Time and Time Again

Drawing of an egg timer, with the caption, "Charles turned the egg timer over."

Time and Time Again

Short story by Iris Carden

Amanda and Charles had been driving on a quiet country road, when they saw the saucer hovering above the road. The car radio went haywire, then a bright yellow beam of light covered their car.

The next thing either of them knew, they were both waking up on hard grey metal trolleys in a grey metal room.

“Where are we?” Amanda asked.

“I could suggest a possibility, but you wouldn’t like it,” Charles answered.

Amanda looked around. “You’re right. I definitely wouldn’t like it.”

“Should we look around, and see if we can find a way out? Is ‘out’ any kind of option, I wonder.”

“Let’s look around, anyway. See if we can work out what our options are.”

They began to look around the room. They opened cabinets filled with objects they could not identify.

Suddenly, Charles said, “Oh wow. At last something I recognise. Even if it is an egg timer.”

He picked up a tiny object that looked like an hourglass, with sand at the bottom, and turned it over.

Amanda and Charles were driving on a quiet country road, when they saw the saucer hovering above the road. The car radio went haywire, then a bright yellow beam of light covered their car.

The next thing either of them knew, they were both waking up on hard grey metal trolleys in a grey metal room.

“Where are we?” Amanda asked.

“I could suggest a possibility, but you wouldn’t like it,” Charles answered.

Amanda looked around. “You’re right. I definitely wouldn’t like it.”

“Should we look around, and see if we can find a way out? Is ‘out’ any kind of option, I wonder.”

“Let’s look around, anyway. See if we can work out what our options are.”

They began to look around the room. They opened cabinets filled with objects they could not identify.

Suddenly, Charles said, “Oh wow. At last something I recognise. Even if it is an egg timer.”

He picked up a tiny object that looked like an hourglass, with sand at the bottom, and turned it over.

“They’ve been on the ship for hardly any time and already got themselves caught in a time loop. I don’t understand how you can consider humans so intelligent,” Kalatan said to his superior.

Amanda and Charles had been driving on a quiet country road, when they saw the saucer hovering above the road. The car radio went haywire, then a bright yellow beam of light covered their car.

The next thing either of them knew, they were both waking up on hard grey metal trolleys in a grey metal room.

“You left them alone with an object which looked exactly like something they already know,” Harnant answered. “You left them no instructions or warnings that the object was not what it looked like to them. I don’t think the humans are the ones whose intelligence is doubtful.”

“Where are we?” Amanda asked.

“I could suggest a possibility, but you wouldn’t like it,” Charles answered.

“I resent your suggestion that I am less than intelligent.”

Amanda looked around. “You’re right. I definitely wouldn’t like it.”

“Should we look around, and see if we can find a way out? Is ‘out’ any kind of option, I wonder.”

“Well, use your superior intellect to free them from the loop, then,” Harnant answered. “We can’t take the specimens home if we can’t get them off the planet.”

“Let’s look around, anyway. See if we can work out what our options are.”

They began to look around the room. They opened cabinets filled with objects they could not identify.

Kalatan found another timer and sent himself into the their time loop.

Suddenly, Charles said, “Oh wow. At last something I recognise. Even if it is an egg timer.”

He picked up a tiny object that looked like an hourglass, with sand at the bottom.

Out of nowhere, something that looked like a two-metre tall purple orangutan appeared, and dashed the “egg timer” from Charles’ hand, smashing it on the floor.

The subsequent explosion sent both humans and the orangutan creature flying in different directions.

When they sat up, they were no longer in the grey room, but in a strange landscape surrounded by giant ferns.

A whistling noise, and loud vibrating earth stomps caught their attention. A gigantic creature which may have looked like a tyrannosaurus straight from the museum, except it had feathers, was running at them.

The three looked at each other and fumbled trying to stand up, when the bright yellow beam of light engulfed them, and they found themselves back in the grey room

Another purple orangutan, slightly shorter than the first, carefully put an “egg timer” on a table.

“Is everyone intact?” Harnant asked. “If so, I suggest we return to our own time. She turned to what looked like a keyboard, but the keys were not letters the humans recognised. She fitted the timer into a recess in the keyboard and typed.

There was a hum.

“We are back at the time and place we collected you,” Harnant addressed the humans. “I can return you to your vehicle, but I would rather you chose to come with us. We need to understand your race before we make formal contact. You would be the first ambassadors of the human race, and would help us to begin formal diplomatic relations.”

Charles looked at Amanda.

She shrugged. “It’s got to be better than working in retail,” she answered.

By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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