Wednesday, April 14, 2038

"Hiro!" I yelled, holding out an empty granola box. "Why did I find this in the cereal cupboard?!"

My brother looked up for a second, then went back to eating his breakfast, the last of the granola. "Because it's cereal."

"It's empty!" I continued to yell. "Don't put empty boxes back in the cupboard!"

"Hikaru." Hiro looked straight into my eyes. "You're starting to sound just like dad."

I felt my face grow red. To cover up my embarrassment, my voice got louder. "Sh-shut up! I don't sound anything like him! Besides, you talk like mom all the time!"

"So?" Hiro took another bite of cereal. "I am her son, after all. It's said that boys take after their mothers and girls take after their fathers. We're living proof to that testament."

"Hikaru, I can hear you from the shop! Keep it down!" Our father interrupted our argument. "Oh, I got a call. Junes is having a sale on granola."

Hiro smirked. "Looks like the problem's been solved."

"You still ate the last of the granola and put the box in the cupboard to trick me." I grumbled. I grabbed my wallet and headed out the door. "I'll be back in a bit!" I called to our dad.

"Stop yelling!" He yelled back.

Junes wasn't that crowded since it was only nine in the morning. I bought three boxes of granola and a bottle of orange juice before making a detour to the electronics department.

"Here to watch the TVs?" one of the employees asked, trying to hide a laugh. "They aren't showing any movies right now. Only pictures of flowers."

"That sounds cool." I said back. "But not today. Just gonna check out some CDs and go home. I haven't had breakfast yet."

The employee laughed and waved before leaving to restock shelves.

I laughed, too. I came to the electronics department a lot to watch what played on the TVs when Hiro annoyed me at home. The store manager was friends with my parents, so as long as I didn't break anything or disrupt other customers, no one seemed to mind.

I stopped walking when I realized that, by thinking about the TVs, I'd walked right into that section. I groaned. The CDs were on the opposite side of the department.

But before I could turn around, a light erupted from one of the TVs, momentarily blinding me.

'This is too dangerous!' A woman's voice called.

'I'm almost there!' A man replied. 'Just once more and I know I can reach.'

The voices sounded like they were coming from the TV. I edged closer, trying to see around the bright light. When I was close enough to touch it, a hand reached out of the screen and grabbed my wrist.

'I have something!' The man's voice cried. 'I have something!'

The hand pulled me even closer to the TV. I squinted and could make out my arm. But my hand was gone, replaced by the white surface of the screen. I screamed as the hand pulled my in further, until my whole body was inside the TV.

I must have passed out, because when I woke up, I was lying on a small bed. When I sat up, four heads turned to look at me.

"She's awake!" One man exclaimed. I recognised his voice from before I was pulled into the TV.

"You mean, she's alive." A second man added. He crossed his arms and scowled at the first man. "I thought you were just grabbing an object."

"I thought so, too." The first man replied, still watching me. "But she can tell us so much more."

"And what about when you're done?" the third man interjected. "How will you get her back?"

"The same way I got her here."

"That won't be possible." The sole woman, whose voice I also recognised, corrected. "When she came through, the levels spiked and crashed. I can't open the vortex. We'll need to fix it."

"So your husband has kidnapped a child!" the second man yelled.

"Not necessarily." The third man said, raising his hand in front of the second man's face. "We aren't sure how far the vortex reached."

"He's right." The first man's face lit up. "We don't know if she's even been born yet!"

"What the hell's going on here?!" I cried. "Vortex?! Not born yet?! Dammit, what're you talking about?!"

"What year are you from?" the first man asked. "We'll need to know to get you back, anyway."

I blew air up into my eyes in frustration. "2038. April 14th, to be exact."

"Twenty-five years!" the second man gasped. "How is that possible?"

"It reached farther than I'd ever imagined." The woman nodded. "Akihisa! Jiro! Go get her some clothes! She'll need to blend in." The second and third men left the room immediately. "Now, my name is Namasayo Kirino. This man is my husband, Namasayo Ginta."

"H… Hello." I said, trying to calm down. "I'm Hikaru—"

"Don't!" Ginta yelled. "Don't tell us your name! It could change the future, change your time!"

Kirino nodded. "He's right. How about an alias?"

"How about Namasayo Mina?" Ginta's eyes lit up. "It's perfect!"

"He's always wanted a daughter." Kirino explained. "Although, I am unable to have kids."

"I'll be Kuroshin Shiro." I suggested, then looked away. "And, y'know, as a cover, I could pose as a foster child."

"Brilliant!" Ginta wrapped his arms around me in a warm hug. "You're so smart!"

Kirino cleared her throat. "Back to the main issue. Shiro, what time was it when my husband grabbed you?" She shot a glare at the man in question.

"About nine-thirty."

She nodded in understanding. "So the date and time didn't change, but the year did." She pulled a small tablet from her pocket and made a note. "When we get this thing fixed, we'll try to send you back around the same time to avoid any mishaps."

"In the meantime, we'll enroll you in school." Ginta smiled, still holding me in a hug. "What year are you in?"

"I graduated high school last month." I informed them. "I'm eighteen."

Ginta looked ready to cry. "What? But… school."

"What about your parents?" His wife suggested.

I made some quick calculations. "They'd be third years in high school this year." I paused. "Holy shit! I'm older than my parents!"

Wow, I actually got this thing up before the mentioned date. I wonder if I can continue this trend.

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