Killing Time by Guy Belleranti

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killing-timeIt was to be the perfect murder, so perfect that Amos couldn’t help but smile as he set things in motion. He moved up silently behind Craig Robertson, his partner at AC Scientific, wrapped the nylon rope around the man’s neck and drew it tight.

Craig struggled, putting up a good bit of resistance, but at last Amos won out, and the man went limp. Blue face, protruding tongue, no pulse – yes, Craig was dead.

Amos poured himself a stiff drink and silently toasted himself.  He was now sole owner of the only time machine in existence.

Craig, the science purist fool, had only wanted to use the machine for improving mankind. To go back in time and enact changes which would alter history, or to travel forward and bring back cures for disease.

While not averse to using their invention for good causes, Amos thought it ludicrous to not rake in big profits while doing so.  Charity begins at home was his motto. And now he could put this motto into action. He’d make a fortune renting the machine out.

But first there was one final action required in this most perfect of murders – body disposal. No dumping Craig in a lake, burning him in a furnace, or chopping him to bits in a wood chipper. No sir! Amos had something much more ingenious in mind, a plan that eliminated any chance of DNA evidence coming back to haunt him.

Amos started up the time machine then dragged Craig’s body aboard.

“Time for a trip to the future, Craig old boy,” Amos whispered.

What year should he go to? 2099? No, an even numbered date, but far enough away that he could never be prosecuted.

2120.

Amos dialed in the numbers, heard the machine hum, felt an indescribable motion, and sat back, eyes shut.

It took no time at all, barely a minute on his watch, in fact.

Amos looked through his viewfinder. It was a strange-looking world he’d landed in. Towering buildings of gleaming metal stood everywhere, and robotic creatures intermingled with humans along shiny moving walkways.

Amos rolled Craig’s body into the “Out Chute” and pressed “Eject”, watching with glee as Craig’s inert form tumbled outside the vehicle.

“Goodbye, old boy,” Amos muttered. He watched a moment as some of the 22nd century beings rushed toward Craig’s body, then quickly dialed in the date in time he’d left just moments before.

Again, barely a minute passed, and then he was back to the present. Everything was just as he’d left it – his laboratory, the ocean view outside, even Whirligig’s, his favorite café, down the street.

Amos indulged himself with the dinner special, left the waitress a generous tip, and headed for home whistling.

Over the next few days people would start to question Craig’s whereabouts, but he wasn’t worried. In fact, Amos planned to be the first to voice concern, would even beat Craig’s on again off again girlfriend to the punch and suggest possible foul play. And if the cops suspected him – so what? Proof was non-existent.  Craig’s body wouldn’t turn up for over a 100 years.

Amos slept well that night. He would soon be a very rich man.

#

He didn’t plan to call the police right away. Had to arrive at the lab, spend a few hours there and then call Craig’s place, pretending to wonder where his partner was.

The morning passed quickly. Amos left two messages on Craig’s answering machine, the first a little irritated sounding, the second exhibiting more concern. After lunch – that’s when he’d phone the cops.

#

Amos silently rehearsed his spiel of concern over one of Whirligig’s splendid salads. His step was jaunty as he returned to the lab. No more mediocre paying jobs for private industry and government. By this time next week his incredible time machine would be headline news.

Entering the lab he immediately sensed something wrong. The doors had been locked, but still–

The door to the time machine stood open.

“What the–” Amos rushed forward.

And someone grabbed him from behind, encircling his neck with a rope.

“Help,” Amos gasped.

“Too late for that, partner.” Craig’s voice.

Can’t be, Amos thought. I left him dead in 2120.

But it was, and Craig explained how as he squeezed off the air to Amos’ brain. “A marvelous time you took me to. The future people are very advanced. Not only could they bring me back to life, but they also sent me back in time, back where I could exact justice.

“The cops,” Amos forced out. “You won’t…get away with…this.”

“Oh, but I will, partner. You taught me well. I won’t make your mistake. I won’t take you forward in time. I’ll take you back.”

 

Originally Published by Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine in (Jan-Feb-Mar 2004)

AUTHOR BIO:  Guy Belleranti’s writing has appeared in over 200 different publications for adults and children. Recent publication for adults includes a mini-mystery in Woman’s World and speculative fiction in Bards and Sages Quarterly, Liquid Imagination and Big Pulp. His website is www.guybelleranti.com/