The Loop: Part One – by Muzzy Iqbal

My name is Jason. As of right now, I am fourteen years old to date on June 17th, 2046. I’m writing this to prove my mother wrong. My mother is a history teacher at my school, and she believes the world will end next week. Apparently my dad, neighbors, other teachers, and pretty much everyone else for that matter think so, too. I think there will be survivors… I hope there will be survivors. That is, if everyone’s theory is correct. I still don’t want to believe it. Having the human race end up like the dinosaurs would be a tragic fate, and I don’t know about anyone else, but I am not in favor for it. Now… how do I explain this? Well, apparently when I was born, scientists  found something odd about a meteor that had constantly been approaching Earth.  They had always seen it drawing near, and were pretty sure it was only going to pass by. It was only that something had changed its trajectory towards our planet when I was born— they’re guessing another meteor hit it, but it could be anything. No one knew that at 3:54 on that Wednesday afternoon in 2032, we were all doomed. I do know one thing though, and that is my family and I won’t be here when it happens. This is why I’m leaving this journal; in the hopes that someone, someday, will find it. Maybe even me.

June 18th, 2046- Everyone has been in hysterics this past year in preparation. “Preparation for what?” you might ask. Well, the same scientists who found the meteor put their heads together to make the first time machines. I know, right? Time machines: the impossible idea that we can travel back in time to any given day in history. That was the issue, though— It could only go to the past. The need for humanity to carry on reached its peak, and so did the intelligence of some our most brilliant minds for the time being. Some brave scientists opted for staying to see what happens when the meteor hits, and others decided to hide in bunkers to improve the time travel technology that will move forward. As of now, no one knew much else about these machines, but we’ll find out soon enough. My mom miraculously got us tickets to go to the past. Being the history major she is, she told me to brush up on my early 21st century knowledge because we were traveling back to 2000. Despite how amazing this all is, I’m afraid. I’m afraid of leaving my friends. How will I make new friends in 2000? Or are they considered “old friends”? How will I fit in?

We got a packet in the mail today telling us about how life was forty years ago. There were no tablets, smartphones, smart watches. TV was really fuzzy, too, and everyone dressed funny. America was different back then… and no one made the right choices.

June 19th, 2046- We got some packages today, containing new IDs for when we go back. My new name in 2000 will be Matthew Stark. I got to keep my birth date, but my birth year was changed to 1988. They gave me a new social security number and other  tips on how to stay ahead in 2000.  There’s not much to talk about.

June 20th, 2046- Mom has been more religious lately; she’s been praying in her room a lot. It seems that recently, more people have turned to their faith. Several months ago, Italy went so far as to give up 31 miles of land to the Vatican. Almost every devout Catholic has traveled there to live out the rest of their days since the tickets for the time machines are expensive. There were many donations to make this happen since Italy went into a recession 20 years ago, given by wealthy Catholics to the most populous catholic countries.

It seems as though every major religion has made a final call to their followers. The Jewish faith has called for all Jews to come live in Jerusalem. Mecca has been expanding for a decade now. Nearly a hundred miles of desert have been converted to a Muslim utopia. This was a collective effort of the five top Muslim countries, mostly thanks to Saudi Arabia. The Holy Land has seen an immense increase in population since 2032. It’s only when he’s needed most that God becomes relevant to the world again. I still ponder over how mom got the tickets.

June 21st, 2046- 48 hours. In 48 hours the Reynolds family will be the Stark family, living in a duplex in Manchester, New Hampshire on June 22nd, 2000. Chills run down my spine as I record this. Mother checked the numbers this morning— out of 10.8 billion people on this Earth, only 1.5 million are expected to travel back in time. Here’s what frightens me more: We’re all not going back to the same year. The wealthiest donors to the time machine research and production teams got to pick their own decades to go back to. Many of them chose to go back to the 1910s and 1920s. Keep in mind, these donors are all old. Half of them are in their 80s. Why would they want to go back 130 years? My best guess would be for the music. My mother loved to talk about the music back then before she was even born. They called it “The Big Band Era”, apparently. Jazz was very popular and many famous musicians came from that period in time. Maybe the donors wanted to end their lives in style.

As for us, mom got our tickets very late, so we had to take whatever year was available. It just so happened that we were being sent back to the cut off for reverse time travel. The good news is that for every group in each decade, there is a scientist accompanying them. Although, how will they communicate?

June 23rd, 2046- The car ride to the time machine facility was hectic. The procrastinators had begun to riot and loot when we left the city. I saw smoke rising higher and higher from the ballpark in the mirror as we drove farther and farther into the distance. Mom was praying again.

45 minutes later we arrived in Boston. The facility was packed; militarized. There were guards at every corner, rifles in hand, ready to shoot any trespassers, and they had already done so. There were plethoras of bodies surrounding the fence—a crowd stood in silence behind the motionless corpses, watching; waiting.

We stopped at the gate, and Dad waving our authorization passes in the window to show the military we were here for the trip. A scientist walked over to our car and gave my dad a bag with necessities for when we went back. Tonight, we are to sleep in the barracks. Tomorrow we will go back through 46 years of history.

June 24th, 2046- Today’s the day, only 5 hours to go. I woke up to a huge surprise— my grandparents also got tickets! They’re going back further than us; the 1990s. Grunge, punk rock, and EDM awaits them. Some nurses came into our tent a few minutes ago and gave us the proper shots to last longer when we go back. I read that H1N1 was a terrible illness.

2:00 PM-  We have an hour left before our departure. The next time I write in this journal I’ll be in a home in 2000 Manchester, NH. I can feel the butterflies in my stomach already. Wish me luck. This will be the last time I’ll write as Jason Reynolds. For me, tomorrow is an old day.

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