My Gran the Time Traveler

An essay by Engel Keyes, as provided by Adam Sear
Art by Katie Nyborg

My Gran is a time-traveler. Not by choice or force, even. It was purely accidental. My parents didn’t believe me when I told them. It was only when a portal opened during a summer barbeque and my Gran came through in Tudor dress, riding a large machine, that they believed. Salad and sausages splattered against their faces as they fainted.

Gran used to work in a University as a lab assistant to the researchers. When I was little, say five or six, she would sit me on her knee and tell me all about the wonderful stuff they were discovering. She’d try and use short words, but inevitably thirteen syllable ones would creep in. Eventually she’d shake me off and I’d run away to mimic the wonderful experiments, mud substituting for radioactive chemicals and water for noxious acid. Sometimes I’d taste the potions I’d make, hoping to be imbued with powers of flight; being stranded in hospital with both my legs in plaster ended that thought.

My parents would, after every accident, speak to Gran and dissuade her from telling me about the lab adventures. Eventually she stopped the lab stories and started into another area. She began with the dinosaurs, describing the mighty beasts, right down to their smell. She’d look into the distance, tousle my hair, and say: “That was a good one that, my boy.”

As I grew older, I stopped fitting on her knee. Instead I’d sit opposite, in one of her rocking chairs, moving back and forth as she told tales of the wars past and future. Sometimes she’d cry, sometimes she’d laugh.

It was in the summer of 2013 that she emerged from the portal. I’d been discussing my degree with my family, beer was flowing, and the barbeque crackling. Uncle Manuel was jumping on the trampoline with my cousins when the portal opened. The Time Machine trundled through, crushing the grass underneath its brass construction. Sitting in the control chair was Gran, a Tudor dress cascading over the Machine, a set of rubber goggles covering her eyes.

My Gran the Time Traveler

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2013 collection.

Engel Keyes has dedicated his life to making his Gran proud, and is avoiding Monday morning work by going on a perpetual time-travel adventure. He is thinking about writing an anthology of his time-travel adventures.

Adam Sear is a BA English student at the University of Hull, UK. As an English student, he spends much of his time reading or drinking. He spends many of his weekends travelling around the UK, going to debate competitions. He blogs occasionally at and can be found as @Extra_Thoughts on Twitter.

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

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1 Response to My Gran the Time Traveler

  1. Carol Kean says:

    Awww, I wish my grandma would come visit me via a time machine. GREAT visuals- the goggles, the machine materializing on the lawn. This could morph into a great YA novel.

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