Set In Stone

      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. The headline read, "Sleepy Town Rocked By Killings." He re-read the article,

      Two o'clock. He checked his gun, then strode into the store. Even as he walked through the door, someone yelled, "Stop him! Stop him!"
      He raised his gun as the man in the hoodie turned towards him. He fired three shots, killing the man instantly. A police officer dashed past him and checked the man. He looked up. "Good shooting. You ok?"

      Afterward, the officer took his statement, checked his firearm license, as well as a few other general tasks. When he was done, he closed his notepad and stuck out his hand. "Sir, you probably saved the life of every person in that store. I've met that man before - I swear, he had no soul. He could kill you soon as look at you, and it didn't affect him a bit."

      Gresky grinned as he pulled out the newspaper clipping, but his grin slowly slipped into a puzzled frown. The article hadn't changed; the headline still read, "Man Stops Shooter, Saves 5." He read it again, then again; no detail seemed any different than it had.

      Back in his own time, Gresky still couldn't figure out why the article didn't change. Maybe he hadn't actually gone into the past? Or, perhaps, the article had stayed the same because it was with him; yes, that must be it. He carefully dug through his bag, pulling out a second article and smoothing it open. "Dog Mauls Toddler" - that shouldn't be too hard to fix. He noted the time and place - three years before, and only a few miles from the lab - and set up the machine. Giving a last look to the darkened room, he once again stepped through to the past.

      It didn't take long to find the boy; he was playing outside, across the street from a madly barking doberman. Suddenly, the dog jumped the fence, bounding across the fence towards the boy! Gresky dashed toward it, yelling and waving his arms. The dog skidded to a halt, then dashed down the road. Smiling in relief, Gresky waited a few minutes to make sure it didn't return, then turned back towards the grassy field, the future site of the lab.

      Gresky blinked as he entered the bright lights of the lab. The time machine whirred quietly as a radio played a song in the background. Gresky nodded at his assistant, who brought up the article on the screen: "Famous Breeding Dog Struck By Car." Oddly enough, nothing had changed; the doberman had escaped, and after being scared by an unknown man, had run into traffic and been killed. Gresky leaned back, trying to think. Why had it not worked? He had gone into the past, but all he had done was become the man who scared the dog. He smiled a little as he recognized the song on the radio - if nothing else, at least he had met the composer of his favorite song. It was his dog that had been killed, after all; he must have been the toddler, playing in his yard. Gresky stood, and slapped his assistant on the back. "Let's call it a night. We're not getting anywhere. Maybe time really is set in stone..."