Time Traveller

Scenes from around the neighbourhood keep inspiring me.

Looking through the trees made me think of this story. I think it was the shadows and colours that got me.

It’s about travelling through time....

The colour was fading from the landscape. Rosalind knew it was a bad sign. It meant she was fading too, disintegrating, being pulled back along the time-space continuum to where she had started.

She called out for Grayson, screaming in her head, pleading with him to be there, to hear her, but the only sound that emerged from her throat was a gurgling, stunted breath and then nothing at all.

She was being pulled back through time – her hands were turning to shadows, she could feel her knees buckling; sick to her stomach, half in the now, half in the before.

‘Grayson,’ she tried again. Her voice was destroyed, pathetic and feeble even in her head. The atoms that made her, that formed her in this moment were breaking up like sugar in hot water.

‘Grayson.’ She was panicking now. It had taken her 400 years to find him. She couldn’t lose him again. He might be lost to her for eternity.’ Can’t you hear me Grayson? Can’t you hear me now?’ She was shouting in her head but not even the leaves on the trees were disturbed by her silence.

She thought about praying, about begging for mercy, but the creatures, the spirits, the lords of space and time, they didn’t care. Too busy playing Texas Hold ‘Em in distant galaxies. Gamblers, every one. They left those on the earthly plane to it and that was the truth. Every single time.

Only one thing could save her now. Could keep her here.

Rosalind saw the child in the pram through the trees. The man stood near, probably the father. Even in her shadowy state she could take him. Easy as pie. The child was young, under a year old. Untainted blood. Clean. Throw that blood to the winds she would have a chance of pulling herself back into the now. Of reconstitution.

The man looked at her as she approached, not really seeing her but startled, nonetheless. Rosalind knew she was a flicker in the corner of his eye, a speck. Maybe the ghost that lived in the woods.

The baby was bouncing its little legs, chattering nonsensically the way babies do. It saw her, looking her straight in the eye. Babies always caught Rosalind off guard – they were still half in, half out of this world.  They saw more than people thought. She raised her knife. Regretting it but not knowing what else to do.

The baby looked at her and smiled, one tiny tooth a glistening pearl.

‘No, Rosalind, No.’ It was a Grayson, from out of nowhere, a ray of light in the dark. ‘No, Rosalind. Not like this. Not like this.’ Rosalind raised the knife. She couldn’t stop now.

Grayson pushed the pram towards the father. He grabbed it, eyes scared, not sure what was happening. ‘Get out of here now,’ Grayson shouted. ‘NOW.’ The father ran, feet pounding on the grass, the baby watching Rosalind with dark eyes.

Rosalind felt herself being drawn backwards, drifting, disembodied. Her vision was already turning to dust.

‘No. NO.’ This time her voice did ring out, full of all the anguish in the world. She saw Grayson’s face, full of grief and the loss of her. Again. Always again. She could not face all the lifetimes she would have to endure before she saw him again. If she saw him again. Ever. Never.

She couldn’t stand it. Not anymore. She had to let herself go. She had to let Grayson go. With light there was hope. But without light there was only dark. She surrendered to it – the tangling and dragging backwards through time. It wasn’t painful, only the saddest, emptiest thing in the world.

The last thing she saw was his face. The dearness of it. So familiar, yet so far away. ‘Come back,’ she wanted to say. ‘Come back to me.’ But Grayson was gone. Rosalind was gone, thrown out into the darkened skies, tumbling, falling away, sinking. Giving in to the inexorable ebb of it, diminishing. Giving in to the motion, more rapid than thought. Spilling out and away from everything she knew. Pure white, purged, relinquishing. Diving. Until she was nothing at all.

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16 responses to “Time Traveller

  1. It’s very strange, one part loves the story but the other part, the grammama part, was almost in tears at what she was about to do to that sweet baby. All I could see in my minds eye was Lia with her glistening little tooth and I felt like I was gonna vomit.!

    Well done Selma, even if it was hard to read, you made me ‘see’ as always.

    • I know, Cathy. The baby part was hard for me too. I guess it does highlight the sense of desperation the character felt but for me personally, I couldn’t hurt a bubby, even if it meant I was stuck in time forever. Sorry, I gave you some tense moments there!

  2. Hi Selma,
    Great photo, it looks really nice with the Jacaranda trees? in bloom showing through, a lovely spot.

    A time travel story, very good, with a twist of horror as well, you outdid yourself again. I enjoyed the read, and a good ending as well. :D

    • I’m really interested in time travel, Mags. I often think about it for ages, wondering if it is possible. It is a nice spot down there at the park, actually. Not spooky at all.

  3. Lovely tension between space and time, youth and age, life and death. An artful mingling.

  4. About time travel … I just found a synopsis for a short story I never wrote:

    A young man is outside an Army recruiting office, talking to a recruiting officer. An old man approaches and says:

    ‘Don’t listen to him! Go back and finish school, and apply for a university place’

    The young man listens, and, because the old man reminds him so much of his late grandfather, decides to take his advice, and goes to cross the road …

    THEN … the old man suddenly disappears, the traffic lights turn green, and a bus starts to pull away, and the driver doesn’t see the young man …

  5. You weave soo much in to your stories Selma … brilliant!

    • Sometimes I think they are a little too jam-packed, Deborah. My stories are a bit hyperactive. Thanks so much for reading!

  6. “the universe has a way of course correcting.”

    I love the names you used. for some reason, this made me instantly at home with them as people despite the oddness of the situation.

    • Definitely right about the universe there, Evelyn. It was an odd situation, I agree, and probably would have worked better in a longer format. I liked the names too. They sort of made the characters come to life for me.

  7. Haunting. (And just goes to show that love will truly drive you mad!)

    • Oh yeah. And it will get you messing around with all sorts of weird things like string theory and ant-matter and all that. Think I’ll stick to flowers and chocolates. Haha.

  8. Now you will need to write the rest of the novel ;) Fantastic prose – very gripping – love the sense of disappearing inexorably (like the witch melting to nothing in the Wizard of Oz).

    • I’ll need to add it to the list, Gabe. You have no idea how many stories are on that list. It’ll keep me busy for the next 50 years :lol: