Bad Timing Dad

“I’ve done it!” a man dressed in a long stained lab coat exclaimed.

He pulled his welder’s goggles from his eyes and looked at the archway he created. The man followed the archway with his eyes and smiled.

“After all these years, I’ve finally done it,” he said to himself. “Now all I have to do is to map out the calibrations so I can get back.”

“Alan honey!” a woman called down the stairs at him. “It’s time for dinner!”

“Okay Mary! I’ll be up after I finish this project.” he yelled back at her.

She muttered something in reply before slamming the basement door. Alan looked around his basement lab with a smile. Articles spanning over the last hundred or so years lined the walls. Alan looked down at the article he clipped out of the paper from 1914. The headline said, “The Ghost Doctor makes another appearance!” Of all the news articles, this one stood out the most as he was in it as a child. He had seen this ghost doctor himself as a child but his years of research had blocked out any remaining image of what he looked like. Alan smiled at it again before he dived back into his pile of calculations. His fingers drift over his calculations until he dropped the papers. Alan quickly looked at his watch smiling.

The archway began to glow as he looked at the arch. “Mary,” he shouted without looking at the door. “I’ll be back in a few minutes!”

As he walked through the archway, Mary opened the door and saw her husband walk into the archway and disappear.

April 21, 1914 6:05 PM
Alan walked into a brick wall.

“What the…” he said as he rubbed his head and turned around.

An 8-year-old Alan stared up at him. “What….who are you?” he asked.

“Don’t worry abou that young one. Take my heed: You will tell no one of this, and you will become a great inventor one day. I guarantee it,” adult Alan said.

The little boy said, “Are you a ghost?”

Alan shook his head and laughed, “No silly boy. I am someone you’ll see soon enough.”

“But I can see through you…” the boy said.

Alan looked down at himself and saw that the boy was right. He was nearly translucent and was fading into nothing quickly. “My time here is up. Just remember what I said!”

Alan closed his eyes waiting for the reappearance of his lab.

April 21, ???? 6:07 PM
Alan opened his eyes to an empty basement. He looked at himself again and found himself to be nearly solid. “I should have returned back to my normal time…” he said as he started walking to the middle of the basement.

He looked around and saw the near shadows of what used to be his lab. The dust was thick in the basement but he could see the indentation of where his lab tables had sat on the floor, and the posters that hung on the wall. “This can’t be right!” he said as he ran up the basement stairs.

As he reached for the basement door handle, his hand slid through the door without a trace of solidity.

“Oh no…” he said.

He hesitantly jumped through the basement door to find his house empty of all furniture. The windows were boarded and his kitchen floor was a dingy yellow linoleum. He knew something was wrong then. The flooring was just replaced a month before his jump and now it looked to be yellowed with age and dirt. He looked down at himself and saw that he was fading, but this time slower than the previous jump.

He ran around the house, yelling for Mary and his son Jackson. He ran up the flight of stairs, leading to the bedrooms in hopes to find some clue as to what year it was. When he seen it was empty too, he slowly walked down the stairs. The front door was standing open this time and foot prints were in the dust.

“Dad?” a man’s voice yelled.

“Who are you?” Alan yelled. “What year is it?”

“Dad!” a man came running into the living room where Alan stood.

“Dad, you’re about to jump again. It’s 2013 and you’ve been jumping time for over 200 years. You’re a myth to a lot of people, but you always appear here near the same time every year,” the adult Jackson said.

Alan could feel the tears rolling down my translucent face. “200 years?”

“When you walked through the arch, you went through a time loop, and now you appear at the same day and around the same time every year for the last documented 200 years.” the adult Jackson said. “They call you the ghost doctor.”

Alan looked down at himself, seeing that he still donned the lab coat. He looked around in disbelief before Jackson said, “I’ll see you next year.”

Alan faded into nothingness once again.