Sunday, 4 April 2010

Five minutes

My best calculations are that I now have only minutes but it's hard to be accurate, the macro conversion of time being subject to too many fluctuations to be sure. Maybe if I had access to the kind of quantum computing power that is only dreamed of in this backwards place I could be more accurate. Instead I have to wait.

I look back on my life. With so little time left it seemed inevitable that I'd start to fall into reminiscence instead of action. It seems so little compared to my previous life. I arrived here thirty years ago, got a job, met a woman. We settled down. We didn't have kids and the cancer took my wife too early. I cry when it is night sometimes and my thoughts are only of her. But life was good. Better than I could have hoped, despite how primitive it has been. Perhaps that gave me an advantage. I think it maybe harder to find, giving me a couple of extra seconds that have made all the difference. This could have happened ten years ago, while Sarah was still alive. I almost thought it was going to, the signs were so strong.

When it happens I don't even notice. Just one moment I'm looking at old photo albums, plastic wrapped pages that stick to your fingers and blur the images, and the next I'm looking back at the scrawny, ugly face of my hunter like those thirty years never happened.

To the hunter I guess they didn't. Only five minutes have passed here. That's as long as I could escape this prison for. How long it took him to track down my location. But on that other plane, that multiversal parallel, time is more compressed, more tightly wound. Those five minutes gave me more freedom than I could ever have hoped for. The hunter spits in my face and raises a hand to strike me.

"You'll never get away, physicist. We'll always get you back. Your sentence will be fulfilled."

The alarms in the prison are shut down, order falls again like a comforting blanket smothering all. A couple of guards come in to the portal room and cuff my hands and legs before leading me out to return me to my cell.

I only smile and think of a summer's afternoon with Sarah. Five minutes bought me a lifetime of memories. I feel I never truly thanked her enough for that.

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