Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Microstory 768: Salmon

A lot of people wonder where the term salmon comes from. For the longest time, nobody actually knew, because it did not originate in the same reality. During one timeline, the powers that be decided to call upon one of their little pets, who was named Ed Bolton. He was living in the year 1809, but they pushed him forward one year to 1810. But he only stayed there for three seconds, at which point they pushed him again to 1811. Again, this was short-lived, as he was only there for three minutes, long enough to encounter his friend and roommate, who had been wondering where he was for the last two years. He didn’t have time to both figure out the truth, and explain it, when he was pushed forward two years to 1813. By then, his roommate had moved out of their unit, and somewhere else. It took Ed nearly three hours to find where this was, and then go to him, looking for help. But at this point, the powers that be pushed him all the way to 1816, where he spent three days discovering his friend had moved to the other side of the country. He continued to jump forward in time, hopeless, and completely alone; three weeks in 1821, three months in in 1829 and 1830, and three years from 1843 to 1846. Just when he was feeling comfortable in this new era, with some simple math, he realized he was destined to jump yet again, this time to 1867, where he was likely to spend the next three decades. Fortunately, he would not have to be alone the entire time. He found himself in the company of two other travelers, who were from the future. They immediately treated him with kindness and understanding, and he came to find out that they already knew him, for he was scheduled to run into them again, periodically over the next century. Each time he did, he knew them better, and they knew him less, for they were jumping through time in opposite directions. Through all this, at some point, somebody remarked that these friends were, in fact, going the wrong direction. But it was Edward who drew the analogy of salmon, who were known for traveling upstream to spawn in the same place they were first born. Now this moment—this seemingly innocuous moment—would have repercussions across all of time and space, spanning past, present, future, and all realities. Though earlier versions of the timeline left Ed Bolton free to live his life oblivious to time travel, they too would come to refer to travelers who had no control over their travels as salmon. Some call it inevitable, others fate or destiny, but this would not be the only example of something in a reality that does not yet exist having an inexplicable effect on prior timelines. It would not even be the most profound.

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