Shattered, XXX

Shattered stood looking at a small bird. Across the small street, Via Antonio De Curtis, a sparrow made sweet sounds. From the little second floor terrace, he smoked a cigarette. Ice. Cold. The cigarette went out. His vision slightly blurred; he felt waves running perpendicular to his body, outwards, from behind him. He nearly fell off; the terrace railing was only a meter high. Turning around he entered a large, mostly empty room; it had tile floors, a small bureau desk, an antique wooden chair; writing helped Shattered remember; it helped him stay present when time’s speed seemingly overwhelmed his sensory capacity. And when he couldn’t stay in time with time, he managed to write down his reflections of the memories that came to him, drop by drop, from some place in an obscured yesterday, last week or two months ago. The room stood silent, usual. His desk undisturbed. Perhaps a headache. Perhaps another regression.

As he walked to the desk, which faced the western wall, time slowed. Jelly. He felt as though all the bones in his body had been removed. Only flesh somehow stood erect. His arms and legs, despite attempts to run, moved by only by millimeters. Liquid concrete. Nothing about the space had changed. An intense heat ran through his body. His heart pumped slowly, despite his panic.

“He’s becoming visible, please increase…”

Kyoto, that’s Kyoto’s voice.

“Damn, we are almost there, hey there Tech, we need your help; now is about time to help? Don’t you think? These are my calculations, but your amplification… We need more juice! More energy!”

Mar! Mar’s voice. Damn, I knew she’d find me. Took a year! Dora walked into the room; she stood just inside the doorway, her face seemed frozen. Then her voice managed to come through and reach Shattered. He did not understand. She looked two-dimensional, like a painting. In fact, everything looked two-dimensional. In the center of the room, a small white light appeared. It expanded to include most of the center. Inside this luminous white sphere, shadows. Figures. People. One, two, three, four, and a fifth, the size of a child. About a meter tall.

“Come on S, get in! Damn we don’t have time for this!”

“It’s the time distortion, Dr Smithson. He’s experiencing a delay as he’s so near the Event Horizon.” Kyoto said.

“I damn well know what he’s experiencing; I discovered… Never mind, is there a way, Tech of bringing him in safely? She looked at the small creature. Child-sized, wrapped completely in a soft white fabric. Their hands had no fingers that Shattered could see, as the space between him and five became transparent. Completely wrapped in what could be white linen, with a large oval shaped head, and a thick black oval shaped eyeball? Goggles? A giant pupil? The small being raised their hand and approached Shattered. Time immediately returned to normal. Then it sped it up. He was inside the field. Dora had fainted on the floor. He looked at her in horror.

“She’ll be alright, S, we are going home! To our own time.” Mar hugged him. She looked slightly older. William wrapped his big arms around Shattered and picked him up; Shattered shuddered with happiness. They kissed. “We found you, my love! And this is why I couldn’t say anything because we had already met.”

“You knew this would happen?”

“Not like this, no.” Dr Olanrewaju replied. Shattered loved his voice.

“Every event is different, and so is every eventuality,” Mar said. She wore a strange uniform: white coveralls, with a small silver triangle attached to her right chest. “LIGO and VIRGO are going to be having a hell of time deciphering what will seem to them like a singularity happening on Earth. Fortunately, it will be read as a glitch. I made sure of that. Gravitational waves, good thing I was the one they would come to on it. Didn’t know what I know now, thankfully. Or maybe I did, and that’s why I said what I said!” Mar’s laugh made Shattered smile. “Ah, I love paradoxes! Tech, shall we be going darlin’? I am ready to get out of this hellhole. It’s a wonder I survived this period of time.” The small creature nodded, and again raised their left hand.

Shattered awoke inside one of the healing womb chambers. He felt comfortable. The womb communicated with him as he drifted through its salubrious liquid, breathing in the amniotic fluids, knowing his synapses, dendrites, neurotransmitters – his fleshthoughts – were being healed. Naked he swam along the inside, falling in and out of sleep.

A gentle voice came through, soft and easy, “Took us ten years to find you, and a little help from our off-world friends, but I found you, S. Rest. Rest.” Mar, I love you, Shattered replied in his mind. “I know you do, darling, rest.”

 

*featured image: Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) observation of gravitational wave, courtesy, The Sea! The Sea! The Primordial Metaphor by Binit Priyaranjan

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