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Flash Fiction: Thoughts of a Time Traveller
Where are we now? Do I even care? All this travelling back and forth is giving me a headache. Or is that the radiation? I feel as a green as the acid swirling around in my stomach. Oh god, I think I’m gonna…
I’m fine, I tell the professor. I shove his hand off my shoulder. I don’t want his sympathy; I don’t want his pity; I don’t even want his apology. All I want is for him to fix this damn mess he got us into. Or at least land us somewhere with decent hygiene – no, scrap that. Somewhere with decent food. My stomach rumbled. It might have been from hunger. But it was probably from something else.
What I wouldn’t give for a burger. A big, fat, juicy beef burger with melted cheese and gherkins and mustard and pickles and…do you smell that? Something doughy. Fresh.
I’m following that smell, where do you think I’m going? I ask the professor. Radiation might have dulled your appetite, but my belly thinks my throat’s been cut. I don’t care if it makes me spew my guts out for the next month. I need food.
I walk the strange streets; there’s something oddly family about this almost rustic city. The houses look small and dilapidated; especially the ones still made of wood. The people, they’re wearing - well the men are wearing breeches. Breeches and tights with garters. Hair swept back, under felt hats. And the women – gee they sure have big backsides.
Don’t tell me, I turn to the professor. You’ve just sent us to the eighteenth century, right? No, the seventeenth century? How can you be sure?
The professor points to a wooden door. It is slashed with red paint. Oh great. We’re not going to die of radiation poisoning after all. We’re gonna die of The Plague.
Why did I ever agree to watch the professor’s stupid experiment? I could be at home right now, watching Chelsea having their butts kicked by Arsenal; instead I’m trapped in my own version of Sliders, travelling aimlessly through time. What I wouldn’t give for…mmm, there’s that doughy smell again. I followed my nose down the street; Pudding something. Even the roads are telling me to eat.
A chime rings as I open the shop door. In front of me is a delicacy of freshly baked bread, pastries and cakes. My hands reach out…
Oh, hi, I give a guilty smile to the shopkeeper as he walks in; he has a bristly beard and is wearing a flour-smeared apron. I put my hands back by my side and drool over all the food in front of me.
What would I like? I’d like everything…what did you say your name was? Thomas? Yes, Thomas; I’d like everything. I search my pockets and take out a few coins. I wonder if he takes Roman currency.