A Time To Embrace


Our prophets foretold that my people would find a homeland, in the fullness of time. But now we are scattered to the beginnings and ends of the Earth, and my ragtag band of refugees constantly asks when we’ll find this promised land.

Wind whips my hair as I stand atop a hill overlooking a grassy plain. The threescore of us that haven’t been killed by the hunters, or lost to the diaspora, scrounge for supplies. Our last temporal leap dropped us into a land once known as Persia: a land rich in pre-digital history and mythology. Epic battles between armies of good and evil.

My engineer approaches from the timeship. “I’ve found the problem.” Yet he appears puzzled. “An anachronism lodged in the chronoton inductors.”

Anachronism. A bit of matter sucked into our path as we bridged countless centuries of history. Typically unrecognizable fragments or debris. This one, though, was an apple. Taking the fruit, I turn it over in my hand, examining its golden skin, single green leaf, and neatly snipped stem.

“Never have I seen such a pristine anachronism,” he says. “What could it mean?” I study the anachronism: a fruit out of place in this treeless grassland. Just like me. Just like all of us.

“In this time, but not of it,” I whisper. “I think it’s a sign.” My titanium survival blade cuts through the apple. I offer a slice to the engineer. Then, with loving care, I gather some soil, and gently plant the seeds.

Written for Flash! Friday vol 3-33. Photo prompt: Sinbad the Sailor. Illustration by Frances Brundage, published 1898 in The Arabian Nights, edited by George Fyler Townsend.

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