“A Voice From the Future” by Matthew L. Myers

October 14, 2016

A whisper – run – his eyes open from the dream. He rolls over and looks at his wife sleeping next to him. He kisses her on the forehead and gets out of bed.

In his garage he has built a radio-machine to communicate with himself in the future. He flips the switch, a green light blinks. Nothing.

He presses a button. October the fourteenth, two-thousand and sixteen he says. You are here. I have no memory of this message so I know the experiment has not begun to work yet.

His wife comes up behind him and wraps her arms around him. He shuts the machine down.

Bad dream he says.

What about?

Same as usual.

Voices from the future?

Not voices. Voice. My voice.

You hear yourself from the future?

Yes.

And what do you say to yourself?

I keep repeating the same message. Run…run.

Why would you tell yourself that?

He looks up at her. I don’t know.

October 18, 2016

He flips the light on in the garage. The machine sits, cold and lifeless. He gives it life. This time it’s different. A red light. He flips a switch next to the light.

A voice from the machine. His voice. October thirty-first, two thousand and sixteen. Chicago wins the World Series.

October 31, 2016

He had placed a bet on the World Series after he received the message. He won enough money so that he would never have to work again. Happy Halloween.

November 4, 2016

He sits staring at the machine. Waiting. He now remembers every message he has sent from this moment to the time he turned the machine on for the first time. It has truly worked. When would his next message come? It has been thirteen months since he first switched the machine on. Perhaps he won’t get another message for another year. The light turns from green to red. He flips the switch.

She doesn’t love you anymore. She says you’re in love with your machine.

November 7, 2016

Staring at the ceiling lying in bed. His wife is asleep next to him. He turns to her.

Sweetie. Sweetie. She opens her eyes slightly.

Sweetheart?

What’s wrong? Are you okay?

I don’t know. He waits and then asks, do you love me?

What? Of course I do. Why would you ask?

I don’t know.

What’s going on?

It’s nothing. Go back to sleep.

November 8, 2016

He walks into the garage carrying a cup of coffee. The machine’s lights show that it is alive. Green light. Red light. He flips the switch.

She doesn’t love you. She’s seeing someone else.

She brushes her teeth and spits in the sink. When she rises he is standing in the door way. Shit. You scared the shit out of me. She rinses her mouth out.

Are you seeing someone else?

She spits the water out. What?

Are you seeing someone else?

What is wrong with you lately?

Why won’t you answer me?

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

You’re not seeing anyone?

Not that I know of.

Not that you know of?

What has gotten into you?

He looks at her. I don’t know. I’m sorry.

Are you sick?

No, I’m fine. Do I look sick?

Maybe you should go to bed.

Maybe I should go to bed.

November 14, 2016

Early morning, still dark. He wakes up from another nightmare. She sleeps sound.

He flips the machine on.

Green.

Damn light.

Damn Machine.

Flips the switch. His voice comes through the speaker.

Kill her before she kills you.

Kills me, he asks himself.

He goes back into the bedroom and looks at her sleeping there calm.

Are you going to kill me, he whispers. Should I kill you first?

November 21, 2016

The voice came through once today.

This is your fault. Can’t kill her. Destroy the machine.

He doesn’t destroy it. He sends a message. Kill her before she kills you.

November 28, 2016

He hasn’t heard anything from the machine since the last message. Can’t kill her. Destroy the machine. He knows that if he doesn’t hear anything it’s because she has killed him. He can change that. He knows he must kill her to save himself.

He lays his head on the machine. I can’t destroy you. He sends a message. She doesn’t love you anymore. She says you’re in love with your machine.

The phone rings. He goes and answers it. A man’s voice.

A man’s voice? Asking for his wife?

Who is this? The voice goes silent.

Wrong number. Click.

Hello?

Hello?

He sends a message to himself. She doesn’t love you. She’s seeing someone else.

He sits at the kitchen table. Waiting for her to get home. The gun sits in front of him. He circles his finger around the gun.

She opens the front door and walks into the kitchen. She drops the grocery sacks when she sees him sitting there with the gun aimed at her. She steps back.

Don’t move. She stops.

What are you doing?

Who is he?

Who?

He called here today. Does he not know you’re married?

Who are you talking about?

The man that you’re seeing.

Please, put the gun down.

He stands up and walks closer to her. He puts the gun to her forehead.

Why did you do it? What were planning? Were you going to kill me?

Why would I kill you?

I don’t know. Why would you? My money?

You’re acting crazy.

Did you ever love me?

She crouches lower to the ground and backs into a corner.

Did you ever love me, he yells.

She shakes her head. He presses the gun hard against her head but then raises it and slams it down on her. She slumps to the floor. He leans down and checks her to make sure she’s okay. What have you done? What have I done, he asks himself. He drops the gun and gets up and leaves her alone in the kitchen.

He comes into the garage. The machine sits there staring back at him.

You did this to me. He goes up to the machine and presses the button.

This is your fault. Can’t kill her. Destroy the machine.

He shuts down the machine, grabs a sledgehammer and begins to take his frustrations out on the deviant device.

He doesn’t hear the gunshot. He doesn’t feel the bullet hit him in the back. He feels numb as he falls to the cold concrete. He sees her standing in the doorframe.

She walks up to him. How did you know?

He gasps for air.

Wheezing.

Waiting for his messages to become clear.