by Bill Myers
Fredrick Fussle expected to hear the voice of God.
After years of research, the meticulous collection of data, the construction of mathematical models, and the building of an subterranean laboratory, he was sure they would hear something.
But not this.
“What is happening!?” William Mayer, his assistant of six years, cried. The man’s voice shimmered, warbled as if he was yelling through the pounding air of a giant fan.
“It’s not sound!” Fussle shouted. “I feel it inside my head!”
But he did more than feel. As the energy radiated from the control rods encircling the lab, it saturated his brain, his very thoughts. Suddenly memories disappeared—not dissolved, but shattered. Fragments of past recollections flew apart, then came back together again.
Together, but different.
Instead of the priesthood he had been a part of for 54 years, he remembered proposing to Dorthia Cutler over that dinner of veal parmesan and a bottle of Chardonnay ‘72 in Vienna.
But only for a moment.
Now he recalled exchanging vows with Sylvia Horton at a lakeside wedding he never had. Well, never had until then. Instead of the pleasantly plump brunette he’d spent half his life with, he was now married to that saucy blonde he’d nearly left her for...but apparently had left her for.
“Shut it down!” he shouted. “William, shut it—“
But it was no longer William standing at the console. Now it was some tall, gangly geek he never saw before, but had seen – for the past eighteen months he and the kid, Gerhardt Muller, had worked side by side on the project.
“Gerhardt, shut it down!”
His assistant didn’t move. He stared at Fussle like a total stranger. He was a total stranger.
But he wasn’t.
The concrete floor pitched violently, throwing Gerhardt to the ground. It rolled like the floor of a carnival funhouse gone berserk. Pitching and rolling. Melting and reshaping.
Then melting again.
Light exploded. Blinding. Piercing. It filled the room with its sound—or was it the sound filling the room with its light? Not only the room, but their minds.
Not only their minds, but their realities.
A swelling wave of concrete lifted Fussle and tossed him to the ground. He tried to shout but he no longer had a voice. At least not his own. The light-sound had absorbed it, overpowered it. His vocal chords vibrated, but with the same light blazing through the room.
He began to crawl on his hands and knees toward the control console. At least where he knew it used to be. But it was impossible to know anything for certain. Just as it was impossible to see because of the light and sound.
The floor was soft and gooey, wet putty. He gripped it and pulled himself forward, lifting one knee from the muck and then the other, until finally his shoulder struck something soft. The console.
Grateful that it was mostly solid, he grabbed it and pulled himself to his feet.
The reset button was on the other side, just to the left—if the
console’s reality had not changed.
Memories of children he never had, filled his head. His heart ached over the recent loss of his oldest to leukemia.
He groped the controls, the pots and switches, pleased they were still as he had designed them—though they now felt like gelatin.
Another pulse of light-sound exploded from the control rods. Fussle cried out as he clung to the console, as the same light-sound roared from his throat.
The wave quickly passed and the memories of his children disappeared. At least those children. Now there were others...gentle Kimberly, Samuel with the birth mark on his cheek...
Until, at last, he reached the reset button and hit it.
ęCopyright 2008 Bill Myers, Published by Faith Words
Makes you want to read the rest, doesn't it?