This is a short I wrote for a writing prompt from reddit. In it, a man travels back in time to save the world. Unbeknownst to him, multiverse is in effect.
Shouts came from the radio. Voices were drowned out with static and gunfire. Gunshots were replaced with screams and the liquid sound of flesh ripping. Color drained from David’s face and he motioned for Dillan to check the window. He raised his binoculars. A moving wall of zombies had breached the perimeter. He lowered his binoculars and swore as he raced down the stairs. “We got a horde coming!”
“How big?” David asked.
“Looks like over a thousand.” Dillan panted. “Twins are dead.”
“Shit.” Sharon typed faster on the keyboard. “Almost done.”
“Take your time.” David patted Sharon on the shoulder. “It won’t do us any good if we send him to the ice age.”
“I still don’t know about this,” Dillan said. “Nobody has ever been documented to travel through time. What if it just disintegrates me?”
“We’re all about to die anyway,” David said.
Machinery hummed and golden light emitted from the metallic arcs. Dillan took a deep breath. “Are you two coming?”
“We’ll be right behind you,” David said.
Metal warped and slammed as the door was thrust open. Zombies poured into the relatively small room. David and Dillan fired into the crowd, and a few fell. Many more were coming. David gestured to the portal. “Go now!”
“Not without you.”
David kicked Dillan into the chest so that he stumbled backward. He barely caught himself before he fell into the white portal light.
“You are the only one with access to the Z virus.” David blew off a zombie’s head just before he was tackled by a dozen more. Horrible screams interrupted his speech. “You are the only one that can fix this mess!”
Dillan looked to Sharon, and she shook her head. “I need to manually shut off the portal, or else they’d follow you through, and the whole thing starts all over again.”
A tear fell from Dillan’s eye as he stepped into the portal. It felt like he had fallen into an ice cold lake and squeezed through a narrow tunnel. Almost as soon as the feeling started, it was gone. Flourescent lights illuminated his old office. It had been months since he’d last seen it, and the last time was when the plaster was peeling off the walls and lights hung from the ceiling.
People walked in the hall as if there never was an apocalypse. Heels clicked on the tile as Sharon approached, and her eyes went wide as she looked at Dillan. This was an earlier version of her – one who hadn’t seen the entire world destroyed. One who didn’t have her family turn into ravenous monsters and come after her. “What the hell happened to you?!”
“Long story.” Dillan sat in his chair and logged into his computer. It was only slightly difficult to remember his old password.
“I just saw you leave for lunch five minutes ago.” Sharon looked Dillan up and down. The other Dillan would undoubtedly be wearing a suit for office wear instead of the torn, dirty, and ragged clothes he was wearing. Blood from various people stained the fabric. Dirt and sweat caked onto his body, and it had been months since his last shower. “How did this happen?”
“Long story.” He searched for the Z Project and deleted every file associated with the project. He typed a few more keys, and he watched the lab robots load the Z serum into the furnace to disintegrate it.
“What are you doing?!” Sharon rushed to the window and watched the apocalypse she’d never know be erased. “This is your life’s work!”
“Not anymore.” Dillan typed into the computer to send the memo that all work on Project Z was to stop immediately. All the researchers would be at lunch, and the specimen zombies were held in containment. One push of a button, and they’d all be bathed in fire and reduced to ash. Dillan leaned back in his chair as he imagined every zombie in the future disappearing in a smoke of paradox.
Sharon watched her boyfriend seemingly disintegrate as soon as he hit the portal light. As soon as he was gone, she hit the killswitch. Light dissipated just as a pair of zombies were about to lunge into it.
“Come on, any second now.” Sharon whispered to herself. “Any second, the timelines will merge. He won. He’s alive, Sharon.”
Stench of death approached Sharon, and all she could do was make herself smaller in the seat. A dozen pair of hands grabbed and pulled on her clothes. She braced for it all to end, and she told herself Dillan fixed everything. The first bite didn’t even phase her; she knew that reality would snap back. Any minute, she’d be in a soft bed with Dillan by her side. As the Z virus aggression started to overpower her mind, she realized that Dillan had failed. The time machine disintegrated him, as it had disintegrated everything else. Using the last of her strength, she reached into her jacket pocket to pull the pin on her grenade.