Seconds Away is a Short Sci-Fi Drama, that plays with a topic familiar to most, Time Travel. A subject that has fascinated many for many years, and something that I have desired to do myself, to travel in and out of time. An immediate question that follows however, is that of if we should and what the costs are?
Ryan, 19, recently finds himself in possession of a camera that allows him to do just that. After picking up his little sister, Sophie, from School, Ryan decides to test out his new camera with her help. After reviewing the recent footage with Sophie, she decides that what is his, surely must be hers. In a struggle over the Camera, they trigger an unknown feature, in an instance Ryan finds himself back behind the camera, recording Sophie once more, where he began. He quickly takes note of what happens, and jolts to the privacy of his bedroom, eager to investigate further.
His mother, Stephanie, knocks on his door a few hours later, inviting him down for dinner. He takes the opportunity to test out his new camera further. He asks her to stand by for a moment, as he closes the door. Confused, but still she plays along. He looks around his room and spots a bowl of cereal. He grabs it, opens the door, and quickly flips the bowl over her head. He slams the door leaving Stephanie in the hallway, screaming at him from the other side. After a failed attempt, he figures out the steps required and travels back to where his mom first knocks on his door, escaping what could have been quite the Domestic Dispute.
The way Ryan’s Camera allows him to travel in time are as follows; When Ryan uses the camera to look back at footage, he himself has recorded, and he shuts it down in the middle of viewing that footage, the camera sends him back to the moment he began recording that footage.
Ryan, satisfied with what he has figured out, accepts his mother invitation, and joins the family for dinner. After a few exchanges around the table, Stephanie gets up for some Lemonade, unaware that her body was about to give in to an underlying illness. She faints, alerting the family instantly. David, jumps out of his chair and with the help of Ryan catches her in time, assisting her body to the floor. Sophie latches on to Ryan, as they watch their Dad care for their Mother. She regains consciousness and is carefully helped back up on a chair. After a quick discussion, David and Stephanie settle on her taking a few days off work and schedule a visit to the hospital as soon as possible.
What followed was not what they had hoped. A brain tumor had already claimed her life.
That diagnosis would change everything for Ryan and the way he utilizes his camera. Almost every footage recorded by him afterward, would contain his Mom, in one way or another. Knowing that no matter what he did, there was no way of altering the ending of their story.
Ultimately, on the day of her funeral, we see David, Ryan, and Sophie, pull into their driveway. Ryan quickly hops out of the car hoping to quickly run inside, his Dad intervenes. He calls out to Ryan, in hopes that he can help him through what they are all going through. Ryan dismisses his father, and only catches a glimpse of Sophie, who remains seated in the back of the car, alone.
Closing the door behind him, he quickly picks up his camera, and goes through all the video thumbnail images he gathered while his mom was still there. He stops at one, the image is one of her laying on a hospital bed, with cloth wrapped around her head. He plays the footage and interrupts the viewing by shutting off the camera. His body disappears to the past.
The still thumbnail image fills up the screen. We only see the total duration length of the footage, glitch in and out of various time lengths. When it finally stops glitching, the duration of the clip is completely distinct from what the initial length had been.
When he comes back to the present, he quickly navigates to his camera menu, and pulls up the SD Card Menu. He selects the option ‘Format SD Card’, and a message prompts open, ‘Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files?’. He highlights ‘Yes’. He takes a moment to think about his decision and begins to put up a fight- when there is a knock on his door.
He opens the door and finds Sophie stood in the hallway, teddy bear in hand, and tears in her eyes. Ryan quickly picks her up the grounds and wraps her in his arms. Sophie uses Ryan’s shoulder to hide away her tears. He brings her into his room and sets her down on the side of his bed. He picks up his camera and exits out of the Menu Options. He tells her that one night, he recorded something he never thought he would catch. He starts to go through the image thumbnails once more and begins to play her a footage. The image is a bit candid, but in the distance, we can hear Stephanie and David singing along, to what seems to be a lullaby, with the lyrics serving as a goodbye dialogue between the two. Sophie grabs onto the camera and holds it close, not wanting to let any second of audio go unheard. The rare moment puts a smile on her face.
After a moment, she looks over to Ryan, and asks if she could have it, the video. Ryan takes a moment to think it over. An idea hits him. He tells her, ‘Yes, -’. He proceeds to grab the SD card from his Camera and transfers the footage onto his Computer. He burns the footage onto a Blank Disc, titled ‘MOM’, and hands it to Sophie, to keep forever. He turns back to his monitor, and selects all the footage, moving it to the trash, and finally, accepting to permanently delete them, leaving no copy behind.
The screen fades into an image we have seen before. It is Stephanie, laying on her hospital bed, cloth wrapped around her head, and visibly weak. Ryan is also there, with his camera in hand. She’s upset with him, she notices the camera is recording, and realizes what is taking place, ‘Promise me you won’t be doing that while I’m gone’ she orders, ‘You can’t keep coming back, Ryan. Not like this.’ Ryan snaps back and yells, ‘Why not?! Why can’t I!?’. She feels his pain and holds onto him. She looks at him and explains, that she too is hurting. Her will to keep fighting, not only for herself, but for her husband, her daughter, and him, is not enough to save her. She knows what is ahead for herself. She asks him however, where his dad and sister are, while he is back there. How are they, where they are, while he is there, in the past? He is not alone. Even though she is no longer a part of his present, she turns him towards those that are, and who in turn, might need him also. She pulls him in for a hug, saying ‘Promise me this is it. No more coming back.’ He gives her a kiss on the cheek, and without a response, stops recording.
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