Still reeling from what was happening, Walter stood there in stunned silence. Was this a bad dream? No matter how many times he pressed the button to activate the jump back in time, nothing happened. He quickly inspected the right time bracelet and noticed some superficial damage to it. It must have happened when he fell hard on his right side while trying to run away from the deer. He looked in the direction of the Neanderthals who probably saw him as a threat. Although they were approaching cautiously with their spears drawn, their pace was increasing. Not wasting any time, Walter pulled a small rectangular device from his pocket and pressed a button that activated a screen with a large arrow on it. He held the device in front of him and started running back into the forest as he followed the direction in which the arrow pointed him. Walter had no doubt the Neanderthals, with their speed, would overtake him if he didn’t create more distance. He just hoped that with his large lead, he could sustain his pace and that they would not pursue him after wearing themselves out.
Walter ran fast but cautiously through the forest because he wanted to avoid colliding into a tree, especially as the forest grew denser. His concentration was fully on which direction the rectangular device’s bright green arrow was pointing. He could hear faint footsteps behind him growing louder, which meant the Neanderthals were gaining on him. Suddenly, he heard a loud commotion and stopped dead in his tracks when he looked up from the device to see what was happening. In front of him was a clan of cave hyenas that had caught one of the escaping deer and were feasting excitedly on its carcass. Not wanting to draw their attention, Walter started backing up slowly but in doing so, he stepped on a fallen branch that alerted the hyenas to his presence. Two of the hyenas, which looked larger than their modern-day cousins, stopped eating and looked in Walter’s direction. Seeing him as a threat, or possibly as prey, they growled aggressively at him.
Walter turned around and started running back in the direction from which he just came. However, he stopped after running about twenty meters because three of the Neanderthals were running towards him. Looking to his left, Walter saw two of the hyenas running in his direction. Flanked from both sides and with his back to a tree, Walter tried his best to stay calm even though his heart was beating so fast, it felt like it was nearly going to jump straight out of his chest. With his options limited, Walter made a beeline for it as the hyenas and Neanderthals approached him. The adrenaline gave him an extra bit of energy to run at a pace he had never experienced. One of the Neanderthals started to chase Walter, but both hyenas ran towards the Neanderthal, jumped on him, then dragged him to the ground. The man screamed for help, and his two companions used their spears to fend off the hyenas. It was a standoff between the two groups. Wisely, Walter continued running, not staying behind to witness the outcome of this fight.
After escaping that close call, Walter ran for ten minutes and approached a larger river as he exited a portion of the forest. Without breaking his stride, he ran across several stones that were above the water’s surface, then he jumped into the river and swam as hard as humanly possible. After dragging himself safely to the bank, he laid there gasping for air. Every part of his body was aching by now and screaming in pain. He wanted to get up, but his body was begging him to allow it rest. As he laid there sucking in air, he heard a sound. Looking to his right, he saw three strange creatures exit the forest, walk up to the river and start drinking water. It took him a minute, but Walter realized he was looking at woolly rhinoceroses. Excited at this discovery, the pain in his body nearly dissipated. He took the recording device from his bag and somehow recorded the creatures even though his hands were shaking.
Walter recorded the animals for a few minutes, but reluctantly stopped his recording and put the recording device back into his bag. He wasn’t sure if the Neanderthals were able to fend off the hyenas and were chasing him again, or if they were tending to their wounded friend, but he knew he couldn’t just stay there. Just as he got up and was ready to leave, two cave lions came out of nowhere and ran towards the rhinoceroses. They were lightning fast and lept on one of the animals. Even though the rhino was caughtt off guard, it fended off the cave lions somehow and ran off in the same direction as the other two rhinos who managed to escape the attack. The cave lions, not discouraged from the counterattack, pursued the rhinos back into the forest. Then, from the other side of the forest where he was just several minutes ago, two of the Neanderthals appeared. They looked as if they tired too because they were both breathing heavily judging by how their chests were huffing and puffing quickly, but they both jumped into the river without hesitation and started swimming towards Walter. Even with spears in hand, they swam very fast. Walter cursed to himself, then started running again back into the forest.
Walter’s pace was slowing, but he willed himself to keep his aching legs moving even as his lungs begged for more air. He had been running for five minutes by this point. He wondered if the Neanderthals were still pursuing him or if they were taking time to recover from swimming across the river. All of a sudden, the rectangular device’s green arrow, which was solid a second ago, started blinking rapidly. A sigh of relief overcame Walter as he stopped in front of an ordinary looking rock. Taking only a couple of seconds to collect himself, he used the remaining strength in his body to flip the rock on its side. Under the rock laid a small black box with a numerical keypad on it. He pressed several digits on the keypad, then heard a click. He removed the lid from the box, which contained a secondary set of time bracelets that he brought with him as a precautionary measure. The bracelets were not interchangeable because they were created as a complete set that only worked within that set, so he had to replace all the bracelets he was wearing with the backup bracelets. He quickly took off the time bracelets he was wearing, then attached the backup set to each his wrists and ankles. As the backup bracelets were powering up, he threw the old bracelets back into the box, then placed the box into his backpack.
Then in the distance, he heard faint footsteps. The Neanderthals were still chasing him and were catching up to him. Completely exhausted by now, Walter needed to program the time bracelets, but they were still powering up. Using his remaining strength, he dragged his feet as fast as he could to get away from the approaching Neaderthals. The sound of the footsteps continued to grow louder and louder. Then Walter heard a beep which meant that the time bracelets were fully powered up. He started programming the time, date and coordinates to jump back in time to his lab, but his hand was shaking so much he was having so many problems entering the correct information. Taking a deep breath, he calmed himself so he could focus on programming everything correctly.
Then, before he knew it, the two Neanderthals who he saw back at the river were ten meters away from him. They flanked him from both sides with their spears pointed directly at him. Walter lifted his arms in the air to show them he wasn’t a threat or a danger. They grunted something to each other, then yelled in his direction while cautiously approaching him. He was very scared, but he was also thrilled because he was listening to a language that no one in the modern world had ever heard. With both arms in the air, Walter slowly moved his hands closer to each other. When the Neanderthals were five meters away, he pressed the green button on the left time bracelet, which immediately activated the bracelets. An array of dazzling lights emerged from each bracelet and formed a sub quantum space field around Walter. The Neanderthals, scared from the bright lights, fled the area. After two seconds, the sub quantum space field disappeared, taking Walter along with it.
Several weeks passed since Watler’s first venture into time traveling. He wanted time to reflect on his experience and close calls, but more importantly, he also needed time rest and heal himself. The trip took a tremendous toll on him both physically and emotionally. Would he time travel back in time again? He was certain his first trip wouldn’t be his last. He just had to be more prepared and ready next time. Walter wasn’t sure what the future held for him, but he knew he would find it in the past.