The Traveler

I didn’t feel there was a reason for such violence. At first, I couldn’t understand why. Then I started to ask various questions: Is it because I have money? Is it because I’m different? Did I hurt them somehow? The more questions I asked, though, the fewer answers I had. None of these questions would have been asked if I weren’t brutally hit several times. This is exactly what happened on my way to Chicago. The worst of it is that I don’t know who did it.

Everything started when I was on a business trip from Denver to Chicago. Rather, I assume it was a business trip because I was wearing a torn tuxedo with a dress shirt and nice pants. The assumption becomes hazy with the lack of a suitcase of any sort, but I couldn’t remember any reason I was on the train. I found a slightly crumpled ticket in my pocket that said “DEN – CHI.” A normal day for me would’ve included an attire of a t-shirt and jeans, or shorts.

The events that led up to where I am are non-existent in my memories. The only details that exist are those that I have with me at the moment, and most my memories prior to the past couple of days. Everything else was a puzzle. A large slice in my dress shirt and a large cut near my stomach suggests someone had attacked me with a knife. I can’t see my face, but it feels like I have a puffy eye and some pains in my cheeks. Large bruises cover my legs and my chest with some dried blood dressing it. Outside of this crumpled ticket, there are no other personal items.

I take a look around me once I’m done accessing the damage and determined that I’m in a ditch by the railroad tracks. No buildings in sight, but there are hills leading to mountains on the opposite side of the tracks. On my side of the tracks, I find a cave-like structure that is hidden in a smaller hill. I’m curious if there is a river or some sign of civilization on this side as people have a tendency of avoiding life in the mountains. I attempt to stand up, but the damage to my legs prevents me from staying in that position. Dusk is settling in so I decide to crawl towards the cave. Perhaps a shelter from the nightly forces will keep me safe.

As I reach the cave, I put my back on the entrance and rest before heading in. Between the exhaustion and loss of blood, my energy is quickly diminishing. Then a figure starts to approach me. It’s obviously a human, but I’m not sure where they came from and how they found me. As the figure gets closer, I try to narrow one eye on them, the one eye I can see out of without too much of a blur. I wasn’t sure if I should go hide in the cave or just wait here, but I was already giving up any hopes of surviving. I had nothing to lose either way.

“You cannot die here,” he claims with such confidence as he approaches. “You have to save you.”

“I.. wh..wh.. what?” I stuttered.

“Let me help you up” he requests as he lends a hand to help me get back to a standing position.

I reach out to him with my right hand to signal assistance in standing up. The only sensible question I could come up with was, “Who are you?”

“You.”

I’m confused. He puts one arm around his shoulder and assists me walking in a direction. We head back towards the railroad tracks. It’s strange. I tried to focus on his face with the terrible vision I have. He looks vaguely like me, so I had to ask: “What do you mean you’re you?”

“That’s exactly what I mean. I am you.”

I didn’t have enough consciousness to question the validity of such a statement. The only words I could muster up were, “Oh.” Then he led me to follow the tracks. Night had settled in, and the coyotes were howling in the distance, but it sounded like they were only ten feet away. I was slowly slipping in and out of consciousness as he struggled to carry me. I finally found lights in the distance before I collapsed.

I woke up in a hospital. A nurse had just been checking in on me when she proclaimed, “Oh! You’re finally up! You’ve been asleep for two days!” She was finishing documenting something on a clipboard before she set it down at the foot of the bed and leaned in towards me with a flashlight beaming towards my eyes. It was blinding, but I felt some comfort in the fact that at least I could see.

“Where am I?” I asked.

She answered, but I never remembered where it was. I was requested to stay another night before they let me leave. She informed me that all I had was a ticket with me and that someone who she assumed was my father dropped me off. I had the chance to call family and friends throughout the day. I took advantage of the time and contacted all of my family. I shared with them everything I knew, but anything beyond that was a mystery and that I was okay. I told my business partner what happened and that I had forgotten why I was going to Chicago. He informed me that I was going to close on a business deal, and he was just happy that I was okay more than anything.

Several years went by, but I never found out who beat me up or even why it happened. I had a feeling it had something to do with my business ventures. This realization didn’t come to me until one day, several years later. As part of an expansion in our business, we were investing in science with extremely radical views. The media community and various other companies laughed at us, but the science community loved that we were taking risks on extravagant ideas.  One of the ideas provided us a massive grant with the government because of our new methods of traveling in space.

We built a machine that could fold over me like it was a cocoon. The idea was thought to be impossible as too much energy was required to build such a machine. So, we solved the problem prior to building it by understanding the power fusion, another one of our profitable and extravagant investments. If anyone was going to risk their lives at my company for our crazy adventures, it was going to be me.  I stepped on the platform of the machine in the middle and looked at my partner. I finally came to the realization that I was beaten by those men, not because of the money I had at the time, but because of the money I had now. “I know exactly where and when to go.”

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