Author: Michael Anthony Dioguardi
He who hungers for the past is bound to destroy the future.
A whole generation of humans has been given the opportunity to time travel with no impact on the continuum. Any moment in history can now be watched as if you were sitting down in a movie theatre. But we didn’t have a hypothesis for the long-term effects of such novel technology, and now that we’re experiencing this cannibalistic chaos, let us not forget that this was avoidable and predictable.
Patient zero: Clyde Manning. His story is the most complete picture of what happens when one ignores the suggested directives. During the trial period for the carnal-attachment components (CACs), patients experienced memory loss exponentially correlated with the number of times they had traveled to a previous moment in time. At first, this was mistakenly attributed to time spent in any given past, but this has since been corrected.
The vetting process did not detect any abnormalities in Manning’s personality profile that would lead to such a gruesome and confounding death. He had no proclivities toward violence and demonstrated a peaceful disposition. The first instance in which he displayed symptoms of anthropophagi fame memoriam was during a routine visit to a birthday party from his childhood. He saw a man who looked out of place, stumbling toward him beyond a crowd of parents. Noting the odd behavior, he logged it and returned to the present. The appearances of the stumbling man continued though, popping up during a visit to the construction of the Colossus of Rhodes and again at the First Sacking of Rome.
Around this time, Manning developed frequent headaches, and he had already missed several mandatory log entries. The software picked up on the issue, but before anyone could intervene, the problem had already been resolved. Clyde Manning had consumed his own brain.
We considered the possibility for potential duplicates in the early days of development.
The implication that “duplicates” would ever emerge as a widespread phenomenon was dismissed as unnecessary cynicism. No one expected this.
Manning developed manic tendencies, switching haphazardly from past to present—anything to shake the chase, but wherever he went, the stumbling man followed. In his delirious state, he logged that the man was pale, unkempt, and moved with a combination of limping and crawling. He did not recognize him either. It ultimately would not have helped his situation if he did, for the stumbling man was indeed, Clyde Manning—a duplicate aberration with accelerated anthropophagi fame memoriam—his appearance greatly altered by the late-stage disease. The duplicate, of course, was driven by one motive: hunger, namely, for memories.
The chase ended on the rig Manning worked. He exited the time apparition from the aforementioned birthday party in miserable condition, unable to stand. Before the apparition horizon could fully close, the duplicate fell on top of him. The two tussled for a moment, unaware that their objectives were the same. Each Manning sunk their respective teeth in the other’s head and snacked until they could no longer stomach it; they perished only seconds later—their suffering surprisingly brief.
Manning’s last recorded memory was exiting the birthday party just as the candles were blown out. He’d forgotten any other moment from his past—able to return to the party and nowhere else.
Look behind you now and then. And if you recognize a face in the crowd that looks too familiar—much like a mirror image—it might be too late. Log when your memory begins to….and….I….
…I don’t know. I’ve lost my train of thought…