Entropy

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Mac had access to the only device in the known world that could see through time. But that didn't mean that there might be someone else out there that could do more.

Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Submitted: May 29, 2017

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Entropy

The Temporal Window was one of those inventions that could only come from a mind that wasn’t quite stable. Anthony fit the bill perfectly. He not only envisioned the device, but he also managed to synthesize the two jewels that made it work. He called them Temporal Entropy Inhibitors, or T.E.I.s for short. Using them together in the device allowed him, or anyone else trained in the device’s use, to set the window to look into any point in the past.

The device was much smaller than a typical window. It was roughly two-feet squared, and not too heavy. Anthony could walk around with it, but it became cumbersome after too long. The controls were on either side of the window, and this was where the jewels rested, one in each control. To use the device, a person slid their fingers into the depressions in the controls until their palms came to rest against the jewels. They would then twist the controls to whichever point in time that they wished to see, and flex or relax their fingers in the controls to fine-tune what the window saw.

At first, Anthony could only look back at the physical location that the window was pointed at. However, with some major work, he was able to create controls that would allow him to peek into any spot at any time and place. He could watch empires fall, random acts of kindness, or even the birth of the human race. But there was one thing that his figures told him that he would never be able to witness: The Big Bang.

That much raw power would surely overwhelm the device and destroy it. There was also no telling what it would do to the person attached to the device at the time. If the window was destroyed, along with the jewels, there would be no creating replacements. This was not a once-in-a-lifetime creation; this was a once-in-an-existence creation. This is why he only trained those that he felt he could completely trust to run the machine.

After all, with this much power quite literally at one’s fingertips, trust was paramount. Anthony made sure that his trainees knew that the slightest hint of impropriety would result in a complete revoking of rights to the machine. The last thing he wanted was for someone to use his creation for personal gain. The only thing Anthony wanted his machine used for was the expansion of human knowledge. He felt that beside that goal, the thought of mere money paled in comparison.

Of the three people he trained, only one could run the machine as well, if not better than, Anthony himself. This was his assistant Tonya Mackey, or Mac for short. Mac was able to dial the window into specific instances with a speed that was a bit eerie. When asked how she could find the times that she looked for so quickly, she said that she didn’t know. She just let her instincts guide her. It didn’t matter that such a machine had never before existed in the entire history of the world, but Mac could work with it like she had been using it since childhood.

This was why Mac rated the most time on the window, and why she was the one to notice the anomalies that were popping up every now and then in the times that she observed. She started keeping a record of all the times and places that she noticed the anomaly, so that she could go back and look for anything that it might leave behind. She had a working theory, but she needed to be sure before advancing it to Anthony and the others. Mac had a suspicion that she may be witnessing a time traveler.

The anomaly appeared to be about the size of an average person, but unlike an average person, it glowed. Not a faint glow, either, but one that was too bright to look at for long. Those that were in the times that the anomaly visited didn’t seem to take notice of its presence, just as they ignored the presence of the window.

Mac considered that this may actually be her seeing one of the users of the window, but she decided to conduct an experiment to rule that out. She visited a time and place in an uninhabited corner of a nameless desert, then visited another location before visiting the desert again, but a few feet away from where she had originally been. She turned the window until she was facing where she had been, and at the appropriate time, there was a faint shimmer in the air where she knew she had been. She had noticed the shimmer when she had visited the desert before, but thought it had been a result of the heat of the area. Now she knew better. As she was preparing to close the window, she saw something that she was not expecting.

The anomaly emerged from wherever it was from and appeared to lunge at the heat shimmer as it was fading. It missed, turned, and it looked as though it were staring at Mac. It may have tried to advance on Mac, but she turned the device off before she could see for sure. As she withdrew her fingers from the controls, she felt cold all over, as though she had just missed something quite dangerous.

Mac took her theory and recorded instances of contact to Anthony and her coworkers. Together, they tried to make sense of the data, but none of them liked where the information was pointing. Without more information, they had no way of knowing if their conclusion was correct. Of course, no one likes the thought of being hunted.

Anthony spent quite a bit of time wondering out loud when the time traveler was from, and if that meant that there may be a way to synthesize more T.E.I. crystals. After all, those were the only things that made time travel possible, even in this limited form. More crystals would mean more possibilities to expand his research, and through that research, the knowledge-base of mankind. He was absolutely giddy at this thought.

Anthony asked Mac if there was any way that this being might just be trying to make contact with them, but Mac had to admit that the lunge that she witnessed had more violence in it than basic contact should. That left them wondering what possible reasons any being could have for wanting to harm passive observers. Perhaps the traveler wished to keep the secrets of time travel for themselves. This bothered Anthony, as he had always wished to share the secret of the temporal window with the world once he had advanced far enough in his research.

Perhaps someone simply didn’t like being observed. Perhaps they were trying to stop something from happening. The device could pop into any time prior to the current one, but it could not see even a minute into the future. No one could fault any of these theories, yet without more information, they would never develop further.

Mac agreed to reactivate the window and search for the anomaly in hopes of making contact with it. She knew when and where it would be so she could hopefully observe what she had missed when she had shut down the window earlier before she tried to make contact. She settled into her chair and slid her hands into the controls while her coworkers observed. As soon as she activated the device, she opened the window to the desert, making sure to be there a full minute before her first visit. She wanted to see if there was anything she had missed on her previous two visits. But things did not go as planned.

As soon as the screen cleared, allowing her to look at the desert, the anomaly filled the screen. It reached its arms out and acted as though it was going to use the controls on either side of the window. Mac had no reason to believe that it could manipulate the window, as it should have just been energy on the other side, but the day was proving to be full of surprises.

As soon as the anomaly came in contact with the window, Mac felt it shift on the table in front of her. She was stunned as the device moved, but she was absolutely shocked as the controls started to move on their own. She couldn’t move a muscle, so she had no way of disengaging the device. When Anthony realized what was going on, he tried to pull Mac away, but he might as well have been tugging on a statue.

Mac finally came back to herself enough to attempt to shut down the window, but the controls wouldn’t respond to her commands. The window appeared to be speeding back in time, to the birth of the planet. Mac thought that would be an interesting thing to see, but on her terms, not those of some unknown force. She removed her hands from the controls, knowing that the jewels had to be in contact with a life-force in order to work, but the device remained active. The only way that that was possible was if the device was reading the essence of the thing on the other side of the window.

Once the screen shot past the creation of the planet, they all expected the device to shut off, but instead it started to go back even quicker than before. It was then that they realized that there was only one place that the entity could be taking them, and it was the one place that they should not go.

Mac sat back down and slid her hands over the controls, trying desperately to do anything to alter the path of the device. She could feel the jewels heating up against her palms, but ignored it in favor of trying to regain control of the window. She still couldn’t make out the features of the entity, if it had features to speak of, but nonetheless, something about it seemed familiar.

As the window approached the Big Bang, all Mac could do was scream for the entity to let them go. To her surprise, the entity appeared to hear her, and shook its head. There was something almost sad in that motion, but she noticed that that didn’t appear to stop it from continuing upon its ruinous path. The entity looked around, and released the device. Mac had a momentary sense of relief until she realized why the entity had released them.

They had arrived.

Before Mac could pull her hands from the controls, everything became nothing. The universe was undone. All that had been was now only a possibility. All entropy had been erased, and with it, all of creation. The window showed true nothingness, which was a concept that none of them had ever tried to put a physical face to before. It had a face now, and it was horrible. They had the barest of instances to witness what they had no business seeing, before the universe made them pay for this trespass.

The Big Bang was glorious and horrifying. The power released in an instant wiped the slate clean, and laid the groundwork for all that would come. Then the power reached the window. The device was destroyed, but not immediately. If it had, only Mac and her associates would have been affected, yet the device survived long enough for the entropy to travel forth at the speed of creation and erase every human from the face of the universe. Save for Mac.

The force of the window exploding sent Mac hurtling into the nearest wall. She lay on the ground for three hours before she came to. It was another twenty minutes before she had convinced herself that she was actually alive. She looked around, and not seeing any of her associates, wondered why they weren’t helping her. Had they been lying on the ground, as she was, it would have been understood that they needed help, as well. But seeing no sign of damage other than the remains of the window on the table and her chair turned over, she tried to call out to her friends. Her voice came out in a croak, and she felt a bit fried, as though she had been hooked up to a car battery. Of course, if that was the punishment for witnessing the birth of the universe, she was getting off light.

She managed to sit up, leaning back against the wall as she made sure that nothing had been broken, aside from the window. She started at the top of her head and worked her way down. There was a tender spot on her shoulder where she had hit the wall, but other than that she seemed to be fine. Then she looked at her hands.

They had felt warm since she came to, but she hadn’t paid much attention to the sensation until she looked at the palms. Imbedded in each hand was a control jewel, along with the wires that ran from the jewels to the tips of each finger. The wires were imbedded into her fingers, as well, yet there was no sensation of pain. It felt as though they had become part of her hands. The jewels appeared dark, but Mac thought that there was almost a desire for light deep in each one.

She tried to pry the jewel and wire from one of her hands, but to no avail. She called out for her friends to come take a look at this, but received no reply. One mystery at a time, and missing people trumped hand jewels at the moment. She got to her feet, once again making sure that nothing was too severely damaged before proceeding, and went looking for her associates. She checked the lab, the medical area, the canteen, and even the recreational area, but saw no signs of her friends.

In fact, she couldn’t find anyone that should have been there. She picked up the phone and called Anthony’s cell, which he was never without, but all she received was an automated message saying that the number she had dialed was currently unreachable. Now she was beginning to worry. Where was everyone? She went through the building again, desperately searching for anyone that might have a clue as to what was going on. Finally, she ran outside, thinking they may have evacuated the building.

No one was outside the building. This scared her more than anything else could, because the building was beside a normally-busy intersection, but now the intersection was deserted. There were a few cars in it, but none contained people. Mac pulled her cell from her pocket and dialed 911, but there was no answer. How on earth could there be no answer at 911? It would be one thing if all the circuits had been busy, because then she would have known that there were other people calling in, but no answer meant that there was no one to answer the phones.

This had to be the world’s most elaborate sick joke. Everyone would come running around the side of the building and shout surprise at her. Any time now. Any moment.

No one.

Mac was aware that she had started crying, but did not care enough to make herself stop. After all, it’s wasn’t as though someone would see her. For no reason other than the fact that she could, she walked over to the middle of the intersection and sat down on the blacktop. Normally, she would have considered this an extremely dumb thing to do, because it was an excellent way to get hit by a car, but it would appear as though there was no one left to drive those cars.

If something had happened that killed everyone during the destruction of the Temporal Window, just what had happened to all of the bodies? She had no clue how long it took bodies to crumble to nothing, but she was absolutely sure that it took longer than a handful of hours.

A handful…

That made Mac look back at her hands. The jewels and the wires were still there, not that she had expected them to go anywhere, but seeing them gave her an idea. Perhaps she could fix the window and see what had happened. If nothing else, it beat just sitting in the road half hoping to be hit by a car.

She got up, went back into the building, and inspected the remains of the window. The sides had been twisted almost beyond recognition, and the top had snapped in the middle. The bottom had been bent with the force of the explosion, but other than that, it looked fine. She set about gathering materials to try to create a new window, and hoped that she could figure out how to get the jewels and the wires out of her hands, and back into the device where they belonged.

After hours of work, Mac managed to create a reasonable facsimile of the original window, but had become too tired to worry about the components still in her hands. She opted to leave the extraction for the next day, and went to get some sleep. She wasn’t foolish enough to hope that it had all been a dream, but some small sliver of her hoped just the same. As soon as she lay down, she dropped off to sleep, as she had been through one of the most physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting days that she could possibly imagine.

As she slept, her dreams were filled with the sounds of the world around her, but those sounds were not the desolate world that she had fallen asleep in. These were the sounds of a world alive, and of people going about their lives. She desperately needed to hear those sounds, so she let herself go deeper into the dream. Yet, the deeper the dream went, the less she heard. Eventually, everything became silent, and she was reminded of that moment of nothingness prior to the Big Bang.

This shook Mac out of her sleep, and she awoke determined to get answers. She went back into the lab where the replacement window waited, and tried to figure out how to make it work. The obvious secret was the jewels and wires that had become part of her hands, so she tried sliding her hands to the controls the same way that she normally would, but nothing happened. She thought that perhaps her flesh was interfering, so it was on to digging the parts out of her skin.

Unfortunately, nothing she did could extract the pieces from her hands. The components seemed to have become one with her flesh. They still felt like their old selves, yet they moved like the rest of her skin did. She flexed and relaxed her hands, clenched them into fists, and even interlaced her fingers in order to crack her knuckles. For all intents and purposes, her hands were the same as they had always been, save for a few late additions.

During one of her flexing trials, Mac felt something familiar and attempted to apply it to the window. She placed her hands in the controls, and flexed her hands again, yet nothing happened. She tried repeatedly to generate that familiar feeling, but nothing seemed to work. She grew frustrated, pulled her hands from the controls, pushed back from the table, and screamed at her hands while she flexed them again in front of her face.

Her scream died on her lips as the air between her hands changed. She was no longer looking at the failed window that was on the table in front of her. She was now seeing herself sitting in the chair at the table with her hands working at the controls of her replacement window. She knew exactly what would happen, as it had just happened moments ago. Her other self yanked her hands free and pushed back towards her current self, causing Mac to spread her hands and brace for impact, but no impact came. Instead, the area between her hands was alive with all manner of motion.

Not only could she see everything that she had been able to see with the window, but now she could hear everything, as well. As she watched, she began to move her fingers in the gestures that she had learned through use of the window. Now, she had even more control, and could visit any time and place she wanted with ease. She had been good with the window, but the finesse she had now made her old self seem like a caveman beating on rocks with a club.

Playing around with her new talent, she wanted to see how wide she could make the window. She spread her hands out as far as they could go, and the window grew as far as she could get her hands. With a deep breath, she decided to see what would happen if she opened her arms enough for her hands to go behind her. She thought the window would disappear, but nothing could have prepared her for what actually happened.

The window became a door. Mac stepped through into the streets of Cairo around the early twentieth century. With a flip of her fingers, she was now standing in front of the White House during its original construction. She snapped her fingers, and witnessed the first adventurers make it to the South Pole. She spent hours exploring in ways that she had never been able to manage before. Not only could she see what had happened, but she could hear the languages of each time and place. She found herself immersed in countless cultures at a whim, and felt drunk with the possibilities.

After a long while, Mac felt it was time to return to her own time, and look for answers, even though she had a feeling that she held the keys to those answers quite literally in her very hands. The problem was that she had no clue how to return to her time. If she had been using the window, simply removing her hands from the controls would have been enough to shut the machine off, but that wasn’t really an option here. She tried to take herself back to when and where she had left from, but she couldn’t get past the moment she had stepped through the door. Had time stopped? Did she have that power, as well? She highly doubted it. She watched herself leave, then she was pulled along to all the places she had gone. She could yank herself free, but each time she tried to go back, she found herself caught again and again.

This went on for much longer than she liked, and finally she slapped her hands together in an effort to make herself focus. Bringing the jewels together produced a heat that bordered on painful, and brought her back to the time and place that she had been seeking. However, even though she came back to where she was supposed to be, the time couldn’t have been right. She had to have found a way into the future because all of the power was out. Even those things that ran on batteries were dead.

Mac searched through the lab and eventually found candles and a lighter. After a few tries, the lighter produced enough of a flame to light one of the candles, and she used the lit candle to light another candle, which she left in the lab while she went looking for more supplies. As her coworkers had always believed in being prepared, there were plenty of nonperishable food and bottled water. She had the urge to go around hoarding as much as she could find, but she reminded herself that it wasn’t as though there was anyone else to take the supplies.

With this, she was determined more than ever to figure out what had happened to everyone. But she needed rest before she could get into that. She needed food before she could rest. So she fixed herself a meal, and got some rest, making herself a promise that she would get answers the next day. Yet, when the next day came, she found herself reluctant to search for those answers. she thought that a day of rest might be called for, so she could mentally prepare for what she might find, and she found no fault in that logic.

But that was the same logic that she used to keep putting off the search for answers. The more time she took off, the harder she was finding the willingness to pick up the thread of what happened. She would spend her time gazing between her hands at the world as it had been when it was full of people, and trying to forget the fact that she now lived in a time where she was the last human in existence. She once thought absently if she dug up a grave, would the coffin be empty, or would the rotting corpse still be present. She found the experiment too gruesome to think about more than once.

Now she tried to convince herself that she was content to watch the world as it had been. She had learned so much about what had been going on in the world leading up to what she now thought of as the Event. There was a man named Jesse that had just put the finishing touches on a pair of glasses that could help anyone play any piano. Mac watched Jesse program the glasses, place a corresponding transparent sheet on the keys of a piano, and play the keys that appeared to light up in front of his eyes. He went from playing simple nursery tunes to concert pieces in a matter of days. It would have been a huge hit.

She saw a woman named Harley develop a new way patients could be cared for in hospitals. It was a full-body suit that controlled the patient’s body temperature, read their vital signs, draw blood and allow for chemical injections, and even waste management. It would have revolutionized hospital care, and taken so much guess-work out of diagnosis and treatment. She was on the verge of receiving a patent for her product, just as she was working to revolutionize herself by becoming the man that she felt he truly was, and Mac had no doubt that he would have been rich by the end of the year.

She even saw a woman named Jonda that was developing a program that would grow to put the internet to shame. It was designed to evolve with the times and the needs of those that used it. No more dead pages and no more endless loops. It would have helped the world become a much more efficient place. At least, it might have, if people took a moment away from cat videos. Either way, who was Mac to judge?

All of these stories she witnessed, plus countless more, yet each time she had to remind herself that the Event had put an end to each of them.

Finally, she found her courage and decided to find out exactly what had happened when the window had been destroyed. She closed her eyes for a minute, gathering her thoughts, before opening them and opening a window between her hands. She saw herself sit down at the table in front of the window, place her hands on the controls, and say that she was going to go back to the desert. She saw the shock register through all present as the entity grabbed hold of the window and dragged them towards destruction. She watched helplessly as the window was faced once more with the terrible nothingness of the unformed universe. Now was the moment she had been waiting for. The Big Bang.

As Mac watched, a wave of pure energy was emitted through the window, and being filtered through Mac herself, went on to envelope all things, erasing humans as it went. As soon as the window exploded, throwing that Mac against the wall, the current Mac brought her hands together, closing the window. She found herself shaking. She also realized that she was crying again. Why had she been spared? Was it because she was attached to the machine? Was it some sort of cosmic punishment? Was it stupid luck? She had no way of knowing, but felt that maybe all three could have been correct.

The entity. She had to find it, and if possible, stop it before it took them back to the Big Bang. She even knew where and when she could find it. Back to the desert. This time, though, she would have to go back through the door in order to make a difference. She knew that if she went through the door, coming back may place her further into the future, but that was a risk she would have to take.

After a small meal to help build her strength, Mac brought the desert up between her hands, then spread her arms until she could walk through the door that she created. Looking around to confirm that she was at the correct point, she began searching for the entity. As soon as she noticed the shimmer of her first window appear, she saw the entity make an appearance and lunge for it as it disappeared. When it was gone, it turned and leapt for the second shimmer that disappeared as rapidly as the first. When both were gone, the entity disappeared as well. But the third window shimmer was there, and another entity popped in right in front of it. It may have been the same entity, since time travel made certain things quite confusing.

As the entity grabbed for the window, Mac grabbed for the entity. The entity had almost managed to take hold of the window when Mac pulled it away and yanked it towards the most destructive place she could think of. The entity fought, and instead of taking them back to the beginning of all things, they wound up in the ruins of what had once been the lab. The ceiling had long ago fallen in, along with most of the walls. The cars outside had rusted down to shapes that vaguely resembled vehicles. Mac looked around the previously recognizable area, and found it quite alien. She heard a noise behind her and was at first surprised to hear any type of noise in this desolate place. Then the answer came to her, and she turned to face the entity. Yet instead of some glowing otherworldly being, she found herself face-to-face with her much older self.

The older Mac looked at her with no visible signs of recognition, and growled something quite incomprehensible as she wrapped her hands around her younger counterpart’s throat. Young Mac fought to free herself from the grasp of this insane doppelganger, but her grip was like steel. Nothing she could think of could free her, so she went with the unthinkable. She put her fingers to work opening first a window, then a door, and pulled them both to the spot where it had all began.

The only thing worse than seeing nothingness through the window in your hands was experiencing it firsthand. There was no where-ness to be. There was no sense of time. There was no sense of self. A person tends to define themselves by how old they are, where they are, and who they are, but in a place where there is no who, when, what, or where, all of those things cease to be. It would be quite easy for a person to lose themselves in that situation, so Mac had to focus all of her energy just remembering who she was. Her aged other no longer had the faculties to do so, and she let go of Mac’s neck in a mad flailing about that seemed to be aimed at finding herself amid the darkness. But in her flailing about, Mac found that her other had been carrying a weapon and now used it to slice open Mac’s side.

Mac was lucky that she was able to remember to bring her hands together, even if she did end up in the ruined remains of the lab. She just had to find some time to bandage herself up. She felt herself fall to the floor, and keeping her eyes closed for a moment more, was just glad that she had ended up somewhere that floors actually existed.

Mac felt a stab of pain from her side and pulled in a lung-full of air. Even through her distress she could tell that it wasn’t the rotten air from the ruined lab. Her eyes flew open to find that she was indeed back in the lab, but it had not yet fallen into disrepair. As she hauled herself up off the floor and made her way to the medical facility, she thought about the ruined lab that she had been at. Obviously this hadn’t been it, but then, when had it been? The answer was as obvious as it was ludicrous: She had somehow travelled into the future. No matter how she looked at it, there was no other explanation that made sense. But she had gone over Anthony’s figures herself, and there was just no way for her to have gone forward in time. The basic principles of the T.E.I. crystals just didn’t work that way.

She worked the problem over in her mind as she set to the task of cleaning her wounds to the best of her abilities, since she had no way of knowing the condition of the weapon that had been used on her, and bandaging the area. Looking in the mirror, Mac counted herself lucky that she hadn’t been slashed in the back, because there would have been no way that she would have been able to patch herself up.

As it was, she had to bend in ways that made her clench her teeth against the screams that wanted to tear from her throat. All thoughts of time travel fled from her mind as she managed to place the final bandage and fall over onto her undamaged side. She didn’t know how much blood she lost, but she thought it must have been quite a bit, seeing as she found herself quite loopy. Maybe rest and a meal were in order. After all, it wasn’t like she could expect a transfusion.

She took the next few days to recover and turn the problem of future travel over in her mind. When she was able to move around without wincing in pain, she considered herself healed enough to make a serious attempt at future travel. However, no matter what she tried, she was unable to go forward. It was exactly as it should be. The crystals just didn’t allow a person to go into the future. But she had found herself in the future, facing what appeared to be her future self. The two couldn’t both be correct, yet they both seemed to be. Mac dropped her head into her hands because this was giving her a headache. She felt the heat from the imbedded jewels in her hands, and the answer came to her: These weren’t the only jewels.

Her other self must have jewels, too. That was the only answer. It wasn’t present-day Mac’s jewels that had taken her to the future; it was future Mac’s jewels that had dragged her there. So the key to future travel was to be pulled along by someone that came from that future. Well, at least that was one mystery solved. Not that it didn’t bring up more questions, but Mac was just happy to have made at least one thing make sense.

Whenever Mac thought about how long her future self had been alone, she felt a stab of pity, but refused to give into it. This was a woman that had ended all life on the planet. Every man, woman, and child was gone because of her. This is what Mac had to hold onto as she started working on a plan of attack for their next encounter. That was, if there was another encounter. For all she knew, her future self was still thrashing about in the awful nothingness of the pre-Big Bang.

Mac remembered how strong her other self had been, and made a note to figure out ways to counter that strength. After all, she could take the time to learn, and she had the greatest teaching device at her fingertips. Over the next couple of weeks, Mac observed and copied some of the masters of grappling that she could find. It would take years to perfect the techniques that she was working to emulate, but all she had time for was a good working knowledge of these moves. They may not give her a decided advantage, but they may even the odds a bit, which was all that she could really ask for in this type of situation. Mac found herself laughing because who in the world could have foreseen this type of situation.

Not for the first time, Mac found herself thinking of her future self, and trying to picture how she had survived for so long. Surely that was where both her strength and her madness had come from. Maybe there would have been a way to walk her back from her madness, but Mac wasn’t going to take the time to do so. If there was going to be any type of redemption possible for her future self, Mac thought that her strange other would have to find it herself.

Mac silently wished her luck with that as she opened a door back to the desert. It was time to make sure her past didn’t happen again. There was only one way out of this mess, and it would be tricky. She made sure that the first two windows were gone, and she hoped that she wasn’t too late for the third when it came into view. Two entities came into play, and Mac realized that when she was traveling through the doors, she looked like her other. Back in the lab before the Event, some of the anomalies that she had tracked may have been her current self. The thought sent a small chill down her spine, but she had to ignore it if she was going to pull this off.

As soon as her two other selves had disappeared into the ether, she approached the shimmer and faced it. She knew that the version of her on the other side couldn’t see her clearly, or hear her at all, but she tried to explain what she was about to do anyway. She was just finishing up when an arm wrapped around her chest from behind, driving her forward. It would appear that her insane other self had managed to extract herself from the pit of nothingness. Unexpected, but that could be put to use.

Mac used her newfound knowledge to dislodge herself from the mad thing, and got out from between her and the window. She knew that her other would go for the window given half a chance, and she was more than happy to provide that chance. As soon as her other placed her hands on the controls, Mac jumped on her back and slammed her own hands against the hands already on the controls. She hit with enough force for the jewels to react to each other. All three sets.

The reaction was immediate.

~~~

Mac sat in her chair watching as the two entities appeared to fight. She had no clue what they were saying to one another, if they were saying anything at all. Anthony and her other coworkers stood behind her, as transfixed as she was. She knew that they would likely see the entity again, but they had witnessed so many entities that they had lost count. For all they knew, there could be an entire race of time travelers out there. If only there was a way to communicate with them, but she couldn’t think of any way that might make sense. All she could do was watch what was happening, and try to make sense of it. One entity had faced the window and looked as though it was trying to communicate, when the other one came up behind it.

They then began fighting, and with both glowing so brilliantly, Mac has lost track of which one was which. One managed to get away from the other and come back to the window. She hoped that it was the one that had been trying to communicate, but there was really no way to know. As soon as the entity took hold of the window, which they had all considered impossible, the other entity had jumped on its back and slammed its hands over the controls.

The screen went dark and the jewels cracked against Mac’s hands, causing her to cry out as she was cut. She withdrew her bleeding hands, hoping she didn’t get an infection from the cuts. They didn’t appear to be deep, but it did look like there were shards from the jewels in the cuts. She held her hands out while Anthony extracted the shards, and bandaged her hands. She sat back and watched as Anthony took the controls apart, hoping that the jewels could be salvaged. But when the jewels were extracted, they were in so many pieces that Mac counted herself lucky that she hadn’t been cut worse.

She found herself getting tired, and decided to get some rest as Anthony and the others determined if there might be any way to create new jewels, but they all knew that there was little hope. After Mac fell asleep, her hands started moving in an intricate pattern, and a small window appeared.

The End


© Copyright 2017 CharlesLeeMcCabe. All rights reserved.

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