Dec 16th 2022
I step out of my machine and stride over to my work station to nudge my coffee off the table. It sails downward at half its normal speed, allowing me to catch it and gather up the droplets that threatened to escape.
I did it.
I actually slowed down time.
I lift the coffee to my lips for a triumphant gulp of success. However, the coffee doesn’t rush into my mouth. It slides downward like a mudbank.
A regrettable side-effect of having split every second into two from my perspective. For everyone else I must be moving twice as fast.
I can’t wait to show Jean.
“Jean! I’ve done it. The machine works. This is the first step in many more to come.”
My words are sped up to her ears right now, but the machine’s effect should subside any moment. I head out of my workshop to intercept her as she’s surely coming to congratulate me.
When I step through the back door she’s still not coming. She hasn’t even answered my call.
Terrible pressure builds in my chest—I break out in a sweat and dash through the house imagining her collapsed on the floor.
We were supposed to have more time. I was going to make more time.
I find Jean standing in the middle of the kitchen, her back turned to me.
“Oh, thank goodness. I was worried about you.”
She doesn’t respond and as I move around her I realize why.
Something has gone terribly wrong.
Jean’s face is frozen in time. A hint of a smile, a tilt to her head.
I venture a glance outside.
Indeed, something has gone horribly wrong. My neighbor is watering his rose bushes—little streams of water hang in the air on their way to the roses, not moving an inch.
Everything is stuck in time, except me.
I redo my calculations by hand—computers are useless, now that time is frozen. I do them over and over again. For hours. Days. Weeks? I don’t know. Time is meaningless to me. The sun is always shining and everyone is stuck in an eternal sleep.
Jean is the only one I care to see when I step out of my workshop for food. Every day I kiss her warm frozen lips and sleep next to her on the kitchen floor when I don’t fall asleep at my desk.
When I stepped out of the machine everything was going as planned for the first minute. Afterward time continued to slow down at an ever increasing rate and it hasn’t stopped—effectively moving the time dilation toward zero or in other words: infinity.
I assume that when I die time will go back to normal.
I think it will.
I hope it will.
But before I even consider ending this madness, there is still something I can do.
I wanted to make more time for Jean. I wanted to make more time to find a cure.
Now I have all the time in the world.
Author Bio: Kai Delmas loves creating worlds and magic systems and is a slush reader for Apex Magazine. He is a winner of the monthly Apex Microfiction Contest and his fiction can be found in Martian, Tree and Stone and several Shacklebound anthologies. Find him on Twitter @KaiDelmas.
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