The Eastwood Story
Epilogue: Return to Boot Hill Cemetery
Saturday, November 16th, 1985
It had been two weeks.
Two weeks since the fateful events at Lone Pine Mall.
Or at least, it was supposed to have been two weeks...for Marty, it was much closer to a month!
It hadn't been as easy as he'd hoped, adjusting back to his normal life in 1985...partially because it wasn't his 'normal' life that he'd come back to...but the vastly improved one of another self! Of course, he had slowly started to gain new memories of his life with this new, much happier and far more successful version of his family...and yet, it still came across as a shock to him when he saw his parents throw lovey-dovey looks at each other across the dinner table, or to see his sister Linda eternally on the phone with her innumerable boyfriends...
The only one left with whom he could share his dilemma was Jennifer. Since Doc's final departure, he had told her quiet a lot about his adventures in time, but still not everything...after all, there simply was too much to tell...
However, a glance at the date on the calendar in Jennifer's room reminded him of a certain noteworthy day in 1955.
"Marty, what happened?" Jennifer asked, as she saw her boyfriend staring at the calendar.
"Oh, nothing...I was just remembering this day in 1955..." Marty explained.
"Which day...the night of that dance where your folks first kissed...or the day you caused Biff to crash into the manure truck?" Jennifer asked.
"Oh no Jen...not that trip. It's the other one I took with Doc, to get back the Almanac from Biff. The one on which Doc got struck by lightining and sent back to 1885...and he sent me a letter through Western Union telling me where the Delorean was buried so that I could use it to get back to 1985. He wanted me to leave him in the past...but then, I found a tombstone in the old Boot Hill Cemetery with his name on it! He'd been shot by Mad Dog Tannen, Biff's ancestor...and so, the Doc of 1955 sent me back to 1885 to save him...on November 16th...exactly thirty years from today!" Marty exclaimed.
"Wait Marty...you've never told me about Doc getting shot...or seeing his tombstone...", Jennifer said.
"Yeah I know...somehow, I always forgot to mention it...but the important thing is that it didn't happen after all...and Doc's alive and well...wherever and whenever he is..."
"So there's actually like a hundred year old tombstone of Doc at Boot Hill Cemetary...that's really weird", Jennifer commented.
"Actually, I don't think it would still be there...you see, I had this picture of the tombstone I took in '55...and after I punched Tannen and he crashed into the tombstone and broke it...and the tombstone disappeared from the picture...so it never existed now I guess...", Marty said, feeling he wasn't really making a lot of sense.
"Haven't you wanted to check if it's there or not?" Jennifer asked.
"Well..." Marty said, "Now that you mention it, I am a wee bit curious..."
"We don't really have any better plans for tonight, so why don't we go and check it out?" Jennifer asked.
"Check out a graveyard?" Marty exclaimed, but then sighed. "Oh well...I can't say I'm not curious".
It was nearly dusk when Marty and Jennifer walked into the cemetery, which looked even more desolate than it did in 1955. Marty vividly remembered the night he and Doc had recovered the buried Delorean...and he remembered Copernicus wandering off into the graveyard, lingering at one particular grave...
"Here it is Jennifer", Marty said, indicating an empty patch of land. "Or rather, was".
"Boy, this gives me the creeps", Jennifer shivered. "To think that Doc was once buried there..."
"Tell me about it", Marty said softly. "Doc was standing there, staring at that damned thing, himself...and he looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Good thing that didn't happen...otherwise, there'd have been a paradox!"
"A paradox?" Jennifer asked.
"Yeah...it's one of those things which happens when you screw up the continuum too badly. Say, Doc had died in 1955 of a heart attack, seeing his own tombstone. It means he wouldn't have been able to go back in time to 1885 and get shot by Mad Dog...which means there would be no tombstone and he wouldn't have died...that's a paradox. Doc told me they could destroy the whole universe...or our galaxy anyway", Marty explained.
"Okay", Jennifer said, confused. "But...Marty...one thing I don't understand. You saw Doc's tombstone and so you went back to 1885 and saved him...but then, if Doc never died and was never buried, the tombstone wouldn't have been there in 1955 when you were supposed to see it...so wouldn't that have been a paradox too?"
"Say Jen", Marty said, rubbing his head, "I never really thought about that". He then suddenly became alarmed "Great Scott! I've caused a paradox! I might have destroyed the universe!"
"Calm down, Marty. You're starting to sound like Doctor Brown when he's in one of his moods", said Jennifer, putting his hand on his shoulder.
Marty stared long and hard at the empty patch in the ground where he clearly, vividly in fact, remembered seeing a tombstone that had now never existed there...
...and he remembered.
New memories began to filter into his consciousness, much like they had shortly after he returned from his first trip to 1955.
He remembered finding the Delorean. Remembered Copernicus wandering off into the graveyard...those memories were familiar to him.
But then he remembered finding the dog near an empty patch of land...as empty as it was now...he remembered heading back to Doc's lab...wanting to know about Doc's fate...the library...the picture...
It was the same one he and Doc had taken on the night of the Clock Tower inauguration. The same one which Doc had gifted him a copy of two weeks ago. Originally, when Doc and Marty had found the picture in the library, Doc was alone in it...but now Marty remembered seeing himself in the picture...and freaking out!
The rest was still a bit of a blur...he remembered vaguely Doc making a confusing chalkboard diagram...explaining something about alternate timelines and Marty having to go back to 1885 to avoid a paradox...
Yes, it was all coming back...the more he thought about it, the more he remembered...
"Marty, are you alright?" Jennifer asked, concerned. "You look like you're in a trance or something".
"I'm fine, Jennifer...I was just...remembering..." Marty replied, shaking his head, trying to get his thoughts in order, to sort out the conflicting memories. Then he turned towards his girlfriend. "You wanna know why the universe hasn't been destroyed yet?" He then laughed, our of both relief and amusement, "Cuz of a picture".
"A picture?" Jennifer asked.
"Yeah", Marty said. "Come on...let's get home and I'll tell you all about it on the way".
After Marty had finished filling in Jennifer all about his new memories, Jennifer exclaimed, "Boy, that's sure messed up! So, you actually saw that picture of yourself and Doc before you even took it!"
"Yeah...but at least's it's not as messed up as Doc seeing his own tombstone thirty years before he died...or my parents bring introduced by their own son!", said Marty. "Time travel can sure get messy at times...but then again, in a weird way...that's kinda what makes it...fun!"