SHORT STORY: Time travelers

Dibujo de: Juan Carlos Chavez-f. (

The facts that triggered this incredible story began in a garage sale, when I was reviewing a box of books, looking for something interesting. I was going to leave when I noticed a book that had the title engraved in golden letters Time Traveler by Ronald Mallet. I began to read it and I could not stop until I almost finished the first chapter.

― I'll leave the hard covers for two dollars― interrupted a lady’s melodious voice.

―I’ll take it― I said at once, as if waking from a dream. The allure of the book had completely absorbed me.

I finished the book and reviewed it several times the next week. It was about the real story of a child who in 1955 loses his father at age 11, becomes disturbed, and loses interest in life. Fortunately, he buys the book The Time Machine by H. G. Wells and amazed by it he sees in that reading the possibility of returning in time to warn his father not to smoke and to prevent his deadly heart attack at such an early age.

The child, following the illustrations on the cover of the book, constructs a rudimentary structure that mimicked the time machine. He used tools that belong to his father when he was a television technician. Obviously the "machine" did not work. The boy realizes he needs to know a lot of math and physics to try again. He doesn’t like these courses but, because of the stubbornness of seeing his father, he takes them in high school and then in college with so much effort that he manages to become an outstanding physicist in the world, like Albert Einstein, whom he adopts as guide. In this epic journey, he overcomes three great obstacles: his ostracism, the scarcity of economic resources and racial discrimination in the sixties because he, Ronald Mallett, is African American.

The story moved me because I had also lost my parents six years ago. I had not returned to my parents' apartment since that fateful year in which they died, I even avoided driving around there because I continued to live in the same city. Just three months ago I had a very strange experience. While doing a favor for a relative I had to pass by my parent’s old house. I saw a "Rent" sign. Unconsciously, I stopped my car ant got out. I ascended the slope of the parking lot to enter through the back door. On the way, all my senses began to work frantically watching, listening, smelling, and touching. As I went up to the second floor, every step I took made me recall thousands of memories with my parents, my brothers, my wife, and my children. It was a wave of emotions that hit me like the stormy sea. I pushed open the porch door; it was open. I reached the back door; I rang the doorbell, as I had always done. I closed my eyes; I smelled the soft dressing of my mother's stews; I seemed to hear my father's voice. I opened my eyes there was no one, but those seconds were so real. I returned to the car with my heart coming out of my chest.

That is why I was interested in the book, where the works of Professor Mallett, his achievements, his experiences and his theories explained in scientific terms about the possibility of time travel, are narrated in a chronic biographical way. I was fascinated by astronomy at an early age, and eight years ago I was taken a course in astrophysics at Central University, coinciding with Professor Kristine Larsen, one of Professor Mallett's most outstanding pupils. Determined to tell my experience, I encouraged myself to ask him for an interview for my newspaper. Professor Mallett was now teaching at the University of Connecticut, state where I also lived.

After the interview, I told him about my experience when I visited the apartment where my parents lived. I told him that I felt something as real as if they were going to unexpectedly invite me in for dinner. I sketched out a theory that had been spinning through my head since that day: "In a certain space there may be experiences so strong that they could affect the space-time fabric and, in very special conditions, could materialize scenes and people of a time already past or yet to come. The point is that we have no way of measuring or detecting them by means of specialized instruments. "

Professor Mallet called me in three weeks: "I have the prototype of an instrument. It is a highly sensitive prototype gyroscope by my friend, Francis Everitt. This ultrasensitive device can detect any disturbances in space and time and could even find a suitable portal to travel through time. I'm going to try it out in my old apartment in the Bronx, where it all started. Can you come with me? "

Two days later we left very early for New York. We arrived at the building on Harrod Avenue. I noticed how the professor was beginning to feel the same effects as when I visited my parents' house, except that the intensity of his affliction was noticeable much larger than mine. We went up to the 11th floor. We arrived at the door of his apartment, 11 D, where half a century ago he had gone through the traumatic experience of losing his father, which triggered events that had led him to be who he was now. We activated the gyroscope in the hallway and next to the door of his old apartment the needles began to oscillate. We knocked on the door! Professor Mallet’s father let us in! I recognized him immediately from the photos in the book. The professor nearly passed out; his father and I settled him down on a sofa. All the furniture was from half a century ago; in the living room, there was a television with light bulbs surrounded by tools.

When I calmed down, I said: "Excuse me, my friend lost a relative who lived in this apartment many years ago. The heat and the emotion of the memories have drained him, would you please get us a glass of water? " Mr. Mallet went for the glass of water and I took the opportunity to say to the professor: "Think well what you are going to say, we are not sure how we are here. What you do or say could change the future in our time and could bring catastrophic consequences, especially for you. You could erase your identity in our timeline! We have proved at least for both of us, that time travel is possible in a specific space, by specific people and with special technical assistance. Calm down and enjoy the moment!” The professor, a scientist first and foremost, nodded. The situation was paradoxical. What would you tell your father when you see him again fifty-five years after his death? However, the professor skillfully asked about the TV and at the same time identified himself as physicist and began a talk about tubes, resistances, and measures and gases that had been unconcluded for more than half a century. I let them talk as much as they wanted, besides, what could I do to stop it? I just made sure that the professor did not talk about the future.

― My family has gone shopping ― said the professor's father watching him closely. ― You know — he said suddenly. — You remind me of someone, but I do not know from where. I don’t know how to explain it.

— We must go — I said, sensing that the professor could not resist any more and then I added, — The professor lost his father here very long ago and the memories of this apartment has affected him a lot.

― He seemed a lot like you ―said the professor in an untimely manner ― if I may hug you, it would do me a great benefit.

And then Mr. Mallett's father squeezed into a timeless hug with his son who was double his age. I could not stop my eyes from blurring and a tight knot formed in my throat. The gyroscope's needles had gone crazy and were spinning uncontrollably.

― Thank you for your help ― I said, dragging the professor, and we went out. We went down to the street, the professor was leaning on my shoulder, his sighs worried me. We left and saw that we were in our time! Immediately we returned in awe and hurried to his father's apartment. A Hispanic lady wearing clothes from our time opened the door.

― How can I serve you? –  She said.

― My friend lived here during his childhood ― I improvised again ― and he would like to remember his happy times. If you would be so kind to help us ― she looked at us suspiciously, but when she saw the tears rolling down from the professor’s cheeks, who was leaning against me, she said ― Sure, come in, come in. ― We entered. The furniture was from the present to which we had returned to. I looked at the gyroscope, the needles were immobile.

Pablo D. Perleche

Identidad Latina
Acerca del Autor