I know what all of you are thinking: “Thank god Matt’s finished with this stupid story so he could go back to writing real posts.” Hopefully there’s a select few of you who are thinking “Aw, this story’s over already!?” My message to those people is, “Don’t worry; by the time you finish this chapter you’ll wish you never started reading this to begin with.”
I’m not joking. I strongly recommend you don’t read this. Unless you’ve never watched Doctor Who and you’re expectations are already staggeringly low, you will be disappointed.
Chapter 10: A Surprise Twist
I stood up, fell down, and stood up again, trying to make sense of where I was. I hung on to the railing.
“Take a seat,” said Jake, basically throwing me to the seat.
“What did you do?” I asked, furious at him for a reason I didn’t even know. I was mad at him for everything; for finding those stupid fortune cookies, for lying about the duration of his time spent with Smith. For that five seconds, I blamed him for Chloe’s death; something I hadn’t yet fully understood.
“What do you mean, what did I do?” he asked. “I brought you back home. You had a gun to your head.”
“Oh, and just leave Chloe behind?”
“Yes,” he said. “She’s dead! I’m sorry but how exactly are we supposed to explain that to the police without immediately coming off as suspects? Besides, it’s part of an established timeline that she’s found in the Wappingers’ Creek, Smith said so.”
“Smith lied. A lot!” I stood back up and reached for one of the chronivators.
“No,” said Jake. “I’m not letting you go back there,” but I kept grabbing at it. He pulled the chronivator away from me, forgetting about the other two, one on his leg and the other on his left arm. I grabbed onto it and tried taking it off.
“Goddamn it, Josh,” and he punched me in the face. In response I tackled him onto the wooden floor of my front porch and stripped the chronivator off his arm. “Don’t go back there!” he shouted.
“I’M NOT GOING BACK!” I shouted, then, feeling tears coming, said quietly, “just looking at the article.”
Impossible Girl Found Dead Near Wappingers’ Creek
Earlier today at 7:30 PM, the fishermen at the bridge in Wappingers’ Village spotted a body floating down the creek. The police were immediately called, and the body was identified as young Chloe Brooks, who is well known for her best-selling novel, “How My Boyfriend Shot Me in the Face,” which was a real game-changer for the young adult time travel genre.
The befuddling part is, Chloe Brooks is still alive and well. As the body was being identified, Chloe was in New York City, being interviewed by the New York Times about her up and coming children’s book titled, “The Little Engine that Couldn’t,” (which is actually a pretty crappy title, if you ask me).
The forensic scientists have no idea what to make of this. They have never made a mistake on any body before, and they’re currently double checking their work just to be sure.
The body looks to be that of a fourteen, maybe fifteen year old girl. Her face is completely unrecognizable, since according to the autopsy, was shot with a shotgun from a short distance away…
My first thought after reading this was, “Man, journalism has really gone downhill.” The second thought was “Wait, this doesn’t make any sense.”
Smith said that Chloe was a split point. With her, time could go either way. She would either die and be found in Wappingers’ creek or live to be a famous novelist. She couldn’t be both. That just wasn’t possible.
“Hey guys.” said Chloe. And the both of us jumped at the sound of her voice. “What’s up?” We just stared at her like she was a ghost.
“How?” asked Jake. Chloe was just as confused as us.
“Sorry I didn’t go to the mall,” she said. “I was at my cousin’s house, and anyway I couldn’t find my phone until about ten minutes ago. So what happened at the mall?”
Jake and I shared a long, surprised look. And then we both came to the same conclusion.
“Chloe, could you excuse us for a second?” asked Jake, and before she could answer we both went inside and shut the door.
“What the hell just happened?” asked Jake.
“I have no idea,” I said. “This makes no sense.” Then I thought of something else. I took the chronivator again and looked up “Chloe Brook’s body found in Wappinger’s creek,” and found a later article with more helpful information. One particular section stood out:
“After further investigation, forensic scientists found that the body wasn’t actually human at all. When they cut open the stomach, they found a small computer inside. Jacob Edelson, head of East Fishkill’s Cyborg Production Company, took responsibility for this; the cyborg was meant to take the DNA of fourteen year old Chloe Brooks.
“Usually they’re equipped with self-destruct system,” said Edelson, “You know, so they don’t end up in the wrong hands. But this one’s system seems to be defective. We’re not sure what it’s doing outside of our base, and we’ll be investigating the incident immediately to see what went wrong.”
After reading this I typed in the coordinates into the chronivator and grabbed onto Jake.
We reappeared outside the Cyborg Production Company’s headquarters in 2020. Fishkill, which was more of a suburban city, had now become a lot more of an urban area. The huge building wasn’t even the tallest one there.
We walked into the lobby, after I showed Jake the article, and I requested a meeting with future Jake Edelson.
“He’s really busy at the moment,” the secretary said. “I’m afraid you’ll have to make an appointment.”
“Can I give him a name?” I asked.
“Sure, what is it?”
“Joshua Blitz. Make sure to include the fact that I’m fourteen years old.” With pride I noticed she found the name familiar. She looked through her notes for a second and frowned.
“What is it?” I asked.
“That’s weird,” she said, looking at her computer. “I got a memo from my boss saying that if a fourteen year old Joshua Blitz wants to see him, I should call him immediately. This was from three minutes ago.”
So she called Edelson. And five minutes later I was sitting in future Jake’s office, while present Jake sat in the lobby. We figured it wasn’t a good idea for Jake to see too much of his future.
First off, Jake had put on a couple pounds. He was also wearing a professional suit and tie; something the Jake I knew would never wear in a million years (or at least seven).
“Yeah, I know how weird this is for both of us,” he said. “I’ve been expecting this conference for seven years now.”
“I’m here to ask about the cyborgs of Chloe and I.”
“Yeah, I sent them both out,” he said.
“So there’s a cyborg version of Chloe out there?” I asked, feeling on the edge of sudden relief.
“Well, not anymore,” said Mr. Edelson. She’s just been found in the creek, but you already knew that.”
“Yeah, but did you send her out yet?” I was suddenly in the best of moods.
“No,” he said. “The problem is, we need to program her to do exactly what she did and said when you didn’t know she was a cyborg, and I wasn’t with you half the time, plus it was seven years ago I so I barely remember what I actually did see.”
“I remember what she said.” My memory wasn’t bad, so I was pretty sure I could recall most of what she said. Besides, whatever I wrote down is exactly what she would do anyway.
“Well, I need you to write it down,” he said. “Write all of it down. We have to program it to behave exactly like she would.”
“Then bring it back to you?”
“Yes,” he said. And that’s why I’m writing this story. Sure, it’s a bit of an overkill, writing down what happened after fake Chloe died, but I’m also thinking about getting this published as part of my autobiography or something. “Wait, what about Lindsey and the other guy?”
“Well, they threw Chloe into the creek, walked back to the base, and were blown up by cyborg Jake, whose self-destruct system wasn’t defective.”
“Oh yeah, forgot about that,” I said. “Isn’t that a little too convenient and anticlimactic?”
“Anticlimactic? Sure. But it wasn’t convenient. We programmed it to blow up just as they came back.”
“So we don’t have to worry about them attacking us anymore?” I asked.
“Only if there’s a sequel.”
I figured the meeting was just about over, but then future Jake said to me: “One more thing.”
“That chronivator— is it the one you had all along? The one Smith said had no history?”
I checked, clicking on the history tab. It said, “Error 404: Page Not Found.” Even in 2020, this was a problem. “Yeah,” I said. “No history.”
“You see, the best thing about these chronivators is that, unless it receives physical damage, they’ll last an eternity. You need to leave this on the swing-set at Sterling Park, just before 6:18.”
“How do you know that?”
“You told me seven years ago.”
It took me a while to process this. “So just about everything that happened in this entire story happened because future us went back in time and gave past us all these things? And so that chronivator is just going on an infinite time loop?”
“But what started this whole chain of events?”
“That’s like asking what came first: the chicken or the egg. We’ll never know.”
After parting ways I went back to see young Jake and explained everything to him. After quickly stopping off at Sterling Park and leaving the chronivator there, we went back to our house, half a second after we disappeared. We ran out to embrace a confused Chloe.
“Okay, I need an explanation here, guys,” she said, nearly suffocating.
Jake then quickly explained everything in two long sentences, “The three of us went time traveling because a fortune cookie told us to and then we ran into a bunch of time traveling mercenaries who kill people and wanted a coin we found, but a cyborg from the future that I made took it from us without our knowledge so neither us nor them knew where it was. Then a Cyborg–Arnold Schwarzenator saved us, Cyborg–You killed the main bad guy and then Josh accidentally shot you in the face and then we came back here.”
“Okay,” she said, calmly.
“So… you believe him?” I asked.
“Oh, not at all,” she said. “I think I’d remember if I got shot in the face.” Then, to herself, she muttered, “that would make a great young adult time travel novella.”
“No see, that wasn’t you that got shot in the face. We just thought it was you for a couple minutes,” I said.
“Were you upset?”
“Good,” she said. “But I still don’t believe you.”
“Oh yeah?” said Jake, pulling out the chronivator. “We could prove it to you.”
“Okay, prove it,” she said, looking down at the chronivator on Jake’s arm. “And what’s that?”
Jake didn’t answer. “Pick any place, any time period. And we’ll go.”
“Really? You want go straight back into time traveling after everything that just happened?” I asked.
“Well yeah,” said Jake. “I want to put off as much time as possible before having to explain everything to Rachel and the police.”
“What happened to Rachel?”
“Not important,” said Jake. “Have you picked a place yet?”
She rolled her eyes. “Uh, Egypt, 500 B.C. I guess”
“No, we don’t speak the language,” said Jake. “Pick an English-speaking place, please. Maybe Spanish, but I’m not so fluent.”
“Okay fine,” she said. “1969. I wanna see the moon-landing.”
“Off-limits,” said Jake. “That’s where we first got attacked by time traveling bad guys.”
“It’s true,” I said. She raised her eyebrows, half smiling.
“Fine, lets go to 1985, staying in this spot,” she said. “I want to try the New Coke formula that eventually got changed back.”
“I heard that tasted horrible,” I said.
“Still, I want to see what all the fuss was about,” she said.
“Okay, I guess.” said Jake, entering a couple numbers. “First off, let’s move this inside so we don’t freak out the neighbors.” Once we did that (and I placed my wallet on the counter just to be safe) he continued, “Okay, Chloe, grab onto my arm. Josh, you know what to do.”
Chloe still looked skeptical, but as she grabbed on it looked like a part of her was starting to believe us. Jake pressed enter, and the three of us together traveled through time.
And so the three of them drank some god-awful Coca-Cola and then lived happily ever after.