The Time Traveller


Author : Gavin Raine

It is with some consternation that I realize I am having difficulty in ordering my thoughts. Perhaps this is the onset of confusion one must expect, as the air supply becomes exhausted. I must make haste to write my account:

Only a few hours have passed since I was enjoying a bottle of port and a cigar with my good friend Dr Stanley. Stanley was pontificating on my work. “I know that I can’t match your grasp of mathematics, or the physical sciences,” he said, “but I still maintain that this whole notion of time travel is preposterous. If it were possible, then why haven’t we been visited by travellers from the future?”

“You well know that my theories will not allow travel backward in time,” said I. “The inevitability of paradox precludes any such journey. Time is an arrow that we all travel along at the rate defined by the clock, and my apparatus merely accelerates that progress.”

“So when can we see a demonstration?” said Stanley. “You completed your machine today, did you not?”

“Why not now?” said I, and I wobbled through into my laboratory, with the good doctor following closely.

I confess, the alcohol made me foolish and impetuous, but even in my most sober moments, I had not anticipated the fate that awaited me.

I placed myself in the saddle of the time machine and took the control rod in my hand. “Meet me here at exactly this time tomorrow night”, I exclaimed and, with a salute, I inched the rod forward.

There was a confusing blur of motion, after which I found myself looking at the stars. I was perplexed, but when I looked down to see the curve of the Earth, far below, my puzzlement turned to panic. It took some time before I calmed down enough to realize what had happened.

Throughout all of my theorizing and calculation, the one factor I had failed to take into account was the motion of the planets. While I travelled through the dimension of time, the Earth had continued onward in the other three physical dimensions. It had simply left me behind. Outside of my time dilation field, there was only the vacuum of space.

After a while, I advanced the control rod forward again, taking my machine a full year into the future. However, I could only watch in frustration as the Earth swung past, out of my reach. Perhaps I am drifting, or the solar system itself is moving, but it seems I have lost all hope of ever reaching home again.

My machine is moving through time at its maximum velocity now, and all I can do is hope that I intersect with some form of planetary surface, though I fear that the odds are against me. I am hundreds of years in the future already and it is becoming difficult to write in my notebook. All around me, the light sources are growing dimmer.


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