“Mrs. Donovan, you understand that changing time creates consequences that you’ll have to live with? You won’t be able to change it back.” The Time Group lawyer stared at her before continuing, “When you return, you need to bring back these documents signed by both you and your husband.”
“That won’t be a problem,” she said. Although her husband didn’t agree with her decision, she’d do whatever it took to make this happen. Even forge his signature. Every day since her son’s death, she had prayed, implored, and yes, screamed to the heavens. Today was the anniversary of Caine’s death, and finally, someone had listened.
His death had affected all of them, especially her daughter Caitlyn. She lost a twin brother and a mother that day. By changing this one event, both of them would become whole again.
Her arms ached to hold him. She still woke in the night thinking she heard his call, still missed that little boy smell of baby and sweat. Now she would be able to enjoy her life, her husband, and both her children. No more wondering what else she could have done.
“How soon can we begin?”
“We’ll be ready when you return the necessary paperwork. The trip itself will seem like you walked through a door into another room. When you come out, it will have never happened.”
“That quickly? Will I realize what’s happened?”
“Yes, but you’ll be the only one except for the Chronographers here at the Time Group.”
“The Chronographers track the different aspects of time and reality. Someone has to know the variations of history created by the Conversion Chamber. So we have a group of scientists who audit the time trails.”
“Oh, okay. I’ll get these right back to you.”
“Mrs. Donovan, you must wait at least seventy-two hours. We feel that’s the minimum amount of time required to thoroughly discuss and consider the impact this decision will have on your lives.”
“I’ve thought of nothing else since I heard about this contest. When I won, I knew this was the answer to my prayers. I don’t need any more time. I’ll be here three days from now. “
“All right, Mrs. Donovan, everything seems to be in order,” the lawyer said, reviewing the signed releases. “Just step into the Conversion Chamber and we’ll begin.” As she entered he said, “Last chance to change your mind.”
Shaking her head, she replied, “I’ve been waiting years for this chance.”
The lawyer joined the white-coated scientists in front of a control panel. Slowly she became aware of a high-pitched whine that grew steadily louder until she felt the reverberations deep within. Then, nothing. She looked around and saw a technician opening the door.
“Is it done?”
The technician glanced at her then looked down as she replied, “Yes. It’s done. I hope you know . . .” She sighed, shook her head slightly then said, “Good luck, Mrs. Donovan.”
“Thank you so much.” As she departed from the Time Group headquarters, she laughed for the first time in years. She walked briskly toward home, looking around, but not noticing any differences. Entering her house, she stopped and called out, “I’m home.”
She heard the staccato sound of running footsteps heralding Caine’s appearance. Her husband trailed after him. Near tears, she swung him up in her arms, hugging him close. “Hi, sweetie. You two having a good day?”
“Not bad,” her husband replied. “Where have you been?”
“Oh, just out for a walk.” She looked around but didn’t see her daughter anywhere. “Where’s Caitlyn?”
Her husband flinched and looked down for a moment before saying, “Honey, did you remember to take your medicine today?”
She just stared at him. His shoulders rose and fell, then he said, “Don’t you remember the incident?”
Her throat tightened. “Wha-what incident?”
He walked to her and wrapped his arms around her. “Caitlyn’s dead, hon. The kids were playing when Caine grabbed hold of Caitlyn’s swing and . . . She was dead when we found her.”
Her son patted her on her cheek then said, “It’s all right, Mommy. You don’t need her, you have me.”
Staring down at her son, she noticed the electronic anklet for the first time. Her husband gestured, addressing the nurse standing across the room, “I think it’s time for another dose of their medicine, don’t you?”
(This story was originally submitted to Writer's Digest "Your Story #19" earlier this month - see posting on 07/08/2009. Unfortunately, it wasn't selected as one of the finalists. Maybe next time. I hope you enjoy it. )