Here is my story inspired by the series Dark.
Patsy Bennett closed the door of her small apartment, removed her shoes and dropped down on the bed. Her entire body ached after the long shift in the restaurant and she only wanted to have some sleep until the next shift would begin.
The apartment was small and shabby but it was the only place she could afford at her small waiter salary. Patsy grew up at an orphanage and she couldn’t get any decent education to get a better job. Sometimes she cursed her biological mother and the unfair fate. Why the hell couldn’t her mother keep her and raise her like any other one? Who was her mom?
Those thoughts kept occupying Patsy’s mind almost every evening before her eyes closed and she was dreaming of finding her mother and … and what? What would Patsy be able to tell the person who had abandoned her like an unnecessary toy?
Finding her biological mother showed impossible. Patsy had asked about her mother earlier at the orphanage but she only learned her date of birth - the 14-th of May 1995. The orphanage staff didn’t have any information on Patsy’s mother and they told her that the documents were destroyed when Patsy was released from the hospital. There was a hospital near the orphanage and Patsy guessed she was born there.
All of sudden a crazy thought hit Patsy’s mind. What if she could travel back in time and find her mother at the moment she was released from the hospital? Patsy tried to scare off that intrusive image but she couldn’t.
About a week later she was in a hurry after her shift and absorbed herself in her thoughts when she took a wrong turn and stopped in front of a shabby house. It differed from all other houses and looked like it didn’t belong to the present time. She didn’t know why but she knocked on the door.
“Come in,” a male voice called her and she entered the small house hesitantly. The voice that invited her belonged to a young man in his mid 30’s and he was feeding a baby boy. Another older man was sitting in a rocking chair. Patsy noticed an incredible similarity of all three men; they had to be grandfather, father and son.
“Sorry to disturb you but I was too curious and there is something odd that attracted my attention to your house. My name is Patsy Bennett.”
“Don’t worry, miss Bennett. I’m kinda used to this kind of visitor but they usually leave as soon as I introduce myself.”
“How so? What’s strange about your name?”
“It’s not the name miss. My name is James Hawkins, this is James Hawkins and this is James Hawkins as well,” he pointed at the old man and at the baby boy.
“Well, it is not practical but still nice if the entire family has equal names.”
“Sorry miss; you are wrong. We all are the same person.”
“W … w … what?” Patsy almost fainted and dropped down on the nearby chair. Was she dreaming?
“Well miss, are you about to run away now?”
“I don’t know,” Patsy almost jumped up and ran away but her curiosity was much stronger.
“How is that possible? Are you able to do your own copies or?”
“That’s a long story. Would you like to hear it?”
“Mister … can I say James to you? I’m tired just now but I’d like to come again tomorrow. I have a day off.”
“Of course, miss … Patsy? Come tomorrow and we can talk. I also have something interesting to show you; it explains the copies.”
Patsy couldn’t sleep that night and she had to think about the strange house and about ‘something interesting’. How was it possible to make copies of a person?
The next morning she hurried up towards the strange house and knocked on the door impatiently:
“Come in,” the voice invited her but it wasn’t the young man from the day before. The old James was playing with the baby James.
“Good morning Patsy. The middle James is at work but you are welcome anyway.”
The baby James smiled at her widely, waddled to her and stretched the tiny arms to be lifted on her arms. Patsy did it instinctively.
“He is very social, Patsy,” the baby James proved the words of his oldest copy when he hugged Patsy and cuddled to her. She sat down and turned to the old James:
“I can’t wait to hear your story; you also promised something interesting James.”
“Of course, Patsy, I show you it first,” he stood up and brought a small case and opened it. There was something like a big clockwork inside with several metal dials and two handles.
“Oh, what is it? I’ve never seen this kind of clockwork.”
“Miss Patsy, this is a time travelling machine called timetron. Let me explain how it works. You set up the date you want to travel to using these dials, wind up the machine and grab both handles. This is all. I don’t have any idea what’s inside and who built it but it does work indeed.”
“Where did you find it and how is it linked to the copies?” Patsy was curious and the baby James stared at the machine; he seemed to be fascinated. All of sudden she realized this machine could help her find her mother.
James watched her and smiled: “Looking at you I’d guess you want to try it out. I don’t know your reason but I have to warn you. Using the machine has unexpected side effects. Listen to my story first.
“I found it by chance in the loft in this house long ago. I was the first one who used it. I had an old friend and he died. I wanted to meet him before his death and used the timetron. I really met my friend but I also met myself and I brought that copy with me when I returned. The younger copy also was careless and met himself as a baby. I don’t have any idea what will happen next time.”
Patsy looked at James and timetron in utter amazement. She would like to hear more but it was too much for her and she desperately wanted to see her mother.
“James, your story is interesting indeed but it’s too much for me now and I come later again to hear more. Now I’ll tell you my reason; I’d like to find my mother; she abandoned me and I grew up in an orphanage. Maybe I’ll be able to change my past and grow up in a normal family. I know that this is a bold request but could I use timetron?”
“I think you need it for a good reason. Patsy, feel free to use it but be careful. Avoid meeting yourself in the past. If you want to change something in the past, I don’t have any idea of the consequences.”
“I do it anyway. Take your baby self please,” Patsy passed the baby James to his grandpa copy and turned to the machine:
“What time should I choose. I was born on the 14-th and I’d guess my mom was released two days later,” her fingers trembled when she turned the dials.
1995, May, 16-th.
She wound up the machine and grabbed both handles. Ticking could be heard and the world around her got blurred. Seconds later her vision cleared and she looked around. The old James and baby James had gone and she was alone in the house.
Patsy looked at the table and read the newspaper; its date was the 15-th of May 1995. She rubbed her eyes to be sure but the newspaper didn’t change.
“Wow, it worked,” Patsy hurried up towards the hospital. Two couples were leaving and the women were carrying their babies. Patsy stopped and waited. Suddenly an older woman left the building and she was carrying a newborn. A young girl about 17 was following her and Patsy could see tears in her eyes:
“No, no, don’t take my little Patsy away, no …”
The old woman ignored her and turned towards the nearby orphanage. The girl staggered to the nearest bench and dropped on it. Her clothing was dirty and ragged.
Patsy was shocked; she just found her mom and almost met herself. She looked away from the old woman instantly but she wasn’t sure if it was enough.
The condition of her mom revealed Patsy what happened. It wasn’t mom; it was the social service who took her to the orphanage. Patsy suddenly wanted to help the poor girl but she didn’t know how. She walked over and sat down next to the girl:
“Sorry to disturb you but could you listen to me please. Don’t run away.”
“Why should I listen to you? Let me alone, Who are you?”
“Miss, try to trust me. I’m sane, sober and didn’t take any drugs. I came from the future and I am Patsy, your daughter.”