M’s Time Machine

zima

I sit at the kitchen table staring at my pack of cigarettes and a banana; the most important decision I’ll make all day.

I look out the window instead. It is spring, finally. After seven months of being beaten half to death with a cold wet pillow made of darkness, it is spring.

The front door clicks open. M walks into the kitchen.

“You gonna eat that?” he asks. I shake my head, hand him the banana, and light a cigarette.

“Where were you?” I ask.

“The market,” he says, dropping a bag of salt onto the kitchen counter.

“Find anything good?”

He grins. I frown, I know that grin.

He takes a small box out of his pocket and places it on the table. I give it a suspicious look-over. It’s all in Russian. I can only gather a few words.

“Time?” I ask.

“Yeah dude, it’s a frickin’ time machine.”

“Uh-huh,” I get up and start making myself coffee. I’ve given up on tea.

“What’s that other word?”

M shrugs. “I forget. it says zima, hm, ring any bells?”

I briefly try sticking my fingers into the sludge of my hungover mind before giving up, nauseated.

“Uh-uh.”

M frowns at it.

“Wanna try it?”

He pulls open the box and removes what looks like a cigarette lighter. It is blue. He rolls it over in his hands.

“The guy said you just push this button,” M says, pointing at it. I sit back down at the table with my coffee. I hold out my hand.

M places it onto my palm. It is lighter than I expected.

“Feeling dangerous?” M asks. I shrug.

“Do you want to ask N what zima means?”

M shrugs and pulls out his phone. “Yeah, I suppose. I’ll text him.”

I place the time machine next to the phone and we both have a cigarette. They become ash before the phone tells us anything.

“Fuck it?” I ask M.

“Yeah, what is the worst that could happen?”

He picks up the time machine, and presses the button. The world flips over twice, I keep my eyes closed. It all stops. I open them. I look at M. He is staring over my shoulder, the look of someone watching the oven get turned on in a cannibal’s house.

I turn. The sky is ink, the ground is powder. It is so cold you can feel the air struggling to survive.

“Oh god,” M groans. I turn. He is looking at his phone. He turns it to me, fearful tears in his eyes. N’s message came through:

“Winter.”

9 Comments

  1. “…sticking my fingers into the sludge of my hungover mind…”
    “the look of someone watching the oven get turned on in a cannibal’s house”
    “beaten half to death with a cold wet pillow made of darkness”

    So much gold in so few words. I’m loving your style. Excellently done!

    Liked by 1 person

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