Josiah Neuwirth looked out over his land. It had been another good day and the harvest this year would be sure to see his family through the winter. The previous year had seen tremendous snowfall, Josiah and his wife May had lost the youngest of their four children to hunger and prayed that God would stay his hand with the other three this year.
The sun began to set, Josiah heard May calling him to eat and he started off down the hill to the farmhouse. As he made his first steps he was stopped in his tracks. In the distant woods struck a clear blue line of lightning.
If a fire started in the woods it might spread to the crops, he quickly got some water from the rain barrel, grabbed a sack to beat the ground with, and ran off into the woods.
Upon his arrival, there was no fire, in fact no sign that a lightning strike had happened at all. He smelt no smoke on the air and, scratching his head in confusion, turned back to the house and was stopped there. In front of him stood a bizarre looking man, smiling. His clothes were not known to him, his skin was clean, perhaps a foreign dignitary? He had no time to consider more. The man stopped smiling, stepped towards Josiah and calmly stuck a knife into his throat.
Gurgling on the blood, Josiah fell to his knees as the stranger stabbed him again, and again, and again. Calmly, the man wiped the blade on a pocket handkerchief, put it into a side bag, and walked off into the woods, leaving Josiah’s body to be discovered by his wife a few hours later.
The town gathered together in the square and Josiah’s body was carried into a nearby house for examination by a representative of the Governor’s office. It was the first violent death in the town since the French and Indian War and the event was sketched for the local records. It was this image that was seen, almost four hundred years later, by the researchers at TEID.
The picture was not exceptional but for one thing: in among the crowd stood a man quite unlike the others. There, clearly with mid-22nd century attire, was Gerald Key.
Gerald was known to the authorities as a killer with a long and seemingly random history of attacks and slayings and then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t. Gerald had always hated his parents and, after bouncing around through time killing as randomly as he ever had, he then took his final trip to kill them when they had first met when young. He pointed a gun towards them as they kissed, both were instantly killed and, just as quickly, Gerald disappeared. He would never exist, his crimes would never be know as they had never happened. It was the perfect crime.
Only luck and chance ensured that the machines still existed, and the time machines flew in and out of the past causing havoc, appearing to farmers in the midwest of the 1940’s who now reported seeing UFO’s. The spinning arrival of the machines lead to massive unexplained circles appearing in crops all over the globe, but this was the least of the problems, the biggest problem lay in the people that would follow in Gerald’s wake, despite their never having known about him. They were the Trillers.
Picture by Christian Meyn