The microwave finished spinning and Leo stumbled out, disoriented. “Where am I? What year is this?” he muttered.
Suddenly a teenage girl gasped. “Who are you? How did you get in my basement?” she said in alarm.
Leo blinked at her in confusion. “Wait, what? This is your basement?”
The girl nodded, eyeing Leo warily. “Yeah…this is my house. And you weren’t here a minute ago.”
“Oh man,” Leo groaned. “I think my time machine worked a little too well. What’s today’s date?”
“It’s October 21st, 2015,” the girl replied. “Now tell me, who are you and how did you get here?”
Leo took a deep breath. “My name’s Leo. I accidentally traveled here from the year 2023 using that microwave time machine.” He gestured to the device behind him.
The girl’s eyes widened. “2023? A time machine? No way!” She stepped closer, her curiosity outweighing her caution. “So you’re from the future? That’s insane!”
Leo nodded. “Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. Listen, I need somewhere to hide out for a while. Some dangerous people are after me and my time machine.” He gave her an imploring look. “Can you help me?”
The girl considered this for a moment. Then she stuck out her hand. “I’m Sam. And I guess I can let you hang out here until you figure this out. But you have to tell me all about the future!”
Leo smiled with relief and shook her hand. “Deal! Thanks, Sam, you’re a lifesaver.”
Leo followed Sam upstairs to the kitchen. “So this is the past, huh? It looks pretty similar to 2023,” he remarked, glancing around.
Sam nodded. “I guess not too many changes in 8 years. So tell me, what’s the future like? Do we all have flying cars and robot butlers?”
Leo laughed. “Not exactly. Technology has improved a lot, but day-to-day life isn’t that futuristic. Well, except for my time machine, I guess.”
“That is so cool that you built a working time machine!” Sam said. “How did you get it to work?”
“It took a lot of late nights and Red Bull,” Leo admitted. “I’m kind of a science geek, I love inventing things.”
Just then, the front door opened and a woman’s voice called out “Sam, I’m home!”
Sam’s eyes widened. “Oh no, it’s my mom! Quick, go hide in my room!” She shooed Leo up the stairs.
Leo ducked into Sam’s bedroom just as her mom reached the top of the stairs. “Hey sweetie, how was school today?” she asked Sam.
“Oh, you know, nothing exciting happened,” Sam said casually. Leo had to stifle a laugh at her terrible lying skills.
After chatting about her day, Sam managed to get away from her mom and slipped back into her room.
Leo was sitting on the bed, flipping through one of Sam’s textbooks. “Quantum physics, not bad,” he remarked. “So that was close! What if your mom finds me here?”
“We’ll just have to make sure she doesn’t find out,” Sam said. “Though I don’t know how long we can hide a teenage boy in my room without her noticing.”
Just then, they heard the front door open and a man’s voice called out “Lucy! I’m home!”
“Uh oh, that’s my dad!” Sam exclaimed. “Quick, in the closet!”
Leo scrambled into the closet just as the bedroom door opened. “Hi sweetheart, how was school today?” Sam’s dad asked.
“Oh you know, nothing new,” Sam said, trying to act casual while Leo hid just feet away.
After more small talk, her dad left to start making dinner. Leo emerged from the closet looking relieved.
“This hiding in your room thing is going to get real old, real fast,” he said. “I need to figure out how to fix my time machine and get back to 2023.”
“Well in the meantime, make yourself comfortable,” Sam said. “We’ll figure this out together.”
Leo smiled gratefully. Even though he was stranded in the past, at least he had found a friend.
Over the next few days, Leo and Sam worked on decoding Leo’s time machine manual and notes, trying to find a way to fix it. They had to be extra careful around Sam’s family, quickly hiding any evidence whenever her parents came into the room.
One day while Sam was at school, Leo decided to sneak out and wander around the unfamiliar 2015 neighborhood. As he walked down the street, he suddenly heard a screech of tires and a van pulled up beside him.
Before Leo could react, two men jumped out, grabbed him roughly, and shoved him into the back of the van. Leo struggled but he was powerless against them.
“Target acquired. We have the boy,” one of the men spoke into a communicator. Leo’s blood ran cold as he realized these must be the dangerous men who were after him and his time machine.
The van sped off, carrying Leo to an unknown location. He tried to break free but the men’s grip was too strong. How would he get out of this? And how could he warn Sam?
After a long drive, the van stopped and Leo was dragged into a nondescript warehouse. He was forcibly sat in a chair in a blank white room. Across from him was a bald, imposing-looking man.
“Welcome to 2015,” the man said menacingly. “We have been expecting you.”
Leo gulped, racking his brain for an escape plan. He had to get back to Sam and the time machine before these men forced him to use it for evil. The future was at stake!
To be continued…