The Crazy Dude and the Barn
A university student decides to have a chill day, but instead finds himself being taken on a wild adventure to a place he never expected to go, ever
I had so much work to do for my university dissertation, and I really should start doing it, but it was such a nice day that I managed to “persuade” myself that I deserved some chill time first, just to clear my head before getting started. I lived in the countryside and there was this nice field not far from where I lived. Nobody ever went there, making it perfect for just laying back and chilling out. I was nearly at that field now and couldn’t wait to just lie back on the nice soft grass and watch the few clouds in the sky pass overhead.
Just as I was thinking this I stepped out of the woodland and into the clearing, at which point I froze. A rather rough-looking old barn was in the centre of the field. What the hell? That had not been there yesterday or any day before that? And who would build a battered up old barn-like that?
Unless a film production was doing some filming in the region, and the farmer who owned this field had rented it to them and they had built an old barn as part of their production?
But it hadn’t been here yesterday, and surely they would not have built it overnight? Would they?
A voice call to me. “Hey there, young fellow, couldn’t come give me a hand could you?”
The voice had come from inside the barn. Part of me felt a little bit unnerved, maybe this wasn’t part of the film production, maybe it was a ghost barn?
I started laughing. A ghost barn, get real. Ghosts weren’t real. There was, without doubt, a rational explanation for this, and it was most likely the film production one.
“Hey,” said the voice of the guy again, “did you hear me there, young fellow.”
“Yep,” I said, “I will be right with you.”
I cautiously approached the barn; the main doors were slightly ajar so I pressed my hand against one of them and lent into it just enough so I could peek inside. “Hello?” I said.
“Over here, young fellow.”
I immediately located him, he was lying on the floor near the centre of the barn, one of the beams had come down and his leg was trapped underneath it. I quickly hurried over to him.
“Glad to see you, young fellow,” the guy said. “I’ve got myself in quite the pickle.”
“I’ll have you free in a second,” I said, all the while taking in his appearance which was, to say the least, odd. He had a helmet on which looked like something from the future, the metal crazy smooth, but he was dressed like you’d expect a vagrant from the old West, even down to the battered-up cowboy style boots which had holes in the toes. That settled it, this had to be linked to a film production – we were in the north of England, which was as rural England as you could get, no way would somebody be dressed up as a cowboy around here unless they were part of a film production.
“We’ll try together,” the guy said after I failed yet again to raise the beam even a millimetre. “On my count. Three, two, one.”
With every ounce of strength I had I again tried to raise the beam, the guy did the same and through our combined strength we managed to raise it a little. “That’s it, that’s it,” the guy said, “nearly there. Just a little more.”
A little more? I had nothing left to give!
“Ha,” the guy said, “that’s it, I’m out.”
He was, and so was I, out of energy. I left go of the beam and fell back. Heaven help me that was hard going. But at least the guy was free.
“That’s a relief,” the man said as I tried to find my breath.
It certainly was. “Do you need an ambulance or something?” I said.
To my surprise, he stood up, shook the leg which had been under the beam, brushed himself down and said: “No no, young fellow. No need for that. Though you wouldn’t perhaps have a smartphone on you, would you?”
“Yes of course, the reception is not very good up here, but you’re welcome to try to call someone if you need to.”
“Ah excellent, young fellow. What a star you are!”
“What is this place by the way?” I said. “Part of a film production or something?”
“No no, young fellow. Ah is that the phone. Excellent, just what I’m looking for.”
I passed him my phone, but to my astonishment he immediately started smashing it up, trying to tear the back off.
“What are you doing!” I said.
“Don’t worry, young fellow. I’ll get you a new one, I just need the chip inside first.”
Was this guy nuts? What the hell?
“Ha ha,” the man said finding what he wanted inside my phone, “you have saved the day twice over, young fellow.”
He took out God knows what from my phone, a chip of some sort, then took off his helmet, turned his back to me and did God knows what, then he put his helmet back on and nodded to himself. “That should do for now. Right, let’s go get your phone sorted.” He looked like he was about to do something, but then paused. “Just to warn you, young fellow, this may be a little bit of a bumpy ride.”
A bumpy ride, what the hell was this guy on about? I wondered if maybe he had escaped from a mental health facility, but then if that were so how did this barn get here and why would he be in it?
Just as I thought it, was about to ask for answers, a loud whirring noise flooded the air, the ground starting to vibrate.
“A little trip back to my time and we will have your phone sorted in a jiffy,” the man said.
Back to my time? What the hell?
Then it happened. I was floating, literally! Like literally floating! It was like gravity had been switched off! What in the name of God? I desperately flung my arms trying to get myself back onto the floor but it was hopeless, I had no grounding! I then saw out the window what was unmistakably space.
“Oops, that’s not good, young fellow. Seems I got the calculations wrong!”
What the hell was he on about? And what the hell was going on? “Got the calculations wrong?” I said. “What just happened? What is going on?”
“We just travelled ten thousand years into the future, but I got the coordinates for where planet Earth would be in space at this point in time wrong. It happens now and then. Troubling. How good are you at maths?”
How good was I at maths? Was he asking me that after what he had just said? And we had just travelled ten thousand years into the future? “Are you mad?” I said.
“I sense you are in a state of shock. Not unexpected, young fellow.”
He sensed I was in a state of shock? I was floating frantically in the insides of a barn which was now in space apparently ten thousand years in the future! This had to be a dream, this could not be real, I had to be lying in a field right now fast asleep! That was it, I just had to wake up. I started pinching myself, but I was not waking up! Why was I not waking up?
“Oh dear,” the man said. “Oh dear indeed.”
Oh dear? “What’s wrong?” I said still flapping aimlessly, desperately trying to get a hold of anything.
“Seems to be a black hole in the vicinity, just a little one but… hmm yes, better take that into account when we make the new calculations.”
Had he just said those words?
He had to be joking.
He was not joking. The barn doors flung open. We were being dragged into what looked like a giant planet that was made from what looked to be pure pitch-black darkness. I was no scientist, but I knew that fit the description of a black hole!
“Hmm, best leave the maths to me, young fellow. This complicates things a bit.”
Best leave the maths to him? Was he joking?
“Don’t worry, young fellow, this helmet puts the computer inside my head, makes for a much more streamlined user experience.”
What was he talking about?
“Here we go…”
Here what goes?
“Accounting for the black hole’s distortion on space-time… now… and… Perfect, hold on, young fellow!”
Hold on? Hold on to what? The loud whirring noise once again sounded, the barn started to shake though I couldn’t feel it because I was floating helplessly.
Not anymore, I suddenly crashed to the floor. And before I could even respond to what had just happened, a set of ladders came crashing down towards me.
“Not this time, young fellow,” the guy said, the ladders stopping literally inches from me and just hovering in thin air. I realised they also had nearly hit the guy. “I learn from my mistakes,” the guy said. “Never make the same mistake twice.”
I guessed he was saying whatever had just happened to us was how he had ended up under that beam in the first place.
“Right,” the guy continued, “up you get, we are going to get it right this time and get you your new phone.”
Before I could even react, the loud whirring noise sounded, the floor started to tremble.
“Ha ha,” the guy said jovially once silence had returned, “nailed it this time. Just give me a moment, young fellow.”
The guy picked up what was left of my battered phone, walked out of the barn, then returned a few moments later and handed me my phone back. It looked pristine, better than even when it had been brand-new.
“Now let’s get you back home to your time,” the guy said, and again the whirring noise sounded. “Perfect,” the guy said a moment later, “I’ve really got the hang of this now.” He offered me his hand, or rather he took my hand and shook it. “You’ve been a great help, young fellow. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
I did not know what to say.
“Alas though I must be on my way. Oh, and do remember,” the guy continued while ushering me to the doors, “if ever you create a time machine, remember that planet Earth constantly moves through space, meaning if you travel through time, you have to take into account where Earth will be in space at the point in time you wish to go to. Blows your mind that fact eh. Anyhow, off you go young fellow.”
I simply did as I was told and walked out of the barn. Once I was out, the whirring noise sounded and by the time I turned around, there was no barn. And so ended the craziest time of my life. I thought about telling people what had happened to me, but then I realised that there wasn’t a person in this world who I told who would not think me nuts.
It didn’t matter what other people thought, I knew I was not, you see he didn’t give me a like for like chip when fixing my phone, he gave me an upgrade and a helluva one at that. Even as I sat on my deathbed at the grand old age of a hundred and one, crazy how time passes, it was still faster by a good distance than any phone of my time. Which was why every time I looked at my phone, I smiled, because I was reminded of the time I went to space with some crazy dude in his time travelling barn.
Written as an entry for the SFS 1: Old Barn challenge.
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