The Fright

Kathryn Hastings

In 2048, a man invented time travel. His name was William Burkawitz, and he was the smartest man on earth. There’s only one problem with time travel, that’s once you do it, you must stay in that timeline. When it was originally invented people started disappearing left and right, families would go together and go off to a time when their ancestors were alive. Widows would go back to a time when their significant other was alive and thriving. Hell even some men would go back in time to kill Hitler. No one knew what happened to them, but it was suspected that William knew. He would occasionally talk about people as if we were animals thriving on basic need and instinct. It made me mad how he talked about us. I huffed in my room just thinking about it. 

Today was the day I was going to finally take the swing into the future. This was the future after all and I certainly wasn’t going to sit around waiting around for this life to end. I was going to take life and grab it by its throat. I felt inspired by the day. My buttoned up shirt was tight and constricting around my neck, but I didn’t let it get me down. Today was my day. 

William was a celebrity around these parts and anyone who wanted to travel to any time frame would first send a letter to William himself, explaining the time they wanted to go to. I sent my letter to William about a week ago and I reflected on how we had to send the slowest form of communication to something that was moving so fast into the future. I decided the time I would go to would be 1848 exactly 200 years ago. The reason why I wanted to go was simple, the prettiest girl in the world would be in my town exactly 200 years ago. They found her diary a couple years ago and I poured over each page. No one would know my exact reason for wanting to go to that time. I couldn’t let anyone know. Otherwise they might find out and try to take her from me. 

I waited by the mailbox day and night, even sleeping on the cold, snowy ground. When my letter finally came, it was glorious. My dreams would finally come true. The letter wrote that a carriage would come to pick me up in exactly 10 minutes. I didn’t expect it to be an actual carriage with horses and all, but here we are. The men in British horse riding suits, came up to me, asking for my name and birthday. When they realized I was myself, they took me into the carriage, rather harshly might I add. 

Something was beginning to feel off. The way the men snickered at me and talked to each other in low voices, just low enough that I couldn’t hear. It made me feel uncomfortable. I sighed to myself and tried to think of her. I had been fantasizing about her for weeks, hell months at that. Ever since they found her journal I have been thinking about our life together. My thoughts completely surrounded me to the point where I didn’t realize we had finally arrived at his castle. It was a structure in the middle of the city. It was said he only came out of the castle to talk to the press and even that was limited. 

As I went up the steps of the great castle I was met with a man in a mask and gloved hands. I could only assume this was William. He was also decked out in a blue velvet suit that practically glowed. His poofy pants were a stark white, and his black boots came up to his knees. I thought he looked quite ridiculous, but I could only hope he wasn’t as crazy as the way he dressed. I moved to greet him but he simply walked away and beckoned my forward with a gesture of his hand. He spoke no words to me. I moved through his castle with red floors and red banners all across the walls. The whole place reminded me of what someone would think of hell. My feet moved me along while I had an increasing bad feeling moving to my gut. I felt completely out of control as I looked back at the closed doors I came in through. I didn’t know why it felt off, it was just that everything made me feel like it was going to be my time. 

When we finally came up to the last steps he moved into a chair and motioned for me to sit across from him. Still no sound. I finally got to have a good look at him. His mask was black with no holes cut out so he could see. His hands had black gloves on them that went up to his armpits. I could see no discernable features, just a mask and a body that looked strong. I finally spoke up,

“So uh-“ I was cut off by the sound of whistling. The man was before me was completely still but whistling. 

My heart started to beat faster. I licked my ever drying lips as he cocked his head to the side. It felt like he was looking through me, if he even was looking at me. 

“Listen dude, if you could just send me to the time I want that would be great, I have a um family emergency that needs to be taken care of.” 

The whistling stopped. I could hear him take a breath in as he finally got up out of his seat. He moved to take off his mask and I held my breath. He moved till his face was nose to nose with mine and then he took it off. I screamed. 

“No no please, I’m sorry please I’m sorry for everything I did.” 

He grabbed me by the throat, and a gravely voice spoke out from the depths of his stomach.

“You will do nicely.”