Chalkboards of intricate equations and endless variables lined the walls of Professor Richard’s library. I took a step, no three, back to marvel at our tireless work when the first cork popped off to my right. A gentle hand rested on my shoulder.
“Well, what do you think, Doctor Eballi?” Professor Sheila Tori said. I turned, slightly distracted by the now-wafting scent of cigars.
“It should theoretically.” I said it again to hear myself. “The ability to traverse time is theoretically possible.”
“But,” She said, pulling at my next thought. “You sound like you have reservations.”
I scanned the room, drinking in the celebration, wondering whether or not to hold my tongue. “Well, I…” I said trailing off. My thoughts zipped across the boards.
Doctor Tori crossed her arms and stepped into my line of sight. “Well what Eballi?”
I sighed. “It’s just that I don’t think we’ve considered all the ramifications of folding back spacetime. I’m worried that too many fold could cause a multidimensional singularity event, and if that were to happen–” I flicked my fingers in the air “Poof.”
She turned back to the board and zeroed in on lower right quadrant of the fifth board, slowly walking towards it. After a moment she turned and made for me.
“I think you may be right. I can’t fully prove it. Not now. But I have a hunch.” She said. An urgent hush had fallen over her voice. “Can you come with me to the bathroom?” A bit out of sorts, I nodded and followed.
Her pace quickened. Up the stairs and to the left. “What are you thinking,” I managed to whisper, our heels clicking against the polished marble floors.
“It’s…just wait. I don’t want anyone to overhear.” A hard right and we were in the bathroom. I reached for Doctor Tori’s shoulder, she turned, and her box cutter made it’s way up my stomach, slicing a deep line from my belly button to my right nipple. She started to cry as blood started pooled at our feet.
“Why?” I said clutching my stomach.
“I’m sorry Eballi.” She said wiping away tears. “You couldn’t know.”
I fell to my knees. A line of fire grew on my chest sapping the warmth from my body. She folded up the still-bloody knife and pocketed it.
“You won’t die for a while. Sorry. I thought that if time travel worked and was stable that I would be in this bathroom waiting to stop me from hurting you. I think you’re right about the folding. Either way, I wasn’t here. So now we all must go.”
I got a hold of her pant leg, smearing a bloody palm down her calf. “What are you going to do?” I asked between gasps.
She kicked my hand away. “I’m going to make sure that our work never sees the light of day.”
She left me there. The pain came in waves after that. Then there was smoke– not from a cigar. It passed through the gap in the door to the bathroom. Then screaming, and heat. I started to sweat even though I felt cold.