If I told you I was from the future, would you believe me?
I doubt it. I'm not the time – travel type, and I certainly don't look very futuristic. Prehistoric if anything.
But it is true. I am not from this time, this world. I am from a future you could only dream of.
It all started on a beautiful summer's day in the year 2222. I was wondering the city streets', minding my own business – well, okay. That's not entirely true.
You see – strictly speaking, I wasn't supposed to be wondering through the city.
At the time – a deadly virus was sweeping the country, the continent. The entire world. It had been compared to the Spanish Influenza, but, you know. Worse. Even the super modern technology of the age could not cure it.
So, in an attempt to save the lives left, a curfew had been put in place. No soul was to leave their house, night, day. Gas masked and white suited officials would turn up at doorsteps bearing food.
Or what they liked to call food.
Cabin bread and beans. Bleh.
To add to matters, they rationed it to crazy extents. They gave you enough to keep you alive – and that was about it.
The hunger! It was like something I can't even describe, something I would wish upon no one. I lived with my brother – Julian, and together we watched each other waste away.
Conversation was fruitless, or non – existent. Forming words took far too much effort. All that could be done was try not to focus on the pain coming from a howling stomach.
It got to a point where I just had to do something. And so came that warm summer's day.
Julian, of course, warned me not to go. Severe punishments where promised for those who broke the curfew.
And I, of course, did not listen.
I had always been the reckless one. I enjoyed life rather than books, it would seem. My intelligence suffered because of this. Yet somehow, I just didn't seem to care.
In hindsight, I should have listened to Julian. The smart one. Still, I stepped through that door, and – though I did not know it, left my brother for good.
It felt like something had been freed inside of me, feeling the sunshine on my back, the wind on my face. Even those clustered high-rise buildings looked beautiful. I hate being trapped inside – another reason to get out.
Reluctantly, I stepped out of the sunshine, and into the shade of our neighborhood buildings. I was going to find food, and being caught was low on my priority list.
Sneaking under cover, I took the quickest route I knew to the closest supermarket. My plan was to break in, grab as much as I could. And then, run.
I didn't plan for the supermarket to be completely bulldozed to the ground.
Guess they were aware of my intentions even before I was.
And guess they were waiting for this day to come.
Hungry? A deep, amused voice from behind me.
I swirled around in panic. A police officer stood before me. A grin was plastered across his face, a growling dog at his feet. He'd been there the whole time – I'd walked strait past him
I didn't think. I ran. I was fast – oh yes. But the police officer, the dog? They were faster. I made it to the park across the lot when the German Shepard sunk his teeth into my ankles. I fell, and the police officer leapt on my back – hand cuffing me.
He said nothing, leading me to his car with no explanation.
As he started the engine and began to drive, my heart pounded double time against my chest. I'd never been so scared in my life. My fate was fast approaching, and I knew not what it held. I watched as countless buildings zoomed by, but I didn't really see. My mind was a blur of emotion and fear. I wondered what they were going to do to me.
Could this be the end? I did not know.
My eyes suddenly came into focus as the police station approached. There was no hope of controlling myself now. My hands shook violently, I even whimpered. Pathetic, really – but in such times I forgave myself.
We were getting closer, and closer. Until, all too soon –
We passed the station.
My emotions were overwhelming now, as fear was slightly erased only to be replaced by confusion.
Where are you taking me?
My voice was unstable.
The officer gazed at me through his rear vision mirror. His eyes were annoyingly smug.
You'll see, was his answer.
And after about twenty minutes of white – knuckled fear, see I did.
Saint Helligher's Scientific Research Department the sign outside a fancy, hospital – like premises read. My heart dropped. I had heard of this place.
Saint Helligher's was known for amazing things such as curing cancer. But that's not what I worried about. They were also known for… other things, which required more intense human testing. When things worked out, they created regrow-able limbs.
And when they didn't? Well, let's just say it was enough for me to wish for that death instead.
The vehicle came to a halt in the large parking area. The police officer immediately got out, but I could not move. Both fear and handcuffs held me to my seat.
Much to my dismay, he came for me – releasing me from my seat. I still did not move, so he took me by force. I was dragged into the cold, sterile premises.
The reception area was passed by instead for a narrow, eerie hallway. I was lead to a locked room. The officer entered a pin code, and the door swung open.
It was a large room, but for the most part – unremarkable. The walls were white – cold and plain. The interior contained everything you'd expect from a science lab. There was one thing a little out of the ordinary, however.
Some sort of machine contraption sat on the center table. Perhaps the size of a microwave, it was covered in buttons and screens. I could tell it was made of some kind of metal, but it was painted white to match the coldness of this room. I hadn't the slightest of ideas as to what it could be.
Ah, Ken. I knew you wouldn't let us down. Thank you.
My eyes jerked away from the, well – thing. Two men had been standing in the corner of the room. They both wore lab coats, both looked incredibly intelligent. The taller, dark haired one had spoken.
Not a problem," the officer, Ken, said, "It was actually easier than I thought.
The blonde scientist walked forward. In his hand he encased crisp bills of money. A lot of money.
As we promised.
He held out his hand to Ken, who took the paper without second thought.
If I hadn't thought something was seriously wrong with this whole situation, I certainly did now.
Ken counted through his money. Seemingly satisfied, he looked up and smiled.
Best leave you lot to it. Good luck.
And with that, he turned and left through the door.
Right, the blonde scientist said, clapping his hands together, Let's get going, shall we?
He motioned to the taller scientist to contain me. I tried to struggle, withstand his grip – but he was surprisingly strong for a thin man. He forced me towards that strange machine.
Without explanation, the blonde one began pressing buttons, selecting screens. Eventually, he strapped the thing to me. It was light.
Regaining my voice, I finally spoke.
What are you … - what are you doing to me?
Ah,blondey said, You see - we desperately need a cure for this horrible, horrible virus. Unfortunately, the plant we believe will help cure it is extinct here. So we created this machine -
He indicated to the thing strapped to me. To travel to the past. Of course, we're going to need someone to trial it. That's why you are here today.
My eyes widened, my mouth dropped. The scientist merely chuckled.
Hey – don't worry. When you reach your destination – this exact place 211 years ago, all you need to do is press this big, green button. You'll come right back. Oh – and don't think you can try escaping us in the past.
He held up a black armband, with a red, glowing light.
If this light stays on, we will know it worked. And trust me, we'll track you down.
As he attached the band to me, a thought crossed my mind.
What happens if it… goes out?
For a second time, he chuckled.
Well then, it's back to the drawing board for us! Right-
He straightened up, standing before me.Are you ready?
No, no – wait- I began desperately, panic rising in my voice.
He pressed the green button.
The world spun around me. Sweat beads rolled down my face, but try as I might I could not escape. My feet felt glued to the ground. My surroundings were just a big blur of darkness.
I felt sick. End, just please – end! It didn't though. The sensation carried on, and on. I began to think this would never stop.
When suddenly, I slammed into the ground.
And I was lost to the darkness once again.
A giant yellow bulb swam lazily overhead.
A tiger's eye!
I began to panic. But then I looked again.
No, it can't be. It was far too big, the light too blinding. It was set against a blue surface…
It was the sun.
I sat up slightly, and looked around. Where was I? I'd never seen anything like this before. I had heard about these places before, though. In some countries, I knew they were plentiful.
But did they stretch as far as the eye can see? Were they so darn beautiful, so untouched?
I doubted it. This must be the past. For I was standing in a field.
Lush green grass swayed gently in the breeze. Mountains stood tall in the distance. A crystal clear river carved out the landscape. I could just look at this place forever. Until, well -
My heart dropped.
I saw the machine.
It lay in ruins, smoking. The screens were black – inactive.
Oh no, please no, I muttered unintelligibly under my breath, as I approached the ruins.
There was – really, no hope – but in a last ditch effort, I looked down to my arm band. The light was out.
I feel to the ground in despair.
But I couldn't really focus on my own hopelessness, as something had been wrong -
I looked down to my arm again. And cried out in horror.
My arm wasn't really an arm at all. It was a leg. An animal's leg.
I scrambled to my feet, sprinting to the riverside. The way I did this didn't seem right either, but for now, I ignored it.
Reaching the clear surface, I looked down. All my horrors were confirmed.
Great. I was stuck here forever. And through that journey through time, I'd been turned into a Kau.
After that day, I can't remember too much, it was all a bit of a blur.
I do remember wandering the land, for weeks – lost, without a cause. Eventually, I did stumble across a city. Or what they called a city – at home it would be more of a village. I discovered something here that didn't make my fate feel so bad.
Animals? Yeah, they weren't really animals. They could talk, and they actually formed the entire community. They called themselves "Neo"s.
I have since found friends, and have sort of started my life anew. I'm still me but… different.
They didn't just send me through times. They sent me through worlds.
And I have grown to like it.