River of Time
Sean is lost somewhere in the wilderness. He always wanted to visit a national park but getting lost wasn't on the agenda. It is his sixth day lost in the woods. Sean was smart enough to pack extra water and food and had some of both left.
Out in a clearing he can see a river. Upon closer inspection the river is shiny, the water crystal clear and clean. No wildlife is present in the river in Sean's location.
Sean looks up and sees a man walking up the bank towards him. The man is old, tall, and has on a long green robe. He is wearing brown shirt, pants and shoes.
Once the man reaches him Sean said, "Boy, am I glad to see you. I am lost and need your help." The old man looks at Sean and said, "My name is Yaq, and I am the sentry of the River of Time. I can't help you. The only thing I can do for you is present the River of Time. If you go upstream you will be in the future, downstream you go into the past. Remember time travel is not what you think. The river will show you. Yaq walks on the water, turns into water droplets and is gone.
Sean walks in to the shallow waters of the river and heads upstream. The river current is fast, so the going is tough. Sean stumbles and falls, the swift current sweeps him downstream quickly. Sean can tell his body is that of a teenage boy now, he is getting younger. Soon he is a young boy. Sean fights the current and is finally able to stand back up and travel upstream. Sean is afraid if he goes to far downstream he will not be born. Is that what Yaq meant in his message.
Once Sean reaches the spot where he started, he stops and ponders his next move. Well, getting older did not appeal to Sean so he did not go upstream, although seeing the future would have been nice. Going too far upstream, he might die since he did not know the date of his death.
Maybe Yaq was trying to tell him you couldn't go past your own time, at least in this river anyway. Or maybe something as simple as the River of Time was built to help the lost hiker.
Sean walks downstream very slowly until he reaches the time right before he got lost.
Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. Some recently. See more at www.dennymarshall.com