I Am The Walker | Teen Ink

I Am The Walker

October 7, 2011
By Erecura PLATINUM, Eugene, Oregon
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Erecura PLATINUM, Eugene, Oregon
26 articles 11 photos 50 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Hell is empty; all the devils are here."
The tempest

*I am everything, yet nothing. I control events yet they always seem to slip through my fingers. I never worry about being late, for I am always late, and always early. I have no clock, no watch, for I am all those things and none of them. If I were not here everything would happen at the same moment.*


He was quiet. That was the kindest thing you could say about Shadow. Like his namesake he was secretive, his face never showing emotion, his lips never moving except to answer questions monosyllabically.

The day that he came out of his shell was cold. Strong bursts of wind sent leaves tumbling through the air as if with a mind of their own. The trees bent and swayed, their bows almost touching the earth.

Shadow stepped into the warm recesses of the library. He ran his hand over a shelf of books, sending dust swirling through the air.

A history of Travelers and Their Contribution to Modern Society, the spine read. Shadow sighed, sending yet another plume of dust flying.

They used to have good books. The thought had gone through his head thousands of times. They had. He had seen them, stacked on the shelves of homes where he Traveled. They were beautiful, the spines red and blue and other colors, pictures adorning the covers. He had longed to touch them, to caress them, to hold them and open them and let their words spill out into his mind. But he always left them in their rightful place, because the first rule of traveling still rang in his head. Don’t disturb more than you have to.

He shook his head to get rid of the thoughts. He couldn’t do anything about it. Nothing. Of else he would get his Traveler’s license revoked. He didn’t know what he would do without his job to fill his time.

He stepped out of the library into the cold. A leaf blew by his foot, followed by a piece of paper. He leaned over and picked it up.

The most common mistake in Human Cosmetic Surgery is the way that the eye shape is administered. One must use the right tool, and use a slow and steady motion. If the job is done too quickly, the eye will…

Eye shape. His heart sped up in anger. Who needed a book on eye shape? He tore the paper in two and stamped on it. They used to have good books.

Time travel. Books. The idea came to him not a quiet shard of a thought floating into his brain, but a huge menacing specter, casting precedence over everything else. They used to have good books.


Grey. The world was grey and black, the sky was a filthy grey, the ground a dead black. Her eyes were grey, too, a drab color with no meaning. So were her tears, not clear, but grey. She noticed as she wiped them off, tears and eyeliner mixed into one.

She didn’t know why she even bothered to wear makeup anymore. She cried so much now that it had washed off by lunchtime. But it was familiar, a fragment of life before the accident, one of the pieces of a shattered life that she had managed to pick up and carry on with her.

She was crying again now, her eyes creating rivers. Nobody asked why. It had been announced to the whole school the day it had happened. She was the subject of sympathetic looks, the girl who everyone was sad for, but nobody wanted to befriend. She was the girl whose father and sister died in a car accident.

She saw everything in grey now. No shards of color made their way from her eyes to her mind. Her books were her only refuge. She had built her collection, adding woebegone books from garage sales and small bookstores. Only in her mind were there the vivacious colors she longed for in the real word. She stayed up late reading most nights, her eyes glued to the pages long after her mother had fallen asleep. She barely slept now, anyways.

She was alone with her books, and that was the way things were now.

*It was not her sister’s or her father’s time. I watched them go and wished I could stop for them. Just to give Luci a few more years with them. But I kept walking.*


The control room was orange.

Too bright for Shadow’s taste. It was an eyesore, a blemish upon the machines that filled it.

He adjusted the dial on the Traveler to 1943, and grabbed a handheld Time Changer. His hand hovered above the button for a moment before her pressed it hard, his fingers trembling.

It was too easy. He could feel his body dissolve into a million particles, his brain cells split and reform, the machine fall out from under him, and the heavy current of Time sweep him away.
A brief note:
I do not like it when humans mess with me. I am meant to go in one direction: forward. Every time a human travels through me they create a tear in my fabric. The wound is opened again and again. I try to stem the flow from it, but it is difficult. I could kill anyone who dares to travel through me, but I am amused to see what the humans think is important enough to alter me.
He landed on hard wood, his feet flying out from under him. Looking around quickly to make sure nobody saw him, he stepped out into the main building. Dust arose from the floor at every step he took. He nearly sneezed, but held his breath and the feeling passed.

There was a book, a beautiful object bound in purple. He grabbed it quickly; his heart pounding, took his Time Changer in the other hand, and pressed the large red button in the middle.

The sensation of time travel was not as surprising this time. He could still feel his molecules tingling, but he clutched the book in his hand, the spine biting into his palm. In his hand were words, words written by a person in a different time. Words that meant something. Words that carried a message that he could find.
*The book hurt my arm as it passed through me. I had half a mind to pluck Shadow out of time.*



“Mmhh?” she rolled over and buried her head deeper inside her covers.
“I’m going to work. Just call if you need anything. “
Luci closed her eyes again, her thoughts straying to the night of the accident. Though it had only been a week and a half ago, it seemed that it had been weeks since they had died.
Her mother gripped the table with one hand, the other holding the phone up to her ear. A single tear slid down her face.
“Yes… yes. I’ll come.”
“What is it?” Luci asked, bringing a spoonful of macaroni and cheese to her mouth.
“It was instant. They never knew what happened. I’m so sorry…”
Luci knew instantly what her mother was talking about. It couldn’t be anybody but her sister and father; from the way her mom’s eyes were tearing, from the way her voice shook.
She dropped the spoon to the floor. The cheese stained the carpet a strange yellow color, burrowing into the fibers. Luci would always remember the spot of orange spreading against the white.
*Strange how humans remember me. Such insignificant details about such significant moments. It’s always the same.*

Luci took a deep breath and slipped her out of bed, shivering at the sudden transition from warm to cold. She pulled on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, and, grabbing a book, walked downstairs, the old wooden stairs creaking at every footfall.
She poured cereal into a bowl, the familiar clattering noise emptying into the empty kitchen. She sat down at the table, the book already open. For the next hour she read, letting her cereal get soggy. She wasn’t hungry. The book was intriguing, and she was already a hundred pages into it when she heard a noise in the living room.
She stood up; her heart fluttering nervously It’s just a branch. Or a tree. Or something, she told herself as she crept into the next room.
It was a man. He was standing in the middle of the floor, bent over and fingering one of her books. As she watched, her vocal cords paralyzed, unable to scream, he turned around. He took a step backwards as soon as he saw her.
*His first thought when he saw her: Oh, d***. How did they tell us to deal with this in training?
Her first thought: What the hell is a guy doing in my living room?*
“Um…” he cleared his throat and backed away, obviously embarrassed.
“What are you doing here?” she yelled at him as he turned around.
He could have pressed the button. Could have disappeared leaving Luci to think that she was hallucinating. But instead he answered her.
“I’m Shadow.”
“How did you get in?”
He held up his Time Changer as an answer. It glowed eerily, its middle button flashing.
“What’s that?”
“A Time Changer.”
“What’s a Time Changer?”
“A time travel device.”
She stumbled backwards, her face draining of color. “No!” she managed to choke out. “How… you’re crazy. That’s what. Get out or I’m calling the police!”
He stayed standing in the middle of the living room, as if glued to the beige rug. He looked at her sympathetically. “I’m not crazy. Trust me. Please. I came from the future. I’m going back. I just wanted one book. There aren’t any in the future you see….” He knew he was rambling, but he didn’t care. “I’ll go now. Sorry.”
He took out the Time Changer. He was going to lose his Traveler’s license. He was going to have to work in a horrible job, a job where he had no chance of getting books.
A lone tear fell onto the device, sinking into the glass as if it was a sponge. Something about the tear stirred something inside Luci. The memory over the tear that her mother shed when she got the phone call. The similarity was so overwhelmingly analogous that Luci wanted to sob herself.
“Take me with you.”
“What?” Shadow looked up, startled.
“Take me with you. You’re from the future, so just zap me there!”
“Um…from the future isn’t the technical term. See, we’re living a series of events that would be happening at the same time, if not for time. Just take time from the equation and you can go anywhere.”
Despite herself, Luci was intrigued. “So, take me with you.”
“Can’t. Against regulations.”
“Seriously? There’s nothing for me here. I want to go with you. Please. I could help you. Please.”
Shadow stared at her. Her eyes were filling with tears. Something about her reminded her of his sister. I would be torture to her for him to say no. “Fine.”
She grinned. It was the first smile that she had given in a long time. “Thank you!”
Shadow held onto her arm. “Are you sure about this?” he asked one last time.
She nodded vehemently.
He clutched her arm tighter.
His finger moved towards the button.
A burst of static electricity issued from it.
He kept going.
His finger touched the button.
He pressed down.
The button clicked against the commencer, and time disappeared.

It was over quickly. Luci dropped to all fours, the world spinning beneath her. She managed to sit up after some consideration on how to do so, and looked around.
A city. A city of metal and glass. The buildings gleamed in the sun. But something was wrong. The sick stanch of death hung in the air, clouding everything with its foul presence.
Shadow smelled it, too. He closed his eyes for a moment, the ground warm beneath his feet. Something was different.
“Shadow!” A cry came from the other side of the courtyard. He turned around and saw a young woman hurrying towards him.

“Shadow, they’re all dead. All the travelers. You have to go now.”
He gasped. “No!”
Vera nodded. “Go. You know what to do. The little button on your TC.”
Luci interrupted. Um…sorry to be so stupid, but what’s going on?”
Vera roiled her eyes at Shadow. “It that a precedent?”
Shadow nodded, still too dumbstruck to speak.
*It wasn’t me who killed them. I gave them warning that this would happen if they wounded me, but they didn’t care. Time sickness. Always fatal. I never administer it, but it comes from hurting me. I’m still not sure how it works. I warned the. They didn’t listen.*
Vera patted Shadow on the back. “You’re a good Traveler, Shadow. I hope everything ends up okay.”
She ran back across the plaza, into the hospital on the other end. Shadow watched her go, his mouth open. Without looking down he grabbed his Time Changer from his pocket, grabbed onto Luci’s arm, and pressed the smallest button.
The sensation was not the same. It wasn’t the feeling of getting your molecules rearranged, but an empty feeling, as if a huge hand were plucking out your soul. They landed in a tiny room made of metal. Luci had the claustrophobic feeling that this room was everything, that if this room didn’t exist there would be nothing.
“Okay, tell me what’s going on.”
It was a statement, and he was sure that if he didn’t tell her she would do something drastic. He didn’t care. This was her fault
“It’s your fault they’re dead! You came with me, and then if you hadn’t you would have done something amazing and cured time and everything and it’s your fault!
“What? How could it be my fault?” Luci was stunned.
He began to sob, his body shaking with tears. “I’m sorry,” Luci muttered. “For nothing.”

Luci steps back out of the living room, her head spinning. Who was that? What was he?
She walks outside, into a world of grey. She must be hallucinating. She looks around as if expecting to see strange things appearing. Nothing happens. She closes her eyes, her mind in turmoil. He wasn’t real. She takes a step out into the road. No. He wasn’t real. She opens her eyes in time to see a car speeding towards her. No time to get out of the way.
How cruel for her mother to lose three family members within a month in almost the same way. At Luci’s funeral Shadow appears for a moment, fervently wishing that he had taken her with him. All the travelers are dead. He cries both for her and for them.
A year later Shadow is back in her town. He lands in her living room. Nobody is there. He plucks a book from the shelf. It is the same one he was fingering when she had walked in.
He opens it, stares at her faded signature.
He’s cheated time for long enough. He steps outside and throws his TC into a tree. From now on he will live life as a normal person.
Years later the tree is cut down. The TC tumbles to the ground and is buried under mountains of dirt. Thousands of years pass until Dr. Jayne Waterton digs it up. She presses a button and is transported back to 2011. Time travel had been discovered.
A hundred years later a boy is born. His name is Shadow.

Shadow woke up, blinking momentarily in the light. Luci was still asleep. He stepped over her and began to pace silently. The metal floor seemed to absorb sound. The walls shone with a strange light that came from nowhere. This was where they had warned him never to go. Out of time.
*In all truth, he wasn’t out of time. Simply resting in my cloak, which I always seem to leave behind me.*
Luci woke up a few minutes later. Their argument of the night before was not spoken of, but their ‘good moning’s were a little too stiff.

Shadow pulled his TC out of his pocket. The display was glowing. Luci leaned in. A small envelope, the symbol for a message, lit up the screen. She looked at this face and saw that he was not angry at her, merely distraught. She smiled. He smiled back.

The name of the sender was merely ‘Time’.
The message consisted of six letters.
Help me.

*They are so young, and I so old. They are so small, and I so big. They are so weak, and I so strong. But they are to only ones that can help me.*

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