A Break in Time

A Break in Time

Ross Wilson is a prodigy in both science and math. Unfortunately, he's never able to put this talent to good use other than school. Until one day world renowned scientist Harry Coleman announces that Time Travel is indeed impossible. Taking the challenge, Ross Wilson tries to reinvent Time Travel. He succeeds, but instead of going to the past he brought his past self to the present. As Ross was face to face with his own self, he started to disappear and thus cease to exist. He then wanders around an endless void in which he is left in his own thoughts.


Fantasy / Sci-fi


Ash H. (United States)

Ross. Ross Wilson. At a young age I showed promise for being a science and math prodigy. At the age of 5 I was doing quadratic formulas, and by the age of 8 I had completely memorized the table of elements. When I reached 13 I was a straight A+ honor student in every class, especially science and math. I took high school classes while I was in Middle School. I attended college level academies when I reached high school. But I knew I was destined for something more than good grades. I knew that I had to do something that would drastically change the world, and also my life. I’ll be honest, my life has been nothing but monotonous lately. School, eat, sleep and repeat. Sure I’ve had a few friends here and there but I’ve always focused on studying that friends weren’t really that big of a priority for me.
So I remember clearly on a weekend, I was watching the news when suddenly world renowned scientist and also public speaker Harry Coleman showed up on television. Coleman always looked the same as always. Fancy black suit and bright red tie, shiny white hair neat and combed back. His eyes were dull but always frantically searching around, he never looked straight. And one thing that I’ve noticed most of all was that he barely smiled. Heck, he never showed any emotion at all. But he had a special message, and I knew that that meant he had a new discovery:
“As you all may know, time travel had been a world mystery. There were hypotheses and speculations in how time travel could be possible. Thousands of books, movies and TV shows have become popular primarily being based off of time travel. Although little was known about time travel, I’ve come to present to you today a new discovery. Or more like, and end to a discovery. Time travel is indeed impossible. In fact, even if it was possible I would never advise for anyone, no matter how powerful or knowledgeable, to toy with time travel. But as for technology we currently have, time travel is indeed not possible and is merely only a work of fiction.”
I didn’t bother listening to the other nonsense, because by then I had already decided what to do. Because what Coleman just gave me a challenge. It is now thought that time travel was impossible. And that’s exactly what I was looking for. Time Travel is only thought to be impossible. But inventing Time Travel would rival the ideas of Harry Coleman. My name would be plastered in thousands of books, billboards, literally everywhere. I was determined to invent time travel.
Immediately after the live broadcast from Coleman, I went up to my dark room and on to my computer where I would collect information about it. But as I searched the web, I realized that all the websites that previously had the headlines “Possibility of Time Travel” were slowly changing to “The Impossibility of Time Travel.” News of Coleman’s live presentation was catching on and soon everyone was changing their own theories and hypotheses purely based off of his. Coleman’s presentation had influenced thousands of sci-fi fans across the world, along with thousands of scientists as well. Collecting information would become harder than I thought.
Over the course of the next couple days, I started to research furiously on theories on Time Travel. I even watched movies, read books and TV shows to get small drops of information. Fantasy or not, what I needed was some kind of clue. After days of never ending research and cans of energy drinks I had come to several conclusions. It wasn’t very much Time Travel, but more like Time bending. Through several machines and pieces of technology that I can create I can bend the time in a certain space however I want. Depending on how I bend it I can travel either to the past or to the future. Bending the fabric of space is tricky however, and there’s a high possibility that something from the past or future can come to the present rather than I going to the past or future. The result of that happening would create a rip in the fabric of time, creating a duplicate of two entities. By doing this, entities or people would cease to exist. That was a huge risk, but it was also a risk I was willing to take.
After spending an abundance of my money on buying materials for Time Travel I was forced to buy the materials with money I’ve earned from competitions and contests. My mother was pestering me about sleeping more and eating more, but I knew that this was a project that I couldn’t let my physical limitations interfere with. Finishing this project was my only goal.
2 months had passed since I’ve started this project and the final pieces were coming together. I’ve constructed a machine attached to the house, and various electrical instruments were bound to one another. I was planning on creating such a magnetic force that it would pull the atoms in the air, along with the fabric of space. After various days of calculations and crumpled pieces of paper I was able to figure out the best spot in my room in which the time would bend the best. I turned on my computer and started the program, and the whirring sound of machinery reverberated throughout the house. Lights flickered but the house gave enough power for the “Time Machine.” I stood at the poorly drawn X on the floor and tried to breathe as much as I could. Holding my breath could be drastic for my health. And as I heard the final click, the room shook and my vision blurred. Spectrums of colors mashed with one another fighting for dominance. I fell to my knees as I started to lose grip of my consciousness.
As my vision returned, I shook my head. I groaned, and tilted slightly looked up. Everything in the room was identical as it was before, and nothing had changed. I put my head down in disappointment, until I heard the shuffling of feet from beside me. I quickly lifted my head and I was face to face with bright blue eyes. My project was a success.
But I was staring straight into myself. I gasped and fell on my bottom, kicking myself away. My other self was confused in where he (or I) was, and when he realized that I was actually him, we sat in shock.
I then started to feel a pressure all over my body, as if something was grabbing me and pulling me away. My head became cloudy with a million thoughts and my vision was blurry. I drowsily glanced at my hand and saw little particles flying off my arm, as if I was disappearing into thin air. I had messed up. Instead of sending myself into the past, I had brought my past self into the future. And because of this , I was going to be wiped from existence. I opened my mouth to yell, but no sound came out. I only sat in my own thoughts, but even my thoughts were starting to drift away from me.
The next time I opened my eyes all I could see was black. I looked down and saw my feet and the pair of jeans I had before. But before me was just an endless void. I cautiously took a step, and felt a solid surface against my feet. It was cold and unfamiliar. I continued walking through this endless void, left alone in my thoughts. I no longer existed, and was left alone in this place. I can’t even say that this is a world, let alone a place. All I know is that I’m the only one here, and no thought leaves and no thought can enter. Nothing can die and nothing can live either. I had been blinded by my own desire for fame and fortune, and never took the time to ponder on the possibilities if I had succeeded. Even if I was successful in Time Travel, what then? And now because of my own foolishness I'm forced to face the consequences. I would be walking in my own sorrow and regret for eternity.
Never mess with time.

Competition: June 2015 Pen Factor, Round 1


Read Reviews

Review 1:

Compelling hook?


Strong characters?


Attention to mechanics
  • The grammar, typography, sentence structure and punctuation would benefit from a further round of editing to avoid distracting from the quality of the story.
Narration and dialogue: Balance
  • There needs to be more balance between narration and dialogue. Avoid overdoing the narrative and remember that dialogue can diffuse long claustrophobic text.
Narration and dialogue: Authentic voice
  • Your characters’ voices were convincing and authentic.
  • Your characters were multidimensional. I found them believable and engaging and they genuinely responded to the events of the story.
Main character
  • Your protagonist exhibited a unique voice and had original characteristics. Their actions and dialogue were convincing!
Character conflict
  • Your characters drew me into their world from the very beginning. Their goals and conflicts were clearly conveyed.
Plot and pace
  • Maintaining the right pace and sustaining the reader’s interest is a challenging balancing act. The story had a clear and coherent progression with a structured plot. A truly absorbing story!
Suspense and conflict
  • The joy of reading often lies in the element of suspense prompted by internal or external conflicts. Think about the conflict and tension in your story. How effectively has it been introduced?
Technique and tight writing
  • The writing was tight and economical and each word had purpose. This enabled the plot to unravel clearly. Your writing exhibits technical proficiency.
Point of view
  • The story successfully solicited the reader’s empathy through the clever use of the narrator's point of view. You show great deftness in handling point of view.
Style and originality
  • I loved your fresh approach. Creating a unique writing style while maintaining quality of prose requires both skill and practice. Impressive.
Atmosphere and description
  • A writer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere through evocative description is vital to the reader’s experience. It’s a real skill to craft out how the characters react to the setting and atmosphere and perhaps your story could go further in its description. The reader wants to experience the same sensory and poignant journey as the characters.
Authentic and vivid setting
  • The scene needs to be vivid and realistic in order to hold the reader’s attention. Being concise and plausible at the same time is tricky. Giving this further attention could perhaps be worthwhile.
Opening line, paragraph and hook
  • Your great opening was a promise of wonderful things to come. I was hooked!