Out Of Time

      The grass was warm and green under his feet; nearby, a bulldozer was pushing the topsoil aside for a new government laboratory. Gresky blinked, trying to adjust to the sudden sunlight, and instinctively checked his watch. It read 3:47 AM. A rumble to his right reminded Gresky that he needed to move. Making sure no one had seem him, he darted out of the construction and into the nearby brush. Remember his cell phone, he pulled it out and activated the display. For a moment, it read "3:48 AM," as it located the nearby cell tower and synchronized its internal clock. After a short delay, the screen read "3:48 PM." Gresky checked the date, then allowed a grin to crease his face. Twelve months, twelve days, and twelve hours, within a second. Let the scientists argue; he was going to prove what time travel could really do. He pulled the gun from his pocket, his grin returning when he placed his finger on the trigger. Carefully returning the weapon to his pocket, he synchronized his watch with his cell phone, then set off towards town.

      An hour later, he was standing across the street from a friendly-looking gas station. He pulled a newspaper clipping from his back pocket, rereading the story - "Sleepy Town Rocked By Killings." He settled in to wait.

      Two o'clock. Gresky walked into the store, and seeing the hooded man drawing a gun, he pulled his own weapon, firing three times. An officer dashed in through the door, and seeing Gresky's gun and the man on the floor, he quickly ordered Gresky to drop his weapon. Gresky carefully lowered his weapon, setting it on the floor. The cashier was quick to come to his aid. "That man pulled a gun on me - he asked for money, but that man just came in and shot him. He saved my life!"
      The officer holstered his own weapon, then stooped to pick up Gresky's gun. "I hope you don't mind if we run a check on this," he asked. Gresky shook his head, wordlessly. "I just saw him with the gun, and I knew he was going to hurt someone. I had to help."

      Back in his own time, Gresky felt his elation rising. He had actually changed time! He had saved the lives of the officer, the cashier, and the two customers! Almost giddy, he carefully shut down the time machine. As he was leaving, he realized the article was still in his pocket. He pulled it out - unchanged. He wasn't bothered, though; it had been out of its timeline, as had he, so it was not affected by any changes.

      As he walked up his own driveway, Gresky couldn't help grinning like an idiot. He had not only broken into a high security government facility, he had changed time for the better! He felt like a superhero, saving lives without breaking a sweat! His elation turned to confusion, however, as he entered his home. It had been ransacked! There was trash on the floor, a pile of clothes in the corner, and part of the ceiling had crumbled onto the floor. He was about to call the police when he noticed a thick layer of dust on everything. What was going on? He opened his phone, only to see that he had no signal. As he stepped outside, the sun broke over the horizon - illuminating his usually well-manicured lawn. Weeds grew out of the flower beds; the grass was tall and patchy, as if it hadn't been touched for years.

      His credit card didn't work at the ATM; at least he still had some cash. As he ate breakfast - a cup of coffee - he searched the Internet for any signs of what had happened. As the information unfolded before him, he sat back in shock, his drink forgotten. When he had gone back in time, he had indeed changed things; one of the customers he had saved was in a hit-and-run accident. The victim? None other than one Wade Gresky. He was dead! Gresky checked and double checked, but the information was the same - he had been killed in a car accident.

      For a moment, he slumped in his seat, unable to even process what he was reading. Then he realized - he was the cause of this, and as such, he could fix it! All he needed to do was go back in time to the original time and place, and shoot the man. He didn't even have to kill him - just shooting him in the leg would be enough to keep him from driving, change his routine enough that he wouldn't run over anyone. As he strode out the door, two men approached him. "FBI - we need to see some identification."
      Confused, Gresky handed over his driver's permit. Neither man spoke; the first scanned his card, then grunted. "Gresky, huh. You look pretty good for a dead man walking." He nodded to the other man. "Cuff him, he's the one."

      Six hours later, Gresky was sitting in a glass-walled room. The first agent leaned against the wall, sipping his cold coffee. "So, you're sticking to your story? A time machine? And you expect us to believe that?"
      Gresky glanced up, then went back to staring at his feet. "Yeah, time machine. It doesn't matter, though. I didn't listen; I wanted to be a hero, and I ended up a nobody. Literally."
      The door opened. "Anything new?"
      The agent shrugged. "Nothing. Don't know why we bother, this guy's about out of time anyway."
      Gresky laughed, startling the agent. "Yes! That's it, all right - I'm not in the timeline," he giggled. His hands twitched, and his eyes darted from side to side. "Not in any timeline! I cut myself out of time!"