Infinite Loop -- FWG Flash Fiction for 2/25/2023
We've seen this week's prompt before. Hopefully, this entry is a bit different. Here's the prompt:
Kendra looked at the longhouse speculatively. Door after door slid open, revealing a nesting-doll arrangement of rooms. “I can set each chamber to whenever I want?”
The salesman’s plastered-on smile got even broader. “Absolutely. We’ve tested this one back to the late Jurassic.” His left eye twitched as if trying not to remember that particular test run. In a blink, he regained his composure. “You can dial in each room to any place and time you want, as long as they are set progressively further back in time.”
Kendra raised an eyebrow. “Why? What if I set a deeper one to an later time?”
“Ah…” His eye twitched again. “That would make a time loop, but don’t worry about that. The programming won’t let you violate the protocols.” His smile came back, and he pulled a thick booklet from his jacket pocket. “It’s all explained in the manual.” Kendra reached for it, but he snatched it back.
Kendra frowned but kept her hand extended. “I’ll take it. When can I start?”
His smile almost split his face. “As soon as we agree on a price and the funds—” Kendra looked into the middle distance, then his eyes glazed over then got wide. “Well, okay, then.” He handed her the manual.
“Protocols,” Kendra snorted as she opened the control panel and overrode the security settings. Carefully, she set the chambers in order: last summer at their cabin, two trips to a maternity ward, a week in a honeymoon suite, and a night in a dorm room with a young Charley. Taking a deep breath, she set the deepest chamber to yesterday: a hospital room with a screaming cardiac monitor, its crawling line gone flat.
Wiping a tear, Kendra stepped into the best times and worst day of her life.