money. He had focused all his energy on the project, and it had been an exhausting process. What kept him going was his love of science, the art of experimentation and discovery, and the hope that he would one day be reunited with his wife.

Isabella had passed away from skin cancer a decade ago despite having had the best medical treatment available at the time. He couldn’t bear to see his beloved Isabella suffer in agony, so he did what would have previously been unthinkable. He emptied the contents of a death pill into her tea. It did not take long for the pill to take effect, and she passed away peacefully.

As he was a physicist, he believed that her death would be temporary and that one day they would be reunited. He had been on the verge of discovering the secret of time travel, but his research was stalled by the devastating news that his wife Isabella was dying of cancer. After her death he worked harder than ever and with great resolve to solve the mystery of time travel. He had found his purpose, and that was to be united with his beloved.

You see, everything in the universe is imperfect, including time. The imperfections or wrinkles in time are so minute, so miniscule, that they could not be detected by the most precise scientific equipment at the time. However, that was before Walter developed the “Eye”—the electroscope that could detect these tiny wrinkles in time. Having identified the imperfection in time, what Walter then needed to do was understand the nature of the wrinkles, iron them out, and control them.

But this was all before Isabella had been diagnosed with cancer. When that happened, he abandoned his work and focused all his energy into being with her. Holding her hand whenever he could, even during her treatment. In Isabella’s passing he felt he had lost a piece of his heart, so he set out to find it again. He knew the answer lay in his research. So he set up a secret laboratory in his basement. Of course, it had to be secret, for even if time travel had been achieved and a time machine created in the public domain, there would be protocol and testing, which would mean that the earliest that the machine would be ready for a human subject would be decades. Walter didn’t have decades to wait, as he was a middle-aged man, and by the time that time travel would be available to the public, he would most likely have passed away.

Then one day he did it—he made time travel a reality. What was needed to control or bend time was lots of energy. To bend time, Walter used the concentrated energy from a device known as a rechannelling machine. The device would absorb the energy around it and channel it into a space the size of a keyhole. He managed to steal a rechanneling machine from his old workplace: Syntech Corporation. He then buried the machine in an area where the government performed its weapons testing so the machine could absorb the energy required. This energy would then be rechannelled into his time machine, making time travel possible.

He checked the touch pad once more before pushing the activation button of the machine. The machine came to life buzzing with lights and sound. The sliding door silently slid open, and at exactly twelve p.m. on July 14, 2116, Walter entered the unknown.

He had programmed the machine with the coordinates to arrive at noon plus one second on July 14, 2105, a few days after Isabella had been diagnosed with cancer. He arrived through a blue portal into his basement. In 2105 it was an old dusty room with piles of newspapers and old junk. He had planned everything to the minute. He knew that this would be the day his old self would be finishing up at Syntech Corporation so he could tend to Isabella. He had a handwritten note to give to his old self in case the experiment did not go as planned and Isabella could not be returned in time. The note was to explain to his other self the reason for Isabella’s disappearance:

Dear Walter,

It’s “me”—or should I say “us.” I’m the future you.

I want to tell you that we eventually crack it; we discover the secret to time travel and this note is proof.

If you don’t believe me the formula is: E = mc2 [classified information].

As you know, Isabella is sick, and I regret to inform you that she will pass away in a year’s time. But there’s hope. My plan is to bring her into the future, where there have been many medical breakthroughs in the cure for cancer. I hope to have her cured and back to you soon so that she will continue to live during my time in the future. I hope you understand.

Your future self,

Walter

PS. By the way, in order to get our time machine to work, you’ll need heaps of energy, more than we initially thought. To solve this problem, I used one of those rechannelling machines. They are ideal for singular time travel.

He knew he did not have long and quickly rushed up the stairs to the kitchen, where he knew Isabella would be. Isabella was startled by Walter’s presence, “Walter? You’re home. What a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect you home so early.”

“My love, there’s no time to explain, but you must come with me. I’ll explain everything later. You must trust me.”

“Of course I trust you, dear.”

He grabbed her hand and led her into the basement. She was slightly taken aback when she saw the blue portal in the basement that was the gate between the past, present, and future.

“My love, I’ve done it. I’ve managed to make time travel possible, and I want to save you. I don’t want you to suffer. I want to cure your cancer. Trust me.”

She was a little hesitant at first but knew that if anyone was brilliant enough to solve the mystery of time travel, it was her Walter. So they stepped through the portal to the present day, at twelve noon on July 14, 2116 (one second after the point when he had initially left).

Back in 2116, Isabella was bewildered and glad at the same time in the knowledge that her Walter had achieved the seemingly impossible—travelling through time—and potentially saving her life in the process. The house in which they lived looked so different, having decayed somewhat without her presence, her woman’s touch.

Having not seen his beloved Isabella for so long, Walter caressed her cheeks and stroked her raven-colored hair before kissing her tenderly.

“I’ve missed you,” he finally said. “If only you knew how empty I felt inside. The only thing that kept me going was the dream of this moment.”

“Well, the moment’s no longer a dream.” She smiled, holding on to his embrace.

Tears streamed down their eyes as they held each other close. After what seemed like an eternity, he gently lead her through their home explaining what had happened in the intervening years. Though, he was careful not to divulge too much about what had happened in the world since 2105 (because he knew that this version of Isabella would be required to go back to the Walter of 2105, and to give her too much information could irreparably alter the fabric of time).

There was much laughter and tears as he remembered old times and she learned about new ones. That evening in the comfort of their home, they wined and dined and danced the night away in good spirits. Walter’s good friend Dr. Stephen Windsor was a renowned cancer specialist. With Dr. Windsor’s expertise and the latest medical breakthroughs in the cure for cancer, they hoped in their hearts that he could cure Isabella’s disease. After their dance, they retreated into their bedroom for a night of passion and fireworks, finally falling asleep from exhaustion.

Walter was so spent that he slept through the buzzing of his alarm clock at seven a.m. When he finally did wake at eight, he kissed Isabella’s forehead before leaving a note:

 

My love,

Just heading out to grab breakfast. I remember what you like: Eggs Benedict with English muffins and a coffee. Be back soon.

Love,

Walter

Walter’s mind was most active in the morning, so he loved to go for walks at the start of the day. The combination of exercise and fresh air cleared his mind, and this was when he often had his most productive thoughts. Today was no exception, and he experienced a most profound revelation: if he was successful in curing Isabella from her cancer, he would take her back one second from the exact point from when she had left on July 14, 2105, to have the least disturbance to the time continuum as possible.

Otherwise, imagine the horror of two Isabellas (from differing times) confronting each other, he reasoned.

This led to his next thought. If he succeeded in curing Isabella and bringing her back to the past, wouldn’t there be two Isabellas in the present right here and now? One would be the Isabella from 2105, who he had just spent the night with, and one would be the Isabella who never died in the past and would have lived with him till this day in the present.

So where was this second Isabella? As Walter grabbed his coffees, eggs, and muffins from his favorite café, he thought, I must stop thinking such thoughts. It’s unhealthy; everything’s going to be fine. I’ve got to stop overanalyzing everything and worrying so much.

When he arrived home after his morning stroll, he could hear murmuring coming from his bedroom. My Isabella, I wonder what’s happened?

He rushed to toward his bedroom and opened the door. Words could not describe his shock and horror. There on the corner of the bed lay a woman who did not appear to be his Isabella. She looked nothing like the woman he loved. She was old and withered, her jaw gaunt. Gone were Isabella’s sparkling eyes full of life; they had been replaced by hollow eyes with a death stare. Bulging veins and wrinkles covered her entire body.

It was his beloved Isabella, but what on earth had happened to her? There were claws where her hands were supposed to be. What was once a mouth was now a wide open gape chanting, “Walter what have you done to me, what have you done to me,” over and over again. The words played in his mind over and over like a horrible, haunting melody.

Then he saw her feet. Her feet were slowly rotting away, with the bone exposed beneath the flesh, and the rancid, rank smell of her rotting flesh contaminated the very air he was breathing.

The haunting melody, wretched sight, and smell of his beloved rotting away like a leper plagued his mind till he could bear no more. He fainted at the sight of what had become of his beloved.

When he regained consciousness, he turned around. All that was left of Isabella was a bloody red corpse with blood seeping into the bed sheets, her exposed eyeballs staring right at him accusingly. He screamed, unable to block the terror in his mind.

 

Bio: Kevin C. Ong lives in Lavender Bay, Sydney. He writes in a variety of genres. Published and soon to be published works include "Love in Another Time", (www.dailylove.net, 11 Dec 2011) and "100 Rooms" (Issue 59 of www.blackpetals.net to be available 15 April 2012). These stories and more will appear in a collection of short stories to be published in 2012. Read more at facebook.com/kcongpublications.

 

0
0
0
s2sdefault

Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:

Amount:

Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!