28 Seconds | By: Scott Crowder | | Category: Short Story - Science Fiction Bookmark and Share

28 Seconds

Dylan loved to hide here, under the stairway, and watch his father work. His father, Jason, actually knew that his three-year-old son would watch him for hours at a time, from his 'secret' hiding place.
After all, Jason spent most of his free time here; working on an invention that he never spoke of, to anybody.

The invention was no larger than an average boom-box. Twenty-two inches long, eight inches deep and 7 inches tall. It had one antenna on each end that pointed up and outward at forty-five degree angles.
When it was turned on, as it was now, a beautiful blue light was emitted between the antennae. The light spread outward as it rose to the ceiling, creating a soft blue, v-shaped irridescence.

Jason suddenly realized that he had left his notes in the den. Without shutting the device off, as he usually did, he quickly rose and ran to retrieve his notepad.
Dylan crawled from beneath the stairs and ran to the bench. The pretty blue light had always beckoned to the tot, and with daddy out of the room, the urge to look closer was irresistable.
The boy picked up the closest object on the bench, an eight-inch electricians screwdriver.
He stuck the screwdriver blade into the light and pulled it back out. Laughing with glee, Dylan then plunged the blade back into the light.......

Young Franklin, from Hyde Park, was standing in the lunch line with the other boys when he felt the sharp pain in his thigh. "A bee?" he thought as he bent over to examine his leg more closely.

The Coroner pointed to the wound on the boy's temple. "As you can see, he was stabbed once in the upper leg and once behind the right eye. I understand that no weapon has been found but, whatever it was,
it penetrated about two inches into the brain cavity. I'm sure that his death was immediate and I hope that the police find the person who is responsible. You have my deepest sympathy, Mr. Roosevelt."

"Pathetic Americans." Werner spoke aloud to no one, as he sat atop his Panzer. On his left was, or used to be, Radio City Music Hall. Now the shell-ridden marquee, promoting the Rockettes, lay in pieces on the sidewalk.
He eyed the crater filled streets of the city and thought of how easily The Fuhrer had duped President Wilke. In fact, the Fuhrer's exact words were, "he was easier than Herr Chamberlain!"

The warheads above Shanghai, Beijing, New Delhi, Teheran, and Hong Kong detonated only seconds before the larger warheads over Paris, Moscow, New York and Berlin.
Many, but not all, of the smaller 'suitcase nukes' were never armed. But then, they didn't need to be.........

"Dylan! NO!" Jason screamed as he re-entered the room, exactly twenty-eight seconds after he had left it.
His words never reached the boy. Dylan's innocent eyes stared into the blue light. He thought he saw a boy with a bloody head, wearing brown knickers, lying on the floor.
He saw the army man sitting on a tank, in a smokey, burning city.
And just as Jason, Dylan and the other six billion people on Earth winked out of existence, he saw the mushroom cloud.

The extiction of the species was felt at once by the Captain, or En-Mu, of the vessel. It was a rare but not entirely unknown sensation.
In ninety-two thousand years, the En-mu had been witness to two other such events.
But neither of the others had been so close to receiving the Gift. This particular race, who had called themselves Earthlings, were less than one of their solar revolutions away from bestowment.
The En-Mu knew that he could change the time-line and avert the disaster that had befallen this planet. He could reverse the events that had caused the 'alteration' in their timeline and brought about their extinction.
But he would not. All who were aboard this ship knew that the people of Earth had advanced this far in spite of themselves.
Hatred, Element 92, biological warfare and genetic engineering were all issues that would have been overcome, when the Gift was given to them.
But the dangers presented by those who experimented with time shifting could have a catastrophic effect on the entire Universe. Interfering with the time-line is not tolerated.
In fact, the Keepers had once destroyed a species that had posed a threat to all existence with their time devices.

Sadly, the people of the Blue Planet would forever be a footnote in the history of the All.

The En-Mu made a navigational change with his mind. This voyage would not be a total waste. While in this system, he would retrieve something that he had lkeft on the Red Planet.
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