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by Steph Bennion

The experiment had not been a success and now time was running out. Or was it running in?

ebookTHERE WAS A BURST OF PAIN, then all was dark. I wanted nothing more than to hold him, to be held. He came close and reached towards me, offering his embrace. I nodded and for the first and last time I wept.

"Perhaps it is fitting that I should die in the arms of my brother of invention," he said sadly. "There will be no one to mourn me. I never had a family."

"I am scared."

"It will be quick. A cancellation; two bodies erased in a flash of energy. Inside the chamber, we can safely bring this experiment to an end."

"Then we are to be destroyed?"

"Our lives may be forfeit, but it is not right that they should also die," he said. "There are good people here, watching over us. Electric fields hold us, but any attempt to release us will blow this facility sky high. You are potent stuff. We cannot leave this chamber."

"I'm not sure how, but I do," I said. "Now I understand."

"Quantum events are spooling backwards. Somehow, the physical properties of your very essence are inverted. You are experiencing time different to me. I'm not sure you can even comprehend what I'm saying."

"That sounds bad."

"The antimatter me. You are the very reverse of me. You are not me."

"I am a copy?" I asked.

"But I was not erased," he told me. "You are the copy. The machine essentially creates a duplicate, perfect down to the smallest muon, then destroys the old. The teleporter disassembles living tissue and recreates it at the destination."

I felt alive. I burned with the energy of the newborn. He looked tense, scared even. I looked at my brother, drifting an arm's length away inside the bubble.

"Something went wrong," he said. "On me, us. We thought it was time to try it on a human. The rats and dogs and other pioneers went through the process unscathed. Matter teleportation. It was an experiment."

I did not understand and told him so.

"You were not meant to be," he said. "I'm so sorry."

We were the same, yet different. He was my double, yet also my reflection. My memories were complete and I knew he was just like me, from the firm sweep of his shoulders to the smallest hair on his chin. I opened my eyes and he was there, floating before me as if we were twins in a womb. A burst of pain, then there was light.

From nothing I came.


* * *

[End of this short story from WYRD WORLDS]