Short Story: He Who is Within Time

The future holds great mystery to mankind. In a research lab with metals and steel around, wires became the new layout of the floor; a tidy looking man was looking into his notes with the table lamp on. He was figuring out what went wrong in his trial experiment. He was curious if time travel was possible when it still defies the logic of physics. Apart from natural science, he too studied psychology, mainly about human behaviour. The machine he had been working on was still missing something, in which he has been working on it for days now. Everyday all he could think of is what other components he could have tweak. Until one day where he shared his vision in the class. 

Little did he know that one of his students was captured into his vision. After class, Evan approached the professor in wanting to know more of this vision that had captured him. Evan is the top student in his course and was an eye catcher as well within the campus. He is well known among other professors, admired by female students and envied by others. 

Professor Smith in his well-tailored suit was being looked on with gleaming eyes. Evan too shared the same vision with Professor Smith and wasn’t hesitant to tell him that. Professor Smith revealed his secret to Evan as he looked like he was in some kind of trance. Finally Professor Smith could share his passion with someone that did not take him as a fanatic. Soon the both of them can be seen together almost everywhere and all they would talk about is are there any improvements they could have done. Evan is now an apprentice under Professor Smith’s care. As the both of them were occupied with the big picture, finer details in the research were being abandoned. This could not work, as every detail no matter how small they are is crucial. Looking for an assistant is not easy when what they are doing is not to be seen under broad daylight. However, one day Caroline, another student in the university overheard a conversation between Professor Smith and Evan which sparks her curiosity. After all, the relationship between the both of them has been the talk of the town. 

At the corner of Professor Smith’s eyes, he could see Caroline but wishing not to startle her, he ended his conversation with Evan and walk towards her with a smile. He studied her for a while within the distance. Asking her was she interested in a project that requires lots of documentation without giving away much details and the reply was instant. The curiosity she had was building, as there was a certain aura the way Professor Smith carries himself. Within seconds, the research has turned into a team of three people. Only during the following meeting Caroline was given the whole picture of the ‘project’ she is to be working on. That did not dampen any of her expectation and soon she was taking care of the welfare of the 2 researchers. Slowly, by bringing in new perspective, the missing parts, formulas and direction was coming together. Everything went on smoothly but yet unknowingly Professor Smith was doing another research on his own. The day that he brought in Evan and Caroline in, they were being monitored in every way possible, from their body language to facial expressions, daily actions and thoughts could be seen as if he had x-ray eyes. Though as each passing day, the apprentice and assistant was in the dark of the second research, soon the machine was ready to be tested once more. 

The most important day came after months and months of research and documenting. The faces of sunken eyes and sharper, more prominent jaw line were filled and anticipation and excitement. Holding onto their vision, buttons and switches were all set to go. With a push of a button, eyes closed, the sound of their heartbeat ringing in their ears, anything could happen. There were no sound, no light, no smell, they thought something might had gone wrong yet they could feel each others presence. Professor Smith’s eyelid gave way, as he was standing motionless and speechless. He did it, he manage to travel to another place, to another dimension. Evan and Caroline soon joined in the celebration. Their journey has only just begun. 

They find themselves where people looked the same, dressed the same and the whole surrounding is like symmetrical with every direction looking the same. The three of them venture the new grounds with the natives starring at them as they do not look like their kind. Tension could be felt more with each foot stepped forward. Searching for some truth, Caroline boldly broke the silence by asking one of the natives the location they are at. The natives remained silence yet keep starring at them. After a few seconds, the natives turned and walked away. At an instant, Evan and Caroline caught something strange in their view.

“Is that a tail in his back?” asked Caroline. “It looks like it,” Evan answered with confusion. “What are they? Are they even human?” Caroline asked again. “Maybe some kind of costume party going around here,” joked Evan. “Who are you trying to fool here? You think this is funny?” said Caroline with a loud voice. Evan was shocked. As the Caroline that he knows, she is not the type that goes bursting over some jokes. Maybe she was scared or something. Evan switched his sight to Professor Smith and saw he had a fade smile in his face.

“Let’s explore this world more.” said Professor Smith. By looking at the condition of the sky, it was getting dark and they were searching a place to rest. They found an abandoned shack and decided to stay for a night in it. Feeling a little hungry, Evan decided to go out and look for food. As he was searching for food, he took noticed about the environment of the location they were at. To his surprised there were many plants and creatures that he never seen before. “Where are we?” spoke Evan to himself. 

He could see a strange looking tree with curvy branches on it. The leaves attached to the branches were blue in colour. Evan could spot some fruits hanging over the branches. It looks like apple but it has stripes on it, just like watermelons. Evan was too hungry to think further about the unique fruit. He plucked a few of it and put in it his backpack. When he stepped into the shack, he saw Caroline lying on the floor. “Wake up sleepy head. I got us some delicious fruits.” said Evan while taking out the fruits from his backpack. There is no reply from Caroline. Losing patience to call her, Evan went near her a shook her shoulder, trying to wake her up. He could feel her body was so cold. When he looked at her face, it was so pale as if she were in some horror movies. She was dead.

“Evan!” A voice came from behind of Evan. It was Professor Smith. “Professor, what happened to Caroline?” asked Evan. “What happened to her? I was away checking out the area.” Evan was too shocked to speak another word. He could feel his hands and legs were trembling. “Let’s get out from here. Back to our machine.” It took a few seconds for Evan to get a hold of himself. “What about Caroline?” asked Evan. “She is dead! We can’t do anything about it. After all it is for the better if she just stay here.” shouted Professor Smith as he already started walking. Evan followed the lead of Professor Smith back to the place where they first arrived. Professor Smith took out his machine and spam a few buttons. Once again the same feeling strikes. The next thing they know that they were in a different location. This time they were in a house. It looks like the houses of the 15th century in Japan. “Are we really time travelling Professor?” asked Evan, trying to forget about what happened before. “Yes Evan! We did it!” laughed Professor Smith. Evan does not feel happy at all. The death of Caroline still haunts his mind. The laugh of Professor Smith’s annoyed Evan. As Professor Smith went exploring the house, something on the floor caught Evan’s eyes. It’s a blue coloured file. He picked it up and opened it to have a look. “This is…”

It’s a rope. Evan picked it up and can spot some blood stain on the rope. He knew for sure this rope dropped down from Professor Smith’s coat. “Are you the one that killed Caroline?” asked Evan as he suspected Professor Smith. “It is not what you are thinking.” “What do you mean? You just killed someone! Your assistant!” shouted Evan, interrupting Professor Smith from explaining more. “Don’t get the wrong idea here now Evan. Caroline’s case was merely an accident. This time travelling must have gotten into you.” Convinced by the professor, Evan came to his senses. “If we could get back to our dimension, we would be fine.” said Professor Smith. “Come on Evan! We need to hurry!” Without any choice, Evan obeyed what Professor Smith said. Taking out his dimension-travelling machine, he and Professor Smith spammed a few buttons. Professor Smith felt that feeling once again. The feeling when he first used that machine. “I’m going back. Everything will turn out all right.” thought Evan in his mind. Suddenly he could feel something stabbed into his back. He turned back and looked. All he could see is Professor Smith. His vision started to fade.

One month had passed. Professor Smith continues his job in the university that he is teaching. Continue to recruit students for his research. The News Club from the university caught interest in Professor Smith’s research. They sent a representative to interview him. “So what is your purpose of your research that you are conducting?” asked the reporter. “Well I had a vision that human soon can travel from time to time and dimension to dimension. Discovering new things.” answered Professor Smith while he trying to get something under his table. Ignoring what he is trying to get, the reporter continue with the next question. “ Are you happy with what you are doing know? Is this your favourite interest or field?” A fade smile came from Professor Smith expression. He answered, “Yes.” With a knife on his end.

Written by Wang Hsin Hou & Low Enwei

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