Shiloh, Gunner's younger brother, was blind from birth. They were about a year and a half apart. When they were still little kids, Gunner enjoyed his brother's constant company. That was the only brother he had. He never knew what it was like to have a sighted brother. So for him, that was natural and normal. And Shiloh adored his older brother.
But when Gunner came of age, he began to itch for independence. There were things he couldn't do with other boys his own age because he couldn't take Shiloh along. Simple things like hiking with the guys. He developed a festering resentment for Shiloh. Increasingly, he felt like Shiloh was a ball-in-chain, holding him back. He could leave Shiloh behind, but that was mean. He began to hate Shiloh's dependence on him. He began to hate Shiloh. Gunner was missing out on life. You only get to be a teenager once.
He knew it was wrong to feel that way. If it was frustrating for him to have a blind brother, imagine how frustrating it was to be the blind brother!
Shiloh sensed the growing estrangement. Gunner was tempted to tell Shiloh what he was feeling, but something restrained him. He knew that if he said what he thought, it would be irreparably hurtful to his loving, innocent brother.
One time Gunner was temporarily bedridden by a sports accident. Ironically, it was Shiloh who cared for him. But that just intensified Gunner's inner dilemma. He resented the fact that he shouldn't resent his brother.
One day, Gunner found a time-machine in the woods. He had no idea how it got there. But that gave him an idea. If he could go back in time, he could preempt Shiloh's conception. Of course, he didn't know on which night Shiloh was conceived, but he had a rough idea of the range. If he traveled back into the past enough times, he could disrupt parental activities and soon or later hit upon the crucial evening.
And that's what he did. When he returned to his own time after several tries, then went into his bedroom, Shiloh was gone. Shiloh's stuff was gone. The clothes, the posters, the pictures of Shiloh and Gunner together. There was no trace of Shiloh's existence because he never existed in that timeline.
At first it was a relief, but there was a yawning emptiness. A huge hole at the center of his life.
What he really wanted was a brother who could see. So he went back to the time machine. When he returned to his own time, after several more tries, he was greeted by a…sister! But what's not what he wanted. He wouldn't mind having a sister. But he didn't want a sister instead of a brother.
It turned out that his mother suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome. She barely fertile. It was hard for her to conceive at all. Shiloh and Gunner were the only boys she had on tap.
At this point, Gunner hated himself for hating Shiloh. He felt like he committed fratricide with the time machine.
So he went back into the time machine and restored the status quo ante. Reset things to the day before he discovered the time machine. After that he torched the time machine.
A few weeks later, Shiloh was hit by a car–because he couldn't see the car. Standing over him in the ER, stroking his hair and holding his hand, as Shiloh hovered between life and death, Gunner realized that he didn't want Shiloh to die. His brother flatlined several times but they were able to resuscitate him and stabilize him. It was bad enough to scrub his brother from the timeline using the machine, yet that was detached. He didn't see the target. But watching his brother die, repeatedly die in the ER, tugged at Gunner's heart. And all the good memories came flooding back. All the good times together he'd forgotten about. In his seething resentment, he'd been far blinder than his brother.
After Shiloh came home from the hospital, he sensed a change in Gunner's attitude. And Gunner found new things for them to do together.
They lived in the same town for the rest of their lives. Gunner outlived Shiloh. When Gunner died, Shiloh was waiting for him. In the world to come, they were young again, only this time Shiloh could see!