DON’T DO IT • by Rosalie Kempthorne

Trevor walked out of the office with a spring in his step. Why not? It was lunch time, the sun was shining, and he was having a great day. The blonde girl from the fourth floor had definitely smiled at him today in the lift. His morning coffee had been hot, sweet and spicy. In the team meeting he’d been able to correct Hamish Dappleby’s figures in front of half the office. Poor Hamish had been left red-faced and fuming, his eyes stabbing and his mouth clamped down in a hard line, with nothing to say. If ever a silence had been golden…

And now Trevor walked across the square, stopping to glance at tufts of summer flowers just newly opened this week. A ring of pink-purple-yellow surrounded the square. There were kids playing around the fountain; older kids with their jeans rolled up and their legs dipped up to the knees. A girl in a red cap was juggling; her sequined shoes continually caught the sunlight and winked brightly at the corner of his eye.

All around him food stalls were open for business; and his stomach appreciated the fact that he could choose between Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Indian, Hungarian; along with half a dozen other options. They all smelt mouth-watering.

All-in-all a great day to be alive.

As he headed across the grass his eyes were drawn to an odd pair, standing off to one side. He couldn’t quite decide what it was that was odd about them — a small man and a tall one. They both had a similarly odd haircut, longer on one side than the other and crudely layered. They wore matching sets of grey trousers reinforced around the knees, and matching jackets that the world might never be ready for. Their furtive, cautious glances at passersby made them blend in even less.

It was with resignation that he realised they were coming his way.

Still, good manners never hurt anyone. “Hi there.” He held his hand up in a half-wave.

Tall-man approached him. “Trevor Kipsley?”

Cautiously: “That’s me.”

“I need you to stop whatever it is you’re doing.”


The small one chimed in, “This is imperative. You stand in danger of destroying the world.”

Again: “Huh?”

The tall one stepped in again. “Allow me to explain. My colleague and I are from the future. And it’s a grim future. You would not want to live in it. But with your help we can change all that.”

“My help?” He felt as if he should be looking around to see who they were talking to behind him.

“We’ve traced the timelines, Mr Kipsley. We’ve checked them and double-checked them. This is the pivotal point. It’s the moment that changes it all. Whatever you intend on doing next is going to make or break the future.”

Trevor was dumbfounded. “But I was just trying to decide whether to have a hot-dog or a burrito for lunch.”

Tall-man looked him in the eye: “Choose carefully.”

Rosalie Kempthorne has no idea what it takes to write a good Author Bio, and all her previous attempts have so far come to nothing. She has much better luck writing stories. You can read more of her short stories on 365 Tomorrows, ABC Tales, or on her website:

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