Urban Volcano

Fiction by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

Billy fixed the last screw. His life was about to change for the better. During the forty-five years since he was born he had lived in the same boring town. In a place where truly nothing happened. Now, things were about to change. He had built a time-machine allowing him to travel back and forth in time to past and future glory-days of this place.

The time machine — Illustration by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson
Illustration by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

Billy took a seat in the time-machine and turned the dial forward 30 years — to 2047. There was a roaring noise for a moment until the machine calmed down again. Billy peaked out through the window and could see an aged image of himself swaying back and forth in a rocking chair besides a rusting piece of metal that looked a lot like his time-machine.

Disappointed with the lack of action Billy quickly turned the dial back to 1600. Again, there was a roaring noise before the calm. Billy stepped out of the time-machine and found himself in the middle of an uncultivated field. The sun burned in the sky and there was nothing to be seen except grass, as far as the eye could reach.

Billy spent the rest of the afternoon going back and forth in time, seeking exciting eras. He found none and came to the conclusion that this town was simply the most boring place on earth — independent of time.

After a few hours of time-travel he returned to 2017, grabbed a cold beer from the fridge and sat down in the rocking chair on his porch. He looked at the time-machine and said to himself: “I had to try.”

The flash fiction story The time machine is part of the flash fiction collection Flash 52.