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Story 2

Martin Lochman

What's the worst that can happen when you are a time-traveling team on a mission? Things going disasterously not according to plan. Add a perky female sidekick, and you have a smart time-traveling tale. Enjoy "Going with the Flow".

Martin Lochman is an emerging author from the Czech Republic, currently living and working as a University librarian in Malta. He first started writing and publishing in Czech but as time went by and his affinity for the English language grew, he switched to English. Some of his flash fiction and short stories appeared (or are forthcoming) in "Theme of Absence", "Asymmetry Fiction", "Aphelion", "Aurora Wolf", "AntipodeanSF", "101Words", "The Weird and Whatnot", and "365tomorrows". You can find him on his author website or twitter: @MartinLochman.


Going With The Flow
by Martin Lochman


The room was dark, illuminated only by a small table lamp. Next to the table, a body lay on the floor. It was sprawled on its stomach, arms wide, head twisted to the side, and at first glance, it would be painfully obvious to anyone that whomever it belonged to hadn’t simply decided to take a nap in such an uncomfortable position.

Two figures stood over the body. They were much different from each other, not just in that one was a man and the other a woman, but because of their overall appearance. While the man, whose looks were the epitome of average, was dressed in a military uniform featuring a characteristic insignia, the woman -- young, slender, and beautiful by any standards -- wore a tight-fitting suit made from a strange material and even stranger looking rectangular glasses that made for a terrible fashion accessory.

“Well, this is new,” she said, staring down at the unmoving body.

Her casual assessment was less than appreciated by her companion.

“New?!” he repeated in a tone that was anything but calm. “You killed him!”

“Did I though? Some would argue that he killed himself. I mean, I pushed him, that’s true -- although in self-defense, I might add -- but he tripped and smashed his head on that table all on his own.”

His face contorted in disbelief.

“Are you serious? Do you not realize what this means?”

“I do,” she grinned. “It means that you are being a drama queen.”

He rolled his eyes in exasperation, but before he could say anything in return, she continued: “I know that he was supposed to die and now he’s dead. Case closed.”

“Yes, but he was supposed to die tomorrow! He was still going to say goodbye to his people, have a meeting, lunch, and only then blow his brains out. Not to mention that he wasn’t going to commit suicide alone!”

“Keep it down, will you? And lose that generic Helmut-face -- I want to be looking at you when we’re talking.”

He shook his head but obliged, tapping briefly on his left wrist. The air around him shimmered and revealed a slightly older, heavyset man with receding hairline and a goatee that didn’t quite match the color of his hair. He wore the same tight suit and glasses as she did.

“Better?” he asked testily. “Why couldn’t we have just gone to watch some dinosaurs?”

“Oh, come on,” she spat out. “Again with the dinosaurs? It’s so childish!”

“Because taking a selfie with historical figures so that you can put it up on your profile and pretend how exciting your life is, is the definition of grown up, right?”


“Sorry,” he said quickly and sighed. “But you know we’re not allowed to interact with anyone important or show our true looks. Killing someone? That’s --”

“Yeah, but how much can this change?” she cut him off. “It’s not like because of this someone else will win the war or millions of more people will die.”

“That’s not the point. We changed something, in a big way, and they’ll know it the second we get back. We’ll be banned for life, and we’ll have to pay the fine.... He grabbed his head, realizing the extent of his own words: “Oh man, we are so screwed!”

She ignored his desperate burst out, instead looking at the body and nudging it with her shoe.

Nothing happened.


She spent the next few moments absentmindedly playing with her hair -- then her face lit up.

“Wait! We can still fix this!”


“We stay here that one more day and make history stay on track.”

“What?” he shot her a perplexed look. “He is dead. How can he do anything he’s supposed to?”

“He can’t. But you can,” she said triumphantly. “You know exactly how things will go down. Use the suit to look and sound like him and simply enact his last day.”

“Are you insane?! You think it’s that easy to impersonate someone? What about his mannerism, emotions, vocabulary? And other, I don’t know, dozens of important details? I have no clue about any of that!”

“Didn’t you say that he has already decided to commit suicide? I’m guessing people like that aren’t exactly themselves -- nobody will notice that you -- he is acting different. Just do your best, then come back here, and we’ll arrange everything so that it appears he actually did put a bullet in his head.”

“You’re forgetting that his... wife is supposed to die together with him.”

“True,” she furrowed her brow. “But how? Gunshot as well?”


“So you’ll tell her to take it first. Problem solved.”

“That’s...,” he paused. “... the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Do you have a better one?!”

He didn’t reply.

“Come on. It’ll be like those role-plays you love so much,” she pressed on.

“What are you going to do in the meantime?”

“Stay here, invisible. Make sure no one sees him.”

“Okay,” he said finally, albeit hesitantly.

He tapped the wrist controls, and a split-second later he appeared indistinguishable from the body on the floor. She looked him over and smiled.

“Exactly like him! Aren’t I a genius?”

“Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet,” he said dryly and checked the time. “I think I am supposed to make an appearance out in the hallway right about now.”

He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and headed over to the door leading out of the room.

“Good luck, babe!” she called after him.

He mumbled something incomprehensible, opened the door, and was gone.

She sat down in a chair by the body and turned invisible, effectively hiding everything in her vicinity from sight. Not long had passed before she started feeling bored, so she played some music and leaned back.

If the volume on her headphone implants had been set only a bit lower, and she had not been looking at the ceiling, she might have noticed the body let out a moan and move its fingers ever so slightly.



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