Race the Date #1


26 Hours | 300 Words | 1 Globetrotting Prompt



Please welcome our inaugural judge, author Silver James. Her latest release, Season of the Witch, is available through Amazon. And if you missed it over the weekend, Silver and I had an interesting chat about the unseen world.



About Race the Date:

  • The challenge runs for 26 hours, from 0500 EST on Monday until 0700 EST on Tuesday.

  • Prompts are inspired by the different time zones.

  • Minimum word count is 100 words, maximum is 300 words.

  • Include your word count (mandatory) and Twitter handle (recommended).

  • Generally speaking, a winners blog will be posted by Wednesday evening (EST).

  • Race the Date awards an overall Winner and up to three Honorable Mentions.


Why 26 hours? Barring daylights savings time tomfoolery, the challenge is set to begin when UTC+14 (the first time zone to roll into any given day) begins a new day and ends when the last time zone, UTC-12, begins that same date.

We begin our globetrotting challenge in UTC+14:

In 2011, Samoa changed its time from UTC-11 (UTC-10 DST) to UTC+13 (UTC+14 DST), moving the international date line and losing a day.


The Prompt: Time travel



Post your story in the comments below. The clock is ticking. Good writing and good luck!

28 thoughts on “Race the Date #1

  1. The Universal Truth of Time Travel.

    They say that time travel is difficult, if not impossible, but they have never tried to conjugate a verb into the pluperfect-past-participle, present indicative, future imperative tense. Now that’s difficult.

    Sometimes I honestly believe that other races stay clear of time travel, not out of any actual sense of responsibility or respect for the potential power involved, but out of fear of the language requirements necessary to properly express the process, and the activities one will have had previously participated in to actually proceed with creating such a process, let alone trying to actually unravel the mystery of, what is in truth, a philosophical matter.

    Then there are the legal ramifications. If one were to simply invent a machine that would allow time travel, they would need to patent it, but… having patented the original plan, there is nothing stopping someone from transecting a linear progression and inserting a new reality based on the actions they will have had to have done to interrupt the process that will have resulted in the patent being awarded not to its originator, but to a competitor, thereby tying the entire process up in legal red tape, which by the way, is the actual force that binds the universe together.

    The final hurtle to get through in developing time travel is not the science, but managing to transverse the morass of binding contracts and red tape that was put there to keep all potential paradoxes in line. It also currently holds at least twenty-seven time travel patents in a holding pattern over a black hole in the gamma quadrant at any given moment.

    And, in case you’re wondering… time travels in a space ship, just like everyone else.

    290 Words

  2. To Catch A Thief

    I heard the ‘whizz-pop’ of a laser shot behind me. I ducked, even though it was highly unlikely anyone would hit me at the speed I was travelling.

    My lungs were bursting, my throat raw with every shuddering gasp. I felt like I’d been running for years rather than minutes. I needed to hit the gym more often. My knees burned with lactic acid, it felt like I was moving through treacle.

    Chancing a look over my shoulder was almost my undoing. I stumbled over a pile of bins and crashed headlong to the ground. Scrambling up, ignoring the shocking pain in my kneecap, I patted my pocket to ensure my prize was safe. Yep, there it was, snug as a bug and a thousand times as valuable.

    Another laser blast scorched my hair. Damn, my pursuers were serious.

    I’m not a guy given to desperation but I began to wonder whether I’d bitten off more than I could chew. The pounding of police boots grew closer. I needed an escape route.

    As though in answer to my increasingly frantic prayers, I recognised the alley I was in. There was an unshuttered portal at the end of it. If I could reach that, I could jump into the eighteenth century and hide. Nobody could track the user of an unshuttered, unlicensed time hole, I’d be invisible and safe till I chose to return to my own time.

    Yells behind me told me the cops had seen the portal too. Pumping my legs harder, I flung myself headfirst through the time gap.

    Neon lights and the smell of petrol gave way to daylight and manure. I was safe. Pulling the string of diamonds and emeralds from my coat, I grinned and watched them sparkle. To the victor, the spoils.

    299 words

  3. Time travel exists. No really. Stay with me here.

    I live in Las Vegas, a magical place on its own, and anything can happen here, and frequently does. But just to the south, every winter, there’s a special location that allows you to time travel, skipping an hour here and there, and you don’t even come home with the transcription errors Michael Creighton talks about in Timeline. The demarcation between the present and the future is a glittering ribbon etched across the landscape, rippling without straight lines, a clear indication of change.

    Along this ribbon you’re treated to whole chunks of the past. Great slabs of information are stacked like books on a shelf, filled with facts and memoirs, and tales of adventure and disaster. Each has its own color and texture, speaking with eloquent reminders of how events leave their mark on the future.

    Where is this magical place? You could say it’s the whole desert southwest, but more specifically time travel happens on the Colorado River on the border of Arizona and Nevada at the Hoover Dam.

    So the next time you take a tour of the damn Dam, ask the tour guide how often they travel through time. See what they say. And don’t forget to log your quick glimpse of the future across the way.

    219 words

  4. Wrong Place, Right Time

    Cassidy couldn’t tell if her skin was boiling or frozen. Maybe it was both. Probably, it didn’t matter. Whatever that status of her exposed epidermis, it was the first distinction in a lifetime of serial unknowns that Cassidy didn’t care if she had wrong.

    She’d been wrong about a lot of things in her life. Wrong about brown crayons tasting like chocolate. Wrong about bottle rockets making her bicycle go faster. Wrong about viral vectors being the cure for cancer. But she never gave up. Every wrong answer was a baited hook luring her toward a state of newfound understanding and undiscovered truths.

    Her colleagues, friends and family all said she was crazy, that time travel was impossible, but her work required viable tissue. Ancient tissue. Cassidy was determined to get it. She explored the fields of physics and engineering, seeking to unlock the secrets of time travel. Only then, might her experiments on human physiology and disease bear fruit.

    She was prepared to be wrong again—she was, after all, operating far outside her area of expertise—and it never occurred to Cassidy, as she calibrated her untested time displacement chamber, that consideration of the Earth’s location in space on the desired arrival date might be an important factor.

    Displaced in time, but not in space, Cassidy drifted in a silent vacuum. Through a watery crimson veil, she could appreciate the jagged outline of a single landmass stamped onto the surface of a young blue globe. Pangea.

    Maybe burning, maybe freezing, but definitely out of breath, Cassidy acquiesced to an encroaching darkness as she gazed down on an Earth two hundred million years younger than the one she’d left, proving time travel was possible.

    About that, at least, she had been right.

    291 words


    The power rushes into him and the darkened chamber explodes into a glittering starscape. Centuries of wisdom flow into Alex Silverman’s veins. The now archmage closes his eyes slowly while remaining perfectly aware of each swirling point of light around him—and something else.

    “So, how’s it feel, mastering the spell no other archmage has managed to cast in thousands of years?” Kiara Honeydew laughs from behind Alex.

    Kiara’s presence should be a surprise, but the rules of probability seem reversed with her.

    “You know, it’s absolutely forbidden for you to be in this chamber.” Alex grins.

    He turns to see his catgirl classmate sitting cross-legged and watching him excitedly. Her tail sweeps rhythmically back and forth.

    Kiara raises a claw to her lips, “Oh yeah, I think I remember hearing something about that.”

    The two mages float up deeper into the galactic panorama.

    “It feels pretty amazing. I had no idea the effect a thesis spell would have on the rest of my magic. I knew I’d be more powerful, but this… This must be what the legendary wizard Rune felt like every day.”

    “Now that you mention it, you look exactly like him, and now you’ve mastered the spell that only he was ever confirmed to have cast.”

    Kiara draws a mirror from her cloak for Alex to see. His reflection is that of his childhood hero, the one who blurred the line between myth and history.

    “You’re right…”

    The stars part for a door back ten millennia to the time of legend. Alex feels it calling to him.

    His classmate crosses her arms and pouts, “I can’t believe the legends never mentioned his cute and spunky girlfriend!”

    The archmage smiles back over his shoulder, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back. Shouldn’t seem too long on this end.”

    299 words

  6. “No,” I argued in to the phone. “Absolutely not! The agreement was to fund the Time Travel Experiment.” I’d been arguing with the contributor for an hour and hadn’t gained any ground. “I made it perfectly clear before you agreed to provide funding that it would take time to put it together. This isn’t a car! I can’t just slap it together with a set of blueprints. I have to create the blueprints as I go!”

    Charlie walked in and rolled his eyes when he saw I was still on the phone. He set the bags he carried on the counter next to me and my mouth watered when the smell of orange chicken and fried rice reached my nose. “Mr. Buther, I will not make changes to the program because you’ve become inpatient. Everyone would lose a lot of money if we jumped in to something else now.” I paused when the man sputtered, at a loss that someone would speak to him this way. “I will inform you as soon as we’re ready to start trials.”

    I dropped the phone on the cradle as Charlie slid a white box to me. I grabbed my fork from my drawer and dug in. Charlie gave me a few minutes before bombarding me.

    “What did he want now? Are we still a go? I can’t believe you said that to him! Why didn’t you tell him we’re ready to start trials now? What if he…’

    “Charlie please.” I set down the white carton and reached for the red one. Mmmm, fried rice. “He won’t come down here until he knows we have something. He only cares about the glory if it works.”

    “You can’t.”


    “You’re pregnant.”

    “I’m not giving up my place on the trial team because you’re feeling twitchy.”

    300 words

  7. Noe shifted in the chair, feeling like her ass was molded to the plastic. The movement of the ship through the stars was hypnotic and she had been up long enough that it was like a bad drug trip. Almost as bad as a rolled Whisper. She had kicked that five years before enlisting as a pilot but she still had the cravings.

    “Major, please pay more attention to what you’re doing before you send us straight into an asteroid belt. I don’t know how you do things around the moons of Jupiter but we have a little more finesse when flying.”

    It didn’t help that the ship had a Neptunian Captain. Pain in her ass. “Sir. Yes, sir.” She adjusted the warp drive, keeping the ion engines from running too hot and the view lost some of the luster.

    “I was trying to get us closer to the warp hole.”

    “Rushing causes mistakes. We don’t have the room for mistakes when it comes to the lives of those on my ship, Major. Next time you want to run hot, clear it with me. We are not taking risks. Do you understand?”

    The five years of being clean was going to really bite her on the ass. “Going through the warp is risk, don’t you think, sir? If things go as planned, we should be hitting time ten years in the past.” Noe glanced over her shoulder the Captain.

    The blues that shifted under his skin like the changing seas that she had seen pictures of was pretty. Too bad he’s been driving her crazy for the last two years while they took the sleeping passengers of the Righteous to a planet that they were trying to prevent blowing up.

    He really was going to drive her crazy.

    298 words


    Tomorrow is the day when everything changes. I’m going to wake up early, go to the gym, get fit and look good. I’ll come home, eat a healthy breakfast of fruit and hand picked tree nuts, washed down with freshly squeezed orange juice. Right after that I’m going to phone my boss and tell him to shove this office job right up his cubicle. I’m going to be a scuba diving instructor. I’ll spend my days under the waves pointing out colorful fish and friendly dolphins to all the rich tourists, who will tip generously. I’ll use the extra money to finally buy that engagement ring, the really sparkly one that I know she wants but is too polite to admit it. We’ll get married on the beach surrounded by fire dancers, burning our names forever into the sky. We’ll buy a nice house in downtown Apia, nothing fancy inside but we’ll splash out for an extra large garden so we can enjoy the famous Samoan sunshine. I think we’ll have three kids, two boys and a girl. Maybe a dog, he can teach the kids about responsibility. Yep, I can see it now, our future stretching out before me, clear as the crystal blue waters. I’ve got a good feeling about this. Mark it in your calendars, Friday December 30th 2011 is going to be the start of something wonderful.

    231 words

    1. Love that you incorporated the prompt’s inspiration. I read this thinking, ‘but what if tomorrow never comes?’ Or, in this case, gets skipped over? 😀

  9. The Mission

    Time is too hard of a concept for mankind. They don’t comprehend it, they merely experience it. And the more of it they experience, the more foolish they become about it.

    Would they be surprised to know others move about in time at will? Could they comprehend time itself is a designed thing?

    Time and space were made specifically for mankind. Not all that long ago either, they were created old. Silly humans think things have to be new the day they are made.

    Humanity needed time and space. But soon the realm of their existence became the very barrier which prevented them from understanding existence beyond it.

    What is there to do for poor, time-locked humanity?

    Beyond prophecy, or inspiration, or revelation, and beyond dabbling in time; contact with humanity, face to face communication, became necessary.

    So an expedition was settled upon. A wide variety of options were considered. By looking through time they could see the outcomes of every possibility. Most resulted in outrageous disasters.

    A plan was found. A single representative would go and give humanity a choice between the temporal or the eternal.

    The debut was wonderful.

    The exit strategy, well, that was a trickier proposition.

    @CharlesWShort http://www.charleswshort.com
    200 words

  10. “You’re a fucking idiot!”

    I glanced at my brother, Jarrod, and scoffed. “Me? An idiot? Right. Says the guy who cone climbed onto mom and dad’s roof and—”

    “That’s was ten years ago. And it’s not nearly as dumb as what you’re trying.”

    I typed in one final calculation and hit ‘format’. The computer whirred and clicked, its tiny processing brain working quickly on my creation. The 3-D printer hummed to life and I moved to watch as the first piece was assembled.

    “What I’m trying is going to get me a Nobel if it works.”

    Jarrod scoffed. “Anthony. We’re community college kids with dreams of four year universities and grad school work in engineering and design. Isn’t that enough? Besides, time travel is impossible.”

    “Is it?” I asked, as the printer beeped done. I took the first part of my time machine out and sent the command for the next. “Nothing is impossible. Challenging? Hell yeah. But I’m up to the challenge. And it’s not like we’re going far the first time. Just back one day. Have a look around, laugh at ourselves, boom, done, we come back.”

    Jarrod shook his head, his long red hair falling into his eyes. He scratched his goatee, which he stubbornly refused to shave, and shook his head at me.

    “You’re an idiot.”

    I laughed, taking another piece of the time machine. “We’ll see who’s the idiot in a few weeks, brother. In the mean time, grab those blueprints.”

    Grumbling, my brother handed me the plans for the time machine. This was going to be the best invention I’d ever done. All we had to do was assemble it and we were on our way. Time travel was possible, I knew it. And I intended to prove it.

    296 words

  11. The Ladies’ Tea

    “The signing of the Declaration of Independence,” Marie said promptly. “So many powerful men, all in one room!”

    Theresa giggled (yes, giggled. Highly inappropriate for one of her age and drugstore hair color). “Queen Elizabeth’s court for me. I’d get Shakespeare to write me my own sonnet.”

    Mitzi scowled. “If you had a time travel machine at your fingertips, you would throw it away on gawking and poetry??”

    “Do better, then!” I said, folding my arms across my chest (no easy feat these days. Not my fault; I’m old and lack self-control where Twinkies are involved). “The machine’s all yours. When would you go?”

    “Oh, I don’t know. I’d do something important. Like stop slavery.”

    “That’s wonderful, but how? You’d be a single woman with no connections or money.”

    “I’d find a way,” said Mitzi, glaring at me. “Don’t ruin my moment.”

    “I suppose you’ve got it all figured out, Ollie,” said Marie. “You would challenge Lincoln for president.”

    “Don’t be silly. A woman couldn’t win in 1860.”

    “Washington, then.”

    “Ha! Worse.”

    “So, when?”

    “I’d choose a smaller moment in our history,” I said. “I would go to a quieter time and place where a carefully placed word could trickle through the cracks and change things.”

    “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard,” said Mitzi with a snort.

    “You’re not very good at this game, dear,” Theresa agreed, giggling afresh.

    “No surprise, surely!” I laughed, grunting myself out of the easy chair to fetch them more tea.

    My Boston tea was the best anywhere; funny they never asked where I’d gotten it. I slid open the tea box. As I reached in, my fingers brushed against the tiny minie ball hidden at the back, and I grinned. Just as well they hadn’t asked, bless their naive little hearts.

    298 words

    1. So glad to finally get to read some of your work, Rebekah. Even better that the story was so much fun. Though I have to admit, I was expecting a dragon. 😉

  12. I went over to the cracked window and rubbed a circle in the filthy pane. The city sprawled away beneath me, rumbling and buzzing with life. He was here somewhere, his presence was strong – the cackling in my head was getting louder.

    I pulled on my clothes catching my reflection in the mirror; worn dirty clothes hung off my withered frame. I had to find him soon otherwise I’d never be able to maintain the physical and mental strength it took to keep chasing him through these dimensions.

    I snatched up my counter, the only indicator I had of when each slip through occurred. It showed I had one day left in this time. I was getting desperate. I had one last lead on him, and I needed it to get me home.

    I hit the pavement and it retaliated harshly on my tender feet as I scoured the back streets for the club he frequented. The smell told me I was at the right place, and the security didn’t even glance at me as I walked in. Seedy was an understatement; my hopes rose.

    I scanned the dingy room, the swirling smoke making it hard to identify anyone, but by the time I reached the bar his laughter was ringing in my ears. In the mirror behind the bar I spotted him.

    Whirling to catch him, I only caught sight of his cloak as he ran out the exit. He was fast – but I was faster. At the next corner I had him. I dove for his legs, bringing him down with me, being quick to get on top and grab his head, turning it towards me. As soon as I looked in his dark beady eyes the world around me swirled. I’d made it.

    298 Words

  13. Tea Time

    Derek played with his thinning hair whilst he looked into his steaming mug of builder’s tea. He was dreaming of time travel. Again. If he could do it he was keen on the old favorite of going back a few years setting up a bank account and investing a few measly pounds in stocks that he knew would soar. Oh how easy life could be now. He’d be in the Savoy hobnobbing with the nobs instead of being sat in the greasy spoon re-reading a ragged copy of the Metro.

    Then of course there’s the time travel tourism; popping back to see key moments in history – not getting involved of course (it may impact on future stocks). A pretty good life it would be.

    He picked up the mug and took a slurp. It was a good honest brew – probably much better than he’d get in the Savoy he mused. The tea worked its magic and stopped him in his tracks. All this time he kept wasting thinking about time travel and other things that would never – could never – happen to him.

    ‘We’re all time travelers, we’re all just going in the same direction’, he muttered to himself.

    He picked the mug up as Patricia wiped his grotty formica table down in a none to subtle “If you don’t buy something else then it’s time to leave” motion. She then switched on the old cathode ray TV in the corner – he’d never noticed it before – and it spluttered into life just as “Back to the Future” was starting. Again.

    On the way home Derek bought a lottery ticket. Well, you’ve got to dream.

    (274 words @zevonesque)

  14. And we’re done here! Race the Date is now closed. Thank you all for writing and making this challenge debut a success. Stay tuned for the winners post and I’ll hope to see you all next week.

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