Challenging History


A 200 Word Story

I love nerds; they can obliterate the “impossible” without even breaking a sweat. I glanced at the nerd in question—snoozing away and completely oblivious to my actions—and felt a stab of guilt.

“If this works, lives will be spared,” I reminded myself before returning to the device in front of me. I turned the dial to set the date: January 28, 1986. I then entered the GPS location of my destination: Cape Canaveral, Florida. Finally, I grasped the lever and pulled.

There was a flash of light so bright that it penetrated my closed eyelids. I choked back nausea as I was overcome by odd and conflicting sensations. I was traveling at rapid speeds while simultaneously standing still. Strangest of all, there was absolute silence.

Abruptly, sound exploded around me. Opening my eyes, I found myself standing in a NASA control room. There were dozens of people working at rows of computer stations. I glanced at the monitors on the wall. There they were: the seven-member crew of the Challenger was strapped in and preparing for their shuttle launch. They didn’t know their future, but I did. And I was determined to change it.

Heroes should live forever.


If you had the chance to go back in time and fix 1 thing, would you?

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Story Notes

This story was written as a writing challenge. The rules were simple: 1. Write a story using exactly 200 words, and 2. Include a time machine somewhere in the story.

The second part was easy. Time machines in stories are a lot of fun because there are so many possibilities. They can be used to write wrongs, re-write the future, or even seek revenge.

The first part was much more challenging. My initial draft was much, much longer than 200 words. After lots of editing and cutting, I was able to condense the story. It was a lesson in being succinct. However, getting the word count to be exactly 200 words was a huge challenge. It's one thing to assign someone a general word count, but an exact one? It's hard to write a coherent final sentence with exactly the write amount of words!

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Comments 4 comments

miaslone profile image

miaslone 6 years ago

I really loved your story it had me keep reading until the very end of the story.

Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 6 years ago from Oregon Coast Author

Thank you. :)

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Oh, this is a lovely story. I wish we could change so much and save people. What a great idea. You made a huge and poignant point in a short story.

Reprieve26 profile image

Reprieve26 5 years ago from Oregon Coast Author

Thanks! This is by far my favorite hub (so far). Not to toot my own horn, but I think the story turned out great.

Plus, the "challenge" part has 2 meanings for me. First, there was the NASA shuttle, Challenger. Second, this story was the result of writing prompt. The challenge was to tell a complete story using exactly 200 words. It was a difficult excercise, but well worth it! :)

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