Red By D.I. Jolly

The last thing you want to see when you activate your time machine, is the flashing red warning light. The indication of some kind of critical system failure. Could it mean that the machine is about to simply shut down? Or are you about to be pulled into the infinity of space-time?

Dr. Todd Johnson knew exactly what was going happen when he saw the red light start frantically flashing. He could already see the crack start forming in the hull and while he was mostly terrified, a small disconnected part of him was curious to find out what was actually on the other side. One way or another he was about to learn the answer to one of the great unanswerable questions.

From the outside, the machine appeared to work perfectly. Everything that was supposed to activate did, the course through time plotted as planned and for an instant, the time capsule was both there and not there and then there again looking only slightly different. The problem was, there was no Dr. Todd Johnson.

From his perspective, he saw the cracks form and had just enough time to consider his situation before the tiniest fracture appeared, and he was sucked out into the space-time continuum, where his body was stretched out to the length of the universe while his mind experienced all-time simultaneously. In that very same moment, all creatures across the entire universe heard just that faintest scream, just on the edge of their hearing and then it was gone.

Certain more advanced and more primitive cultures across the universe referred to that moment as The Great Scream, and some predicted that one day they’d hear it again and it would mark the coming or the return of some great being. Monuments were built, caves were painted on, and the universe continued to tick over.

But for Dr. Todd Johnson, he learnt that infinity was both instant and never-ending. As his mind tried and failed and tried again to grasp everything it was experiencing, including all his attempts, failures and eventual and instant success, he came to one simple realisation. All creatures, all things, across all times, understandings and places in the universe were the same. Not similar, not basic desires, but all exactly the same. Everything was one, and he was one with everything. For an instant, he looked at the infinite universe through its own eyes and felt everything, all at once. Then if a mind could smile his would have as he understood that, he was then, always had been and always would be, a part of the infinite of the universe and then Dr. Todd Johnson as he was known and thought of, ceased.

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