One.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. There was something otherworldly and strange about the mountaintop where the time traveler appeared. Plato had always known something would happen there. Now he knew what it was.

#

Two.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. He knew that they would ask him on an adventure. He knew he would go on the adventure and it would be a disaster, so disastrous that the time traveler would travel back further, to last year, and warn him to say no to the adventure. Beg him, plead with him, cajole him to please, please say no. Their eyes were wild as they explained. He knew they had seen terrible things. He knew the adventure would bring him to his end. But he also knew that he had to say yes, because if he said no, the time traveler would not have come to warn him.

#

Three.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. At the time, Plato was angry at his philosophy teacher, Socrates, who is credited with the conceptualization of irony. Plato had lost track of time when the time traveler appeared, which he would have considered ironic were he speaking to Socrates. As it was, when the time traveler invited him on an adventure, he told them yes without hesitation.

#

Four.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. He had seen this before, as a boy. He had been waiting.

#

Five.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. Perhaps he should have been. He’d never considered the possibility of time travel before, but as his great teacher Socrates was fond of saying, he knew that he knew nothing. Sometimes Plato repeated this—I know that I know nothing—with a little rhythm, like a song that he sang to himself. He knew nothing, and therefore he knew that time travel was just as possible as anything else. “Welcome,” he told the time traveler.

#

Six.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. One is rarely surprised when one is living backward in time.

#

Seven.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived.

“Socrates,” he called. “He is back.”

“Which one?” Socrates asked.

Plato shrugged. The time travelers all looked the same to him.

#

Eight.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. Time, he concluded, was a loop. No sooner did he return home from adventures through time than the time traveler arrived again. They never remembered him. They never remembered their adventures. It was always the first time for the time traveler. Plato thought that it ought to be the other way around, but he knew that he knew nothing.

#

Nine.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. He should have been surprised. It was a very surprising thing. But he felt no jolt of surprise. He merely saw the time traveler and thought, ahh. The time traveler has arrived.

#

Ten.

Plato was not terribly surprised when the time traveler arrived. He had been waiting. He had been waiting, and hoping.

“You came back,” he said to the time traveler.

“I have never been here before,” the time traveler assured him.

“I see,” Plato replied. “But you will. In my past, and your future, you will come and ask me to travel through time with you. I will say no. But I will regret it until you come and ask me again, in your past and my future.”

“You mean our now?” the time traveler asked.

“Yes,” Plato answered.

***

Annika Barranti Klein is a writer in Los Angeles and a contributing editor at Book Riot. Her fiction can be found in Craft Literary and Hobart After Dark, and is forthcoming in Asimov’s. She is currently knitting socks instead of working on her novel.

One thought on “Anaphora (Ten Ways to Greet a Time Traveler) ~ by Annika Barranti Klein

Comments are now closed.