An essay by an anonymous physicist, as provided by Chris Aldridge
Art by Ariel Alian Wilson
The time came when I had no choice but to go forward by going back, for the sake of both my own sanity and physical life. So many wrongful turns had brought me ruinous failures and hardships; I saw my life as beyond conceivable repair. I hated everything about my existence. I hated being married, being a parent, and losing the old life I had when I was free and careless.
My fortitude was bombarded by the cannons of languish, my emotional state trying to stand on increasingly shaky ground.
Surely people would have thought me crazy, and perhaps I was, driven by the brain-crushing and maddening desire to turn my course, or make it so it never happened in the first place. The mission seemed impossible, but I knew there just had to be a way. Time was merely an illusion, and existence itself a compilation of matter and energy that could be moved, changed, and transformed. All I had to do was find the universal reins and jerk the head in my preferred direction. I knew it might put me in disfavor with the gods, but like a terminally-ill patient being eaten away, my pain drove me to all achievable measures to escape the torment.
There was presently no known way on Earth to create a tear in time and space. The only thing in the universe capable of that kind of power resided in the form of a black hole, or a dead star.
The main problem was reaching such a vacuum in something that could survive the flattening pressure and destruction so that I could make it to the other side. The second problem lay in catapulting myself ten years back in time, where I would be able to shift the rusty railroad tracks of my life just in time for the engine to once more pass. It was frightening. No one knew what would happen to someone or something that entered a black hole, but I thought it had to be better than my current circumstances.
It was not possible for me to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, that much was clear. I had no means by which to accomplish such a feat. Not to mention, I had no idea where any black holes stood in the solar system or beyond. Even if I had, I would have died before reaching their location. One feels like they’re in a prison with the key just a few feet outside the cell, being possible yet also impossible to reach.
I would have to create a star as the first step, small enough to be on the Earth yet with the same frequency as a sun. Then I would have to make it die at its highest point of generation. It would be just small enough, yet strong enough, to create a tear in time and space that would allow things through without inherently bringing about their demise.
Fortunately, the elements that made up Earth’s own sun were also found on the planet itself.
I began gathering the material to build a ship-like structure to shield me from any possible dangers. No one actually knew the pressure that a black hole emitted, but since mine was going to be so incredibly small in comparison, it was possible to construct a barrier strong enough to stop it from harming me should there be any immediate threats.
The box I easily constructed was just big enough to house me, and made of the strongest metals I could locate. It would have taken unprecedented power to collapse it. The mechanisms generated oxygen to the inside capsule by way of H2O reserve tanks stored in the bottom of the foundation. Small air propellers also allowed me to move and direct the box from inside the tiny cockpit. This feature was to allow me to move through time periods once I came to recognize them in the void.
The only thing upon the Earth strong enough to imprison the combined elements of a small yet surging sun was the ground. It took me a week of tireless labor before the 10-by-10-foot hole was complete. But it had not been dug from the top down. There would have been no way to keep the elements contained and mixing. Instead, I tunneled underground.
The time had finally come to hose feed the elements such as nitrogen, helium, carbon, and oxygen into the concealed crater that held in its dirt the other components necessary for the spark to be ignited, those being iron and silicon.
For hours on end, nothing happened. I watched all of the first day and night, only to fall asleep without results. After the passing of two days’ time, I awoke at around 10pm and walked out into the sunlight.
As the soil fell away, it burned into nothing as it was consumed by the tiny sun radiating from below. I knew I didn’t have much time. Once it burst through to the surface, the elements would scatter and the star would die, thus creating the short-lived doorway.
Pulling the box to the yard was the longest fifty feet of my life, and I had to do it quickly before the light woke my wife and neighbors up. I made it inside just in time. As the components escaped, the star died; the blackness opened and consumed for a few split seconds. Then I was gone, as if I had never been there.
I’m still traveling in darkness. I’ve lost track of all time. There is only this cold box, my ever-rumbling stomach and the weakening of my oxygen tanks as they grow quieter. There’s nothing out here. I didn’t think my former life could get any worse, but it turns out that a little light is better than none.
The fragmented lost journal of a missing and deranged physicist is found by future readers who have no idea how it ended up in their world and time period, but his story turns out to be a strong lesson for all ages and races.
Chris Aldridge is an American writer of fiction and non-fiction originally from Thomasville, North Carolina. He was born in 1984 in Asheboro, and received his education from Columbia College of Missouri. Find him online at www.caldridge.net.
Ariel Alian Wilson is a few things: artist, writer, gamer, and role-player. Having dabbled in a few different art mediums, Ariel has been drawing since she was small, having always held a passion for it. She’s always juggling numerous projects. She currently lives in Seattle with her cat, Persephone. You can find doodles, sketches, and more at her blog www.winndycakesart.tumblr.com.
“Last Confessions of a Deranged Physicist” is © 2018 Chris Aldridge
Art accompanying story is © 2018 Ariel Alian Wilson