Archive for the 'Fiction' Category

The Temporal Orphanage

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

The Temporal Orphanage was a novel solution to the problem of parentless children.

Every child who entered the Orphanage had to sign an agreement stating that they would return in 20 years. As the only licensed user of time-travel technology, the Orphanage used it to send the 20-year-old orphan back in time 20 years to be their own adoptive parent.

Deferments were granted, on a case-by-case basis, to orphans who would eventually marry. The Orphanage preferred the children to be raised by couples, so they granted nearly every request, but undeferred single parents were not uncommon. Every orphan found out within a month of their acceptance whether they would be single or married when they arrived to pick themselves up, and no review was necessary at the time of the deferment application because they already knew whether they would accept it.

A few new laws had to be passed shortly after the Orphanage commenced operations. Some were amendments or repeals to legislation that had assumed time travel did not exist or was completely banned, but one new law that could be tied directly to the Orphanage required life insurance companies to consider the number of years that each insured person lived, not merely the subtraction between their dates of birth and death.

The Orphanage was financed in two parts. The first, and minor, part was by a toy store occupying the other half of the building. Some orphans simply kept all of their toys as they grew up to bring back with them all at once, but this was disfavored by the Orphanage, both because it did not bring in income and because the greater mass made the travel more expensive.

The other part was an apartment complex. Grown-up orphans would begin renting or buy their own residence in their late teens, but then have to go back 20-plus years to a time when they had no home besides the orphanage. Each parent who arrived rented an apartment within the Orphanage’s own apartment building—guaranteed to have an opening—until they could find another, cheaper temporary apartment elsewhere. The trickiest part was remembering to pay the rent upon returning to the apartment they’d left a calendar month/20 biological years ago.

The Orphanage was almost closed down by OSHA, but managed to remain open with the promise of no further hiring, after a power surge uncaused the deaths of all of the staff.