Twenty-Eight Years

This is an old short story I wrote shortly after high school.  I have never much liked the story, but being written nineteen or twenty years ago it was strangely prophetic about my fathers heart troubles.  And, no I did not know how they fix a house foundation.

 

 

I lived there for 37 years, well off and on anyway. My parents had bought the house a few years after it had been built. I was 3 then, so I guess it’s fitting that the house and I are over-the-hill in the same year.

After my parents had died, they left me the house. It had always been my home even when I had my own place. They had kept good care of it, but there was only so much that my dad could do.

In his latter years his congestive heart failure prevented him from doing much of anything strapped to an oxygen tank. And my mom, well, my mom couldn’t do anything without getting frustrated out of her mind when it didn’t go just right. OCD ran in the family and she had to stick to her ‘routines’.

“Well, the foundation is sinking, and it’s getting deeper. I ‘spect it’s this La Nina weather pattern, too much rain for this part of the country.” Jim said. He was the local general contractor. He wasn’t cheap, but I wanted the house fixed, not patched over.

“What can we do?” I asked, dreading the impending answer. I didn’t want him to say there was nothing to do but start over.

Jim sucked air through his teeth, trying to dislodge some of his lunch.

“We can try to lift the house on jacks, but that will only be temporary, it will start to sink again in a few years. What the house needs is foundation with support pylons.”

I nodded mostly relived.

“One is expensive and the other is really expensive. But, a new foundation could help the house last for 60 years with the right care.” He made sure I knew what he was going to charge and that if anything unforeseen happened it could cost more.

I agreed and signed the contract to create a new foundation for the house. I was also having him remodel the house and add on two extra rooms and a full bath. It wasn’t about money. I had plenty of that, well enough of it anyway. I wanted my children to grow up in the same house that I did, if I ever had children.

The process of lifting the house up and placing it on a trailer was awesome to say the least. I stood across the street huddled in my jacket. It was starting to get brisk in the mornings, but Jim assured me that the foundation would be finished well before gets cold. I worked the zipper up and down twice, before I forced myself to stand still with my hands in my pockets

I watched as the house of my childhood was lifted off the ground, and loaded on to a trailer. All my childhood memories of climbing under the house to play had flooded back to me. I had once gotten stuck under the house and had a panic attack. My dad ripped up the floor in the living room to get me out. To this day I still won’t go into tight places. Not that I’m claustrophobic, I am just very aware of how easy it is to get stuck.

I could see my dads patch job on the floor. It was visible but very well done. The sunken floor joist fell loose. Cracked in half from the extra pressure it had been supporting. Decades of dirt fell lose, showering the trailer.

Jim came across the street. “We will reinforce the current floor joists with more modern material. We will clean the underside up as well, and replace any rotten wood we find. The new foundation will support the joist all the way across, as well as giving a good side support to the house. You won’t have to worry about warped floor boards anymore.

I thanked him and went to my hotel. I hadn’t been sleeping very well, I was afraid that the house would just collapse when they lifted it. I unlocked my hotel door and relocked it and then unlocked it again. I entered and repeated my lock unlock lock pattern. I checked all the lights and made sure they all were working twice before I sat down. I opened my brief case and took out the days work.

Numbers, the only true constant, I poured over the numbers well past lunch. I didn’t count things as such. I just new they were right or wrong, it was a gift. I found five mistakes fixed them, and faxed them back to the office twice. They understood my obsession and were lenient, because I did my work and I did it fast.

I went to grab a bite to eat at the local deli. Oh, how I had missed that deli. I ordered two sandwiches and paid for them. I would take the other sandwich, and give it to someone who needed it. There were plenty around town.

Late afternoon the next day I got a call from Jim. He wanted me to come down to the work site. I dreaded the worst. Maybe the house collapsed on the trailer, or the inspector came by and said the house had to be demolished.

I pulled to a stop and locked and unlocked and locked again my car doors, before rushing over to Jim. He was looking down at where the foundation would go. Lodged in the dirt was an ancient dingy baseball, stitching was still red-brown. Ruth in black ink shone like a beacon. I reached down and worked it lose from the dirt.   I squeezed back tears. I had lost that ball, when I was stuck under the house.

“Isn’t that something? Who knows how long that has been under there?” Jim said

“Twenty eight years ago. My Grandpa gave this ball to me when I was ten. I lost it under the house not too long after that.”

I took the ball and went to my car. I unlocked it.

Once.

And got in.

Fractal of the Self

The man slung the phone out over the water. It skipped across the the surface several times before it finally sank.  The brightly lit screen shining the open call all the way to the bottom.   He thought it odd the phone of a dying man, his phone, would struggle on for so long after its demise was inevitable.

He briefly wondered, how it sounded to his wife on the other end of the line as the phone bounced across the water and sank with a final blub glug, before the bullet entered the back of his head.  He fell to his knees and bit his tongue, the coppery taste of blood filled his mouth.  His face smacked the wet ground and he smelled lilacs and burnt toast.  The man who had pulled the trigger was already walking back to his car, the deed done. Not so much as a word for the recently deceased.

Blood was pumping vigorously out to the gaping wound in his head.  He was already dead, his heart just hadn’t gotten the memo.  He stood there next to his body and a void opened before him.  Standing on the precipice of an immensely high cliff he felt the urge to jump.  The call of the void was a compelling one, it’s song urged him to leap.  He took a step forward into bright darkness of the void.

He turned to look and saw himself step through the void, an infinity of himself stepping off an infinitely long precipice.  Each self having made the same infinite decisions that lead him here, and an equal amount of selves that had made different decisions, but ultimately took the same journey through the void, in an infinite amount of different ways. All dead, some had live long lives and died natural deaths, others were murdered in various ways or died in random accidents.  He hadn’t been a bad person, but his death was just as final.

It was a fractal of his being, every decision he ever made, every decision he could have made stretching on for eternity.  His reflections turned to him and the stepped into him.  In that moment, he was everything, he knew everything he could have been. It was torture to know how his life could have been, for better and for worse.  The magnitude of the experience rang through his being and he wept for the loss and the shame for what he could have been.

Delusions, Fooling Yourself.

When I as a kid, for a short time, I felt that I was watched. Watched all the time, like some little blue gnome was right behind my head, and no one but I could see him. Even I couldn’t see him since he was behind my head, and no matter how fast I moved he was always right behind me.

Then I discovered the infinite mirror image that let me see behind my head and there was no gnome just me.   I felt relieved, but I still felt watched. Deep down I knew there wasn’t really a gnome following me watching my every move, but it was kind fun trying to catch the little bugger off guard relaxing.

The feeling passed after a few weeks, but I felt kind of violated. That my own privacy had been taken away even when it hadn’t. I guess that is better than a friend of mine from grade school. He suffered from the delusion that everyone in the world was a robot or an alien, or something not human and he was the only human left. He was somehow on display for the universe to examine, kind of like the movie ‘Truman Show’ but more sinister.

Most of the time he was just a normal kid; running, playing, jumping, screaming, you know kid stuff. Then sometimes he would freak out and have a panic attack because the world wasn’t real. When these times happened and I was around I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t comfort him and reassure him, because in his mind I was a fabrication.

We only truly exist within our own minds. What I experience as reality could be a delusion. Each of us experiences the universe form a unique point of view, but I can’t prove that you experience anything. You could be a construct of my mind, or you could be an organic robot here to tend to my psychological needs. I am content to believe that you are a human being and have your own view of the universe. I think most of us share this belief even if you don’t express it in the same way.

“I think, therefor I am.” This is a profound philosophical statement. I only exist because I am consciously observing the universe around me. Society only exists because of the collective conciseness that binds us together to be observed by one another. We are all in the minds of each other therefor[where] we exist.

Swatter

Flash fiction. Complete short story in 50 words.

 

The door was closed. Holes, in the mesh, let in the fly. She buzzed around, scouting. Spying a small puddle of orange juice, left there from the morning, she landed.

“Sweet and tangy, I could just die.” She thought.

SMACK!

The swatter slammed down just after she had flown away.

Soul Smith

I had a friend suggest that I post some of my older short stories.  I agreed, so here is Soul Smith.

 

Folding the sheet of æther was not easy. He had to make it just right, to fit in to the body. Sometimes he made a mistake, and the person didn’t have control of everything, or some disease would ravage their body.

He tried his hardest, to make them all fit. He followed his instructions as close as he could, but he wasn’t God–he wasn’t perfect in every way like the creator. He wondered why he had been given the job, in the first place. He had never been good with his hands.   He was more of a thinker, a poet, or a singer.

Now he was just an anthropomorphic construct, personified in human form as a soul-smith. He thought he had had a life before he had begun soul-smithing, but it was starting to blur. All the ether he was around began to rub off on his mental cognition. He had the memories of a billion childhoods some good, and some bad. He could recall so much from so many lives that he had lost connection to his own, but then maybe he had never had one.

He turned his attention back to the æther. The sheet he had picked up was dark, not a speck of light on it. In his inattention he had started to fold it. He couldn’t stop now that would be murder. He took the paper doll and laid it on the table, which he was using for his work. He gathered up some bright pieces of scrap ether. The tucked a tight ball of light under the chest of the darkened æther. Then he placed the paper doll into its host body, already growing in its mother’s womb.

 

Erased

Let’s talk about ‘Erased’. This is an Anime that involves time travel, within one’s own life time. Fair warning this will have spoilers. If you haven’t seen this show yet, I highly recommend watching it before reading this blog.  Go watch it… Go on, I’ll wait.

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Twenty-nine year old Satoru, the protagonist of this series possesses a gift he calls ‘revival’. This ability throws him back in time. Usually it is between 1 and 5 minutes and he then has a chance to prevent a catastrophe. In the first episode he saves a boy form a runaway truck whose driver died of a heart attack.

Later in the series his mother is murdered (I am leaving out parts of the story because I know someone just kept on reading and didn’t go watch the anime). This traumatic experience triggers a revival and sends him back in time to 1988 when he was 11 years old. Now his 29 year old mind is in an 11 year old body. He must find out what happened when he was 11 years old that gets his mother murdered when he is 29 years old.

What interest me in this is the time loop that is triggered. He proceeds with his life and tries to change the events but somehow things still end up happening the same as the first time around. That is until he decides to save the life of a girl who was kidnapped and murdered. He changes the past, but the event still occurs, and his mother was still murdered in the present.   He failed his revival. Now back in the present he is wanted by the police for the murder. He runs but is eventually captured, and he forces one last revival. I won’t ruin the ending of the series so I will stop here with the review

I am unclear if he can trigger this Revival at will, or if it only happens when he experiences a time of high stress. The anime also doesn’t touch on whether he lived out the whole time till he is back at the present or if he jumped back into the present when things went awry.  I have a feeling that he had to relive the entire time over based on the last revival and the ending of the anime. Over all the anime was well done, and I really connected with the characters within the first episode or two. I have watched other shows where I don’t even care about the characters ever and end up not finishing the show. A+ rating from me.

If I could go back in time like this and solve a mystery I doubt I could do better in my 11 year old body. Being more self-assured and less awkward with people in general may be a big advantage, but adults may be unsettled by a child with the intellect of a 30-something man. I would probably still fail math class though.

If my own personal revival occurred and I had to relive the entire time back to my thirties I would put that time to use. I wouldn’t just relive my same life. I would learn everything I could that could give me an advantage, but would I know I would get a second chance at the revival? Probably not, so I would focus on attempting to fix what I could and stop the murder in the present, either by force or by cunning. At this point I would have almost 70 years of life experience, and I feel that in and of itself may be the greatest advantage.

On the other hand knowing (or suspecting) that I may get a second chance at a revival, I would devote my attention to studding the events so I would know (hopefully solve) more about the murders. All this is assuming that I relive the entire time back to present. If I don’t and once I failed in the past and I jump back to the present there may not be much more I could do than Satoru.

Hindsight is 20/20, but it is even better paired with time travel.

-Ayle

Introduction

My name is Ayle, pronounced like Ale. It’s not my real name, but is the avatar name that I have used online for the longest. I think more people know me by this name than my real name. And, really who wants to go by Tad?

I decided to start this blog because I want to talk about and express my ideas on time travel. A few of my soon to be reader that know me, probably know I am obsessed with time loops or ‘Groundhog Day’ effects. Some of my favorite movies and books involve this phenomenon.

I plan to use this blog to review and discus movies, TV shows and books that involve this phenomenon. I myself have attempted to write a novel on this subject, but I have lost my inspiration, and I hope this will help me get it back. So, enough of introductions and now on to blog posts.