Experiment #299

Two-Bit Town Part 1

Gideon straddled his Morse. “Morse,” Gideon said under his breath with contempt. “They ban weapons here, but not stupid names.” “Morse” was a combination of “mechanical” and “horse,” and, Gideon was certain, the idea of some hollow headed fool in one of the central marketing departments who’d never even been to the Aphelion Worlds. Worse yet, the Morse was made by the Slixx company who shipped nothing else out to the edge Worlds. In his … Read More

Experiment #297

Unpredictable Part 2

We fought about it on the Titanic, our sixth date.

“You come here often?” I asked. My tone could have sunk the ship. “Bring every flunky here? Wowing him with your defiance of linear time?”

“You’re not a flunky,” she said. “I don’t think you are, anyway.”

She’d seen herself with the other man too. “It’s in my future. I don’t know anything about it.”

Time traveler excuses.

In fact, the order I’d known of our dates wasn’t the order … Read More

Experiment #296

Unpredictable Part 1

I was a year and ten paragraphs into writing my novel. She was three lattes and a cappuccino into understanding the 21st century obsession with coffee. Our eyes met across the grocery store café. The rest is mostly history… for her.

On our first date, she took me to Rome, to a gladiator match in the Colosseum. She thought I’d like the theatrics of it, and I did, but I liked her in a toga more. … Read More

Experiment #295

Airlock

Xander hadn’t wanted to shove her out the airlock, but the risk was too high. They’d been friends, shipmates, lovers, and everything in between for the last decade.

“Stop crying,” she said, though Xander wasn’t sure whether she was talking to him or herself.

“Khrys, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

The radio in her spacesuit squawked with solar interference.

“What? You sending me into space so I don’t take out half the ship?” she asked. “How hard … Read More

Experiment #293

Aunt Myrtle

A portrait of Aunt Myrtle hung from a noose in our living room. The noose itself was just my father’s way of using whatever bits and pieces were about to do the task at hand. He also thought it’d be a nice conversation piece among visitors, if we ever had any.

Aunt Myrtle, my mother’s favorite aunt, had long black hair twisted together in a loose bun that spilled out the back in snake-like waves. Her … Read More

Experiment #292

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 13

“Cassy?”

The house echoed. A boy who looked just a year or two older than Lilly came out of the hallway. He’d gotten his Mom’s good looks. And, James hoped, something good from his father too.

“She’s downstairs, Dad,” said the boy.

James saw her anger in his eyes. And even then, a rush of love for this boy he’d never known flooded his heart. James pulled Jimmy into a hug. Over and over again James whispered, “I’m … Read More

Experiment #291

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 12

The shooter ran for the door.

Both doppelgängers from the future took off after him.

Lilandra ran to Fowler. She put his head in her lap and clutched him. “You stupid fool. You weren’t supposed to get hurt,” she said.

Fowler moaned.

James, now fully awake, ran after his doppelgängers. He didn’t have to follow them far, though, as the two future doubles had caught the shooter and were dragging him back.

“Let me go,” the shooter said.

“Who are you?” … Read More

Experiment #290

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 11

For a moment, a second, an eternity, the purple light dimmed and dispersed. Panic rose in Lilly’s throat, but there was nothing to do but press on and hope it returned.

#

Fowler had not been as close to time travel as either James or Fowler himself had hoped, and James saw many long hours ahead of him.

That night Lilandra called Cassy. “Hi. Do you know where James is?” she asked, though it wasn’t a question.

Cassy slammed … Read More

Experiment #289

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 10

James spluttered. “W-where’s Fowler?”

“I locked him in a bathroom stall.”

“Can’t he get out of there pretty easily?”

“Look, have you figured it out or not?”

“No. I found these weird files…”

“Forget the files,” she snapped.

From a closet at the back of the room there came a moan, as though someone were dying in slow-motion.

“What was that?” James asked.

Lilandra sighed and turned toward the open door. “Come on in, dear.”

Fowler walked through the door. He had his coat … Read More

Experiment #288

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 9

Lilly woke; not from sleep, but from monotony. For a long time she could not put her finger on what was different. Then she noticed that if she moved her head, the light moved, or rather, she realized, quite the opposite–it stayed where it was. Her head movement changed the perspective of where the light came from. Instead of surrounding her, there was now a direction, a way to go: toward the light.

#

Lilandra picked James … Read More

Experiment #287

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 8

“Have you been drinking?” Cassy almost yelled after James had explained everything.

“Am I a drunk in this life?” James asked.

“Sometimes.”

“Look, I want to give our daughter a shot at life.”

“And what about our son?”

“Look, Lilly is-”

“You better be talking about a daughter and not that…that woman.”

“I am. Our daughter is amazing and wonderful and worth fighting for.”

“And Jimmy isn’t?”

“No, it’s that Lilly doesn’t deserve to be non-existent.”

“Neither does Jimmy.”

“Well, what am I supposed to do? … Read More

Experiment #286

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 7

“Unless the echo has dissipated, which wouldn’t happen until…Oh, crap. I did marry Aria.”

“Who’s Aria?”

“My wife.”

“What?”

“Not me-mine… time-echo-me’s mine. I mean I-he went back to stop me from pursuing time travel and focus on my marriage.”

“Which marriage?”

“I… err… my time echo went back to fix my marriage with Cassy, but must have realized he was stuck, used my middle name, and settled down with Aria.”

“A lot of good focusing on your marriage did you…”

“Yeah, two … Read More

Experiment #285

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 6

No matter how hard Lilly swam the purple light stayed where it was. She would have given up, but there was nothing else to do. Without physicality or resistance, she didn’t get tired either. She could go on like this forever.

#

James pulled out his cellphone and dialed a number. It went to voicemail.

“Hey, Pink… I know we haven’t talked in a while but I need your help. It’s a timely twist.”

He hung up. Two minutes … Read More

Experiment #284

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 5

Lilly hung in limbo. She was still herself, or seemed to be herself, but nothingness surrounded her, a darkness defined only by its depth, an emptiness defined only by its hollow ring. It was as if reality had turned its face away.

#

“I’m so sorry if he troubled you,” Aria said. “He looks young, but he’s over fifty now. The doctors diagnosed him with some new form of dementia last year. They’ve never seen anything like … Read More

Experiment #283

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 4

Two hours later James opened his old front door only to find a strange family sitting at the dinner table. The father stopped with his fork in midair. “Can I help you?” He asked in a tone suggesting he wouldn’t. James mumbled an apology and left. Three hours, two more wrong doors and a call to Information later he opened the door to find Cassy with her angry face on.

“What on Earth took you six … Read More