It wasn’t until the subway stopped at Union Square that Alba noticed the difference in time.
I’ve been on this train for hours, she realized. Before the conductor’s announcement, she’d been lost in the newness of her amplified intelligence, rolling her mind around foreign concepts like a child rolls his tongue around a piece of candy. She didn’t notice time passing, though she was acutely aware of her surroundings. Now, with the implant, nothing escaped her perception.
When she glanced at her watch, seven minutes had passed. Seven?
The thought was quickly discarded as a reflection in a window launched her into an analysis of Plato, but it was resumed again, three minutes later, at 8th street. Three minutes later?
The implant had come highly recommended, although it was still in an early phase of development. She’d managed to get on the list of volunteers through university connections, and it had been surprisingly painless. A mild hangover, then nothing. Her mind raced, cross-referencing books she was certain she’d never opened, but the sensation wasn’t disorienting. Alba was lucid. Wholly lucid.
It took weeks to get to Canal street, by which point she’d developed a detailed understanding of number theory. Her watch said that seven more minutes had passed.
A fly landed on her still hand, and she watched it probe her skin with its mouth. After months, it flew away. A fly’s lifespan must seem so short, she thought, or so long. It must depend on the fly’s speed of processing information.
It took nearly a year to reach her house, by which point, Alba had aged almost twenty minutes.