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When I say “time travel,” I know what you’re thinking. I do.

Dinosaurs, right?

Or some wild machine fizzing with lightning, hurtling through the aeons!

But it’s not like that. Firstly, dinosaurs are out.

I know; I was disappointed too.

You can only go back along your own lifetime.

That might seem nothing to you—you’re what, 17?

But when you get to my age there’s more to see; you’ll be amazed

what you can forget.

Secondly, there’s no machine, it’s all you. There’s no lightning either, while I’m at it—

it’s actually pretty dark.

 

So what does it take to become a time traveller?

We’re looking for the tough cookies, survivors, the older-than-their-years kids.

If your childhood wasn’t all, you know, sunshine and flowers,

there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself back there one day.

You could be walking along and BOOM

there you go, right through the pavement. Not literally, you understand

—although it does feel a bit

like falling.

 

That’s what our training programme is all about. We’ll put you

in control, help you find the key—could be

a sight, a sound, a smell, a word, that

tone of voice—which opens your door to the past.

You’ll learn how to manage the pain, and explore your memoryscape.

Details you didn’t notice at the time; what was happening in the street outside? A conversation,

two blocks away. A file, waiting in a cabinet drawer. Because life

carried on around you, you know.

 

Every mission into the past is an adventure. You’ll crack cold cases,

solve mysteries, uncover secrets. And the Bureau will always bring you

home again.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Sign up here and we’ll get the tests started.

As we like to say: Whatever happened in your past,

you have a bright future with the Bureau.



Sarah Jackson (she/they) writes gently unsettling stories. Her work has appeared in Translunar Travelers Lounge, Electric Spec, and Wyldblood Magazine, and she is co-editor of Fantastic Other magazine. She lives in East London, UK, and has a green tricycle called Ivy. Her website is https://sarah-i-jackson.ghost.io and you can find her on Mastodon as @sarahijackson@wandering.shop.
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