Time Travel Tense Trouble (Superhero Black Hole, Pt. 46)

My apartment was, as it had been for so long a time, perpetually a mess. My desk was a case in point, littered with various 5D-DVDs: Primer, Millennium, the Terminator movies (except the third), the Back to the Future trilogy, 12 Monkeys, The Time Changer, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Donnie Darko, et multa cetera.

I opened the little vintage trunk I’d picked up during the late 1700s and extracted the briefcase that had been given me by Me₃. I displayed its anachronistic contents for Zoe.

“The vaccine,” I explained. “One shot of this prevents time-travel abilities from manifesting. It’s more than a bit gruesome, but effective. I was—” Crap. “—I’m supposed to stop her.” I had hoped Zoe hadn’t caught my slip-up.

She had.

“Wait,” Zoe vocalized. “what do you mean, you were/are?”

I hung my head. “I…was there once, attempting to carry out my objective.”

“Then what are you doing here?”

I swallowed. “It’s because I’m a coward,” I replied. “I failed.”

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