This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.


a Back to the Future tale by Jeff Morris

Dr. Emmett Brown instinctively lifted an arm over his eyes as past, present and future collided and shattered in a roaring blaze of light and sound. Seconds later, he blinked away the afterimages to find that all was as it should be at Hill Valley's Pohatchee Drive-In...except, of course, for the pair of fire trails that sputtered and flickered on the ground.

Shaking his head in mute amazement, Brown wished a silent godspeed to Marty McFly and headed back to his Packard, which, while nowhere near as fast, sleek or powerful as the car that had just vanished, still got him where he needed to go. And when you got right down to it, what more could you ask for, really?

Humming quietly to himself, Brown started the engine and carefully pulled out of the drive-in, wincing as the glare of the morning sun danced off the car hood. He pulled down the sun visor and accelerated, his mind lost in recollections of the past few weeks' incredible events.

1885. 1985. Different times. Places. Past. Present. Future. History. Destiny. His history. His destiny.

How strange, how very strange, Brown thought, to know so much and yet so little about his future. He knew that in thirty years he would pierce the time barrier through the use of a bizarre-looking car and a concept he'd only conceived a short time ago. But he had no idea how the millions of ideas and inspirations would lead to that achievement. He wouldn't know until the time was right. Oh, how he'd been tempted to peer into the inner workings of that car and take a few shortcuts to his destiny. But one sentence roared over and over in his brain, effectively killing those urges:

No man should know too much about his future.

And yet even now, Brown mused as he reached the Hill Valley city limits, he already knew a great deal--perhaps too much. Who knew how the foreknowledge he possessed might affect future events? Why, even the slightest, most insignificant of actions might result in devastating repercussions thirty years from now! He would have to be careful, very careful, to protect the future from himself.

So, he asked himself, what did he know that might cause trouble? Well, he knew that he would live to see 1985 and that, as things currently stood, he would die in 1885 unless Marty was able to save him. Now would that cause damage to the time stream? Impossible to say--he'd have to remember to investigate the possibility thirty years from now (or was that seventy years ago?).

What else? He would devise an invention that had previously existed only the dreams and works of science fiction writers such as Jules Verne. And there was Clara. His beloved Clara. Or so the tombstone had said.

"Clara." He spoke the name aloud, savoring the sweetness of the syllables. A lovely name,. He wondered if her face would be as beautiful, her voice as sweet, as that name. Well, that was in his future...or his past, as the case might be. He'd just have to be patient, secure in the knowledge that destiny would eventually bring them together...

The blaring of a horn, accompanied by the screech of rubber on asphalt, brought Brown out of his reverie. He discovered that he'd run through a stop sign and come perilously close to a broad-side collision. The other driver glared at him, shook his fist and bellowed out a long stream of invective at the absent-minded scientist before driving away.

Shivering slightly, Brown took his foot off the brakes and moved out of the intersection. Perhaps he did know that his destiny was assured...but, he admonished himself, that was no reason to get careless.

* * * * *

He spent the rest of the day in the garage, carefully destroying every bit of evidence connected to the strange events of the past weeks, including the detailed model of Hill Valley and the toy car. The sketch of the flux capacitor he pinned up on his work bench bulletin board, to serve as both a reminder and a goad. Knowing that he would someday make the design a reality was comforting, but it didn't mean that it was going to spring into creation overnight.

Of course, if he'd given in and given the physical device a good going over when he'd had the chance...Brown shook his head and banished the thought from his head.

He ate a TV dinner that evening, burning his fingers on the hot aluminum foil. Afterwards he sprawled out in his favorite chair and idly wondered what would be on television that night. He briefly considered getting up to turn the set on, but he could not muster the energy to do so. If only there were some sort of device that would enable one to activate and manipulate the controls of the set from a remote location....

Brown's gaze drifted lazily across the room, finally settling upon his grimy, battered overcoat. A smile crossed his tired features as he again recalled the events of that incredible night. And to think that even now, Marty McFly was in both the past and the future...his future in the past.

Then he remembered something specific about that night, and the smile vanished. Brown rose to his feet and hurried over to where the coat lay draped over the sofa. He rummaged through the pockets until he found the shredded remains of the note Marty had tried to foist upon him.

No man should know too much about his future.

"It's a matter of life and death!"

No man should know too much about his future.

Brown took the tattered pieces and tossed them into his overflowing garbage can. And just to make sure temptation would not be given into, he took the container into the garage and dumped it into the first available can. Grunting with satisfaction, Brown took the original container back into the house, put it back in the general area he'd found it, and returned to his chair, feeling quite pleased with his resolve.

Then he wondered if Marty had succeeded in saving the life of his future self.

Well, there was a simple way of finding out. He and Copernicus could head out to the cemetery and see if they could still find his tombstone. But the thought of wandering through a graveyard on a dark night was, while mere superstition, still less than appealing. He could always go tomorrow and make sure.

Besides, he had faith in Marty. The young man would go to any lengths possible to save Brown's life--had done so twice now. Even...if it endangered the future.

Brown bit his lip and wondered just what had been in that note. It had obviously meant a great deal to Marty; he'd gone to great trouble to hide the note in the overcoat, and when Brown had ripped it into a thousand pieces, it hadn't stopped Marty from trying to shout the information up to him.

Maybe it was a matter of life or death after all. It couldn't be. Because if it had been, then he would have died in 1985, and there would be no possibility of his going back to 1885, which meant....which meant...

No man should know too much about his future.

He would never get the chance to travel through time.

No man should know too much about his future.

He would never get to see the Old West.

No man should know too much about his future.

He would never get to meet the sweet, mysterious Clara.

No man...

"Ahh, what the hell..."

* * * * *

It had taken the better part of an hour to sift through the garbage for the pieces of the letter. Another hour was spent rummaging around the house for some tape and putting the tattered pieces together again. But now Brown sat once more in his chair and read the note one more time:

Dear Dr. Brown:

On the night that I go back in time you will be shot by terrorists. Please take whatever precautions are necessary to prevent this terrible disaster.

Your friend,


Brown shook his head tiredly and set the note down. What on earth would he be doing that would cause terrorists to shoot him? What did terrorists even have to do with time travel, for heaven's sake? And most importantly: how was he going to explain to Marty just why he'd put the letter back together?

He yawned and smiled as he got up to go to bed. Time would reveal the answers to the first two questions, he decided. And, he added as he shut off the living room lights, he had thirty years to frame a suitable reply to one Marty McFly.

He had a feeling he was going to need every single minute of those years to make it a good one.