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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?
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!