Palo Alto Weekly 35th Annual Short Story Contest
Teen Honorable Mention

Violet and the Time Machine

by Naomi Jones

Author Bio

Naomi Jones is a sixth grader at hillview middle school. She lives in Menlo park with her parents, older brother, twin sister, and her pets and she loves to surf. She also enjoys rollerblading in the evenings, writing, and she loves reading. Naomi has always loved telling stories and enjoys sharing them with others.


When I was little, I always fantasized about building a time machine and living in space. The short story contest inspired me to put my ideas into words. Some of the characters and ideas came from moments or people in real life while others were either completely made up or used from ideas in Back to the Future and frankenstein.

Beep! Beep! Violet put down the notebook she was furiously scribbling in and rushed towards her machine. Beep! Beep! She fussed around with the dials on the side of the machine. She widened her eyes when she realized it would finally work. She pushed one final button and walked into the cone of light projected by the machine. She had done it! She had finally finished her machine! She could not contain her excitement. The light got brighter and the beeping got louder. Something was wrong. The light flashed, she felt a weird sensation, then everything went black.

One day earlier..

"Pencils down everyone!" her teacher said when the timer beeped. Violet had finished her test just in time and she knew she got everything correct. "Everyone pass your papers forward," her teacher said.

Violet was 12 years old but she had skipped several grades and was attending Tronopolis High. She was one of the top students. They called her a child genius, but she couldn’t care less. She just had to know why? How? Why not? About everything. She especially loved science. She was always building crazy machines, sneaking out of bed to work on them late at night. For the past three months she had been working on a very special machine that could prove to be the most valuable machine in the world. She was working on a time machine! The only person she told was her sister, who said it was impossible, but she kept working on it anyway. Now all she needed was a huge amount of energy to power up the machine. But where could she find the necessary 1.21 Gigawatts? The sound of the bell ringing to end the school day brought her out of her daydreams. Violet left the school and walked to MountainVista, the middle school that her sister Astrid attended.

"Hey Sis!" Astrid called.

"Hi, Astrid."

They both started to walk home in silence.

"You know it’s going to storm tomorrow." Violet could hear the disappointment in Astrid’s voice. "We’ll be stuck inside all weekend," Astrid grumbled.

Violet always spent her free time in her room working on her machines, but Astrid was always outside, hanging out with her friends. It was strange how close they were despite having opposite personalities. Violet was a prodigy and was way ahead of everybody else in school, but often alone. Astrid got below average grades, but was popular.

"I'm going to work on my machine," said Violet.

"You're still working on that? You know it's impossible," said Astrid.

"It’s improbable," answered Violet. "But I’ve got some ideas."

"Shocking," Astrid mumbled.

Violet’s eyes widened. She ran the rest of the way home.

Violet woke up to the sound of thunder. She threw on her clothes and raced down the stairs to the basement. A flash of light lit up the room and Violet cackled giddily. The lights in the basement flickered and then cut out. Violet grabbed her notebook to check her calculations. Beep! Beep! Violet put down the notebook she was furiously scribbling in and rushed towards her machine. She pushed one final button and walked into the cone of light projected by the machine. The light got brighter and the beeping got louder. Something was wrong. The light flashed, she felt a weird sensation, then everything went black.

Violet woke up to the sound of voices. She opened her eyes and found herself looking at a bright light. Violet groaned.

"She's awake!" someone called out.

Violet began to get dizzy and her head began to throb.

"Is she ok?" asked another person.

"Everyone be quiet, she needs silence" an authoritative voice said.

Violet could feel people staring at her so she opened her eyes again and began to feel dizzy. This time she kept her eyes open and the world came into focus. She kept on blinking to make sure she was seeing things correctly. The people staring at her weren't people! They had green skin, pitch black eyes and purple hair. No, these were not humans. They were…

"A-aliens" Violet said in a scratchy voice.

She heard more whispers coming from the aliens and the same authoritative voice shushed them again.

"W-where.. am.. I?" Violet asked.

"You're in a military vessel that is part of the Monhai army. Monhai is one of the two dominant species in the galaxy. We are fighting to end the evil reign of our sworn enemy, the Nishai," answered the authoritative voice.

"W-who are you?" Violet asked.>

"I am Karnax, leader of this ship.">

"W-what? W-where…">

"Perhaps ‘When’ would be most helpful. The year is 5023," said Karnax.>

"I must be dreaming…">

At these words, Violet drifted off to sleep.>

She was back in the basement in her house. She saw her sister facing the machine. When her sister turned around she could see tears streaming down her face. Footsteps were coming down the stairs.

Astrid wiped her eyes and said "Who's there? Show yourself!"

All Violet could see was a blurred, bluish figure walking towards them. Astrid gasped.

Then she was outside. The streets were deserted and the color of the sky was an angry red. Many houses were burning and where some used to be there were big craters. The blue blur was leading Astrid to a weird vehicle that looked like something out of Star Wars. Everything turned dim and the world faded away. The last thing Violet saw was the terror in her sister’s eyes.

Violet woke up startled with Karnax shaking her.

"You were screaming," said Karnax.

"Bad dream?" asked a figure leaning against the wall, half hidden in the shadows.

Violet looked around and saw that she was in a different room than the one she woke up in before. The figure stepped out of the shadows, and peered closely at Violet. "She’s probably hungry."

He looked like the other aliens but Violet noticed something different. Was it the way he moved? Was it the wild look in his eyes? Whatever she saw in him made her feel like they would be great friends.

"This is Typhron," Karnax said.

"Hi," said Violet.

"Hey" answered Typhron.

"Am I the only human on this ship?"

"I will bring you some food," replied Karnax exiting the room, leaving Typhron and Violet alone.

Violet’s head filled with questions but before she could ask any Typhron asked a question of his own. "What happened in your dream?"

"Huh?" Violet said.

"The one that you just had," Typhron said.

"I was back home. It must have been a short time after I left. I saw my sister being abducted by a blue alien." Violet took a breath. "And there was fire everywhere." Violet looked down.

"What you saw was probably the Nishae invasion of Earth," Typhron said quietly, half to himself. "That’s when-"

Typhron was interrupted when Karnak walked into the room. He was holding a tray of some weird substance that had a pungent smell of dirty socks with rotten eggs inside of them. The substance was thick, black, and shiny. Violet looked down at the tray and cringed. She didn’t want to be rude so she picked up a small utensil next to the substance and used it to pick up a small portion and put it in her mouth. Violet expected it to taste awful but it tasted sweet and sugary. As Violet continued eating Karnax said "Typhron and I must go. If you need anything just press that button." Karnax pointed to a small button that was next to the bed and she and Typhron left the room.

As she ate, Violet’s mind raced. She had to find a way to get back to her own time. Instead of pressing the button, she left the room to go find Karnax. As she walked down the hallway she got peculiar looks from the other aliens. After a while of wandering around she approached a room and she heard Karnax’s voice. She walked inside and noticed that Karnax was in some sort of meeting with other aliens that were on a screen. It must have been some sort of video call with other leaders of the ships surrounding them. Before Karnax could notice Violet, she dashed behind a pillar and started eavesdropping.

"We need to strike now!" said one of the captains.

"Yes, the prophecy is clearly true now that we have her," agreed another.

"Everyone calm down," said Karnax. "We aren’t even sure what she can do. What do you say Typhron? You’re the human expert."

"Humans have been extinct for 3000 years. All we have are the ancient texts and some crazy prophecy that just happens to be true. No one knows what she can do. I need more time to study-"

"We don’t have time! The only reason we know where that machine is now is because of the prophecy and her arrival. The Nishae know that we have her. They are not going to waste time!" said the first captain.

"Extinct!? Humans are extinct!?" blurted Violet, unable to stop herself.

Karnax and Typhron whipped around as Violet stood there shaking.

An hour later, Violet is sitting while Typhron and Karnax try to explain the last 3,000 years.

"The Nishae invaded earth to steal a very powerful human machine. As long as they have control of the machine they win every battle," Karnax said.

"That’s where the prophecy comes in. It told us when and where a human will arrive to take the machine and end the war," Typhron added.

"That’s how we knew to find you and...rescue you from the Nishae."

"And you believe that I’m that human from the prophecy?" Violet asked.

"Yes, you are the one. You came out of that machine," Karnax answered.

"Wait.. so that means…." Violet mumbled.

"What?" asked Typhron.

"My time machine.. I built the machine that the Nishae are using. You need to get me back to my machine. I know how to end this war," Violet declared.

Karnax led Violet to a big room that reminded her of a hangar. There were many small spaceships inside and many aliens were running around preparing for the mission. Karnax introduced Violet to two other aliens, Talex and Throx. While Talex looked very agile and wore her purple hair in a ponytail, Throx was extremely muscular and big. Throx reminded Violet of the hulk. Talex had pointy spikes hanging off her belt and Typhron was equipped with some type of rifle. Throx had no weapons but he made up for it with his brute strength. Karnax led the four of them to a spaceship. The spaceship was small and cramped with benches along the sides. In the front sat an android, obviously the pilot.

"Good luck! No pressure, but the fate of the Monhai is in your hands," said Karnax as she sealed the hatch.

A while later Typhron shook Violet awake. "We’re here," Typhron said in a grim tone. The group exited the spaceship and Violet found herself on a red planet that stretched on for miles and the only building in sight looked like a futuristic military base. When everyone was ready, they began walking towards the building. They approached the entrance but heard noises coming from inside and dove behind a pile of red rocks. Violet peeked over the rocks and saw blue figures marching out of the building. Violet gasped.

"What?" Talex asked.

"They're the ones in my dream..." Violet said.

"They are the Nishae."

"Nishae do not scare me," declared Throx.

Violet peeked up again and saw that the army of blue figures had disappeared. They were nowhere in sight, but Violet heard a click and slowly turned around. The Nishae had them surrounded.

"Well, maybe now a little," admitted Throx.

The Nishae separated Violet from the others, and led her down several hallways until they reached a small cell. Violet was forced in and then heard an electric zap behind her. She turned around and saw that a wall of electricity had sealed her cell. She could still see the other side and if she touched it she got a small zap. She sat down on the chair and wondered how the others were doing.

A while later she heard another zap and the wall disappeared. Standing in front of her were two giant Nishae bodyguards.

"Prepare yourself. You are to meet the leader of the universe," declared one of them. The guards parted, revealing a cloaked figure with their face hidden from view. As the figure lowered their hood, Violet gasped.