flash fiction
September 23, 2017

Gödel Time Curve

I woke up with a terrible sense of anxiety caused by a dream. My heart was pounding. It took me a few seconds to convince myself I was safe at home in bed.

It was a strange dream. I tried to recall it and figure what had scared me so much. In my dream I had received an emergency phone call from my lab.

In a rush I headed to the lab where I meet with a woman and a man. I recognized their faces. They were two of our interns and they were almost jumping in excitement. I was expecting them to show me something inside the lab but instead they took me to the security room where a camera feed was playing on a monitor.

“We did an experiment last night, director,” said the man.

“We thought if had failed,” said the woman. “But then I woke up in the middle of the night. I had a hunch. So I came to watch the recording from the security cameras. There’s something there we didn’t notice at the time.”

“Show me,” I said.

The man pushed a button on a console and the screen in front of us started playing.

The wide angle of the video camera showed the laboratory from high above. Somebody was in view. It was the woman. She was manipulating a black object shaped like a cylinder. She was pressing some buttons on the device. The woman looked at the wall clock.

“Did you see that?” asked the man pausing the video.

“See what?”

“Play it again,” said the woman. “Just the jump.”

“Ok, here we go.” He rewinded the tape a few seconds. “It’s easier to see in slow motion. Look at it again.”

This time I did see something but it just looked like a glitch in the recording. Right after the woman interacted with the cylinder, a humming sound could be heard and her image became fuzzy. It looked as if the tape had skipped a second.

“The camera failed to record?” I asked incredulous. “Is that what you brought me here for?”

“What did you see!?” asked the woman again.

“It looks like the tape jumped ahead fraction of a second. Probably a glitch in the camera software.”

“That is no glitch,” said the man replaying the tape. “Look. She is missing from the image, but it’s only her. The room is still there. And look at the wall clock. The time is correct. Eliza isn’t in the video because she wasn’t there that instant.”

I asked them to take me to the lab and show me the cylinder. It looked like a cheap plastic device. The cover was badly soldered and the front panel was misaligned. It looked like a practical joke.

“This machine,” said the woman, “can generate a low range Gödel curve. Rays of light emitted from an event occurring on the symmetry axis of the cylinder,” she was reciting from memory, “reconverge at a later event on the same axis. The path taken by the light is what we call a Gödel–”

“I know the theory,” I said, “I wrote a dissertation on Gödel geometry.”

“Then you should know that such device can change the topology of spacetime. Allowing for jumps in time.”

“That’s just abstract theory,” I said annoyed. “Nobody has been able to build one.”

“Nobody ever tried,” said the woman.

“Are you trying to tell me that you two have invented a time machine?”

“Built. Not invented,” said the man. “And we did jump ahead in time. And we could also jump backwards. Let us show you.”

“No. Let me tell you. You don’t call the head of the department at six in the morning for this kind of nonsense. And regarding this machine,” I said pushing the machine aside, “you better get rid of this garbage.”

In my dream I don’t remember pushing any buttons on the cylinder, but I think I might have. I do remember hearing a humming sound coming from it, similar to the one I heard earlier in the recording.

And that hum is the very last thing I remember from my dream. Right before being awakened by a phone call. I checked the time. It was minutes after 6 am. The caller ID showed there call came from my lab.

I don’t want to think about it but my dissertation comes to mind: “If a subject enters a Gödel time bend, not forward but backwards in time, they would find themselves in a closed loop with no exit.”

I’m feeling slightly hot and bit light headed. I can’t recall if I pushed those buttons in the machine before waking up, but I do recall that in my dream I answer the phone and go to the lab to investigate. I feel I have no choice now.

September 23, 2017 · #101ToF · #Fiction · #Flash Fiction


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