One of the first things she did was take a selfie. Standing outside the store, she had a odd feeling like people weren't seeing her. She stood and watched people walk by for several minutes. They seemed involved in their own little worlds. As she stood there a empty feeling came over, like she didn't exist. Turning around she looked at the picture window behind her. Expecting to see herself staring back at her. All she saw was the inside of the store. Reflections of people walking past her, behind her. But she saw no sign of herself in the window. it was like she didn't exist. At least not to the window. She turned sharply back to the sidewalk. She had to know . If she was invisible. A young couple came along not too far out into the sidewalk. Waiting until the last second before they passed her, She jumped out in front of them. They looked right through her, and kept on walking as if she wasn't there. They walked right through her. She was not only invisible, but had no substance.
The physical sensation of being walked through was electrifying . She felt the static electricity from their bodies go through her body, and for a very brief second, she felt like she was on fire. Than just as quick as it started, it was gone. she turned around and watched the couple continue on as though she was never there. She stood there in shock. The rest of the world seemed to be going by without her.
Slowly she retrieved her new smartphone. Pulling it out she examined the opening screen. Time and date were there alright. Then she looked in the gallery where the picture she'd taken a few minutes ago was stored. There she was staring back at her. But the image didn't seem right. As she watched it for several minutes, transfixed on her eyes, she realized the image was very slowly fading. First the background seemed to be melting into a gray haze. Then her image itself seemed to the be melting. The edges of her hair, appeared to be getting blurry, and before her eyes they seemed to fade into the gray background. She quickly closed the app, and returned to the home screen. At first she didn't notice anything . Then she glanced at the clock . Instead of being 3 minutes later then it was when she opened the gallery to look at her picture, It was 3 minutes earlier. She had just lost 3 minutes of her life.
Looking around she found a bank clock, that displayed the time and temperature. Sure enough her phone was 3 minutes behind the clock. . Opening the camera app on her phone again, she looked around for something to take a picture of . Finely she spotted a discarded pop can sitting on a bench in front of a store.
She raised the camera, noted the exact time she took the picture, actually wrote two times on her hand, one was what the bank clock said, and other was what her phone said. She zoomed in and took a picture of the Pepsi can. Opening the gallery app on her phone she watched the picture and the original can.
She didn't have to wait long. Withing a minute the bench started to fade in her picture. At the same time, the real bench started to loose its density. it seemed to be fading right before her eyes, She reached out to touch it. Her hand went right through it. The Pepsi can was also fading equally fast. Withing another 3 minutes both the real bench and Pepsi can were gone, and the picture on her phone was a gray haze. She watched as the tow of them faded into nothingness. Looking around, No one seemed to notice her or the disappearing bench. She looked at the the two clocks again. The bank clock seemed to be working right It gained another 3 minutes. The clock on her phone had indeed lost another 3 minutes.
The implication of what had happened scared her. She no longer existed as far as the world was concerned. A bench no longer existed, because she took a picture of it. The enormity of what was happening began to sink in. She opened her picture gallery again. Checking the picture of the bench it was completely gone Then her picture. Where there was hair, in the picture, was now a gray haze. Her face was fast disappearing. It now only showed he eyes and nose and mouth in a circle of gray haze. She was just getting used to the idea of being invisible to the world. The bigger question loomed, what would happen when her picture finely faded from the picture entirely. Checking the information bot her picture, It had been 10 minutes since she'd taken her selfie .
As the last pixels of her photo faded into a grey haze that had overtaken her picture she felt herself becoming hyper aware of her surroundings. Her sense of hearing and sight dramatically and sharply increased. Her view of her world changed. from that of a human on a street, in the middle of a town, to a cat's eye view of the world, looking down on earth from outer space. She was conscious of the whole wold, Every living thing seemed to be channeling its thoughts and feeling to her. The impact of the rush of sensations, and emotions was shocking to her system and her mind. She tried to comprehend her new reality.
Then she heard another voice. Clear and quiet , over the cavalcade of thoughts and sounds that was assaulting her mind.
When her mind finely cleared up a bit she was back where she started, sort of. There was the bench with the Pepsi can.
Turning she saw a number of people with smartphones in their hands.
The world looked very similar to the world she'd just left. But , there was one important difference. There was no room for remorse or sorrow. Time runs backwards in this world.
Old houses have this effect on me. I need to to see them. I can't not go and investigate an old house when I find them. It calls to me. This particular old house on the outskirts of town had been calling me for quite some time. Finally I had the chance to go and see it. As it, was, it would be October 31st. Halloween. The perfect time to go prowling around in a old abandoned house.
Upon arriving, I found the old wrought iron gate hanging open. It swung in the breeze. It was hard to tell where the rust ended, and the iron left off. The brick pathway up the porch was almost nonexistent. What few bricks that were still there, were broken or pushed out of place, grass and weeds had pretty much taken over the whole path and lawn, Judging from what I could see of the lawn in the moon. Mostly weeds.
Reaching the porch, I Found it to be about what I expected. The steps where crocked from sinking into the ground, and when I finally arrived at the top, I found the planks were worn, and and mostly bare wood. The paint had long since been wore off by traffic and weather. many of the planks that were still there were also rotted to their center. All in all the porch was dangerous place to be. How the roof of the porch was still standing was mystery of its own.
After carefully making my way across the porch, I found the front door. With my powerful flashlight I looked over the door, At one time it had been a handsome door. Complete with stained glass and brass hardware. Now the glass was gone, save a few pieces around the edge. The brass doorknob hung loosely in the door. Jiggling it a bit, I managed to get it to sort of work.
With several loud creaks and moans it slowly swung open to the inside of the house. Dust and cobwebs assaulted me as the door moved. Eventually, it swung all the way in. Standing in the door frame, I waited a second. Using the flashlight I looked around the room before stepping in. Satisfied it didn't look immediately dangerous, I carefully took a step into the room.
Entering the room was essentially stepping back in time. As I started to look more carefully around the room. The furniturings were of the late 1800's. Victorian, as near as I could tell. As a begun to get a little more comfortable being in the room, and started walking around, I started feeling at home in the room. Then I seemed to feel a presence with me. Looking around behind me. I find in the hallway entrance,a gentleman standing there.
He was old. The suit was formal, almost to the point of being a tuxedo. He stood tall and stiff. as if he'd been standing like that for decades.
"May I help you Sir?" he inquired tersely.
Whether he was surprised to see me or not I couldn't tell. But I was surprised to see him standing in a old abandoned house.
"With your permission, sir, " he said quietly as he turned on the oil lamp on the table. Upon the light coming on, I could now clearly see the rest of the room. I was right, It was a typical Victorian house. Complete with a english butler.
"Will you be spending the night here, Sir ? I'll turn down your bed ."
It was if he knew me. and was not at all surprised to see me in the parlor. Even at this late hour.
I was still coming to grips with the proceedings. Much less with the whole idea of having a butler.
"If I may ask, What is Your name? I seemed to have forgotten."
"Arthur, Sir, He replied unfazed at my question or response to him.
"Arthur, Do you know who I am?
"Yes sir, Your Lord Edward Nelson. The owner of this house."
"Arthur, when was the last time you saw me ?"
"This morning sir, as you were going into town on some business."
Arthur seem unmoved by the whole turn of events. It was normal for him to have his master appear at midnight.
"Arthur, one one question, What is today's date?"
"October 31, 1895 Sir." Arthur answered all my questions without so much as blinking an eye in surprise.
I had wasn't sure what to think or do, My name is Edward Nelson. And I seemed to remember that I did have a grandfather who was a british lord. A british Lord, who had come to the states about the year he said. Looking around some more, I saw I portait of of a very distinguished gentleman.
"Arthur, Who is that?" I indicate the portrait.
"Thats you sir, " It was me, looking down on me.
Returning to the front door. It is exactly as it should be, beautiful and the window is filled with stained glass. What I can see in the moonlight looks completely different than it did when I entered the old house. The porch is now perfect, and what little I can see of the lawn is in perfect shape. I had a sense of familiarity and calm slowly come over me.
"Yes Arthur, I believe I will be spending the night."
The name seemed familiar . Only he couldn't place it. He knew he should know who she was, but for the life of him he couldn't remember who she was. Somewhere in his life he'd meet her, if only briefly, but it was enough that he could barely remember the name. Much less who she was, or how they'd met. Oh the joys of getting older. The body's not the only thing to go, one's mind seems to take leave of absence on occasions. This was one of those times.
She walked into the room.
"Hi Honey, How you doing?" She said brightly and smiled widely. Leaning down to kiss his forehead, lovingly.
He sat in his wheelchair watching her come in, looking at her. Yes she did seem familiar, He just couldn't place her. Her voice rang like a bell, calling him to remember happier times, but he couldn't remember. Her touch seemed familiar, and her scent as she leaned to kiss him, seemed to be a smell he knew, But he still couldn't remember. It was killing him, It seemed she knew him, she definitely knew and loved him, but for the life of him he couldn't remember. Finally, when he could stand it no longer, he had to ask;
"Who, Who are you?" He stammered timidly, not wanting his lack of knowing her to appear too obvious.
"Why honey, I'm Brenda, your wife. You remember me don't you?" Branda sat in the chair right next to his wheelchair and hugged him.
Brenda, and the nurse exchanged knowing looks. Today was not going to be one of his better days, it seemed.
Brenda sat and talked to him for several hours. Telling him how they met, and were married, and all about their children, and how well each of them is doing. Once in a while he would show a spark of recognition, at something she said, mostly he sat and listened to stories about his life, he couldn't remember. As a last ditch effort to try to connect with him even for a moment today she pulled out her phone and hooked up the external speaker, and played music she knew he would remember. When the old music came on his eyes lit up, for a moment they were together, in the songs, many years ago, in their youth. She softly sang the old Sinatra songs with him, for a brief moment they connected, through the music. When the songs were over , he went back to his old self again. The life drained out of his eyes, The same blank look he had when she walked in came back. Slowly, he barely remembered a long time ago, when he was married to her. It seemed like a lifetime ago. Now he sat here in this wheelchair day after day. He would let his mind drift in and out of his past,. He could remember things when he was a boy, even as a young man. But there seemed to be a cut off, in his mind , past a certain point, he was a total blank. His next memory was always here in the chair, in his room. He could never remember the rest of his life. Sometimes he wished Brenda wouldn't come to see him. He knew he should know her, but he just couldn't remember her. In another part of his mind, he hated to see her suffer seeing him like this. In brief moments of clarity, he knew who he was, and why he was here. He had Alzheimer's and was slowly losing what was left of his mind. That was bad enough, but he couldn't bear seeing her suffer when she came to see him. But those moments of lucidity where few and far between and getting farther between.
The room looked small. In truth, as he he was about to discover for himself, the room was in fact much roomier than one could ever imagine.
Stepping into the room he found he was transported to another time, possibly even a another place. His surroundings suddenly to seem alive. Too alive. Where what appeared to be walls on the other side of the door, were now tress. Huge old trees. Trees that seemed to reach far into the sky, and seemed to go on forever. Between breaks in the upper branches he could see sunlight peeking through. The gentle breeze he felt moving the branches and leaves appeared to come from in front of him. The smell of of the trees, and grass was intoxicating. The trees began to swirl around him. The last thing he remembered was seeing a building off in the distance . For the brief second he saw it it appeared to be a castle. But he never got a good look.
When he awoke, his surroundings had changed again. He felt his head as he attempted to sit up. Slowly his eyes cleared. The dampness seemed to float in the air. As his eyes and head cleared, he could barely make out in the dim light coming through a very small barred window high on the opposite wall. As he slowly came back to his senses, the could make out the wall next to his cot. Feeling his way on the cot he found it was made of very rough hewn wood, and covered in a burlap type material, very rough to the touch. Under the cover he was laying on was straw. Very old smelly straw. The smell of bodily functions past hit him in the face as he moved around to try to get up from the cot. Finely extracting himself from the smelly straw covered cot he got on his feet. Wobbly at first as what he could see of the room seemed to spin around or several minutes. Eventually the room stopped spinning. As his head slowly came to rest in one piece, he was able to look around more carefully. The large stones in the walls indicated it was very old. The stones along the dirt floor had green moss or mold growing on them. Higher up there appeared to writing on some stones. Sort of scratched into the surface of the stone.
In the dim light he tried to make out the scratches of what appeared to be words, The language seemed from another time. He knew he'd seen that kind of writing,somewhere before. As a ancient history professor, he was familiar with ancient writings, and building. He'd made a career of studying castles and documents from all over the world. There was very little he didn't know about castles. He thought. Slowly he worked his way around the tiny room. Finally finding the door. It was small. Heavy wood. Held together with heavy rope type material. The door appeared to not have been opened in centuries. Much less in the short time he had been in the room. That didn't explain how he got here, or how he was going to get out. Leaning against the wall. he began to go over everything that had happened in his mind.
He had been called upon to examine some ancient text that had been found in a old estate in the outskirts of London. The gentleman who found them, he emailed and asked him to come and see if they were indeed real, and if they were worth anything. When he arrived at the estate he found the doors open. Inside he found a note saying that the gentleman had been called away on a emercy , leaving just before he arrived. The material for him to look at was in the study, on the desk, The note had said to make himself comfortable and take his time, that he should be back soon. The door was open to the study. Through the doorway it looked like a an ordinary english study. large desk in the center of the room. Walls covered with maps and pictures of days gone by. All of this seemed normal as he stepped into the room. The next thing he knew he was in a english forrest. And now in a dogun of sorts.
As a last resort to get out of the the tiny room; he put his effort into pushing on the door. Slowly it moved. Dust and insects coming loose, and landing all over him. inch by inch the door finally started to move. It seemed to take forever and all of his strength to get the old wooden door to move even a little. Little by little it inched open. After what seemed like several hours it was finally open enough for him to barely squeeze through. The hall on the other side was the same stone as his cell had been. The dirt floor showed signs of traffic. Footprints and marks where someone recently fall. The hall wound its way along until it came to open area with stairs leading up from where he was. As he had nowhere else to go, up the stairs he went. The stairs themselves were shallow and steep, and hard to navigate without falling especially in the almost dark pathway. One misstep and he'd be back on the bottom of the stairs, probably badly hurt.
At The top of the stairs, he found a another door. This door was much newer, and very recently had been used. Hesitating slightly he pushed it gently. It swung open easily.
There beyond the door was the study had attempted to enter earlier.
Sitting at the desk was the gentleman he had supposed to meet.
"Welcome back. I trust you enjoyed my time machine?"
The man said pleasantly, like one would ask if one enjoyed a movie or a book, or song.
He didn't know what to say.
"Uh , Time machine? What happened.?'
"I'm so sorry I wasn't able to be here when you arrived, I so wanted to show you personally. However, I was detained in another time. "
He sat down in the nearest chair waiting for a explanation.
"A drink, or something more? I can have the butler bring what you wish. You're right, I do owe you a explantation. As I said the room is a time machine. It can take one to any place or time. Only there are several problems. It has a mind of its own. Just before you arrived it took me to America in the 1960's, Dallas, to be exact. I found myself on the grassy knoll, just as President Kennedy was shot. I saw who did it, and it wasn't Oswald. Then just as suddenly I was back here in the here and now, sitting as you found me. I knew you had arrived by the car outside. So All I could do was wait until you made your way back. If I may ask where were you?"
He thought for several minutes.
"In a old english castle. a dungeon, to be exact, a wet smelly dirty dungeon. How long was I gone?"
"Its impossible to say. I still haven't figured out a way to tell, it could be a minute or a hour. Time means nothing when you there. Wherever there is. Would you like to try again together, as I had originally planned?"
"Why not? It can't be any worse than where I was before."
They got up and he lead him out of the room, They turned back around and stepped through the door again...