Author : Steve Smith, Staff Writer
Edison wasn’t immediately aware that anything serious had happened. The room he was in, a specially lined, sealed containment bunker in a facility designed for these kinds of tests, was devoid of any feature that would change noticeably. At least, not noticeable at first.
His vision was blurred, and the apparatus he’d been setting up when the test-fire happened prematurely faded in and out of focus.
He sat, back pushed against the wall where the force of the explosion had left him, and waited for someone to come, but no one did.
He had to move.
As he levered himself up the wall, the paint beneath his fingers first curled and then flattened, changing tone ever so slightly as though withering and flaking from age and being replaced over and over as he watched.
Odd. His hand was in perfect focus. It wasn’t his vision then, as that was clearly unaffected, it was everything around him that was blurred. He stood stunned, and watched as the shuddering in the center of the room seemed to slow, and coalesce into a variety of different experiments, as each were setup and dismantled, over and over again. Streaks of light coming and going as technicians, presumably, brought equipment in and out of the room.
Something was seriously wrong.
He moved towards the door, and watched it continually vacillate between open and closed before his eyes. He could see beyond the heavy metal to the room beyond, but he dared not approach lest he be thrown away into the wall again, or worse, crushed between the door and its frame.
He was trapped.
Hours of awareness passed, and he could do nothing but watch the flow of time around him. At first, the timeline seemed to be progressing forward, and there were brief glimpses of faces he recognized, other scientists from the facility, and an excruciating moment where Etta stood shaking more violently than anything else just outside the door, looking right at, or more likely through him, as someone must have been explaining what had happened. Then things reversed, Etta backed away, slowly at first and then accelerating until the very fabric of the place changed, colours in the lab morphed in waves, flashing lights and bundles of fibre optic cables gave way to massive refrigerator sized computers with tape reels spinning on their faces, then bare walls and manacled silhouettes of people mouthing silent screams, then darkness, only to play back again, forward through time. To Etta.
He was unstuck on his timeline, being whipped on an elastic tether, between darkness, through silent screaming, to Etta, and back again.
Each time her face lingered in his vision for a moment longer. Was it a trick? Or was this madness losing velocity? Was he even, could he possibly be… alive? At the end of this? Sane?
His mind raced, thoughts climbing over thoughts in the confines of his skull as lifetimes played out backwards and forwards, and all he could do was watch.
Edison had no answers. Without Etta, without hope, he had nothing but time.