|Resolution 258 (standard:science fiction, 3176 words)|
|Author: Peter Ebsworth||Added: Oct 01 2003||Views/Reads: 2184/1492||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A student's IT project accidently creates a system that allows emails to travel through time. The boy and his father find that they only have minutes to save a life.|
Resolution 258 by Peter Ebsworth Time was pressing on Jack Blackburn as he cleared away the breakfast dishes. Normally, he wouldn’t agree to go into work on a Saturday morning but most of his staff had gone down with flu and the hardware store couldn’t run itself. Shame though, he thought, that it’s the same day as Julie pulled a double shift nursing at the Clinic. It left Tom at home on his own all day, which made both he and his wife feel uneasy. ‘Only child syndrome’, their friends called it. Silly now that he was as big as he was, but they still worried as to whether he would be okay. Once the table was cleared, the plates and pans stacked haphazardly beside the steel sink unit, he left the kitchen then went upstairs to get his jacket and slip on a sweater. From the kitchen window, he had seen that the sun shone from a diamond-blue sky, but it was late fall when even the lightest breeze carried the sharp edge of the Wyoming winter to come. * Over a thousand miles to the southwest, in Washington DC, Katie Dolton was outside and would have welcomed a cool breeze. It wasn’t so much the early morning sunshine that was making her hot, although it was every bit as bright as Jack’s but retaining the memory of summer, but the hard work that she was doing. For weeks, she had been asking her dad to take off the stabilisers on her bike. She was much too old to have the silly things on; they were for babies. None of her friends had stabilisers on their two-wheelers, and she didn’t need them either. When she played at Jenny’s house, she was always riding Jenny’s bike and never fell off, well almost never. But her dad didn’t seem to do anything for her anymore. Ever since he gave up his real job to go into Poly-Flicks, he was seldom at home and, when he was, he and mom spent all their time talking about these Poly-Flicks and ignoring her. Even now, she could hear them sitting at the patio table behind her droning on and on. So this morning, she had got her bike tool kit from the draw in the washroom where she had seen mom put it after they had peeled off the paper and cardboard on her birthday. She was taking them off by herself. Or, at least, was trying to. There weren’t very many tools in the blue, soft plastic case. Two, short flat-ended metal sticks; some rubber patches with paper backs that reminded her of the plasters mom put on her knees when she grazed them; a stick of chalk and a funny, flat metal thing with different sized holes in it. Carefully, she had tried the different holes until she got one that fitted onto the nut holding the stabiliser to the hub of the back wheel. But however hard she pushed and pulled she couldn’t get it to turn. And trying was making her hot and sticky. Sitting back on her haunches, she frowned at the red-framed bike, laying on its side like a shot deer, one end of the spanner locked on the nut, the other sticking up into the air. It crossed her mind to ask for help, but a glance at the white wrought-iron table showed her parents drinking their coffee while pointing at something in one of the newspapers. They wouldn’t want her bothering them, besides it would spoil the surprise. Then it occurred to her that if she could hit the spanner at the sticking up end, the nut might undo at the other. But hit it with what? After some thought, she remembered the wooden hammer-shaped thing that she had seen her mother use to hit meat sometimes. She left for the kitchen to find it. * At the top of the stairs, Jack turned right down the hall as the door to the spare room snatched open; his teenage son catapulting out so fast they almost collided. ‘Dad, I was coming to get you,’ he said breathlessly, his face flushed with excitement. ‘Its my electronics project, ‘ he kept the door jammed open with his foot, glancing back over his shoulder into the room behind him, ‘I’ve sent that old IBM into some sort of mega-warp.’ ‘Well that’s great Tom,’ said Jack, facing his son but backing further down the hallway, ‘as soon as I get back from the store I’ll come see.’ Click here to read the rest of this story (321 more lines)
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