Broken and Back Again
Another short story in which there may or may not be a hidden meaning
Dovonan Monk’s invention is not a well known or happy part of his life, but alas, the story must be told.
Now, Donovan Monk had a bad back. He was confined to his wheelchair except for the occasional nap or sleep.
For what Donovan Monk lacked in mobility, he more than made up for with his brain. He looked at problems and questions and was quick to come up with answers or, at the very least, plausible theories. And so it was, as he was attending a lecture for those that were attempting to build inventions such as Donovan Monk. The lecture was held at the University of Apollo, and it was there that he head a professor speak. This professor was Jon Hilyan.
Jon Hilyan was the leading professor of time science and as such he was very well educated on the ins and outs of time and time travel and how it could be used and the repercussions of how time travel could be used.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” Jon Hilyan said, “I am here to prove to you all that time travel is impossible to notice.” It was not a moment later that a man whom appeard to be Jon Hilyan sprang into the room, his black curly hair wavy and wild and his face white as a ghost.
“It’s just as it seems, listen to him!” Jon Hilyan yelled, pointing his fingers at his flustered self, the self standing on the stage. “He’s no fraud, and he’s not here to corrupt you! Don’t fall for the those whom tell you to change! Their ideas will destroy us all!” The John Hilyan that stood on stage waved his hands and wrung his fingers together and began to look rather pale and ghostly just as the other Jon Hilyan that had so rudely interrupted the event.
“You can’t change a thing, don’t be ignorant you bloody morons!”
The yelling and rowdy Jon Hilyan promptly ran back out of the door from whence he had entered and the the room rustled as all heads turned towards the now very nervous, curious, and anxious Jon Hilyan.
“Allow me to finish my presentation.” Jon said. His voice trembled. “It is impossible for man to be taken from a point in time and moved to another. There is no possibility whatsoever that time travel will be created and will work. Time itself cannot change. What has happened has happened, and what will happen will happen.”
Jon Hilyan gained back his confidence.
“From what I have seen and documented, nature and time will go out of its way to ensure that it is not changed or altered in any way. Ladies and gentlemen, history is history.”
It was five months later that Donovan Monk remembered exactly what Jon Hilyan had said.
Donovan was sitting in his wheelchair, caught up in the scene of two Jon Hilyans being in the same room, talking at the same time. Both of them feeling emotions, both of them altered by the event that had taken place. It disproved Jon Hilyans theory.
Donovan Monk leaned forward and touched the keypad of his invention. His arm twitched and pain flew through his body until he changed positions. He grimaced. Monk’s back was the bane of his existence. A grim reminder of his mistake. His error would be corrected.
His invention, had the power to change everything. He had to go back. Go to the time of his injury, and catch himself as he fell. Stop the accident. Save them. Save himself from a lifetime of guilt and pain.
He stood from his chair and shambled his way into his invention. He would change his life. In a few minutes, his world would be filled with wealth and fame. He would enjoy the things that everyone else enjoyed. He would enjoy the life that others had. He would have peace.
He pressed a button and felt his consciousness release and fly and dart around until it found the anchor of his mind. It followed the anchor’s chain, slowing down and speeding up and darting up and down as the chain wound its way through Donovan Monk’s life until it came to the destination. It clutched at the chain and settled down into young Donovan Monk’s body.
Donovan Monk was startled and he felt as if someone had rattled his brain like a child’s plaything. He blinked and he remembered. His life flashed before him and the memories of his future self nearly knocked him to the ground. He looked around. His sister and her friends were playing on the ice in the stream, straying just a bit too far away. He knew what would happen. He wanted to leap forward. He wanted to save her.
His confusion commanded control of his brain and he fell to the ground. He felt immobile and panicked. His body slipped towards the water. Confusion pushed and pulled at his brain. His back struck a rock near the stream. He heard the sound of breaking ice. His consciousness faded and shot back down the chain to present day Donovan Monk.
He sat, stunned inside his machine. He felt blood roll from his eye. His clothing soaked in sweat. Donovan Monk had not changed a thing. He had caused it. His actions, his ignorance. It was then that he recalled what the time traveling Jon Hilyan had said.
“You can’t change a thing, don’t be ignorant you bloody morons!”
The implications of what he had done began to set in.
Donovan Monk wept, and his back hurt.
Notes and thoughts:
I was deep in thought about the implications of changing ones past and I was interested in a brief dive into the idea. I wondered how the psychics of it would work and I understood how loss and guilt could drive someone to the point of desiring to change their past and make a small correction that would improve their future and the futures of others. And so, The Invention of Donovan Monk was born.
I found the idea of changing something you had done, yet in changing it you realized that the very thing that happened happened because you desired to change it to have interesting implications, in that you discover you are the very reason the accident happened, and seeking to change something that happened in the past may not only worsen the situation but cause even more guilt and difficulty.
It would appear that this story has a moral, but it tends to be the theme of what I am writing this year. I do have some stories that are quite easy to read and I am happy to share them with you in the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, if you’ve stuck with me this far through the page, thank you so much, you mean the world to me! See you next time!
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