Carriage into the Future (Flash Fiction)

I only wanted to stay home with my cat; time moved too fast as it was. But I was only eight, so of course no one listened to my protests. They forced me into the carriage, told me to tie my bonnet tight. Time travel gets windy, they said, so hold on to the rail so tight your knuckles turn white or you might fall out, and who knows where you might end up, maybe Armageddon or a new Ice Age. The horses, already glowing bright green from the tonic, made me feel like I was in a scary dream. They were chomping at the bit and snorting; they seemed angry not to be in the future yet. They would need to be angry, my dad said, to take us where we wanted to go. “And where is that?” I asked. 

He said, “No one knows the future, my dear, whether it comes fast or slow. We are just going to go fast, really fast, faster than you can say your name. We want to see dramatic, all-at-once changes, not the tiny changes of a single lifetime where no one really sees them happening. We want our days to whoosh, not creep, to roar, not whisper. No one truly lives who lives a life that crawls, and no one ever sees its meaning until it is too late. I have vowed to never let the dull march of moments lull me into pre-death slumber, which is what happens to the time-crawling sort; it has happened to everyone I know. 

“I have always lived life on the edge,  always flying into the headwinds of change; time is no different. The future is coming no matter what I do, so instead of waiting for it, I am going to give it a nice surprise; I am going to fly into it, make its passage gale force, let its winds thrash the hair off my scalp.”

“But father,” I said, “please calm down. Maybe I want to take things slow, maybe I want to live a life of moments, pull petals off flowers, stare at clouds. Maybe I like my changes in baby steps. I just did my hair and maybe I would rather not be in all that gale-force time wind, maybe I want to keep my hair just where it is, on my scalp, where I like it.”

“Then tie your bonnet tight,” he said. Then he snapped the reigns and we were off! 

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