Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | June 7, 2009

Seaweed Bait


This is based on my novel in progress, The Seaweed Solution. Only I’m writing this scene as if the person reading it knows nothing about the rest of the book in order to get back in touch with the main character, who has been evading me lately.

Rabbits don’t eat seaweed.

At least, that’s what I had conjectured before I saw our pet bunnny chowing down on a pile of the slimy green stuff. That was the last time I ever saw him.

At the time, I would have told you I’d be happy if he ran away or got stolen. It was never my idea to adopt a wild rabbit, and besides, he always pooped on my notebooks.

But then Mom got all weepy and Dad started writing songs about how much he missed the furry guy, and now it’s up to me, Aspen May Wicklow, to find him.

I reach out to tear the green frond from the rock. This will have to be the bait. Wish I had some lettuce, but who knows where I’d find some of that. Lettuce might even be extinct!

Oh yeah, should have told you. The missing rabbit is actually problem #2. Problem #1 is the rabbit got stolen by someone from the future, and I’m actually sort of 500 years ahead of when I’m supposed to be. So it’s kind of tricky to tear a stupid piece of seaweed off a stupid rock. My hand goes right through it.

One thing I’ve figured out is that time traveling turns you into a sort of ghost. It’s like you’re actually still in the present, but everything around you is in the future, and none of it is quite sure you’re really there.

“Take that, algae!” I shout, and punch a button on the cell-phone shaped shifter that got me into this whole mess in the first place.

Now the seaweed comes off easily, and I wave it triumphantly. “Here, bunny bunny bunny! I’ve got a treat for you…”

I make my way off the beach and up toward the town. My town, 500 years in the future. It actually hasn’t changed much. At least, the main road is still in the same place. The buildings and houses are all totally different – built with some weird reflective plasticky stuff instead of wood or brick or whatever.

And the cars are totally crazy–so low to the ground you can barely see the wheels, and they each have this huge computer screen taking up half the windshield. It’s gotta be like this GPS-autopilot-thingy since the drivers don’t seem to do much.

One benefit of being half-ghost is that most future people don’t quite see me and none of them can hear me. I guess sound doesn’t time travel very well.

Up main street not far from the beach is a large plasticky building in the exact same place my school used to be. A sign near the entryway flashes from images to faces to a name: Yadwod Research Center

If my rabbit were anywhere, he’d be here. A poor, helpless research subject.

The frond of seaweed is cold against my fingers. Do I just go in?

Someone else approaches the doorway, and a voice calls out: Authorized entry. Welcome oceanographic research 10-4.

I’m definitely not authorized, but I’m also kinda transparent.

Here goes nothing…

I walk toward the door, ready for a clanging alarm to sound, or maybe some future laser to freeze me in place.

The door speaks: Authorized entry. Welcome Aspen Wicklow, phD.

Totally weird.


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