February 17, 2020: This is a journal of a journey. The journey begins hundreds of years from now. I write as I remember it, not in any kind of chronological order. Some of it I remember clearly without confusion and doubt, but much of it I remember without really remembering it. That’s the tricky part and that’s why I feel a need to write about it. I remember something but I just don’t know exactly what it is. Maybe writing about it will trigger clearer and more concise memories.

I woke up in comfortable surroundings, not too hot or too cold. I was sitting in a lounge chair looking out a large window. The scene outside was somewhat bare. Some concrete buildings were in the distance. I got the feeling I was in a desert environment. It was a bright, sunny day. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel disoriented. It was almost as if I knew my way around. I got up and walked over to a window. Beyond the buildings I saw a flying craft of some kind headed upward. I guess it was an airplane, but it looked more like a craft that could fly in space. I don’t know why I thought that but as it turned out, I was right.

I heard a door behind me open. I looked around and there were two people, a man and woman walking toward me. Somehow, I knew that they were no threat to me.

I don’t remember dying but I do remember not feeling well. It was the summer of the year 2030. It was early in the morning and I was walking on a sidewalk not far from where I lived. I started getting very dizzy and I had to sit down on the grass beside the sidewalk.  I managed one glance at the sky above and then all went black.

They designated me 21NAM (this was their nomenclature for 21st Century North American Man). I’m guessing there were many more like me who came from various time periods, so many in fact, common names were not practical. I didn’t feel bad about being labeled in such a way. Once again, it seemed right somehow.

“We won’t ask how you’re doing because we know you’re doing well.”
“How do you know?”
“Because we’re the ones who made the necessary repairs and alterations. Take a look in the mirror.”

I walked over to a mirror in the corner of the room. It took a while for what I saw to sink in. The person that I saw bore a strong resemblance to someone I once knew. That person was me. Only I looked about 40 years younger than the last time I looked in a mirror.

“What happened?”
“You’ll learn what happened but only gradually over time. Just call it an adjustment period.”

Beside the mirror on the wall was a fragment of a quote. Was it from the Bible? “By doing this they store up a treasure for themselves that is a good foundation for the future, so that they can keep their hold on the life that is real.”

In the fall of 2018, there was a nighttime raid on a coastal city. I was about a mile or two south of the downtown area. I was standing on the beach with a few other people. Several tall buildings, situated near the shore, were attacked by flying craft which had the ability to hover over the ocean and fire laser like beams into the buildings. We saw it from where we stood but all we saw were stationary lights and flashes of light in a background of otherwise total darkness. We never really knew what happened because when we departed the beach we went in the opposite direction.

We drove for miles on a hard surface with granules of sand blowing across it. After ten minutes or so I asked to be let off, and then I started walking beside the road. At some point I rested in a grove of trees adjacent to the highway. It was still night and I was surrounded by silence. I looked up into the sky in the direction of the place that we had been and I saw a bevy of blinking lights moving out to sea. They were moving quickly and soon disappeared. It had been a long night and I fell asleep on the ground.

The man asked me, “Would you like something to eat?” I suddenly realize I was very hungry. That made sense since I probably hadn’t had anything to eat for hundreds (or was it thousands?) of years. “Absolutely!” I replied with genuine enthusiasm.

The food was quite good. No conversation took place while I was eating. I think they knew I could only handle one thing at a time.

After the meal, they encouraged me to take a walk around the grounds. “Just don’t stray too far. Sandstorms can erupt almost instantaneously.”

The sun was high in the sky when I woke up. Sleeping on the ground wasn’t as hard on my body as I might have thought. I got up thinking a hot cup of coffee sure would be nice. I immediately starting walking beside the road hoping that a convenience store of some kind would pop up on the horizon.

I did run into such a store after about thirty minutes of walking. They had some new coffee machines that grounded the coffee beans before pouring it into the cup. I asked the clerk if I was near any kind of town.

“Yea, about a mile or so you’ll reach a village.”
“How big is it?”
“Last time I heard there were 490 people living there.”

When I started walking around the grounds, I noticed everything in my field of vision was very clear and sharp in focus. I wasn’t wearing glasses and if I was wearing contacts, I didn’t remember putting them on. Was my new clarity of natural vision one of those necessary repairs?

All the concrete buildings were no more than one story in height with opaque windows and locked doors. There were about twenty of them. An airstrip, about a mile in length, started at the building farthest away from the building where I had first awaken. Looking down the length of the airstrip I could see snow covered mountains in the distance. The sky above was cloudless and was a cobalt blue. Even though I was in a desert environment and even though it appeared to be around noon, the temperature was pleasant. There was a softness in the air along with a profound silence.

When I made it back to the original building, there was one question paramount in my mind.
“What’s happened to me?”
“You’ve been reintegrated.” The man spoke first.
“Also enhanced.” The woman followed.
“For what purpose?”
“We’re sending you on a journey through your dreams.”

That sounded intriguing and implausible at the same time. But what could be more implausible than what I was experiencing right now?

The village apparently had no name or just didn’t advertise one. There was no city limits or welcome sign. Just a grove of pecan trees on the left and a cow pasture on the right before a few decrepit buildings on either side of the main and perhaps only street; didn’t appear too likely a car rental place would be in business here. I saw a man sitting on a bench in front of what looked to be a hardware store.

“Good morning, sir. Does a bus service run through here?”
“That’s a good question, young fella.”
I was thinking, is there a good answer?
“Why not ask Mack inside? He keeps up with the news of the world.”

I walked inside the store. It had old wooden floor and the shelves were full of things that were probably useful in one way or another, but a lot of the stuff looked like it had been doing nothing but accumulating dust for decades.

Another old guy, bearded and wearing overalls, was standing behind the counter.
“Are you Mack?”
“I am. How can I help you?”
“I was wondering if this town had bus service?”
“Afraid not, young fella. We’re so far off the beaten track there’s no need for any kind of transportation service here.”
“I noticed a good many empty buildings. Was this place bigger at one time?”
“It sure was.”
“What happened?”
“I think it was Thomas Wolfe who said it was of time and a river. He also you couldn’t go home again and they must have believed him.”

It dawned on me I had reached a dead end so I purchased a can of Vienna sausages and a small package of saltine crackers. I washed them down with a diet coke. I said goodbye, pushed open the rickety screen door and looked both right and left. I had come to town from the right. so I started walking left.

“Why is the temperature so pleasant outside? It looks to me we’re middle of the desert just after high noon.”
“We control the weather.”
"What about the sudden sandstorms?"
"We control that too."

Simple as that, I thought? Wonder what else they control? Are their powers unlimited?

“Any chance you’ll tell me why I’m where? And why you’ve gone to the trouble of reintegrating and enhancing me? I don’t remember placing such an order back in the 21st Century,”
“We’re sending you on an assignment using the contents of your mind as a map. We can’t tell you exactly where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing because even our technology is not advanced enough to figure that out. The last frontier is the inner recesses of the human mind. We work mostly with externals and then extrapolate from your actions.”

It was now around the middle of the day and the sky was beginning to darken. I was walking along a road that had seen better days. Medium tall trees lined the road on both sides. The depth of the trees was only one or two rows. Fallow fields lay behind the trees. How long had they been fallow, I wondered? One thing though; walking was easy because the land was mostly flat with a few hills jutting out here and there. Should I even call them hills? Maybe in years not too far past bulldozers had pushed up dirt just to relieve the flatness of the landscape.

It started drizzling. A structure of some kind was only a few hundred feet away. When I got to it, I found it had been a tractor shed. How did I know that? An old, rusted out tractor had been abandoned there. But no matter; I was content enough to stay there until the rain stopped. The rain made quite a racket on the tin roof of the shed. But I stayed dry.

“Will I remember being here?”
“Only in a sense.”
“But how will I record accurately what’s happening to me?”
“When you're writing about the experience of time travel in 2020, you'll discover a digital recording of what you did on what you euphemistically call a smart phone. You won’t believe it at first but then circumstances and experiences will convince you that it’s true.”

The slow, drizzling rain had finally stopped. To be honest, I don’t know exactly when it stopped because I had fallen asleep. I didn’t dream. But I wondered. If I did dream, would I be dreaming a dream inside a dream?

When I first died, I had been in my late seventies, and fortunately I was still able to get around pretty good, but the aches and pains had been accumulating over the prior years, and thus I certainly couldn’t say I was as spry and agile as a spring chicken, but now I found I had no aches or pains. Everything seemed to be working at a high level. Knowing this didn’t make me immediately happy, even though I felt good. Because it meant I needed to be this way to face some tough challenges ahead. By ahead, I didn’t mean the future, because as best I could tell, I was going into the past.