Brai was getting old. Not too old to live longer. Only his past could help him do that.
Brai sat up in his Sleeper screaming. He looked over at his full-length adjustable image duplicator to see he was old. His white hair was starting to get a little bit gray. At seventy-two he should be starting to get old, but he looked a whole lot older than that.
Taen, Brai’s younger sister by three years came running into Brai’s Sleeping Room. “What happened?”
“Can’t you see? I’m getting older by the second.”
At five feet five and about a hundred and fifty pounds, it was hard for Taen to hold up Brai as they walked out of his residence. They were headed for a slightly hovering transport that was shaking almost as much as they were.
“There is only one possible way to live longer,” said Taen. After she put Brai in the right side of that transport and got into other side.
“Why is this place called the Opening in Time?” Brai asked when they stopped in front of a large opening into the side of a mountain.
Taen kept helping Brai stay on his shaky feet. “Because it’s an opening into someone’s past. If you want to keep on living, you need to go into your past to do it.”
“Are you sure that’s the only way that I can keep on living?” Brai asked.
After walking into the Opening in Time a light gray fog appeared everywhere. When they stepped out of that opening, they were in front of a residence. Brai’s smile said he liked what he was looking at. Brai still looked very old, but he wasn’t quite as old as he did before he went into the Opening in time.
Brai wasn’t walking with any help anymore. “I’m sixty-nine. It has only been three years, but I remember this place.”
Closing his eyes as tight as he could, Brai looked away from a small Death Chamber. “Why did the Time Fog bring me here? I haven’t been here since the love of my life died five years ago.”
Taen didn’t close her eyes, but she did turn her head away too. “I don’t want to be here either. Looking at her like this makes me remember how I was the one who saw them kill her.”
“I like this part of my past,” said Brai. “Wish they could all be like this.”
Brai couldn’t take his eyes off a baby girl lying in her mother’s arms. “My first third generation little girl. Her birth is something that I’m never going to forget.”
Suddenly, Brai stopped staring. He started looking around that Healthcare room. “I’m sixty-four, and I’m here. Where is Jaka? He should be here for the birth of his girl.”
At sixty-one, Brai was starting to lose his white hair. He still had a little gray, but it was hard to see. Taen could see it only when she and Brai almost knocked heads as they looked at a large residence in front of them. “I remember this part of my past. It was about eleven years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday.”
“I remember this residence too,” said Taen. “It was also one of my favorites.”
“Lived in a whole lot of places like this all over Yoonell,” said Brai as he slowly looked around that military base full of people. People just like him right now. At fifty-eight, he still looked good in a military uniform.
Taen was standing next to Brai. Only she wasn’t wearing military clothing. “I remember places like this too. Even though, I wasn’t in too many of them. The ones I have been at all looks exactly like this one.”
Brai and Taen walked out of the Time Fog into a business. They slowly look around that room. “I remember this time in my past. I’m fifty-five, and this was the day I got a whole lot more responsibility. It’s a day I will never forget.”
“We will never forget that day either,” said Taen. “Everyone in the family was so proud of you. Especially, me. I’m probably the proudest one of them all.”
“No, not again. This is even worse than when Reanin was killed,” said fifty-two-year-old Brai while looking at the death of a young girl about thirteen laying on a floating metal Sleeper next to several other occupied Sleepers in a very dark room with only a little bit of light there.
Brai couldn’t stopped staring at his Youngest One. Taen couldn’t stop doing it either. “A death of a child is the worst thing that can happen to anyone.”
“By the time I was forty-nine, I had lived all over Yoonell. There probably wasn’t any part of it I hadn’t lived in,” said Brai. Brai sat on a small hill overlooking a large business area with about fifty businesses below him.
Taen sat next to Brai on that hill. She pointed at one of those business. “Isn’t that where you worked?”
“I did,” answered Brai. “Didn’t work there for very long, though. About a month if I remember correctly.”
“I remember this residence,” said Brai. “It’s one of the places that I don’t want to remember. We were kind of poor at that time in my life. I was forty-six, and because of an accident I hadn’t been able to work in almost a year. It was another two years before I could go back to work.”
Taen was standing next to Brai as they looked at an old residence. “I remember this part of your past too.”
Brai stepped behind a large tree at the edge of a Wooded Area seconds before he was seen by himself at forty-three. After Brai peeked around that tree, he quickly stopped trying to do it when he saw himself coming out of the residence, they were next to. “This is the fourth time I have almost been seen by myself.”
“I don’t understand why I can’t travel there directly,” said Brai. “Why do I need to do it this way?”
“At forty-one, I shouldn’t be feeling this bad. I think that there is something very wrong with me,” said Brai.
Taen looked at the Health Monitors that surrounded the head of Brai who was lying on a hovering Sleeper. “Has the Healthcare Professional said what’s wrong with you?”
“Not yet,” said Brai. “She is supposed to tell me what it is any time now.”
Just then Nian came into that room. “What I have to tell you isn’t good.”
Brai slowly looked around what was left of a residence. It appeared to have burned down a very long time ago. “I may have only been thirty-eight when this happened, but I remember it. Just don’t remember how it happened. Did I, do it? If so, why did I destroy our residence?”
“I don’t think you did it,” answered Taen. “Don’t know who did do it. All anyone did know was that there were seven died because of it.”
“Why am I only traveling back in time two or three years at a time?” Brai asked.
Taen stood beside Brai at thirty-five as they looked at another residence. Only that one was at the top of a long busy street corner. “I’m not sure why we are doing it like this, but I think it’s because the Time Fog can’t read our minds or see our requests. It can only send someone back a few years at a time.”
“I want to go see one of my favorite locations while I’m here. Haven’t seen it in almost thirty-two years. Yes, I know that I only have a week before the Time Fog returns to send us to our next location.”
Never said you couldn’t go anywhere that you want to go,” said Taen as she and Brai were walking down a very busy business street. “This is your past. I’m only here to help you.”
Brai and Taen walked out of the Time Fog into a Wooded Area. They stopped and started looking around. “I want to know how old I am now.”
Taen removed a small Image Duplicator from her lower side and handed it to Brai. Brai looked at himself. “It looks like I’m about twenty-nine.”
As Brai handed the Image Duplicator back to Taen, she looked at them. “You ask me to do this every time you don’t know where we are.”
“I know everything I do I could be changing my future, but I haven’t changed anything I know of so far. At least I don’t think I have,” said Brai.
“There is only one thing I want to change, and that is to keep me living longer. I’m twenty-seven right now. That means I’m not too far from where I need to change what needs changing,” said Brai as he and Taen walked into the Time Fog.
Brai tried to get out of his Sleeper in Healthcare, but he doubled over in screaming pain as he fell to the level of that room. “I’m only twenty-four. I can’t be having heart problems.”
Taen and Nian helped him to return to his Sleeper. “I don’t understand it either, but you are having heart problems. That’s why you need to stay so that I can find out why you are having them at your age.”
“I remember this residence,” said Brai. It was one of my favorite places to live on Yoonell. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there very long. I was about twenty-one when I left there.”
Brai continued to walk around that empty residence with Taen beside him. “You have never gotten this close to yourself before. Why are you doing it now.”
“Because there is no risk of me meeting myself. I wasn’t the only one who had to leave here. We all did.”
“This place looks the same as it did when I first came here when I was nineteen. It was right after I left my home residence. I wondered around Yoonell for about three years before I found this place.” Brai stopped looking around what was left of those Wooden Residences.
Taen couldn’t stop staring at that place. “Look at it. Are you sure this isn’t where you got your Aging Advancement?”
Brai smiled as he looked at himself in an Image Duplicator. “I’m sixteen. This is our favorite location when we were Younger Ones. The last time I was here was when I was sixteen. That’s why I’m sure that this is where I got my Aging Advancement.”
“If that’s true, any idea what it was or where it’s at?” Taen asked.
“Don’t know the answer to those questions yet,” said Brai. “I do know the answers are here somewhere.”
Walking toward a large body of water, Brai suddenly stopped. “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I think this body of water is the reason for my Aging Advancement. Something in the water here is causing it.”
“Why do you think that way?” Taen asked.
“Almost from the time we were born we have done everything together. The only thing that we haven’t done together is play in the water here. Only I have done that.”
Just after getting out of the water, Taen stopped Brai. “Have you found out what is causing your Aging Advancement in the future? Only a couple of days left before the Time Fog returns.”
Brai smiled. “Don’t think the Time Fog will return.”
“What about the Aging Advancement? If you can’t find out why you got it, what are you going to do?” Taen asked.
“We won’t have any choice but to relive our life again,” answered Brai. “Only this time we already know what it will be.”
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