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Trouble in the Playground

This week's prompt from Flash Fiction Friday was to write about time travel, and its consequences. 

As much as I’d like most of where I am today, a part of me wonders about the possibility of going back and telling my younger self to do or not to do something. Minute changes in the past flapping butterfly wings to the future like a deadly tsunami.

This week I want you to write a story where time travel is your MacGuffin. Explain how you envision time travel and its consequences in your story.

Prompt: Write a story about someone time traveling, describe as best as your narrator can, whether he’s a common man or a brilliant scientist, the experience.
Word Limit: 1,600
Genre: Sci-Fi with a mash of whatever you like.
Deadline: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET


Here's my story. Not so much about time travel itself, more about some consequences. Came is an about 700 words.

Trouble in the Playground

Mary was both embarrassed and angry. Her dear little Danny, suspended from school for a week. She looked up from the note that school had sent.

"Danny, how could you?" she said. 

He shrugged. "I dunno."

She blamed all the time travelling they'd done. Or at least, the double life they'd ended up living. She wished Dave were there for support, but her husband was still lost somewhere on the other side of the portal. Danny's door, she called it, since he was the one that had crawled through it as a baby, just after they had all moved into this new home. What seemed a large but ordinary doggie door turned out to be a portal to a world 500 years in the past, a world of forests, wild animals, and warriors. And magic

She did love Dave, being married to him, their new home, and especially the baby. However, after less than a year she was already looking for more to fill her days, for something to challenge her. She certainly found that through Danny's door. She would race through her shopping and housework before lunch, and then grab Danny and head through to another world, to spend the afternoon exploring and making new friends - him happy in his snuggly, her with one eye on her watch to make sure they were back in time to get dinner ready for Dave.  She looked at her hands and smiled. No longer were they the soft manicured hands of a suburban housewife, they were now tanned and callused, those of a hunter. Life had been changed into a series of exciting adventures for them, a life turned upside down when Dave stumbled on their secret, crept through the portal, and became lost. Now most of her time on the other side was dedicated to hunting for Dave, while those new friends looked after Danny. 

It seemed that while with those friends, Danny had been more than just babysat, he'd managed to also acquire a mixed bag of skills form them. What his minders lacked in science and technology, they more than made up with in woodlore. And, apparently, in spells. She had decided Danny needed to spend time in normal schools too, and he seemed to be fitting in. He got along OK with most of the kids, and did well with his letters and counting - Friar Brown had seen to that.  He was also more fit than the other students- probably from running through the woods with Sparks. However, today it looked like some of his skills weren't appreciated

"Can I watch some TV now?" said Danny.

"No, you can go to your room while I call your teacher. Apparently she called here when I was on the other side. Bring Sparks with you please, I don't want him sneaking off to hunt down another deer."

Sparks was becoming a problem too. He had started off as a quiet little Shih Tzu , but somehow, once on the other side, he would transform into their  protector – as a huge and ferocious Dire Wolf. Unfortunately, even though once they returned  he was again his original fluffy self, he still thought he was a fearsome creature, and acted like it. The neighbourhood dogs were all a  little confused, and a little afraid. 

"Go," she said. "I'll call you for supper."

After a very confusing phone call with a very concerned teacher, she called Danny back downstairs. 

"He's just a big bully," said Danny.

"Who dear?" she said. "This Bobby that the letter mentions?" 

"Yeah. So I had to show him," said Danny.

"Will the warts last?" she said. 

"I dunno," he said. 

"We'll get a counter-spell next time we visit the other side," she said. "In the meantime, no more magic. OK? And no more snares."

According to Danny's teacher, he – or someone – had used one of the teeter-totters as a peg snare, with weights on one end and a noose on the other end, carefully hidden in the sand. Quite well done too, from the sound of it, but his teacher was convinced one of the older kids had done it. At any rate, by the time the teachers came running to cut Bobby down, Danny had already added the warts and was just sitting on a nearby bench. 

She was going to have to have a serious talk about limits with him, and also have one with his 'other' teachers  about what subjects were appropriate for him. 

Soon, too, because next year he would be a little bigger, and a little smarter - and in Grade 1. 


BTW - I was suspended from kindergarten for a week, early in the year. I had done enough crafts and blocks in playschool, and wanted to start real school - I was already reading by then. So, of course, I got bored, kicked the teacher, and was sent home for a week. Where I could read all I wanted ;-) 



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Eden Mabee

Mary and Danny certainly do have their adventures. I love the humor in this piece, especially imagining the Shih Tzu thinking he's a dire wolf!

Now if they met your fairy tale characters there....

I never had heard of the idea of being suspended from elementary school until I saw it on the news. Reading stories like this... Our teachers must have been saints or blind, because we had some really "creative" types in school as well. But I would have loved to have been sent home to read all I wanted...

Joyce Juzwik

One has to wonder what's better. To go back through and try again, gain some 'skills' in another time and place and return to the present and see where it goes? Or perhaps simply to live and learn and let the past remain the past. Mary's already lost her husband (literally) and her child is quite possibly becoming someone who cannot function in present time. Will it all turn out right? Can they undo what's been done? Will they ultimately even want to undo all that's happened?

So many paths to follow from here. This answers some questions and raises so many more. I just LOVE it!


Eden - I've been thinking about blending in my Fairy Tale characters - but they exist in the present time. I haven't decided where/when this protal leads to - I'm thinking a more pastoral sort of world, with farming and hunting - and magic taking the place of technology. My Fairy Tale Folk supposedly came to life in the mid-1900's, as books and movies about them spread.

As for my sordid educational background, when my sister became a teacher she went back to 'my'school, found the records in the basement, and confirmed that I had in fact been suspended for a week. I won't tell my grandchildren about it - yet.


Joyce - glad you like it.
So far my idea of the alternate world is a world of farming and hunting - a little medieval in character perhaps - with magic instead of technology. Not sure when it is in time, but I do want a one to one time relationship between the two worlds - I didn't want Danny to go over as a baby, spend five years, then come back an hour older - too hard on him. So there's no going back to a previous time - what's done is done.
Mary hasn't lost her husband permanently, and possibly Danny - after the playground incident - will be even better prepared to cope in either world than a 'normal' child would.
I'm thinking maybe this book (or books?) might be about Danny, as he grows and matures.

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