Temporal Lovers (Part 4)

img-alternative-textWithout sight to guide me, I relaxed into a world of strangely calming pain. I had known my chemical concoction would hurt and had prepared for it, but had not factored for its abrupt dissipation. The pain vanished almost as soon as I was rendered blind. I could’ve been just a fool in a suit in a laboratory in a house, or I could’ve been something entirely different. Senseless, I awaited life’s next stage.

When, at last, a chill took upon me and my view cleared to a dripping window, my world had changed. Gone was my home, my country, my earth and in its place, the stars. The universe materialised in a trillion specks of light. They did not stand still.

The sensation of movement was never there, but move I did. The stars gained speed to incalculable velocities, my everything a blinding single light. At its centre, my love.

To Be Continued…

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Temporal Lovers (Part 3)

img-alternative-textThe chemical soup entered my mouth with stinging acidity, then flowed down my throat like the bitterest pill. A churning crock-pot, my stomach took the brunt of the attack. Soon, the pain in my body was eclipsed by the burning behind my eyes. The room spun. The world spun. Just I thought myself time’s greatest fool, a man who in seeking knowledge had ignored facts and paid the price, everything changed.

It started with my laboratory; the pictures danced. Be them portrait, photograph or idle sketch, the collated images of a life devoted to science moved of their own volition, the smallest first and largest last. The final picture to vibrate into life was that of Victoria herself. Gone was the grey gloom, returned the softness of youth. In the blinking of an eye, our sovereign became a child.

I watched in disbelief as the glass viewing portal steamed, and I, unable to raise my arms to wipe it, was lost to a universal fog.

To Be Continued…

Temporal Lovers (Part 2)

img-alternative-textFormerly the trappings of an aquanaut, my containment suit was a most uncomfortable means of surfing time. As already mentioned, the weighted, steel boots I had secured to the tiled floor allowed for no lateral movement. Good, because if they had, there’d have been no telling where I may or may not have materialised, or, rather, what may or may not have materialised within me.

My whole theorem was that time should move around me rather than me through time. If I had interfered with said time, the consequences to myself would have been dire. Or so I reckoned, anyway. Better to be safe than sorry in matters of life and death.

The mahogany lever attached to my left leg was now in the fully vertical position, which allowed my suit to fill with the chemicals required to facilitate my extraction from reality. They bubbled, fizzed and rapidly expanded from the inert lake around my knees to a volcanic brew that raced through the suit. When the liquid reached my mouth, I panicked. Who wouldn’t have? However, by then, it was much too late to go back.

To Be Continued…

Temporal Lovers (Part 1)

img-alternative-textTime looped, whilst I remained immobile. Bolted to my laboratory floor, the temporal suit, my greatest invention, allowed its occupant to experience the universe as only a god should.

I had strapped myself in with the harness made from a horse’s reins; the leather worn but strong, then dared and double-dared my brain, who rebelled at the time, into adjusting that last lever. I had, of course, placed a self-explanatory note on the mantelpiece addressed to my dear Gwendolyn. Resting against the carriage clock we had purchased with our joint savings on first moving into our home, it symbolised our love. My wife, however, had not the same propensity for knowledge as I, instead, preferring happiness over the pursuit of answers. I could not be happy without knowing the answers, and so a stalemate was reached. She would never have truly understood.

My fingers grasped the mahogany lever carved from the leg of a favourite bureau; it felt real in a world that was not. A final glance to England’s monarch, Victoria staring out from her portrait like a doom-laden soothsayer, and I was ready. I pulled the lever.

To Be Continued…

A Dream So Real

Author’s Note: I’ve just spent five hours editing. It may have affected me.

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I floated in amniotic fluids, life bursting all around. Creatures of all kinds and all descriptions, some of which beggared belief, swam and dipped before me. Above, a sun ten times that of which I knew blazed down as I fought to stay afloat. Tropical, one might have said, Caribbean, at least, I batted at beasts no larger than my fist hoping to stave off this madness. I would’ve called them fish, but fish, they were not.

I spluttered as the sweet liquid entered my mouth and spat it out twice as quick. Undulating waves of turquoise clarity heaved my weightless form up and down, side to side, over and over, around and around as I searched for a shore in the churning maelstrom. But there was no shore in this place out of history. Alone, I surged against time’s tides desperate to return.

“Damn you!” I raged with a venom spawned from hate. “Damn you, science!” I shouted as the liquid entered my throat. “This is not, London! This is not the Thames!”

“Oh, I don’t know?” said a half-lizard, half-squid that floated on by. “Still better than Berlin.”

When it winked, I panicked. When it doffed its cap, I screamed.

TIME

Austere: yes; monochrome: indeed, yet the rocks of that mountainside made an impassioned plea upon my soul. Defiant, they rose up out of the misting valleys in sheer unadulterated joy. The spartan trees clung for dear life to those barren slopes in a seeming effort to be rid of gravity. Coiling roots and whipping tendrils secured themselves in every available nook and cranny on that towering massif. The sight formed an image in my memory that I should never forget.

If ever I could have chosen a berth to be stranded in time in, I thought those most spiritual of peeks should have featured high on my list. If ever there was a place to lose oneself, then in the company of prehistory should not be such a bad place to fear. Yes, I could have done far worse in my endless search for self.

Then, I remembered that I had, and I was, and suddenly wasn’t quite so certain anymore. Time travel had a knack of affecting one in such ways and I was no exception to its laws. I took in a deep, fresh breath of cool air, but it stalled in my lungs, as I glanced to the brass chronometer that should have rested upon my arm. The device, my masterpiece of creative genius lay shattered on the rocks at my feet. I would have long time to brood upon it.

The End, or Beginning?

Chronological Horizons

Hope you all enjoy. This is a short story posted due to requests. 

 

A blink, and all I knew and all I was vanished into a kaleidoscope of sparkling lights. The expected darkness did not materialise, the sleep of the temporal traveller somehow non-existent. I fluttered through a magical landscape of colliding colours and absolute silence. A butterfly on the wing, I was blown away to some unknown isle.

I opened my eyes, not having realised them closed, to a vista of emerald green. A verdant, arboreal landscape lay below me, my chrono-cubicle balanced precariously on the edge of some ancient Jurassic cliff. With a delicacy not afforded to my London laboratory, I opened the door of my glass machine and fearing for my safety slipped out into the clearest air I had ever sampled. It

was not a moment too soon! My weight removed from the chrono-cubicle and redistributed across the translucent floor sent the machine crashing over the precipice. Whether I liked it or not, I would never be returning home. Good, I should rather rot in the past than fester in the future.

A brief perambulation of the plateau revealed no easy descent to the world below, so trusting to my tailor’s needlework, I lowered myself over the clifftop and began a controlled slide down. That was the idea, at least. I had made it no more than forty feet or so when my momentum took over. The next thing I knew, I was upside down in a treetop.

The indigenous bird populations had nothing to fear from my aerial acrobatics, I thought righting myself, then remembered that there were no birds in the Jurassic. That brought a greater clarity to my mind. The jungle floor was not the place for a nineteenth century Englishman to reside. But the arboreal foliage was too dense to push through, so with no other choice, I lowered my aching limbs to the ground.

Seeing what was left of my machine strewn across the area in tiny pieces of crystal, glass and English oak pained me greatly. I’d put the last ten years of my life into escaping the hell of modern day Hitlerian Europe. Viewing my work in ruins somehow brought everything to a head and I wondered how we had let it happen.

#

When the Nazi’s had taken England, the last bastion of

European defence, a ten-year-old, lunatic Austrian at their forefront, what was left of civilisation had crumbled. The posters of Queen Victoria in chains broke any resistance that remained and the world had a new dominator.

I remained hidden locked away behind granite layers of secret passageways hoping above hope that I would not be discovered until I could finish my work. But even tens of feet below London’s cobbled streets, I had no peace. The sounds of mankind in motion increased incrementally each day. When I could bear it no more, I crept from my subterranean hideaway and up into the bowels of Big Ben, the building I skulked beneath. Up and up I went allowing my feet to carry me onwards. When there were no more steps to climb, I had found myself stood amongst gears and cogs and realised I had attained London’s highest viewing point. It was there that I risked a look across the city from between the old clock’s arms: I was devastated! Hitler’s army and those it had forced into servitude had been busy, very busy. All I could see was mile upon mile of smelting works, and the industry of war. There was no longer a horizon just death in the making.

I’d known right there and then that England and the world it belonged to was changed forever and without further ado descended back to my own private domain. There, I departed into the past for the future held only pain, my chrono-cubicle untested, but what did it matter.

#

The silence was the thing that bothered me most. Not one

creature of any size or shape did I see, as I wandered aimlessly into the wilderness. Other than trees of even greater stature than I imagined there should be there was nothing but a world of vines and pooling mists. The life that Darwin had predicted as abundant was noticeable by its absence. I should have been glad not to risk being torn limb from limb but the truth was I was touch disappointed. Without an element of risk in one’s life there is only stagnation and the purgatory of normality. I had no wish to be normal, nor stagnant.

It was whilst mulling over the thought of a stale environment that it was all of a sudden not. From darkened gloom, I emerged into brilliant light and the beauty of free flowing water. Eons of time travel, even if it was crammed into but a few seconds, had left me dry and desperate for a drink. With a pleasure reserved for birth and marriage, I forewent decorum and dived straight in. It was an odd thing to do for a man known for his caution, quite out of character. The thought tumbled through my mind as the river, in turn, tumbled my body. The undercurrent was far in excess of anything I suspected and I knew myself to be in grave danger. Swimming was not my forte. I struggled, who wouldn’t have, but my flapping and flailing achieved nothing. If not for the shallow nature of the riverbed, at least, in places, I would have drowned. Instead, I hurtled through prehistory in a long arcing curve that swung me back towards the mountainside that I had come from.

Once I realised my efforts ineffectual, a total waste of

energy, I allowed my tired body to be borne along without complaint. Even as the river disappeared into the gaping, obsidian black of the inner mountain, I refused to panic. Not until my head hit rock and groggy and disorientated, I staggered from the knee-high depths of the pool I had been deposited in, did I wonder at what I should do.

I was used to darkness and my eyes quickly adjusted to it. Once they had, the speckles of the retina becalmed, I realised that there was light, not much, but it was there. Both the cave entrance and a shaft high above provided a wan illumination. I weighed up my options. It was impossible for me to have swum out of the raging waters the way I came, so finding what was almost a rock staircase, I climbed.

I could not begin to describe the age that it took to attain the required height, how my legs ached and hands bled at the continual brushing against rock. I even shelled my sodden jacket and shirt, so desperately hot did my ascent make me. As an English gentleman, I feared being found in some unseemly position more than I did of any physical pain. But the likelihood of ever seeing any human again, never mind an Englishman, was remote at best.

I marvelled at the crystalline cavern that I found myself in. The closer I got to the light source the more detail it revealed. That I was in a shaft of near symmetrical proportions, I was in no doubt and even the steps became clearer. The rock staircase could have been fashioned by trolls or ogres for the sole purpose of the ascent and I was more than grateful for it. Until eventually like

the bursting of a child’s balloon, I achieved the required height. But something was wrong, very wrong!

It took the closing of my eyes to confirm what my brain had already told me. Sensing north, a gift my nautically inclined Grandfather had bequeathed me, one that skipped past my father’s generation, I stood arms splayed. To my left should have been cogs, my right, three gigantic brass wheels and to the front the same opening I had stared through in my own time. I opened my eyes to the same proportions of the same room and the same window only covered in a millennia’s worth of deposited minerals. I stepped carefully forward and forced my way out of the hole in the rock face to a landscape as seen by God. The final confirmation was right there before me: it was the Thames, and I was not in the past, but the future!

#

I never did find out what had happened: world war, natural evolution, or Armageddon. My one discovery to suggest any theory was a statue formed of pure gold that had survived the ravages of time. It was of a man I did not recognise with a strange small moustache and swastikas on his lapels. The find meant nothing on its own just another confirmation of unknown facts, but it unnerved me for days. Then three weeks later, as I finally made it to the coastline that was once the southeast of England, I had my epiphany. It went like this: when one looks out over land or sea and views a horizon yet to be discovered the adventurer has not lost a universe, but gained one.

Gone was the violence of the past, the smogs and the industry, the evil and the greed, and in its place were possibilities. I intended to seek them out for I had all the required time to do so.

THE END