Backspace – A Short Story


Hello again.

Twice in one month, right? Well, it’s Christmas. Season of giving et al.

Just wanted to upload a short, short story (that’s not a typo) I entered into a competition some years ago. It got longlisted. But it didn’t make the shortlist. When you read it, you’ll probably see why. LOL.

The story is along my genre – science fiction.



I checked my wristwatch, making sure for the hundredth time that I’d configured it properly.

Then I leapt off the balcony of my apartment, 30 stories up. A one-way, express ride to the bottom.

Despite myself, I felt giddiness tear through my body. I was falling, flying, free at last.

I’d read so much about this moment, the fear that grips the heart just before jumping, the engulfing helplessness as your body swims through the air like an eel in the savanna river, the exhilaration of racing to your own death.

Maybe it’s the perverse rush of adrenaline, but every book I’d read about this was right. At the moment you take off go, everything becomes clear. You think straight. Your memory works right.

And I was gaining speed.

Thoughts ran through my mind like a train trying to make up for lost time.

I thought of my wife and the first time I saw her, smiling her disarming smile. She was singing at the karaoke bar with her friends, so full of life, and showing off the firmest legs I’d ever seen.

Athlete legs.

I thought of how similar the mix of emotions coursing through me are to the ones that pusled through my veins when I approached and offered to buy her and her friends a drink.

I remembered our first hug, first kiss, the first time I knew I loved her, and the first time I told her; the way she feigned shock and said nothing. I remember the glee I felt finding the “I love you too” note she’d slipped into my pocket later that night.

I remembered watching her walk down the aisle towards me, firm short steps, her smile still as captivating as ever. Our hearts were saying the same thing that day – you’re my soulmate.

I was shooting through the air now, and the train wasn’t letting up.

The memories came in flashes now. I saw us having our first fight. I saw the fights get worse.

I saw the first time I hit her; the first time I hit too hard. I felt the shame that coursed through me when she returned home from the hospital, limping.

It’s my fault she’ll never run again. I’m the villain in her fairytale.

In a few minutes, I’ll hit the ground and make a mess, my brains will probably make the front page of the PM news.

I don’t care.

Every brochure on timejumping you’ll ever read never tells you what the final seconds of your life will be like.

My account is probably the first on record. So you’re lucky to be reading this.

Just before hitting the ground, I felt myself getting sucked out of my body into my wristwatch. For a moment, I was in two places.

There was my body, still in free fall. On the other hand, I was watching said body falling. I was literally zipping along beside my own body like a synchronized diver in the wristwatch.

I even saw my body plunge facefirst into the walkway at breakneck speed.

I was right, my body did make a mess. I was in the wristwatch though, if that makes any sense, and it just zipped through the floor like it was made of water.

The next thing I knew, I was on a bed, couldn’t move. And I was also naked – I could feel a draught all over my nether-regions.

I could also hear voices. Robots. Cool, so I didn’t have to be embarrassed. Not like I wasn’t comfortable naked. I had one big reason to be confident. Let’s not get into that.

“What time is entered on his watch?”


“You want to wager what bad decision this one made to want to timejump?”

“No. You aware I lost the last two bets? It seems I don’t come preprogrammed with the aptitude for this.”

“You should get an upgrade. My new firmware comes with one. Anyway, Client is ready. Prepare to reload him into time stream. “

The next thing I felt before everything went black was the feeling of being churned and then spread thin.


25 Febraury, 2010.

Lara was celebrating, having the time of her life. Her ten months of training had finally paid off – a slot on the track team and a shot at the gold at the Commonwealth Games in April. She was rocking out with her friends on the karaoke mini-stage, singing her heart out.

They belted out song after song till the customers in the bar started giving them the dirty look.

Finally, the girls made their way to their table. Bottles of wine and plates of food covered the table. Lara gave the waiter a puzzled look.

“Courtesy of the Oga at the bar,” he said pointing.

A handsome young man, weary with twice his life memories sat at the bar, smiling. Then he raised his glass.

Lara and friends mirrored him with their glasses as well.

Lara looked at the table again. It was filled with all her favorites – down to the color of the serviettes.

She looked at the man again. He smiled at her. Then he got up and walked away, not looking back.

“Who’s that guy?”

“I don’t know. But I have this weird feeling I’m supposed to.”



2 thoughts on “Backspace – A Short Story

  1. Still as beautiful as the first time I read it..

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