512 Words

Time Distortion

M. Stanley Bubien

Before climbing into the time machine, I handed Jefferey a copy of the book.

"What's this, Professor Vincent?" he asked.

"A copy of Orwell's 1984. We'll see if you still have it when I get back."

I carried a copy of my own. I figured Jefferey's would probably disappear with the time distortion, but as long as I kept this one with me, it should remain in existence.

I dialed the time machine for 1947, hit the button and passed out.

A splash of water brought me to my senses.

"Sorry about that," a voice said. "But you were quite asleep."

Opening my eyes, I stared straight into the face the man I'd come to kill.

"Mr. Orwell?" I asked.

"Yes. I'm George Orwell."

"Author of 1984?"

"1984?" he shook his head. "No. Never heard of it."

Ah! He hadn't written it yet.

I reached into my pocket and fingered the vaporizer. But in my moment of triumph, I hesitated. Was I really about to kill one of the greatest minds of all time---just to prove a theory?

Quickly, I went back over the plan.

I would kill George Orwell before he wrote 1984. After my return to 2048, if Jefferey no longer possessed his copy of the book, it would prove my theory that time could be distorted.

I had calculated everything to a tee. With Orwell's death, there would only be a single significant side effect: 1984 would never be written. But, unfortunately, I left one thing out of the equation. Killing was not easy.

I sighed and frowned at Orwell.

"Yes?" he asked.

"Nevermind," I told him, releasing the vaporizer.

But, as I reset the time machine, I had a sudden realization. If I was right about time distortion, I could just come back to 1947 again and stop myself from doing the deed. Mr. Orwell would never have been killed at all!

Of course!

Grinning like a madman, I pulled the vaporizer and fired. George Orwell disappeared into oblivion.

I dialed for 2048, hit the button and passed out.

"Comrade Vincent?"

My eyes came into focus. I shook my head and stood.

"Please do not move, Comrade Vincent." It was Jefferey, and to his side stood three police officers wearing drab coveralls.

I opened my mouth to reply, but fell speechless. Jefferey was dressed in garb similar to the officers. But more importantly, he was pointing a vaporizer at me!

The officer in charge stepped over, reached into the time machine, and produced my copy of 1984.

He flipped through the pages. Turning to Jefferey, he nodded, "Thoughtcrime."

"Jefferey," I cried, "What---" but a fist met my mouth.

Next thing I knew, the other two had me cuffed and were dragging me away.

I fought, but it was useless---they overpowered me. As they pulled me from the lab, I saw Jefferey for the last time. He was smiling while the officer spoke.

"We'll have him adding two and two before long. Ah yes. Another glorious triumph for the Party. Be proud, Comrade Jefferey. Be very proud."

Copyright ©1996 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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October, 1996
Issue #7

512 Words