This is a work of fiction.
Louisa took a small red device from her pocket and pressed a button.
A man’s voice filled the room.
“This is Radio United States, the only radio you need, and the only one there is.
“Not much has happened recently. We’ve put down a few dogs, but that’s business as usual.
“It’s 8:30 a.m. Make sure your children are at school by 8:55 a.m., or you know the consequences.”
“In case you’re an idiot who’s forgotten, the penalty for being late is one lash for you, and two lashes for each child, regardless of who’s late.
“If your shift starts at 9:00 a.m., be sure you’re on time. If you’re late, the penalty is one lash for you, two for your wife, and three for each child. Remember, what you do, or don’t do, affects those you care about.”
Louisa pressed a butoon, and the man’s voice died.
“There’s more, but I’m hoping that will suffice. I really don’t want you to have to listen to any more of this.”
“It’s terrible, but what can we do?”
“Go to LA and stop that man from going to that party tonight. If you show me what to do, I can take care of your pets while you’re gone.” She looked right into my eyes. “Please.”
“Please Grandma,” Freckles said. “I don’t like that guy on the radio.”
“I don’t like him either,” Curly said. “I’ll come with you.”
“Yeah,” Sammy said.
“All right, we’ll go. It’s late. Can you take us back to Thursday night?”
“Yes. You might need your van, so I’ll open the back door and you can drive it in here.”
She wrote some directions on a piece of paper and handed it to me.
“Were you at your house on Thursday night?”
“It’s better if you don’t go somewhere twice at the same time. So you can go back to your house and get clothes.”
“Oh, I have clothes for everyone still in the van. We only unpacked food and pet supplies.”
“Perfect. Can you sleep in your van?”
“Not all of us. Does only our van go back?”
“No, this whole room goes. I’ve got blankets, so we should all be okay on the floor.”
The boys came with me, but Lydia stayed with her mom while we went out to the van.
I drove around to the other side of the building, and saw that a large garage-style door was open.
I drove into the back of the room, and saw Louisa and Lydia, who appeared to be about a city block in front of us.
It was a big room indeed.
“Let’s leave the van and walk,” I said. “I’d like to see what’s here.”
The boys agreed.
The time machine was about as wide as a city block would be, but instead of houses on each side of a street, it was mostly empty, except for a large kitchen and a bathroom that even had a shower.
When we got to where Lousia and Lydia were, Louisa said, “Are you ready?”
“Do we need to do anything else to prepare?” I asked.
She shook her head.
“Is it, like, weird?” Freckles asked.
“Are you asking if traveling in a time machine feels weird?” I asked.
“No,” Louisa said. “There’s no movement, but you might feel a little light-headed at first. Your body will get used to it, and I don’t even notice it anymore.”
“How long does it take?” Curly asked.
“It will feel like one second per minute, thirty seconds per hour, or a minute per year. I’m going to take us back forty-eight hours to this time Thursday night.”
She began to press buttons, and I felt my stomach fluttering.
“D-do we need seatbelts or s-something?” I said, surprised to hear that I was stammering a little.
“No, but you might want to sit down. You won’t feel anything except maybe a little light-headed.”
“I’d better run to the restroom first.”
“You can, but it will work while we’re traveling.”
“Where does all the pee go?” Freckles said.
“Into the septic tank. Water from showers, dishes, or laundry goes into the purifier to be cleaned and reused.”
“Do you mind waiting for me now? I don’t want to miss the begining, or the middle, or is this the end we’re starting with?”
“We can wait. We’ve got lots of time.”
Lydia laughed, and the sound was music to my ears.
When I got back, everybody was sitting down.
I sat beside Lydia.
“Are you ready?” her mom asked.
She reached out and pressed a green button.
For a moment, nothing happened, and then I felt faint, and was glad I was sitting down.
“Mom, I’m dizzy,” Lydia said.
“Grandma, look at the clock!” Freckles said.
I looked up, and saw that the hands were moving backwards.
I looked at my watch, which was moving the normal way.
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