Welcome to my writing corner. Here you'll find stand alone stories and tales that stretch much longer. You'll find tales ranging from medieval adventure to modern stories about real people with a sci-fi twist. If you like/hate what you read, drop me a line and let me know.

You can find the stories grouped by the labels just to the right.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What If? - Chapter 10

The car ride home is haunting. No music, windows rolled up, the sound of rubber treading over asphalt and the occasional bang of the suspension as I cross bumps. I feel a paternal loss that’s hard to nail down, it’s just that emptiness in your gut that something is wrong. Somewhere hidden from you is an unquantifiable missing puzzle piece.

The feeling is all over my face as I walk through the front door of my house. My wife is standing in front of me, arms crossed, expectant look upon her face, she knows I wasn’t helping Pat with yard work.

“So, where were you?” My stretched, creased, stained work boots sit on the linoleum in front of her, my work gloves crossed neatly atop the boots.

I sigh and rub by eyes, shifting uncomfortably. Then, like an explosion I tell her the entire story. Hearing my own words, it sounds a little hard to swallow, even after everything that has happened to me. I finish and she is silent for a long time. Her eyes pierce me, then flick to the floor, then once again to me. Every breath is suspended in air as time freezes.

“Show me.” Is all she says.

Except where necessary, we spend the rest of the evening in silence. It’s obvious she barely believes me, but the story is just too outlandish to be made up. I spend at least two hours twisting the stolen brass lab key over and over in cold, sweaty hands before I attempt sleep.

We both toss and turn all night. Ice cold bed sheets. The house sounds empty except for the whirling clatter of the ceiling fan over our bed. In the morning I contemplate calling Pat, but I know he won’t be happy. He barely let me go in the machine a second time; there is no way he’ll let me send Laina in his parallel dimension machine.

During the car ride to campus I break the silence. I tell her all she needs to know; about the falling sensation, the overwhelming sensory input, the inability to act, and the sickness after. Everything I wish someone had told me.

It’s Sunday, so campus is pretty empty, we don’t see anyone on the way to the lab. I feel the betrayal as I slide the stolen key into the locked door. The click of the locking mechanism is an audible echo of breaking Pat’s trust.

Just as the door swings open, my phone rings, Give me back that Filet-O-Fish-, damn that is annoying, I have to change my ringer. The LCD reads Blocked Caller; I silence the hunk of singing plastic and slide it back into my pocket.

I sit Laina in the uncomfortable seat and gently strap her into the contraption. I’m careful not to pull or pinch anything. When she’s properly attached, I double check everything. I’ve never been on this side of the Wizard’s curtain and I’m suddenly afraid I could make a mistake. What would happen? Would the machine just not work, or could I destroy the space time continuum?

I chuckle out loud, it sound so ridiculous.

“What?” My wife flinches, her eyes covered by the giant goggles.

“Nothing honey, just… nothing.” I compose myself.

“You scared me. Don’t do that, it scares me. I can’t see anything.” Her voice cracks nervously.

I take a deep breath and run through everything I’ve seen Pat do to start the machine. After I’ve gone over it twice I begin warming it up. Hands shaking, with slow, calculated moves I start the machine. My finger hovers over the final switch.

“Now remember, you have to picture the moment of the outcome very carefully.”

My trembling fingers flick the switch.

No comments:

Post a Comment