A man lurked just outside the door to a science lab, preparing to execute the first action that would ultimately lead to his long awaited delivery of justice.
Within the room, Dr. Andrew Jenson sat in a chair, working diligently with his eyes fixed on his computer screen. Suddenly, there was a loud bang and the lab door fell from its hinges, crashing to the floor. A man barreled into the room, holding a gun poised to strike.
“What do you want?” Andrew Jenson demanded, trembling fearfully.
“I have come,” James Snyder grinned, “to eliminate the greatest threat to my plan: you.”
A few miles away, a young boy looked upon the door. His sea green eyes were wide with anxiousness as he awaited his father’s return. If his father had been a tardy man, then perhaps Jonathan Jenson would not be concerned. But this was certainly not the case. Jonathan glanced for a final time at the unmoving door, then resumed pondering possible reasons for his father’s uncharacteristic lateness.
Suddenly, there was a loud knock at the door. Cautiously, Jonathan approached the door, beginning to suspect that traffic was not the reason why his father, Andrew Jenson, had not returned.
After looking outside, Jonathan began to tremble in fear. His palms became suddenly slick with sweat. What were two policemen doing standing on his porch? Jonathan slowly opened the door, allowing the pair to enter his home.
Once the policemen had entered the house, they explained that they had come to inform Jonathan about the death of one of his family members.
“What happened?” Jonathan stuttered, eyes wide in panic.
“A shooting occurred in your father’s lab,” one of the policemen answered, “We discovered your father, Dr. Jenson, a few minutes after the incident, but it seems he suffered fatal injuries and nothing could be done to save him.”
“We are terribly sorry for your loss,” the other policeman said, sympathetically patting Jonathan on the shoulder.
At that moment, Jonathan’s sister, Danielle, burst into the room. Her long, auburn hair billowed behind her. Upon seeing the serious-looking policemen, she paused in her tracks, knowing by the room’s sober mood that something was horribly wrong.
“It’s Dad, isn’t it?” she asked Jonathan, who nodded numbly as the policemen led them both to a car parked nearby.
The police car sped off as the trees and beautiful scenery blurred past. But Jonathan’s mind was too filled with devastating images of his father dying to think about anything else. Little did he know that quite soon he would have other things to think about.
Soon, the car pulled up to the curb and the siblings got out, headed for the orphanage where Danielle and Jonathan were to live from now on. The place’s white walls and duly hued beds gave a rather austere appearance. A member of the orphanage staff assigned Danielle and Jonathan to neighboring beds, where they soon found themselves asleep.
A couple houses down, James Snyder sat in a lawn chair in a garage, shifting uncomfortably in his new green t-shirt and blue jeans. He looked to be any ordinary person, just reclining beside his car. But the car-like contraption was, in fact, something altogether different. Dr. Snyder gazed at the intricate control panel, one of his own design, and that of his father. His father was currently imprisoned unjustly for crashing a contraption into some cars and pedestrians. How could the police expect people from the 25th century to know how to navigate those ancient asphalt roads, anyway?
“I swear,” James growled, clenching his fists, “I’ll make those people pay for what they’ve done to my father!”
Back at the orphanage, Jonathan Jenson awoke, quickly climbing out of his bunk. He rushed out to breakfast in the orphanage’s cafeteria, running his fingers through his messy brown hair. He swiftly grabbed a tray of food and consumed it in quite a hurry.
“Goodbye!” he yelled to his sister as he slung his backpack over his thin shoulders, running to catch the bus.
The bus chugged slowly along, releasing steam from its rear. A few hours after Jonathan’s arrival at the high school, he discovered that his fourth period science class was being taught by a substitute. Oddly, however, the man who was currently teaching the class claimed that he was John Lawrence, Jonathan’s usual instructor. Though his green eyes sparkled enthusiastically, much like Mr. Lawrence’s, this man’s brown hair appeared as if it had been dyed. He also had a scar on his cheek that Jonathan had never noticed before. However, none of the other students noticed the subtle difference.
As everyone, including the imposter, filed out for lunch, Jonathan hid under his desk, waiting impatiently for the substitute to lock the door. Once he heard a click indicating a locked door, Jonathan crawled out and began searching through the items in the substitute’s bag. In the bag was an odd-looking contraption the likes of which Jonathan had never seen, even with the hundreds of other machine parts lying around the attic of his old house. Just as he pocketed it, Jonathan looked up to see the imposter posing as John Lawrence, staring right at him.
“You are going to the principal’s office, nosy little boy,” the substitute snarled, swiping the bag from Jonathan’s hands.
Jonathan walked dejectedly to the principal’s office, where he was detained for the rest of the day, leaving him plenty of time to ponder his discoveries. He knew with absolute certainty that the peculiar substitute teacher did not belong in this place or even this time, but the question remained: Could he prove it?
Jonathan moved to board the bus, but quickly decided to visit Mr. Lawrence’s classroom beforehand. He dashed off to the room, entering to see the imposter seated at his teacher’s desk. He gulped.
“Sir,” Jonathan insinuated, pointing an accusing finger, “This is going to sound kind of odd, but I- I know that you’re from another time, and I think you would do well to go back there.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” the man hissed.
But his eyes widened with fear when he realized that Jonathan Jenson knew his secret.
Jonathan shivered as he left the room. He had a feeling that the man had no idea what he was doing as he manipulated the timeline to his benefits.
Once returned to his new home, the orphanage, Jonathan Jenson swiftly removed from his pocket the contraption he’d stolen, hoping that it would provide further insight into the identity of his substitute teacher. He pressed each metal button in attempt to turn the device on, but when none of that worked, he threw the object down in frustration. Jonathan slumped desperately on the orphanage sofa as his sister walked past, stepping on the device.
Suddenly, Danielle gasped in shock. She now stood right in the middle of a moving hologram.
“Jonathan, what is this?” she scolded her younger brother, narrowing her eyes in suspicion.
“Nothing!” he lied, clasping his hands together nervously.
The holographic video depicted a man, clearly the same one that had subbed at Jonathan’s school.
“James!” called a voice that Jonathan didn’t recognize, “Son, I am glad to see you, but you shouldn’t have come. You see, the past shouldn’t be disturbed. Especially as far back as 2016-”
At that moment, the device exploded into a multitude of metal pieces, cutting the footage short. Jonathan cringed, hoping that no one had heard the noise.
Just as Jonathan began to brush the pieces into a semi-neat pile, an alarm began to blare, indicating a lock down. A voice shouted through the loudspeaker.
“Get down! Get down! Everyone, get under the tables!”
Instead of diving frantically under a table like the other kids, Jonathan lingered to peer out the window, where an appalling sight met his eyes. Thousands of automatons rushed past, leaving masses of frightened people in their wake. They had insect-like features and antennae which swiveled around as if trying to detect something.
The only human amongst the vast body of robotic creatures was a red-haired man. His face beaded with sweat as he attempted to remote control all of his robotic creations.
“I am Dr. James Snyder,” he announced, marching forward with his head held high, “and I have come to seek justice!”
The robots charged. People screamed. Then, time seemed to slow. A disheveled white-haired man threw himself in front of the charging creatures.
“James,” the man screamed, “you can’t do this!”
Frozen to the spot, Dr. Snyder watched in horror as the creatures trampled his father.
“No!” he gasped, falling to his knees at his dad’s side.
All of a sudden, the robots ceased to move and all was still and quiet. The only sounds were the cries of anguish as James wept over his father’s lifeless corpse.
James finally raised his head as rivulets of tears dripped from his sad, green eyes. Beside him knelt a young boy with a sympathetic expression on his face.
James cradled his father in his arms, trying to remember the anger that he had once felt toward the world and everyone in it. But all that was left was remorse for all the crimes he had committed.
“What have I done?” he lamented, lowering his head in shame.
“I think I might be able to help you,” Jonathan offered, extending a hand.
James Snyder sighed. Taking it, he pulled himself together, and stood up with all the confidence he could muster.
“Jonathan Jenson,” he replied, releasing a shaky breath, “It is time for me to right my wrongs.”
James Snyder hefted his father into his arms, strolling along with Jonathan toward a contraption parked nearby. The three of them boarded the time machine and launched into the air.
Suddenly, a vortex of swirling blue light consumed the time machine and the landscape transformed before Jonathan’s ever-widening eyes. Once the craft had landed, Jonathan clambered out and entered a small, dark room filled with chemicals-occupying flasks. Inside the lab was a time machine, the first to be invented. Jonathan pressed the vehicle’s self-destruct button, and it crumbled to dust.
He dashed back to the place where James’ contraption was positioned and, finding that James had disappeared, proceeded to steer the contraption back to his own time.
Jonathan sprinted up to his front porch, abruptly recalling that he now lived at the orphanage. But as he spun around to leave the house that had once been his, a man and a teenage girl flung open the door.
“Hello, Jonathan!” his father and sister chorused, embracing him.
Jonathan smiled, throwing his arms around them. He didn’t know how time travel had caused his father’s resurrection, but at that moment, he didn’t care.