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Ashish Sharma



Ashish Sharma


A Thousand Years in Tokyo

A Thousand Years in Tokyo

4 mins 152 4 mins 152

Anyone who wins the lottery on their first ticket should be considered a time traveler. A win on their second ticket as well and they're giving themselves away.

Takeshi yawned. The car radio read 2:45 a.m. He drank the last of his coffee, cold and bitter, then clicked on the overhead lights. In a couple of minutes, a woman by the name of Naoko Asari would walk out of the gas station with two winning lottery tickets. She’d cash them in before returning to her time.

He would arrest her before she could.

Takeshi checked his service pistol. He reloaded the clip and switched off the safety. If he couldn’t catch her, she’d bring over a billion yen into the future. Inflate Tokyo’s economy. She would win a one in ten million chance, twice, days before the winning numbers would be announced.

2:56 a.m. A motorcycle pulled up across from him. Glowing lights circled the wheels. The rider killed the engine, dismounted, then shook her hair free of her helmet. Takeshi leaned forward, fingers tapping against his pistol—he’d need to wait for her to purchase the tickets first. Proof of time traveling with intent of theft.

She entered the gas station. A second motorcycle raced by on the road beside him, the same make and model as the one that pulled in a minute ago. A car followed right behind it. Tinted windows, deep black paint. Same as his, and he muttered the word, shit. Police sirens echoed in the night. Cruisers with flashing red lights struggled to keep up.

He kept his keys in the ignition and stepped out. 3:04 a.m.

Takeshi raised his handgun to eye level, the gas station clerk watching from the window panels and ducking behind the counter. The woman stepped out. Two tickets in her hand, helmet under her arm.

Freeze, Takeshi said.

She broke into a run. He fired the pistol—no luck. The bullet ricocheted off the ground, sending chips of rock into the air, while Naoko threw on her helmet and revved her motorcycle.

A second and third shot rang out, both denting and scraping paint off the bike. Takeshi twisted, turned, and ran to his car. He threw the gun to the passenger seat. He tightened his hands against the wheel, then brought his foot down on the gas pedal.

The car spun as he pulled out of the station, wheels trailing smoke. The motorcycle dashed ahead. 3:06 a.m. Takeshi gritted his teeth, leaned in, and sped down the streets of Tokyo. Neon light from billboards washed over his windshield. Night owls and drunks tripped on the sidewalks as he raced past. 

Naoko swerved her motorcycle to a freeway exit, turning, leaning close enough to the ground for her boots to skid against the asphalt. Takeshi kept close behind, streetlights a blur overhead. Cars blared their horns as he passed. 

She slowed her bike as they raced into a road tunnel. Before Takeshi could reach for his gun, she disappeared in a crystal blue flash, leaving nothing but a trail of blue flames behind. 

His tires screeched against asphalt. The speedometer dropped as he hit the brakes. Takeshi slammed his hand against the glove box, popping it open, and grabbed his time radar. He aimed it at the flickering blue flames. It processed the fire, then wrote out the numbers 2061, reading the time jump from the residue left behind.

He hit the confirm button below the numbers. In a flash, he warped forty-one years into the future. Naoko stood ahead. She leaned against her motorcycle, shocked to see that he followed.

Got you, he said.

He fired his handgun through his windshield. The bullet struck her shoulder; she lurched forward, then fell on her motorcycle. Takeshi fired again. He missed. The gun clicked on the third shot. Empty. The woman mounted her bike and took off.

Takeshi raced behind, through the underground, and out to a Tokyo people of his time wouldn't see for ages to come. High skyscrapers outfitted with solar panels. Neon-lit holograms floating in the air replaced billboards.

Naoko jumped through time again, leaving blue flames behind, and Takeshi raised his time radar. 2497. He confirmed it and followed her right through.

Rain pelted his car. He sped down a road of cracked asphalt, swerving to avoid trees growing in the middle of the streets. Vines and weeds covered the surrounding buildings. He sped past a flickering neon hologram, hanging on to a thread of solar power.

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