Professor Parton was a leading figure in the field of futurism, known for his groundbreaking work on ancient civilizations and their possible connections to the future. His books, which included titles such as “The Time Travelers of Chronos” and “The Chronos Prophecies: Deciphering the Messages of the Ancients,” were bestsellers and drew a loyal following of readers who were fascinated by his theories about how the past could influence the future.
His lectures were always well-attended, with fans traveling from far and wide to hear him speak. His most popular lecture, “The Chronos Conspiracy: Connecting the Dots Across Time,” was a standing-room-only event that was often streamed online and watched by thousands of people around the world.
But everything changed when Professor Parton’s controversial theories about the Chronos conspiracy, which posited that an ancient civilization had encoded prophecies and predictions about the future in their artifacts and writings, were ridiculed in the media. Despite his attempts to defend his theories and provide evidence to support them, he was not allowed to rejoin academia and was shunned by his peers, who saw him as a fringe figure and a threat to mainstream historical thinking.
The final blow came when his wife, Alice, left him, unable to handle the pressure and scrutiny that came with being married to such a polarizing figure. She sat across from him at the kitchen table, tears streaming down her face. “I can’t take it anymore, James,” she said. “The constant media attention, the threats, the ridicule. It’s too much. I can’t handle it.”
Parton looked up at his wife, his eyes bloodshot and glassy from the alcohol he had been relying on to numb the pain of the past few weeks.
“I understand, Alice,” he said, his voice hoarse. “I never meant for any of this to happen. I just wanted to share my ideas and theories with the world.”
Alice stood up, her chair scraping against the linoleum floor. “I know you did, James. But the cost has been too high. I can’t stay with you and be dragged down with you. I’m sorry.”
With those words, she grabbed her coat and left, leaving Parton alone in the empty house, his depression deepening as he turned to the bottle once again for solace.
After a few days Parton stumbled out of his cottage, the world spinning around him as he tried to steady himself on the porch railing. As he made his way down the steps, a sleek, black car pulled up to the curb and a man in a dark suit stepped out. “Professor Parton?” the man said, approaching him with an envelope in hand.
Professor Parton nodded, his vision blurry as he tried to focus on the man.
“I have a proposition for you,” the man said, holding out the envelope. “Inside this envelope is one million pounds. It’s a gift from the British government, a way for you to start anew.”
Professor Parton’s mind raced as he tried to process the man’s words. “What do you mean, start anew?” he asked, his voice slurred.
“As agreed, your reputation has been irreparably damaged, Professor,” the man said, his voice laced with pity. “No one in academia will want to associate with you again, and you’ve paid a huge price. Luckily, the Chronos conspiracy is now in the mainstream. The government is grateful for the work you’ve done and is willing to give you a chance to start over on one of the Caribbean islands.”
Professor Parton’s heart raced as he considered the offer. It was a way out that they had agreed upon before, a chance to escape the shame and scorn that had followed him since his theories about the Chronos conspiracy.
“There is one catch,” the man continued. “You have to leave immediately and undergo plastic surgery to change your appearance. It’s the only way to ensure your safety and your ability to start anew.”
Professor Parton hesitated, weighing the pros and cons of the offer. But in the end, his desperation won out. He agreed to the terms and boarded a plane to St. Kitts, ready to leave his old life behind and start anew.
As Parton was driven to his new home in St. Kitts, he sat in the backseat of the car, staring blankly out the window as he listened to the radio. The news of his death had just been reported, and he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“It is with great sadness that we report the passing of renowned futurist, Professor James Parton,” the radio announcer said, his voice somber. “According to sources, Professor Parton died of alcohol and drug abuse. His family and friends are asking for privacy in their grief.”
Professor Parton’s heart sank as he listened to the report. He had left his old life behind, but he never imagined that he would be declared dead in the process. He wondered how his family and friends were reacting to the news, and if they would ever learn the truth about what had happened to him.
A few days later, Professor Parton was sitting in his new home, flipping through the channels on the television, when he came across an interview with his ex-wife, Alice. She was speaking fondly of their life together and how much she had loved him.
“James was such a brilliant man,” Alice said, her eyes welling up with tears. “I loved him with all my heart. I just wish he could have gotten the recognition he deserved.”
Professor Parton’s heart ached as he watched the interview, a painful reminder of everything he had lost. He knew there was no going back, and he had to find a way to make the most of his second chance.
A month later he was sitting in his new home, staring at his phone as it rang. He had been in hiding for the past few weeks, under the discrete control of the British government, trying to make the most of his second chance. He hesitated before answering the call, wondering who could possibly be calling him on this isolated island. He answered the call and was greeted by a familiar voice.
“Professor Davies?” the voice asked.
“No,” Parton replied, his voice firm. “This is Parton.”
There was a pause on the other end of the line. “Parton? What do you mean?”
“I mean Davies,” Professor Parton said, his frustration mounting. “This is Professor Davies. How may I help you?”
This Short story was written using Open AI Chatbot. All images were generated using DALL.E 2 (Open AI)