Exclusive! Short Story Prequel from My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons

Exclusive! Short Story Prequel from My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons

My Best Friend Is a Time Traveller

I had been in bed a few minutes when my Batman lamp flickered into life, throwing the familiar bat-shaped signal on to the low ceiling. I looked over at Zack’s side of the room to see if it had woken him. He was curled up under his boring non-superhero themed duvet, fast asleep. No surprise. My brother could probably sleep through the end of the world.

Suddenly, the wardrobe wobbled, the doors flew open and a figure stumbled out. My yell of surprise caught in my throat.

Puzzled as to what had triggered the lamp, I cuddled into my toy rabbit and looked around the shadowy bedroom. You might think that a seven-year-old ought to have outgrown the cuddly toy stage, but Babbit and I went way back. Suddenly, the wardrobe wobbled, the doors flew open and a figure stumbled out. My yell of surprise caught in my throat. As he walked into the light I saw his face clearly for the first time.

“Serge, what are you doing in my wardrobe?” It was my best friend, but something wasn’t right about him. He looked older, which was impossible, of course.

His wild eyes homed in on me. “It worked. I am actually here. In the past.”

“What are you on about?”

“Luke, what do you know about time travel?”

“That it never makes sense. Not in comics, movies or books.” I clutched my rabbit. “Now, are you going to tell me why you were hiding in my wardrobe?”

“I was not. Hiding, that is.” He took a deep breath. “I have come from the future.”

Most people when presented with a statement like this would roll their eyes and make some sarcastic comment like, “So in the future do we all have jetpacks and talking dogs?”

Not me.

I’d been waiting my whole life for something like this to happen. All seven years. Minus the ones when I didn’t know about time travel.

“I come from six years in the future,” Serge went on. “You sent me back here, to warn you.”

That made perfect sense, since two Lukes couldn’t risk meeting in the same time-stream – that was basic quantum mechanics. And whatever was going on had to be serious because in comics future selves don’t fire their best friends through wormholes-in-time for nothing.

“So what does Future Luke want to warn me about?”

“In a few years from now you will be living in another house. And it will have a garden with a tree house where you do your homework.”

“That seems unlikely,” I said. “The homework bit, I mean.”

“One night you will be in the tree house with Zack and you will feel an urgent call of nature.”

“You mean I’ll need a wee?”

He nodded. “Hold. It. In. No matter how much you want to go for that wee, do not. You must be in the tree house during those five minutes if you want to get sup…”

All he’s said so far is some boring stuff about going to the toilet and soup.

“Soup? Why would I want soup?”

Serge had tailed off, distracted by a noise coming from the wardrobe.

“Stop!” There was the jangle of clashing clothes hangers and then a girl stepped out. She looked a little older than Serge.

“Uh, who are you?” I asked.

“My name is Lara Lee. You don’t know me yet, but in two years and ten months you and I will become friends. Exactly one month and fourteen days after that you will borrow my Uniball Gelstick pen with a 9mm tip, triggering a series of events that almost bring about the end of the world.”

“That must be some pen.”

She nodded. “It is. Was. Will be.”

Serge stared at her in confusion. “I thought we agreed that I was the one who would come back and tell him.”

“Serge, I’m not from your time-stream. I’m the Lara from seven years in the future. I’ve come back to stop you from telling him.”

“Telling me what?! All he’s said so far is some boring stuff about going to the toilet and soup.”

Lara turned to me with a grave expression. “In my future, what Serge tells you in this room tonight brings the world to the brink of destruction. Again.”

There was a grumble from Zack’s side of the room as he rolled over in bed, but thankfully remained asleep.

Serge sighed. “Your future self said that the plan was simple: go back in time, change the past, wait for the ripples to catch up. Get superpowers. Win.”

I sat up. “Get superpowers?”

Lara threw up her hands. “Serge!”

He made a face. “Sorry.”

When not waiting for time travellers from the future I spent my life dreaming of becoming a superhero. Tonight, it seemed that was in my grasp. Sure, I didn’t want to bring about the end of the world, but on the other hand, superpowers!

“So all I have to do is not go for a wee four years from now?” This was amazing.

“This is bad,” said Lara, shaking her head. “You can’t become a superhero, it will change everything. And not for the better. What are we going to do?”

“GREETINGS, LUKE PARKER OF EARTH,” boomed a voice.

It took me a moment to realise that the voice was coming from my toy rabbit. I held up her grey fuzzy body and gazed into her button eyes.

“MY NAME IS ZORBON THE DECIDER. I AM COMMUNICATING WITH YOU ACROSS THE GULF OF TIME AND SPACE THROUGH THIS VESSEL.”

“She’s called Babbit.”

Zorbon cleared his throat. “THROUGH THIS BABBIT.” One ear flopped over her eye and Babbit brushed it aside with a paw. “NOW IS NOT YOUR TIME. ALL MUST BE AS IT WAS.”

A wave of dizziness washed over me. Babbit’s eyes were black pools of endless time. Through hazy vision I glimpsed Serge and Lara step back into the wardrobe. I felt sleepy. Someone yawned, and I realised that it was me. This Zorbon guy had zapped me with some memory-wipe power through my own toy rabbit – the cheek! Tonight’s strange events were slipping away fast. I struggled to hang on to them. Superpowers … super… powers … sup… Soup. It was no use. With a heavy heart, I knew I couldn’t fight it. I would forget it all. From the other side of the room I heard Zack cough in his sleep. Well at least there was one consolation. I wouldn’t become a superhero, but neither would my brother. That would just be the worst…

THE END