02/01/2005 - So far . . .
In a small Wyoming town called Wagon Wheel a man has made a sudden mystery appearance. With all the eyewitnesses claiming that he fell from the sky rumors have spread that he is an alien. After almost a year of being in a coma he has awakened, but is very secretive about his identity. The only person to whom he has revealed anything is Dr. Patterson, his physician. The doctor and Andrew attempted an "escape" from the hospital to a hideout. During the escape the doctor was shot. At the hideout, Andrew, Dr. Patterson, and Jonathan Moore, (a man the doctor called and Andrew has been searching for) are trying to lay low.
Andrew insists on going to 245 Robertson Street back in Wagon Wheel, unwise though it may be. Dr. Patterson seems to know why, but Jonathan is still in
the dark. Andrew seems to be beating around the bush somehow, but he did reveal a startling fact . . . the reason he is here -- "Jonathan's assassination."
One more thing . . . a young woman named Lily Ann Moore mysteriously collapsed the moment Andrew appeared. No one knows why. She was attending a picnic. The eyewitnesses all say that Andrew landed at least four yards from her in the field . . .
"My assassination? I would never assassinate anyone!!!" Jonathan exclaimed.
"You're not going to assassinate anyone, you're going to be assassinated."
"Who would assassinate me?"
"I don't know, but I intend to find out."
"You're a detective?"
"If only it were that simple."
"Why would anyone assassinate me? I'm no one important! Are you sure you have the right Jonathan Moore?"
"Certain. You aren't that important now, but you will be. You'll be the president."
"The United States."
"How do you know all this?"
"I guess there's no use hiding it from you anymore, you'd find out eventually anyway. It's imperative you keep this information to yourself. "
Jonathan nodded and Andrew began the long narrative.
"There's no easy way to say this. I'm not Andrew Brown. My name is Elijah Cohen. I was born in two thousand one. The 'calculator', or, machine shaped like a
calculator, is used to change dates. I guess you guys would call it a 'time machine', but that's not all. I've created a real mess. What we're going through right now is not real, well, it is, but it's an alter-reality."
"You've lost me."
"Let me explain it in layman's terms. Pretend that there is no 'time machine' and
I'm in my own time period and no one has ever 'time traveled'. I will get married and invent the 'time machine'. Then, somebody from that time period -- the old man -- will take the machine 'back in time', find me as a three-year-old orphan and decided to stay and take care of me. The old man realizes who I am -- the future inventor of the machine. He keeps our identities a secret throughout my entire childhood, knowing that if our
names or pictures were ever on any records anywhere, then we couldn't 'time travel' safely. People could find out who we are and then we'd be in trouble. Well, I grow to be
nineteen with him as my guardian. Then he sends me back to warn Jonathan. I don't really know why. It was only two thousand twenty when I left and you weren't even the
president yet, but the old man said that the future world would've been better if you had served your term. He said I should come to this year to warn you, so that I could tell you what would happen in the next twenty years, and then you'd believe me. So, I come back and I accidentally kill Lily. I drop the 'calculator', which is extremely heavy, and it hits her in the head. She's apparently in the history line of this old man, a mom, or grandma,
or something like that, so, it's as if he was never born. I've 'erased' him, if you will. Since I wouldn't have had the 'calculator' until I was older if he had not brought it back from the future, I've erased the only one I had. That's why no one found the 'calculator'. Technically, it was never here. At this time, I have no clue how to build another, since I wouldn't have invented it until I was much older."
"How do you remember the old man if he never really existed?"
"That's just the thing, Jonathan. He did exist or I wouldn't be here at age nineteen. He really was born and he really did exist and travel back to raise me. Now he really has been erased. That means we are in an alter-reality. Things that would've happened if he had never been born have happened now. That really complicates things. There are people who were born now that wouldn't have been if he existed. If I go back to the moment right before I left for this trip and don't come here to this time period and accidentally kill Lily, the old man will be there again, but they won't. Is it right for me to
erase them? It's not our place to take things into our own hands. It's playing God."
"People would've been born had he not lived that otherwise wouldn't have?"
"Oh, yes! You'd be amazed the difference one life makes."
"Sooo . . . what do we do?"
"Well, I remember being found the day my parents died by a young man with dark coloring and a scar on his left arm -- that's me. I need to go to Robertson Road and get me.
"Yes, my parents died on January seventeenth, two thousand five.
"The scar came from a branding iron. I was watching the old man brand cows one day when I was around ten. His hand slipped and the 'L'-shaped part was coming straight towards my arm, but the old man caught it. If he hadn't been there, I would've wound up
with an 'L' brand on my arm, which is what I have now."
"So, we can fix all of this? How about we get you back to the where you belong in time somehow. Then we'll put the old man back where he belongs, and then, I will
find you as an orphan and take care of you." Dr. Patterson said. " I'm lonely anyway."
"It's not that simple. There can't be a constant change between alter-realities. There must be some things set in stone, and, if my calculations are correct, once a year has gone by -- that's the limit. I won't remember the old man anymore."
"Then, we have to act fast. We only have two months to build another 'time machine' and get you back where you belong."
"It'll be awfully hard to build one with my limited vision.
"I wonder who that old man was?" Andrew said. Then he smiled, "The guy always had this funny grin playing at his lips."
"I wonder how my Lily is connected to him? Do you think I'll get my Lily back?"
"If things go the way I anticipate, it will be as if she never died. But, think about this. The future world has 'time machines', so if they fall into the wrong hands . . ."
"Like I said, it's a terrible invention. We'd better get to work."
"So, if we don't get things fixed before March, what would happen?"
"The alter-reality would take over. I would be zapped back to where I belong and have no memory of the old man at all. I would be living with whoever would've raised me had the old man never been born. Basically, I would be living in an alter-reality. I wonder what kind of a person I would be had I been raised differently? I mean, what if my new guardian was a criminal?
"And I wouldn't have this scar. In the year between alter-realities and true realities the alter-reality takes over the past very slowly. First I would've gone through all that out on the farm without the old man. Then, another adult would probably appear on the farm with me, and, finally, wherever I would've lived enters the scene and the farm disappears -- forever. None of us would ever know . . . we wouldn't remember. There
would be nothing we could do about it."
"You're right about one thing, the difference one life makes is amazing." Jonathan
Andrew buried his head in his hands. "We'd better work a plan before my brain turns to mush. First, we go get 'Little Me', then we make a 'time machine' and try to set things right."
The men concluded that the best idea would be for Jonathan and Andrew to go into town and "kidnap" "Little Andrew", whom they decided to call "Elijah" to avoid
confusion. They continued to call the young man "Andrew" because they had grown accustomed to it. They decided that Andrew should be the one to do the kidnapping because his memories of the alter-reality remembered him, Andrew, as the one who came to get him when his parents died. The memories were becoming more and more difficult to overcome, though Andrew tried, knowing that they weren't the way things were supposed to happen. The men thought it wise to change as little as possible until everything was restored to normalcy. "Kidnapping" was chosen because it was what the old man had done, and, once again, they thought it wise to change as little as possible.
Not to mention, it's not as though the authorities would allow a fugitive to adopt a boy and it was better for him to be in their hands -- or so they thought -- because they knew who he would become.
That night at around seven o'clock a small, maroon Stratus was driving very slowly with it's lights off down Robertson Street. "There it is . . . 245 Robertson. I
remember this place." Andrew whispered. "It's kind of creepy to see it again."
"Do you really remember it?" Jonathan put forth the very question running
through Andrew's mind. Andrew ignored him, trying to clarify his thoughts, but they just became more and more mixed up.
"Be back soon." he whispered and crawled out the back seat. He was glad that his symptoms were "wearing off" so fast. Already he was able to walk again and his vision continued to improve, though it was not yet to the level necessary to be able to find a likely sleeping toddler without attracting the baby-sitter's attention. Andrew knew his parents were probably already dead, and the baby-sitter would not be finding out until
around eleven o'clock. He struggled to hold back the tears that burned his eyes as he thought about a normal life, with a family who cared about him. The old man wasn't bad, but was no substitute for a mother. He fought the temptation to change things. To stop the accident and then let a year pass by . . . having such power was not a good thing for imperfect humans. As soon as he set things right he needed to destroy the machine. He knew that. Numbly he reached under the rug and pulled out a hide-a-key. How he knew it was there . . . he remembered. The sound that met his ears when he entered the house were among the last he expected to hear. A child crying . . . that was expected to a certain degree, but what was the boy saying?
"Lisa? Where are you Lisa? Why did you leave me? Don't go Lisa. Come back please."
All at once memories filled Andrew's head. He remembered Lisa, his baby-sitter. He remembered her climbing over the back fence. Why had she left him? Knowing no one else was in the house, he walked out into the living room where the child sat, sobbing.
"It's okay, Buddy," he said and scooped the three-year-old up in his arms. He was on his way to the front door when he heard an even more surprising sound. It was a
man's voice. Quickly Andrew turned around and ducked into what he assumed was a closet.
"Darling, the front door is open!" the voice said.
Then came a woman's reply, "That car that was parked out front -- I knew it was suspicious just sitting there and then driving away when we pulled up. Be careful. There might be someone in our house."
Andrew's parents? They were alive? Maybe the old man's story about taking him in as an orphan was false. Maybe he had been raised by a criminal -- a kidnapper.
. . . continued next month