Word Count: 985
Writing: 1 hour 3 minutes
Editing: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 23 minutes
A warm, heavy breeze blew his dark hair as the sour stink of too many humans combined with decades of super-pollution clogged his nostrils. He stared down from the rooftop, watching the non-stop stream of car lights fly by like slow lasers. Normally he didn’t come to the future, it made him too emotional, especially this close to his own time.
Humanity was truly an incredible thing, he liked this roof-top when he wanted to reflect or just needed a break from a job. It was nowhere around a giant landmark, or around some jaw-dropping beauty, just a downtown building in the never sleeping world.
He thought about his little boy, the main reason he didn’t like the 2050’s. The world had changed so much and so little all at the same time. It looked a little fancier, holograms, zippy cars that drove themselves, people moving down sidewalks without needing to walk, many of the things engineers and scientist were currently working on in his own time. At first he was relieved he hadn’t landed in a nuclear wasteland, or disease ridden Earth that only provided a few resilient humans with life. Though instead, the Earth was full, packed to capacity with plants, animals, and humans.
The man got up and began walking down the fire-escape on the side of the building. Everything was opened twenty-four hours a day in the future. There were too many people to be up and about at the same time, so the government issued a curfew depending on your employment. Though from what he’d seen it wasn’t strictly enforced.
His feet hit the alleyway that looked so strange next to the enclosed moving sidewalks. The air was thicker on the ground, it’d made him woozy the first time he’d visited the future. In the enclosement around the sidewalks, cool, fresh air flowed through vents and was welcome in his lungs. The tubes were installed in the thirties when speed limits had to be increased to unclog the roads. People regularly gave him strange looks when he walked down the sidewalk that was meant to be stood on. Walking was a thing of the past.
No one read books anymore nor did they crane their necks downward to stare at their cell phones like the people of his time. Everything was holograms worn directly on top of the eyeball like a contact lens. If one were to look at a person and didn’t know about these lenses, humanity would appear to be talking to the air and waving their hands and arms around like lunatics. After all, it’s what he’d first thought.
His stop was just up ahead and he decided he would let the sidewalk do what it was meant to and stopped walking. He wasn’t excited for this appointment, maybe it was because he didn’t understand the reasoning behind the job; maybe he was just uncomfortable in this time, either way it didn’t feel right. The faster he could get it over with the faster he could get back home. Maybe he would ask the boss to only go back to the past for a little while, he loved the medieval era.
Stepping off the moving sidewalk to his right, he was standing at the entrance to an upscale apartment building. The buzzer screen brightened as he moved onto the landing.
“Good afternoon. Tenant or visitor?” A faceless female voice asked.
“Visitor,” he said slightly annoyed. For as fast as the future moved the simple things seemed to take forever.
“Adam Evens,” he replied.
“Where shall I direct your call, Mr. Evens?”
“Mrs. Margarie Bouferot, apartment 10F.”
“Thank you,” said the woman’s voice and the screen went blank as the buzzer called the apartment.
“Come on up dear,” said an older woman’s voice and Adam heard the lock on the building’s door release. His heart began to race as he walked into the elevator and pushed the button on the display, which currently had the weather and other breaking daily news scrolling across the top and appearing to pop out of the wall.
The elevator doors opened and he walked down the hall to Maragarie’s apartment. 10F’s door was cracked and he pushed it opened to find her sitting at the living room table with two steaming cups of coffee.
“Have a seat,” she said and waved an opened hand at the chair across from her. He walked slowly over to the chair, fighting the feeling of surreality that was rapidly trying to consume him.
“It’s good to see you,” he said genuinely. He looked at the woman’s sixty-year-old face. They had never been friends by any means, but she’d always been nice to him.
“It’s nice to see you too,” she said with a small, sad smile. They sat silently sipping their coffee, for an amount of time that could have been an eternity, Adam wouldn’t have known.
“Well,” he said startled by the amount of emotion he heard in his voice, “I guess we should get this over with.” The woman across the table tilted her coffee back and swallowed the last bit. She stared into the cup longingly,
“I will miss the coffee,” she said bringing her eyes back up to meet Adams. He stood from his seat and his eyes watered.
“No,” he said, “you won’t.” He pulled the scrambler from his coat—a device that looked like nothing more than mere headphones.
“They say it doesn’t hurt,” she said hopefully as Adam placed the mind-destroying instrument over Margarie’s ears.
“You won’t feel a thing,” he said. The scrambler was secure and all that was left was to flip the switch.
“It was nice to know you,” said Adam.
“You as well,” Margarie replied through silent tears. Adam smiled, flipped the switch to the side that read ON, and walked out of the front door as Margarie Bouferot convulsed on the ground.