First I timidly knocked. When there was no answer, I entered reluctantly. The cabin was roomier inside than it appeared. I announced my presence several more times to no response. A modest table in the middle of the room had a large stack of leather bound notebooks on it. Several markers were inserted within the pages; presumably to allow quick access to information the pages contained.
I assumed the owner had temporarily stepped outside and decided to wait for them to return. While seated at the table, a few of the handwritten place holders caught my eye. The writing on them was strangely familiar but at first I put that thought aside. I was trying not to snoop when it dawned on me that the unknown author made his cursive loops just like I do. Besides that highly unusual writing trait, the rest of his penmanship also bore a striking resemblance to my own. I felt a strange compulsion to peek inside the cover of the top notebook.
The top page of the stranger’s journal began like a science fiction novel and discussed fantastic things in a matter-of-fact way. Even more curious was the fact that it was written as if the whole thing was addressed directly to me! I became engrossed in the story and was several pages into it when it occurred to me that I was being incredibly rude by invading someone else’s privacy.
I tried to occupy my mind with other things but the owner’s writing was so compelling that it kept luring me back. While eyeing the door for signs of his immanent return, I continued to sneak views of his compelling tale. The more I read, the more it seemed hauntingly familiar. Flashes of past experiences tried to wrench themselves back into my conscious mind. I tried to ignore the deja vu, and to continue reading the pages. The writer explained that he created a timeless vacuum where he was permanently sequestered until mankind solved the mysteries of immortality.
It was then that I reached into my back pocket and found a thick bundle of notes written by the same familiar hand. As the memories came flooding back of my past excursions and the older version of me, I finally realized the journals on the table were actually the blueprint and documentation for the mission. After being inside the vacuum long enough, it all started coming back to me. He was the guide and I was the slingshot messenger who furthered technological advancement in the world during each recoil. The only remaining question was, where was the old ‘me’? Had he left the timeless sanctuary?
A closer inspection of the old cabin answered my question. In a small room near the back wall, the guardian of knowledge had finally succumbed to old age from the slight vacuum leak. I was too late to save that version of myself. I returned back to the table and began to read from the journals of his acquired knowledge when there was a knock on the door.
“Come in and be quick about closing the door!”; I shouted to the confused young man standing in the threshold. “I know you have lots of questions. I’ll explain everything to you.”