Based on a news article about a hundred year old wedding cake a man discovered in his garage.
I dusted myself off and steadied myself on a table – a workbench? – as the soporific effects of time travel receded. Had I returned to my own century at last? Gazing at my surroundings, I noticed an elegant coach in a brilliant red, unlike any I had ever seen. No place to attach a harness, so I was still in the future, although not so far as I had just been, which was the chaotic thirtieth century. This place was more advanced than my home in the late nineteenth century. Maybe twentieth century. I looked at my thirtieth century clothing and wondered what dress was acceptable in this new time, and there was no way to find out other than observation.
I tried the handle of a door, and it yielded to my touch. The weather was pleasant: blue skies, still. Definitely before the late twenty-first century. I saw grass, flowers, paved roads, indicating they were still using vehicles that touched the ground. I peeked around the corner, and noticed children playing on some kind of board with wheels attached. Not wanting to frighten them, I crept behind a bush to observe them, before making first contact- the most dangerous part of insertion into a new time.
The children shouted and called to one another. The English was recognizable to a point, with local slang I could not comprehend. They wore short pants, simple tops with short sleeves, and many different designs on them. Their shoes looked dirty but colorful.
I returned to the building. I almost always had to steal clothing, when first arriving in a new time. Boxes of a familiar plastic material stood organized on shelves. I poked in one after the other. Christmas ornaments. Blankets. Ah, here were some clothes, too warm for the weather, but they would have to do. I rifled through the box and picked out long pants with stretchy waist, and a man's shirt. There were no suitable shoes, though, so I kept going through the boxes. In one, I found a small booklet, a journal, and a round hat box such as women used in my own time. It triggered a wave of homesickness in me so intense, that I fell to my knees, weeping, then gently picked up the hat box and lifted the lid.
All my skin prickled. It was my wedding cake from a hundred years ago. I opened the booklet and read my inscription to my wife, Inez, whom I had married a year before I made the catastrophic decision to try Doctor Quentin’s cursed time machine. The cake was rock-hard. How had it survived all these years? I returned it to the box and replaced the lid. Was I home? Just in the wrong time? I had to meet the people who lived here, possibly my descendants. After changing into the clothes I had found, I ventured outside. My heart was pounding as I walked to the front door of the house and knocked, glad the pants were long enough to hide my brilliant purple and silver shoes.
The door opened, and a man said, “Hello.” He looked at me sideways. “You look familiar. I think I’ve met you before, haven’t I? But I can’t think of your name.
“Are you Mr. Lennox?” I asked.
“In a way we’ve met. I’m your great grandfather, Jules Lennox.”