Tejahn the time traveler sat glumly in the too bright waiting room on a too white chair. Either she had succeeded at her mission at averting disaster in the timeline or she had failed. Either way she was stuck in a past. Time travel was a one-way business. Forward travel had not been mastered by Tejahn’s own year, so returning to her time was not a possibility. She’d known that going in.
The stakes were high. In Tejahn’s timeline, a series of ecological disasters, nuclear detonations, and a return of highly contagious plagues had decimated a generation. Racial murders were frequent, “law and order” meant state brutality, and thousands died of botched abortions. It wasn’t the apocalypse but it was hell. So Tejahn volunteered for this mission.
But the crackpot scientists who had built their secret little time machine in a basement and asked her to use it had gotten their calculations off. She’d arrived on Election Day, too late to effect the outcome. In a matter of hours, fate would be sealed. And she wouldn’t even be able to tell people in her time what went wrong. An elderly man walked up to her, smiling.
“Welcome traveler! I assume you’re here for the election? We’ve got a few more in the lounge.” He was genial in the face of her confusion. “We get a lot of stray time travelers for the biggies. Everybody wants to save their time.” He guided her by the elbow down a corridor and through wide double doors.
“What is this place?” Tejahn asked.
“It’s where stuck time travelers go to not have everyone think we’re delusional, of course. Can’t run around telling people you’re from the future. You’re lucky my agent intervened before you were committed.” They had arrived in a 21st century historical tavern, with road signs and old LCD television sets on the walls and faux leather upholstery on the seats.
The old man steered her toward a round table where three other travelers sat imbibing. He made introductions and excused himself. Tejahn took the vacant seat at the table and noted the election news coverage on the TVs. One of her tablemates was speaking of his time, and how he’d barely been shoved through a time portal before a nuclear blast. He tapped one fingernail incessantly on his drinks glass, an ad obvious nervous tic.
Tejahn noticed an ancient woman with paper thin skin sitting alone in the corner, her head bent low over her drink. Following her gaze, the barely saved man explained in a hushed tone.
“That’s Mildred. She came here to prevent Hitler’s rise. In her timeline, once he was elected he wasn’t defeated. He ruled half of Europe into his eighties. Jews were completely wiped out. She’s been here since 1931.”
Perhaps sensing their attention Mildred looked up and Tejahn nearly gasped at the devastation on her face. There were bombed out cities in her eyes. The structure of her soul remained but the substance had been shredded beyond recognition. If Trump won this election then Tejahn’s travel would be for nothing. She turned away from the embodiment of her possible future, frightened and ashamed.
“How long until we know?” Tejahn asked.
“Just a few more hours.”
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure moment! Will Trump take the presidency, dooming countless timelines to suffering? Or will Clinton win, making our traveler’s sacrifice worthwhile? You decide at the polls. Go vote in the real world TODAY if you haven’t already!