The cutoff was in no way marked but the road seemed good and we had to stop for a pee break. Trees and weeds fertilized and watered we set off again. But as often happens we couldn’t find our way back on to the highway.
After much time spent in reverse we finally found an old rusted sign which indicated the adjacent dirt track was the much sought after on ramp. A few hundred yards of twists and turns brought us to a bluff overlooking the highway. We parked where the road seemed to run out of dirt and got out a little disoriented and disappointed. There was the road. The goal was so close.
JB found a set of stairs going down the hill through a tunnel reinforced with metal. I don’t know what we were looking for. It did seem a neat tunnel… Perhaps we just all needed to stretch our legs. So for whatever reason we all followed the stairs down.
At the bottom a faint trail through the grasses and weeds led further down into a gully and right up to the shoulder of the road. Again, I don’t know why we did it, but we simply kept on. We went down the path and somehow the path seemed to keep on going. It actually crossed the highway.
Through the roar of the whizzing traffic we could all see the path ahead but for years we couldn’t figure the reason why we did what we did next. The earth path continued on from the gravel of the shoulder and across the divided highway and through a small gap in concrete dividers. Even the asphalt of the road went up to the path, almost tentatively, and then started up again on the other side of the path as if it was an unbreachable foot and half rift. From our perspective the cars and trucks seemed unconcerned with the path. They would go transparent and then disappear completely over the path and be re-emerge on the other side of the path. There was no other word for it but ‘bizarre’.
Justin was the first to go but we all simply followed him across. None of the cars stopped or bothered us in the least. We felt nothing as we walked across.
On the other side everything seemed different. We followed the path until it came around the lip of a small set of woods and we found ourselves at the end of an alley near a small town centre bustling with activity.
I looked around and could see no evidence of the path that had brought us. There was a broken fence at the end of the alley and then a very tall wall.
Em muttered something about the weird clothes everyone was wearing. I spun around and saw that it did look a little odd but couldn’t place why. I noticed that the cars were all old models and seemed bigger than usual.
Before I could say anything JB called us over excitedly.
He was by a newspaper stand and was trying to get me to look at something. We all hurried over.
He pointed at the top of the National paper.
“What is it?”
“Look at the date.”
I read the masthead three times before I stood up and repeated the date to Karen and the other kids.
“August 9, 1992.”
One of the stories caught my eye and read it aloud: “25th Olympic Summer games closes in Barcelona, Spain. Canada brings home 18 medals: 7 gold, 4 silver and 7 bronze.”
Karen said, “What’s going on Terry. That can’t be right.”
I checked another paper next to it and it had the same date. They looked new and real and it turned out that they were real. We were the ones who have traveled back in time.
So we were stuck back 15 years without money (our cash was all too new to use and all our electronic cards were not due to be of any use for many years) or a home. We tried to find the path and the off ramp again but without success: it seemed to have vanished after we used it. We found the field above the highway but there was no car or stairs down a tunnel there and the highway was much smaller.
We couldn’t go and see anyone we knew since I was afraid of changing time and causes irreversible problems. Science fiction had warned of the consequences and I believed them. So we had to wait out our 15 year sentence.
Of course, once we had found jobs and had the kids in schools under assumed names we soon recovered. In fact Karen and I were making some fairly savvy investments. Almost like we knew what the future had in store. After 5 years we didn’t need to work at all. Our investments were more than enough to live on.
Finally we made our way back to the field in 2007 and watched our former selves walk down the tunnel and disappear on the path to the past. We got in the car and returned home. We all looked very different of course and had to be careful who we told our crazy story to.
But with enough money we were able to smooth the way. And, of course, such an experience makes your family much closer and tight knit if it survives. And we did! Of course Em had married and JB and Justin were both at University but that’s another dream.