‘The Revisionist’ by Christopher Bollinger

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THE REVISIONIST

Hail fell over the rabbit warrens in the dead, brown field. Metal roofs over the nearby brick outbuildings rattled like gunshots with each impact of the fist-sized balls of ice. No one was around, the buildings themselves abandoned decades ago when the nearby quarry ran out of high quality quartzite. It was a dark and dreary place made no better by the storm.

In the right hand corner of the field a massive bolt of lightning struck a lonely metal pole that was once the host of an electric arc lamp, causing radiating lines of intense heat to run through the soil. Burning tufts of dry grass were extinguished quickly by the ice, and steam rose up from the charred steel remains of the post. It was at this moment that a human figure moved out from behind one of the shuttered storage sheds, a distinctive black and red helmet ensconcing their head, a reflective gold faceplate showing in exaggerated distortion its surroundings. Chunks of hail bounced off of the headgear, and in the time it took for the individual to cross from the opposite side, the storm began to abate. Soon only light sleet fell from the gray skies, coating the person as they stood looking intently at the site of the lightning strike.

The figure’s pose was one of intense observation, watching for something that was expected to happen but was not running on schedule. With the total cessation of the storm the helmet came off. Under it was a grungy looking male, his hair uncut and greasy, his face puffy and strained with a look of total exhaustion. “Fuck it! I can’t believe it didn’t come through with me!” He took a deep breath, eyes closed, seeming to savor the deliciousness of the cold and clean air despite his anger. He thought he knew what was going to happen. It had happened to every time traveler and will continue to happen to every time traveler: The United States government would send him a box of supplies and coordinates for the future retrieval of his research, all bagged and tagged, waiting patiently a century or more. Of course, he realized that his ‘mission’ wasn’t approved, or vetted by any commission or review board. He came here, to this time; to find out the truth with a capital T.

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