Feel free to check out the Facebook page for more info on the short film! And since our contest has come to an end (And I thank all of you who participated and checked out the film page) I have a winning story to share with you! David Rhoads will be getting a lovely prize from Holly, and be plastered on the internet! Or at least on my blog. *smirk*
And do take a picture of the fancy thing you purchase at http://sideshowbythesea.com!
by David Rhoads
Well, that's it, my arm's off. What was surprising about this thought was its detachment, no pun intended. Unless the blast cauterized it as well, blood loss should be the end of me in just a minute or two. Less if the shock kills me first. And judging from how clinically I am analyzing this situation, I'd say shock is a safe bet at this point. There was an almost comforting familiarity to the numb sensation, hearkening back to prior, presumably somewhat less fatal traumas.
Two minutes isn't a whole lot of time. What should I do? Pray? What a joke. If God had gone to all the trouble of arranging an explosion in the High-Energy Physics lab, the pathetic mewling of one of His wayward creations wasn't going to derail His ineffable plan. Call my loved ones? A noble sentiment. There's my phone, right over there. You'll notice it's very conveniently attached to my hand, as a few seconds ago (really? just a few seconds?) I had been using it to record the momentous occasion. Too bad said hand is no longer conveniently attached to its customary limb of choice, or any other limb for that matter. Crossing the room to go get it isn't much of an option either; lying on the floor staring at the burbling fountain of blood where my shoulder used to be is about all that can be managed without the kind of pain that causes blackouts. What other brilliant plans have you got, brain? Analyze recent failures so as to avoid repeating them in the future? This is by far the worst idea in the history of human consciousness. Wait, no, the worst idea in the history of human consciousness was the inability of human consciousness to stop itself spinning around and around on ideas which it would really do better to avoid. Endlessly repeating loops of futile rumination, constantly bringing up the past as though it could be changed.
If I hadn't come in to work today... Ridiculous. This was the day of the Big Triumph. The biggest step forward in understanding the way the world worked since someone worked out that fire could live in your house in a pile of sticks. If everything went right then we would have a handle on the big T, once and for all. No way was I missing this, not for anything in the world. If I had been more careful... It was safe! It had to be, every great mind in the field checked over it a hundred times! No way would we even turn it on if it hadn't already been proven safe. Just then the burbling fountain switched back to spurting for almost a full second, wracking me with pain as the pressure caused me to momentarily jerk off the ground involuntarily; as if to emphasize just how safe the tech had turned out to be. If I had it to do over again... What? What could I possibly do differently? Even if every possible quantum outcome showed itself, there just isn't enough prior knowledge of how things would turn out. Every equation that led into the creation of this new technology says it plain as day: Information can't go backwards. For the same reason the speed of light is an absolute barrier to movement, we can't send any sort of signal into the past, which means that the ability to “rewind”, as some waggish author put it, was fundamentally limited. It's theoretically possible to get a different outcome because of quantum interactions we don't fully understand, but there's no way to “send someone back” with foreknowledge. No sending the winning lottery numbers to your younger self. No “going back and killing Hitler”.
I'm going to die, and it hurts, oh God why does it hurt so much? Ah, the blessed numbness of shock is already wearing off... I suppose I rather thoroughly abused the privilege. But even this surge of pain, rushing into my attention like a surge of my blood onto the floor, feels oddly familiar, if not in the slightest bit comforting. But that can't be right. I know, deep down into my bones, this is the end pain. This is the pain of a body that has been torn apart and will soon cease to function. No way have I ever felt like this before and not died from it. God I am so scared why does this have to happen to me why can't something else happen anything else at all oh God just get me out of here... This train of thought probably would have continued on to the very end, but for the compound PA crackling to life, full of distortion brought on by the who-knows-what kind of radiation we've saturated the surroundings with at this point.
“Attention all personnel.” Voice so distorted it could be any of the senior staff, or for that matter anyone who found their way into the control room, “The distortion is in the process of expanding geometrically. If it continues at its current rate of acceleration, in less than nine minutes planet Earth will literally be warped until it breaks into pieces. Because of this...” and here the voice chokes a sob for just a moment, giving me the moment I need to realize what is about to be said, “...activated the rewind. Unfortunately we have only enough power to go back 90 seconds. It is theoretically impossible to bring any knowledge of the future with us, but our only hope lies in somehow ceasing the experiment before the explosion. Good luck, all of you.”
In the distance, the whine of capacitors building to the sort of discharge that can tear time apart. Lying here, as the last of my blood is pumped out by a heart that just doesn't know any better, all I can think is how achingly familiar all of these sensations are.