Something To Do With Dinosaurs

By , Shoreline, WA
The leaves are falling again. Anthony Slater thought to himself, as he sat on the cold bench beneath the maple tree. It was autumn and the leaves had finally started to break off their branches. One by one they would fall, twisting and turning in the chilly breeze before they came to rest on the bench below. Anthony sighed and rubbed his hands together in a half-hearted attempt to keep warm. He wondered how many autumns he had spent sitting there, on that bench, waiting. He did not know because he stopped counting. Counting depressed him, and no amount of counting could change the fact that he was stuck there, waiting.

It all started with a wish, and ended in a mistake. A very big mistake.

On Emily Slater’s twenty-fifth birthday, Anthony promised his wife that he would get her anything her heart desired. Emily desired to see a dinosaur. The wish did not surprise Anthony, Emily had been obsessed with the extinct creatures ever since she was ten years old. So the next day Anthony took Emily to the Natural History museum and they spent the day looking at the old dinosaur bones. Emily was ecstatic, but Anthony was not satisfied. He knew he could do better, he was determined to show Emily real dinosaurs. The next day Anthony Slater set his plans in motion.

It had taken Anthony ten years to finish the project. Ten years of complicated equations, and tedious labor. His love for Emily, and his desire to make her happy kept him motivated during the long nights. Then on the tenth year, one day before her thirty-fifth birthday, Anthony finished the project.
“Present time!” Anthony declared loudly after they had finished the birthday dinner, and he eagerly handed Emily a present wrapped in dinosaur wrapping paper. Emily chuckled softly at his choice of wrapping paper, and slowly unwrapped the gift. It was a small machine that looked a lot like an iPad, except this machine had grey rubber handles attached to the left and right sides. Emily stared at it questioningly for a few moments before she looked up at Anthony.
“Okay I give up,” She said, “What is it?”
“A time machine.” Anthony said proudly, a large grin began to spread across his face. Emily stared at Anthony in shock for a few seconds before she began to laugh.
“Get out of town! This is not a time machine!”
“Yes, it is!” Anthony protested.
“No way!” Emily snorted.
“Yes way!”
“Oh yeah?” She challenged, “Where’s the flux capacitor?”
“Do you honestly think I would make a time machine out of a DeLorean?”
“Everyone knows that’s the only way to make a time machine.” Emily argued playfully.
“You watch way too many movies.” Anthony chuckled.
“Yeah, probably,” Emily agreed. She was silent for a few moments as she continued to examine the small device, turning it over and over in her hands. “Okay seriously Anthony, what is this?”
“A. Time. Machine.” Anthony answered with exaggerated slowness.
“Are you serious?” Emily asked. Anthony could hear a hint of hopefulness coloring the tone of her voice
“Dead serious.” A slow grin spread across Emily’s face.
“Show me.”
Anthony smiled and took the small machine from her hands.
“Okay,” Anthony began as he booted up the machine. The screen flickered on and the small fan located somewhere inside the complicated wiring, began to purr softly. A small keyboard was now displayed on the touch screen of the time machine. There were three blank boxes located just above the keyboard, they were labeled: Day, month, and year.
“I want you to get behind me and wrap your arms around me.” Anthony said. Emily complied and wrapped her arms tightly around his midsection, lifting her chin slightly so that it was resting comfortably on his shoulder.
“Now, whatever you do. Do. Not. Let. Go.”
“Why?” Emily asked nervously.
“Because, we are about to be dragged faster than light speed through time. If you let go before we stop at our destination, you will be thrown into any random year in history, and I would have no way of finding you.”
“Oh.” Emily said softly. Anthony looked back at her worriedly.
“Are you sure you’re okay with this?”
Emily grinned, “Are you kidding? Let’s do this!”
“Alright,” Anthony cheered as he punched the right date into the time machine, “You better hang on tight spider monkey.”
“Oh my god,” Emily scoffed, “Did you seriously just quote. . . .”
But before she realized it, Emily Slater was being pulled at break neck speed through the fabric of time. The rest of her sentence was ripped from her throat and was lost somewhere in the great abyss of space.
The world around her was a blur, streams of colors rushed by her like city lights on a highway. Her hair whipped wildly around her face, and a strange pressure began to settle on her shoulders. Her ears rang, but occasionally she would catch a whisper of coherent noise from the whirlwind of history around her.
And then she felt it.
Very slowly, finger by finger, she began to lose her grip on Anthony. Emily squeezed her eyes shut hoping, praying, that they would arrive at their destination soon. Then all of the sudden she could no longer feel Anthony in her tight grasp.
There was just space.
Endless, empty, space.
And she was falling.
Emily was falling faster and faster, until there was a sudden flash of blinding white light and she tumbled face first onto a field of soft green grass.

Anthony had felt Emily’s loosening grip, if only he could just reach down and grab her hand, but he could not let go of the time machine.

And then he felt it.

She was gone.

A few seconds later there was a flash of white light and everything stopped. Anthony had reached their destination; he was now standing in the middle of a beautiful forest. But the sight never reached his eyes, and the animal’s cries never reached his ears. He was in shock. He had lost his wife somewhere in the fabric of time. Emily was lost. Emily was gone.

The next few hours Anthony spent in a delirious, and panicked state. He leaped randomly from one year to the next. He had no sense of direction only a sense of terror. He had to find Emily. He must find Emily.
Anthony finally managed to calm down after his fifteenth leap. Too much time traveling was making his head spin, and his body ache. After a strong drink and a lot of thought, Anthony estimated that Emily had been lost around the start of the 1920’s. He arrived in 1920 determined to wait until Emily appeared again. Anthony knew that he needed to stay close to where their apartment had been. Even though Emily had leapt to a different year, she would still reappear in the same location they had left.

As it turned out, their apartment building in 2024 was a park in 1920. So Anthony Slater picked a nice bench underneath a large maple tree. He brushed a few leaves off the bench and sat down, eyes peeled, searching for any sign of Emily. But he was not prepared for just how long he was going to have to wait. The years came and went, seasons changed but there was still no sign of Emily. Anthony found that as time passed it became harder and harder to remember Emily. The features of her face began to blur in his mind, he could no longer remember the feel of her touch or the sound of her voice. She had become just another passing memory.
It was the fall of 1955 when a very oddly dressed woman appeared in the park. She seemed rather frightened, and called out the name of a man several times before she collapsed upon the grass and began to cry. The people in the parked watched the woman curiously for a few moments, but they dismissed her as ‘crazy’ and continued on their way. After awhile the woman picked her self up from the ground and started to walk out of the park. But as she was leaving she noticed an old man sitting on a park bench beneath a maple tree, watching her with intense eyes. The woman thought there was something vaguely familiar about the man… but she did not think much of it and continued on her way.
The old man stared after the woman as she left the park, there was something familiar about her… but his mind had long since been lost to age and disease. In fact, now that he thought about, he could not remember why he sat in the park everyday. He only knew it had something to do with dinosaurs…





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FlawlessLawless said...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm
wow!! that. was. AMAZING!!! loved it!!
 
peregrinefalcon This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 6:32 pm
Ohhh...so sad, so sweet, such beautiful work. I love this story.
 
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