SHORT STORY: “SEEKING TITOR”(part 1 of 3)

 

1999

I’ll never forget the first time I stared down the barrel of a gun that was pointed right at my forehead. Had I eaten over the last couple of days, my pants would have been soiled. Instead, I was frozen. Everything around me was a blur. The world around me sounded like the inside of a deprivation tank and for a moment, I thought to myself, “After everything that I’ve been through, lost and learned…death isn’t so bad.”

TWO YEARS AGO…

Back in 1997,  I came face to face with my greatest fear…losing my father. It was unexpected and forever changed my life. The only thing that helped me through it all these years was denial. Most people will tell you that you have to let go and move on because that’s what the loved one you lost would want you to do but at that time, I just wasn’t hearing it.

I remember being afraid of falling asleep and dreaming, in fear that my father would come to me and I was not ready for that. Sleep became my enemy and we waged war each night until I could fight it no more…

My first dreams were terrifying. It was always some dark cemetery and my father trying to rise from the grave. Then the tone changed dramatically. I would be sitting in our old apartment when I hear a doorbell ring…I get up to answer the door but the door swings open on its own…Without seeing him, I feel a nervous bolt of shock and anticipation fill my stomach as I hear his footsteps coming up the 2nd floor stairs to our apartment on the 3rd floor…

“YOU’RE ALIVE!!!” I shouted in an adolescent tone that reminded me of how surprised I was to see him at one of my elementary Christmas plays.

Without moving his mouth, I could hear him say to me, “Only for a while…”

More dreams like that one followed and soon enough I was sleeping in hopes of seeing my father again. This lasted for months. I’ll never forget the morning I woke up from a dream where I did not see my father and became very afraid that whatever connection we had between these planes of existence was severed.

I tried EVERYTHING to dream of him again: Staring at his pictures, smelling his clothes, wearing the bracelet he gave me a week before he died…nothing worked. After a while I attempted to convince myself that it was probably for the best. My family and friends were isolated by me. Anyone who seemed to be “moving on” was a threat to me. Why? Easy. I did not want their ability to move on, infecting me. I felt as if they were the reason I lost my connection.

A few hours before he died, I got a call for a job that my father was trying to get for me over the last two years. They told me the job was mine. I ran into my dad outside and told him the good news. It made him very happy. I was heading out to hang out with some friends that night, he asked me if I needed any money, I told him no thanks, he smiled again and that was the last time I ever spoke to or saw him.

It was at this job that I met an outsider by the name of Mical Dorn. Mical was in his late 40’s and kept to himself a lot. We ended up working a few shifts together but never once exchanging more that a couple of necessary, work related words to one another. All that changed the summer of 99, when I was in the company library to check my email on one of the computers. It was a full house and the only spot available was next to Mical.

I sat down and pretended I didn’t see him only because I figured him for the agoraphobic type. The curious side of me was screaming to look at his screen to see what he was doing. I’m not usually so intrusive but he just seemed annoyed and struggling with his thoughts like a schizophrenic person in public with no meds. He was also taking a butt load of notes, writing down dates, US, RUSSIA, CHINA scribbled here and there, and dotted lines connecting things.

The next day I went back to the library at the same time and low and behold, there he was again! This time I took my time walking by his computer screen and what I saw was a huge forum with hundreds of people in it. I could tell by the way Mical would say, “hold the fuck on!” that he was in the middle of a heavy debate with these people.

At the end of the shift, I ran into Mical in the locker room. His locker was right around the corner from mine. As I walked by, I was prepared to give him the obligatory “hey! what’s up?” eyebrow raise with accompanying grin, when he said, “So I saw you checking out my screen today…”

I wasn’t ready for a cover story, so I said that I was just wondering what could make a guy that I’m use to seeing very composed, suddenly become all discombobulated. The question that followed was one that no one outside of an imaginary game and certainly no one in their 40’s has ever asked me. It was the one thing I never thought I’d hear but needed to so very badly. He said:

“Tell me something…do you believe in time travel?”

Being careful not to pull an LAO (laugh and offend), I replied with the most politically correct answer I could think of on the spot. “Well, I don’t think I’ve ever seen any proof of it in the real world but I’m sure it will be possible years from now…”

Mical laughed. Not at my answer but at the two words I used together, “real” and “world”. He reached deep into his locker and took out a black journal and handed it to me. I was half expecting some religious zealot’s book, but instead it was his personal journal that was filled with rambles that were all foreign to me, much like the stuff I saw on his screen in the library. Mical told me that the stuff he wrote about (which was over the span of 2 and half years) was exactly the same as some time traveler who was causing an uproar online.

Now this is where I had to raise an eyebrow and ask, “What?”

“This guy…calls himself, John Titor. I don’t know how man…but he knows everything I know.”

I had to see this. We went up to the library after our shift and logged into the site with this, John Titor forum that he was baffled by. The first couple of comparisons he made were not convincing but I was kind enough to offer a “hmm” ,that sounded like I was fascinated. Then, came the line in the journal about Mical’s family and how he tried to move them because he feared something dreadful was coming their way. He could not convince them and since then has not spoken to them (I’m sure they labeled him crazy).  In the forum, John spoke about convincing his family to move also and he was successful at doing so (details are a bit vague, as I am writing this with no notes).

Now my interest began to peek.

For the next few months, Mical and I began conversing about time travel and how it could be possible. I was never a science fiction guy but Mical got me into it on a deeper level. Everything he showed me was somehow anchored in reality: Electromagnetism frequencies, the pyramids, the Philadelphia Experiment and the Montauk Project. I did my research into these subjects to come to my own conclusions and what I discovered blew me away.

I came into work one day and found Mical twirling his metal stress balls. He was quiet for some reason and very much in his own head. At the risk of sounding like a clingy, over sensitive friend, I avoided asking what was wrong. As soon as lunch break came around, I went up to the library and found Mical there. I could hear him beating the crap out of the keys on the keyboard as if he wanted the person receiving the message to feel his frustration. Before I could say a word he vented, “This slick son of a bitch!”

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“He’s leaving!”

“Who’s leaving?”

Mical explained that John Titor had announced that he was leaving our timeline and returning to his own by 2003. I didn’t know what the big deal was.

“I need to find him.”

“How do you plan on doing that?”

Mical’s brother-in law was a private eye (because he was not a registered P.I, I will not show his name) in practice and could help us out…keyword…us.

“Us?”

Mical tried to convince me that I needed to be part of this too. When I asked why, his answer was straight forward.

“Because you need this just as much as I do.”

The question of why came back into play. What will I get from looking for a guy who claims to be a time traveler? I told Mical he was on his own, especially after he said it would cost us a few hundred bucks to do it. I shook his hand, gave him a shoulder squeeze and went home.

I laid in bed all night thinking about what it would be like to meet an real time traveler. Damn that Mical for getting in my head! I eventually talked myself to sleep and when I woke up, I wasn’t in my room anymore. I was sitting on a bench at a bus terminus. The sky was clear and blue and there were trees all around the outside of the terminus. The question of whether this was a dream didn’t even cross my mind.

It felt real!

Across from me was a lineup of people waiting to get on a bus. No one I could recognize…then…my heart skipped a beat. A man standing next to the bus stop sign waved to me.

It was my father.

I stood up to approach him but when I did, I woke up sitting up in my bed. Not sure if it was the happiness of seeing him or sorrow of waking up that made me cry but I knew one thing for sure. I picked up the phone and called Mical.

“Hey.”

“Hey…I think I want in.”

“Really? Why the change of heart?”

“I wanna see if he’s the real deal and if he is…I want to know how he time travels.”

If this was true, John Titor was going to show me how to go back in time. I was going to see my father again, no matter what the cost was.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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