“Timestake”

Day 29 F.R.

I am Haley Kyler. I am Haley Kyler. I am writing in a diary I took from the future. Maybe that’s the wrong way to write that. A lot of grammar rules seem trivial when yesterday can become next year can become never.

This diary is a means for me keeping my sanity, as well as proof to show I’m not crazy. Can you carbon-date something that doesn’t exist yet? These are thoughts I try to force to the utter recesses of my mind, but diaries are a stream-of-consciousness affair. I apologize, future reader… or past reader, for potentially confusing you.

I want to write about my invention, the staca, but I feel that we must take the ride before we buy the ticket. I must talk about the future before how I got there while it’s still fresh in my mind. For two reasons: one obviously being that it’s fresh in my mind. The other being that I’m not sure if I’ll still remember anything since it hasn’t happened yet.

I should explain at least about the staca why I went to the future. For my maiden voyage, I wanted to see if the world would be affected by the staca’s choice of fuel. Now isn’t the time to elaborate but life is the staca’s propellant. Staca is pronounced “STAH-kah”. Depressingly and happily, nothing was terribly affected.

The first rupture, my term for time-travel, sent me eight years into the future. As a 57-year-old woman, I was afraid that I would suddenly become 65, but the research I put into genomes was worthwhile. Sadly, I wasn’t the only thing frozen in time eight years after the fact. “The more things change, the more they stay the same” doesn’t apply to time soon coming. It’s all the same, all of it.

The accelerations in technology I was a part of were practically thrown away. Like Tesla before me, profit overtook potential. The perfect solar energy storage shuffled away because a meter can’t be put on it. I was quick to blame men, but women in power love money just the same. How pathetic greed can make people.

I, by no means, hate money, timebound reader. Only the way people can be corrupted by it. I helped find cures for certain cancers but, eight years later, those cancers still exist. After some reading, I found out that pharmaceutical companies couldn’t agree to producing medicines because they couldn’t price them properly. Friends and neighbors dying because of marketing strategies.

I wasn’t surprised by wars still being around because pacifism only works when everyone’s a pacifist, and bloodlust is genetic. I was surprised at how little gender roles changed. I’m not a sex warrior, despite how many women told me how grateful they were to see me doing so much for science. I was just amused, or bemused, at how women were– are– at how women are still using the same sword and men are still using the same shield. Ally would’ve shook his head.

I ruptured forward a few more years and still: same shit, different day. But I didn’t invent the staca for sociological reasons, so I took the steps needed to come back here. I went to the hospital for a full diagnostic and all the tests that’ve come back so far tell me I’m as healthy as I left. My doctor thought me strange  for coming back two days in a row. If she only knew.

Day 31 F.R.

Where, diary, do we begin about the staca? Maybe my system for dating entries. I figured that the month-day-year structure would be useless when I can be anytime, so I chose to have the date be tethered to my first rupture. I won’t bother with months or years. That would complicate things more than I mean to.

Speaking of complicated, I’m not sure of the scientific knowledge of you, timebound reader. I know I should explain things as simply as possible because I want everyone to appreciate what I’ve done. The academics know who Haley Kyler is so they can extrapolate these writings without dismay. And maybe a normal person can take what I’ve written and build their own staca, a better staca, in a basement, like me.

I wasn’t always a “mad” scientist. Once upon a time, I was a slightly brainy twenty-something who wanted nothing more than to spend her life with the best thing that ever happened to her. Then he was stolen from me by a greedy act of violence. I don’t want to save Ally, though, because I’m not so selfish that I’d risk paradoxing this universe out of existence. No, I just want to hear his voice one last time.

So how does one go from mourning to being the architect of chronological travel? It starts with a crazy thought in the already crazy situation that is suicide. Ally and I loved “12 Monkeys”, and watching it was supposed to end my final day. Seventeen days after his. But I put down the knife when inspiration found me.

At first, it was something for a suicidal brokenheart to do to take her mind off of entering the void. “12 Monkeys” being about time-travel and time-travel being impossible would’ve made me the blissful hamster in a wheel until the end of my days. Then something happened. Science proved that the big bang theory was the big bang fact. And I became very interested in sonic “fingerprints”.

How to explain… you know those sound machines with the screen that shows waves? Those waves don’t look the same, as soon as seconds apart, do they? The big bang theo– fact means that there’re ripples going through space right now that shares the same idea as that sound machine. Still with me?

Now, since waves aren’t the same, you could say that taking a snapshot of a wave is representative of that time. And if you could recreate that wave, you could go to that time. That would be going to the past. The future would be like predicting the weather in that you could have a clear idea of what upcoming waves will “look” like if you study patterns. And I’ve studied.

So if you know what waves were and will be, you could travel to those times if you had a proper device that could… vibrate at that frequency. Like a tuning fork. Which what the staca is. Well, it’s actually more like a small, telescoping metal pole with three prongs at the end. But you get the idea.

Getting to where I could properly theorize took a few years, and I wasn’t a born scientist. I didn’t know about grants, and research costs more than you’d think possible. I needed a job that allowed me to have the free time I needed and the best thing for me according to ads was becoming a phone sex operator. Ally and I used to play Dungeons and Dragons, and you wouldn’t believe how closely being Roxxxy and a dungeon master can be. Did you know that women call, too?

Inbetween disproving Einstein and dirty talk, I had a great idea. Being a mad scientist makes your butt sore with all the sitting, so I came up with a heated cushion that kneaded my perky behind. I miss it being perky. Anyway, I had enough money so I filed a patent and that’s how I became a millionaire. I still did the phone sex thing sometimes because I didn’t have friends and it was fun being a kinky DM.

I talked to other scientists about my theories over the years and I won a few Nobel Prizes. One was for the cancer thing and I did that because of my fears of developing any number of cancers with the potential radiation I’d be bombarded with. Usually, winners donated their prize winnings to some cause (yes, I was surprised, too, when they gave me money the first time), but I’m selfish and hearing Ally again was the most important thing. I was also offered honorary doctorates, but I didn’t care about that sort of thing so I turned them down. Those plaques weren’t gonna give me the parts I needed.

I should say that I’ve worked alone all this time, which is why it took me 34 years until I committed my first rupture. Oh, rupturing: it’s a quick and frightening experience. Once the staca is planted, things become very bright and your skin feels hot while your insides feel cold. And you can see your bones through your skin and shut eyelids. Then everything becomes clear and you’re where you set the staca to send you.

What’s planting? Time-traveling doesn’t mean space-traveling. You could go to the past and future but because Earth is always in motion, you might reappear in a wall or on the moon. Stabbing the staca into the ground makes it a sort of anchor, but that’s not what the prongs are for. I’ll explain them next entry…

Day 37 F.R.

A lot of bad has to happen for something good to happen, right? And people should look at the big picture, not the details. And the ends justify the means. And I’ve done so much good for the world, and continue to do so, that I’m allowed certain things. A supreme privilege, right?

The staca’s power source… it telescopes because it’s like a telescope. I look through it and a display appears, showing me the potential energy a source has. But I have to be quick when acquiring the energy because it depletes before I can get to it. The staca… it… it doesn’t run by conventional means. It… it runs on life… murder.

I’ve tried every energy source imaginable but the only one it’ll accept is life energy. When using it as a scope, it shows me how many years the person has left. The years disappear as I’m about to kill them because time somehow knows that I’m about to change their life.

The prongs stab the person and the staca absorbs them. I… you don’t realize how worthless people are until you see how much time doesn’t miss them. And with the world being overpopulated, I’m doing it a favor… right? Allan means more to me than them and I’d do anything to hear him again. Even…

When I kept rupturing into the future, I… went too far to be able to use one adult to rupture back to my present. I couldn’t risk killing multiple people, that’d draw too much attention. But I had to get back. I wandered the streets for hours. Then I saw… saw a playground.

Day 42 F.R.

I’m writing to you under an influence. My doctor told me too late that she’s found a strange degenerative disease in my blood. She’s done tests but can’t figure out what’s wrong. I do: the price of time.

Parts of me have aged backwards and forwards. I’m like a patchwork of has-beens and will-comes. This… time cancer seems to have stabilized for now so I should rupture to Ally before it’s too late.

Why did you have to go to the store that night? We didn’t live in the best neighborhood and gang fights were picking up. I can remember the first time we met… no, that’s not you. Where’s… I’m seeing the lives of the people I’ve killed. Does using the staca imprint the stolen onto my mind? Where did we meet, where did we meet, where– This one! This one is mine! We met, I remember, we met at a comic book convention. We kept bumping into each other, which was amazing because there were so many people there. We kept bumping… and then we had overpriced pizza in the lounge. There was a piano on the wall and you could play. I don’t know classical music, but what you were playing was beautiful. Remember how you panicked you got when you saw pizza grease all over the keys? I’ve never ran from something so quickly in my life.

That wasn’t us. That was the second victim. I remember when you died, though. Time can’t take that from me. Time can’t take that from me. Time can’t take that from me. Time can’t take that from me. One last rupture, so I can hear your voice again, Robert. Then I don’t care what happens to me.

I am…

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