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Time Machines: An End of the World Inventory

Ginger Weil lives in Vermont on a tiny lot where she promises no bodies are buried. Her stories also appear in or are forthcoming from Apex Magazine and GigaNotoSaurus.
The watch strapped to your wrist is a time machine, recording your movement forward through time. The ticking drives you mad, and you can't get that smear off the dial.
The earth is a time machine, spinning you through a succession of days. Each day is long enough to dig a grave behind your house, but you are running out of open land. At night, things crawl out of the graves and you wait for the earth to spin you forward in time again and bring back the sun.
Your telomeres are time machines, recording your slow progress forward through history, breaking down as you age. If only the virus hadn't latched on to those broken ends.
Your memory is a time machine but it never takes you anywhere you want to go. You stay awake at night, clutching your gun, trying not to remember.
There is a time machine in your basement but it doesn't work. The gears, a problem with the fuel, you don't know. The scientist who brought it here is dead. His grave was the first one you dug behind your house.
Every night he crawls out of his grave and tries to come back into the house to fix his time machine. To end this plague before it starts.
You are running out of bullets. You haven't seen anyone else in days. You think about letting him in.
There is blood on your watch. You rub it off the dial. It is your blood.
5 pm. Almost sunset. The scientist will rise from his grave again. The virus will kill you.
You don't remember killing the scientist. It must have been you who killed him. No one else lives here. Only your pictures hang on the walls. You don't remember cutting your wrists either, but you must have done so. There is so much blood.
Regret is not a time machine. No matter how much you wish it were, your regret will not change the past.
Maybe after you die the scientist will make it back inside the house and repair his time machine. Maybe he will stop this plague. Maybe you will never have killed him.
The earth stirs. The sun sets.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 11th, 2015


This story started when I was doodling a list in my notebook of things that could be considered time machines. Once the time machine in the basement showed up, the story turned darker.

- Ginger Weil

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