THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

Written by DTYarbrough

A Science Fiction Short Story
Copyright 2010 All rights reserved

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW
Written by DTYarbrough “What time is it?” asked Charlie as they left the secret room to begin their trip home. “Or is your chronometer still messed up?” “No, it's giving a good steady reading,” said Jeff. “Wait a minute. It says we're in the year 9275.” “But that's not possible. We can't travel into the future,” said Rikki. “We've already tried.” “But Nessie must have brought us here,” said Jeff. “She must be able to travel into the future or else she would be millions of years old.” “We've got to go back into the room and reset the controls,” said Jeff. “We've got to get back to the present.” “Not so fast, Jeff,” said Rikki. “We should move the viewer out of Nessie's cavern first. We can't trust the reading while we're in here.” “I just noticed how hot it is in here and we're a hundred yards from the exit of the cave,” said Jeff. “We'd better do something fast.” As they arrived back at the room, the temperature was a little closer to normal but still noticeably warmer than usual. “Okay guys, I'm going to try to move the viewer back out into Loch Ness,” said Jeff. “Here we go.” Lowering the viewer into the large pool of water, Jeff guided it through one winding tunnel after another until they were once again in Loch Ness. “Before you reset the controls, let's investigate a little,” said Rikki. “We may not be able to go into the future again.” “Okay, I'll take us above water,” said Jeff. “It's all barren and desolate,” said Rikki. “The loch is almost dry. Let's head toward America and see what it's like there.” “There's not even a patch of green as far as the eye can see,” said Charlie. “And you can see pretty far from way up here.” “Is it still 9275?” asked Rikki. “Yeah,” said Jeff. “But there are no cities, not even ruins. What could have happened?” “I'm not sure I want to know,” said Sheryl. “Let's just go home.”
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“If we knew what caused this, we might be able to do something about it,” said Rikki. “What could we do?” asked Charlie. “We're just kids.” “Kids with the greatest invention since sliced bread,” said Rikki. “We can't even dream of the possibilities.” “We should try,” said Jeff. “What have we got to lose?” “Okay with me,” said Charlie. “You win,” said Sheryl. “Let's do it.” “Take us back in time a couple of weeks and see if we can move forward to this time,” said Rikki. “Okay, we're back a couple of weeks. It looks the same,” said Jeff. “Now I'll try to move forward. It's not working. We can't go forward in time.” “I was afraid of that,” said Rikki. “If we overshoot the event too far, we may never know what caused it. We've got to take it slow and easy.” “What sort of things could have caused this,” asked Sheryl. “A meteorite, a super volcano, a massive solar flare, global warming, a local supernova, an orbital shift, nuclear war, alien invasion and who knows what else,” said Rikki. “And we're gonna fix it?” asked Sheryl. “It could turn out to be something simple,” said Rikki. “Let's don't give up before we know what we're up against.” “When we were in the cave heading home, the air was breathable, even if it was a little warm,” said Charlie. “We can eliminate any of those things that would have altered the atmosphere.” “You're absolutely right,” said Rikki. “Unless there are things at work that are causing the atmosphere to recover.” “Like terraforming,” said Jeff. “We could guess all day and not even come close,” said Sheryl. “Let's see for ourselves.” “Take us back slowly, Jeff.” said Rikki. “This could take a while.”

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“It's not that easy. The slightest twitch and we could jump 100 years,” said Jeff. “First stop time. Then move the time dial to the mid position. Now speed up time until a day passes every second. If we begin to see noticeable differences then slow down or stop time,” said Rikki. “I should have thought of that,” said Jeff. “Okay, here goes.” ….................................. “It's been two hours. Five hundred years and nothing has changed,” said Jeff. “Stop time and let's take a break,” said Rikki. “We're going to miss it if we're not careful. I need to rest my eyes. We could all use a nap.” “I knew I should have bought two doughnuts,” said Charlie. “I'm hungry again.” …................................ “Wake up, guys. We're moving again,” said Rikki. “Help us watch for changes.” “If it was a meteor, won't we see it coming?” asked Charlie. “Remember we're traveling backwards through time,” said Rikki. “The results of the impact is what we will see first, then the impact itself, and then the meteor moving away from the earth.” “Shouldn't we see an impact crater, especially one large enough to wipe out all the cities?” asked Sheryl. “Not if it landed in the ocean,” said Rikki. “But wouldn't that absorb the impact and lessen the damage?” said Jeff. “But the water vapor that would put into the atmosphere would cause rains and floods of massive proportions,” said Rikki. “There does seem to be signs of flooding and erosion,” said Charlie. “We may have found our culprit.” “Wouldn't they have seen it coming?” said Jeff. “Surely they tried to blow it out of the sky.” “Obviously they failed,” said Rikki. “We still have to see it for ourselves to be sure.” “Look at Charlie,” said Sheryl. “He's doing the moon walk.” As the sun rose and set each second, it acted like a strobe light and made Charlie's dance look even more freaky. “That looks so weird,” said Rikki. “Do it again, Charlie.”
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“The strobe stopped. Look at all the storm clouds,” said Jeff. “I'm slowing down.” “This may be it, guys. Looks like we guessed right. It was probably a meteor,” said Rikki. As the cloud cover diminished, they saw a massive splash occur in reverse. A giant meteor rose out of the ocean and streaked away from the earth. An explosion occurred when it reached the upper atmosphere, and then a missile retreated along a smoky trail back to earth. “Why did they wait so long,” asked Jeff. “Shouldn't they have tried to deflect it long before it reached the atmosphere?” “Who knows,” said Rikki. “Follow that meteor, Jeff.” “We can't keep up with that. It's moving way to fast,” said Jeff. “Slow down time some more,” said Rikki. “Follow it till it's well outside the solar system.” …............................. “What was that?” asked Sheryl. “Look behind us.” “A nuclear explosion. They did send a missile to deflect it,” said Rikki. “We caused it to detonate prematurely. We caused the disaster.” “I knew we should have gone home,” said Sheryl. “There's no guarantee that it would have worked,” said Rikki. “We can still fix this.” “How?” said Charlie. “We're going to deflect it,” said Rikki. “As soon as it's far enough away from earth.” “Right,” said Jeff. “The farther from earth, the less deflection will be required. We'll ram it.” “Exactly,” said Rikki. “Let's give it another hour.” “We're going to be so late getting home,” said Charlie. “We'll be grounded for a week.” “We could tell them we were saving the world,” said Sheryl. “Sure, that will work,” said Charlie.

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