I’m a big fan of a subreddit called Writing Prompts in which users provide you with a short sentence, and you write a story based off of the short sentence.
It’s fun to play around with titles and sometimes, coming up with your own. I enjoy writing really short stories before committing to a story line, unveiling just enough for the story to be interesting.
17th of December, 2138
Wendy Fox lived on a leafy suburban avenue, in your average American house with a picket fence, she had a dog named Lilo, a mother and father who worked 9-5 every single day and had an older brother, Rod. The perfect little nuclear family. Wendy had mousy brown hair that was always thrown messily into a lopsided ponytail, and was always clad in black, with scuffed red converse. Wendy seemed to be a typical product of suburbia. However, Wendy is very different. This is the story of Wendy Fox, and how she changed the world.
28th of October, 2014
Wendy breathed a sigh of relief and smiled smugly to herself. After years of being called crazy, she was now able to prove everyone wrong. She finally finished her grandfather’s project. Her grandfather, Michael, had worked closely with the American government during the Cold War. He was told to develop something that would terrify the Russians. Not obliterate them. Just something to show off, so to speak. He was one of the greatest inventors of his time, however his ground-breaking invention was deemed unsafe and was destroyed. He was ordered to never speak of his work again to anyone, and that’s exactly what he did… well, anyone except Wendy. Wendy had always shown a keen interest in physics, and had been extremely close to her grandfather. On his death bed, he told her where to find all of the diaries he had written, with all of the drawings. After telling her this information, he whispered weakly ‘you’ll know what to do… now go, the truth is waiting’.
At just nineteen years old, she had built a time machine. It wasn’t as impressive as Hollywood film-makers make it out to be, or like anything you’d read in a H.G. Wells novel. A real time machine was actually pretty basic. It just looked like a backpack with two dials on the straps; the GPS co-ordinations of where you want to appear, and the year you want to travel to. Wendy made the decision to leave that very evening with Lilo. She told her oblivious parents that she would be staying at her boyfriend’s for a few days. Not that they’d miss her anyway. Her parents were painfully oblivious. They were robots, working their 9-5 jobs, slaving away to the system, treating everything and everyone with the same cold, clinical distain.
A shiver ran up her spine as she sat on her bed with Lilo on her knee. So many questions were racing through her head. What if something goes wrong? What if I somehow lose Lilo? If I die, will I come back to the present? Her eyes stung with tears as she buried her face into Lilo’s fur. She took a second to compose herself, and reminded herself why she’s doing this. Not only to honour her grandfather’s wish of building a time machine, but to prove something much bigger.
You see, Wendy’s grandfather believed that aliens actually helped human civilisation, until a human accidentally killed one of the aliens. He wrote about it in several journals. He believed that if a war had broken out, human life would be obliterated. However the kind beings of the planet of Advena had decided to allow humankind to evolve and grow, and promised that they’d return when man had reached a stage of maturity and distanced itself from primal, animalistic desires. He believed that mankind was a sort of project for the extra terrestrials. Michael theorised that these days were far off, as mankind is still nowhere near civilised, intelligent or sophisticated enough to be on par, in any way, with the beings of Advena. But what if the alien had never been killed? Wouldn’t the world have evolved so much more?
Suddenly, Wendy leapt from her bed and started crying with excitement. She didn’t have to do this all alone! She would travel back to 1963, when her grandfather wrote the majority of his journals, and take him with her! She shook as the excitement and anticipation overwhelmed her small frame, and put on the backpack. She held Lilo tight, and set the dial for the 21st of November, 1963 at the co-ordinates to her grandfather’s street in Brooklyn, New York. She held her breath as she felt a mysterious force twist and turn her body. It started off as a slightly uncomfortable sensation, however it escalated quickly to an agonising and unbearable sensations she could not put into words. Her body contorted painfully and Lilo barked and snapped. Lilo was being pulled away from her, but Wendy held on with all her might. Wendy couldn’t open her eyes, it was as though they were glued shut. She was panicking. She had made a terrible mistake. In that moment, she regretted her decision to go with every inch of her being. The pain was getting so excruciating that she felt as though she would pass out, and she felt her grip around Lilo loosen.
Then, abruptly, the pain ceased, and Wendy felt that her feet were on solid ground. She breathed a sigh of relief before opening her eyes. What she saw chilled her to the core. She was standing in her grandfather’s office. A much younger Michael than the one Wendy ever met was tied to a chair with cable ties and he was blindfolded. Wendy opened her mouth to let out a scream when a cold, clammy hand covered her mouth from behind. Out of every corner and crevice, member of a SWAT team emerged. Lilo got frightened, jumped out of her arms and was immediately shot in chest. Wendy so badly wanted to scream, and all of her instincts were yelling ‘RUN!’ but she was paralysed with fear.
Wendy had at least 40 guns pointed at her, and the hand was still firmly over her mouth. Unexpectedly, a man emerged from the shadows in a slick black suit. He looked as though he hadn’t slept for months.
‘Finally’, the man announced with malice. Wendy noticed her grandfather mumbling something under his gag. Her eyes darted from the mysterious figure to her grandfather. The floorboards creaked as the mysterious figure made his way over to Michael. An overwhelming stench of cigar smoke and stale sweat accompanied the mysterious figure as he stomped slowly across the room, his thick black shoes landing with violent force on the exhausted floorboards. Wendy inhaled sharply as the light passed over the face of the man. It was President John F. Kennedy. His face was bright red and his eyes were comparable to those of a wild animal. The lips were chapped and lined with spit.
‘You should not mess with this, Michael’, Kennedy declared loudly in a very clear voice. He laughed smugly and turned his attention to Wendy, and cocked his head to the side. His left eyebrow raised and she saw his features soften for a split second. He sighed deeply and asked ‘why go meddling in something that is none of your business?’ Suddenly, he assumed an aggressive position again, standing up to his full height and furrowing his brow. ‘Your journey is over, young lady, you’re coming with us’ he grimaced.