Dead end of a circle, p.1
Dead End of a Circle, p.1David Myhro
Dead End of a Circle
By David James Myhro
Copyright 2014 David James Myhro
I was introduced to the time machine that we'd spent so much time developing and the only thing I could think about was that it shouldn't have been possible to exist. Of course, you could easily make a future-traveling time machine simply by traveling very fast, but to make a past-traveling time machine is a completely different challenge.
I'm sure, due to the stories of time travel that you've endured in your lifetime, that you have certain expectations of what's coming next. You are probably only concerning yourself with the many potential paradoxes that might arise from time travel.
You can break man's laws, and if God is real then you can surely break his laws, too, but you cannot ever break the laws of the universe. And so if a time machine were to be successfully constructed, then the consequences, even if they seem like a paradox, will be completely natural and within the rules of the universe. The main question that any seeker might ask should not pertain to paradoxes, but rather to the working parts of the machine.
I will give you an engineer's description of the machine later, but for now I'll start my story from a bit further back…
The year was 2011 and the place was New York City. As I had been doing for all my life, so I was doing on this night—I was hunting.
I found a destitute prostitute with a nondescript face who had one stocking riding higher than the other and some reddish-brown substance clinging to the cusp of her nostril like the Nike symbol—an ugly duckling of a woman whose unnecessary sexual parts were a mockery to the testament that no man would ever have her; I was somehow able to lead her to believe that I was sexually attracted to her. I motioned to her to get into my car, and she gladly did.
I had a fairly good idea of what she was expecting me to do, and it wasn't that I would rip out her throat and inhale the scent of the cherry springs that proliferated from the oxygenated life beneath. But, as fate would have it, I was the one in for the surprise: she was a police officer—a dead one now—and I hadn't suspected it because she never tried to elicit a bid from me. The other officers who'd been in surveillance were now buzzing around me like flies; had I swatted them all down, this day would have perished in my memory after a few centuries.
With ease I disposed of the officers that charged at me since I, thanks to all the time that I've had to walk this earth, had long ago mastered the various arts of hand-to-hand combat; there was a coward, however, that had escaped while I was occupied with his companions, and this was the beginning of the end for me.
I thought nothing of this night and I continued to live my life. I was an anonymous, moderately famous magician—in addition to combat skills I'd also picked up some showman tricks and swiftness of hand over the years, but the main attraction to my shows was something that was not fake. I've been hanged, scorched, poisoned, drowned, crushed, and tortured in many other ways on stage. But that escaped police officer was the real magician, and none of these tricks could compare to what he was going to do to me.
As I would discover after my arrest, the police officer did not provide a reliable description of my face to his cohorts. What he did do was advance through the ranks and become a respectable homicide detective, and, seventeen years after that night, he recognized my face on the internet. The only thing he had to work with was a very quick encounter in the dark, nearly two decades ago—and he was in fear for his life at the moment, no less. It seemed impossible, but he saw my ageless face and his dormant memory awoke. His paygrade bestowed him credibility with the rest of his fellow officers, and that was the only reason that he was even able to scrap together a few men to spy on me. I'm sure he gained even more ranks after I was seen killing yet another prostitute on their very first day of surveillance.
The team's numbers were nowhere near what they needed to be in order to take me down, but they didn't know it. They only knew that I was caught in a violent act, and so there was no hesitation on their part to attempt to apprehend me. They threatened me with bullets and such, and so I killed them, but that slippery detective escaped once again. This time, however, he had images of my face and of my deeds, and I had no chance of an escape from New York. Within a matter of a few hours there were enough recruited hands so that they were able to capture me with their mechanisms of metal; I surrendered unconditionally, lest I be seen reflecting bullets outside of the context of being a magician.
Bail was set at no bail—if that makes any sense—and so I was not afforded the opportunity to flee. Some suspicions were raised when I was so eager to sign a plea bargain under the sole condition that the number of years was fixed and definite. I was very wary of being given life without parole, or—worse—a death sentence. If I was handed down a death sentence, then the authorities would inevitably discover my invincibility when they try to do me in; if that was discovered, if they knew that the magic was real, then the day of my freedom would be further away than ever. (I did not know it at the time, but the death penalty had been recently abolished in the current state.) And I really didn't want life without parole, or even life at all, because if I got that then there may be some kind of lobbying against me when the time came for the term to be up… some proclamation by the people that I ought to be incarcerated until death by natural (or otherwise) causes. What I wanted was a set amount of years, even if it was longer than a life sentence.
Thus the prosecution, in the end, agreed to give me a ninety-nine-year, eight-month sentence (or some other weird amount like that). They didn't want to give me the full one hundred years because they thought I wanted all these years for bragging power with the other inmates. I would be eligible for parole in about eighty-six years.
As things unfolded, it became increasingly clear that killing the undercover prostitute was one of the worst mistakes I'd ever made. I was simply unable to fulfill my plans of peaceful observation while being locked up with these savage scavengers. They provoked me. Daily they provoked. They provoked me like it was all they wanted out of this life. I should have been a hero because I was a cop killer, but instead I was targeted by everyone because I refused to join a race-based gang.
The intensity of the battles became very fierce. I was attacked with weight-lifting equipment and razors and dung-covered shanks and locks in socks and any other sharp or blunt instrument that these subhumans could grasp. I would usually manage to severely injure all of my attackers; occasionally, however, I would be overpowered and held down, and they would repeatedly stab me in vain. When these limb bearers escaped me, knowing full well that the magic was real, I had to hunt them down individually and murder them in secret.
I became morbidly indifferent to the violence, and my numbed mind failed to realize that the large amount of serious inmate injuries attracted the media… which attracted the government. And so there was an investigation, and many mouths spoke of me. I was taken away and examined by the world's greatest scientists to determine how or why I was what I was.
Like a wild animal I was as uncooperative as I possibly could have been. I could not be chemically subdued, so whenever I was partially unrestrained I attacked with the intent to kill. Looking back, I think that was the wrong choice. I sometimes wonder, were I cooperative, if I would have been eventually given a chance to escape or even openly go free—at the very least, a friendlier version of myself could've perhaps gleaned insight into the properties of my invincibility from a member of the staff. All I did was infuriate them and hinder their once-in-a-lifetime chance to study a creature as intriguing as myself. And so, when they determined that they had learned as much as was feasible
They took me to the vault. Yes, not any vault… this was the vault. It would become my world, my entirety of reality, and the end of my reality. I knew that there was nothing for me after this, and I had always known my whole life that I would end up in permanent darkness one day.
The vault was deep underground and a system of mazes had to be mastered before it could be found. It was originally owned by a mega tycoon who'd had the whole thing set up because of his lack of trust of banks or even of the dollar itself. He eventually fell on tougher times and forfeited, among other things, his prized vault to the government that he could never trust. This, at least, was the story I was told by the driver while I was being transported there.
The vault was very much what you would have expected, considering that the owner designed it with the frame of mind that money was no object and that total security was the only thing that mattered. It was a cube in shape, and all five of the non-door sides were protected by several feet of steel. There was no way for any kind of wiring to come into the vault from the outside world—the vault was nothing but plain, stupid, brute force with no electronic trickery, and there was no way in hell that I could ever MacGyver my way out of this one.
The door was clearly the only way into this vault unless you had an oil drill with a diamond auger the size of a Nixon-era nuclear warhead. The door was a sliding one, rather than a swinging door, since it was just so insanely thick, and a machine was required to open and close the door because it was simply so heavy. Banks do not use doors like this for their vaults—in fact, nobody does—because it is impractical to be used on daily basis; the door had to be specially commissioned. The locking mechanism on the door was a set of several steel, cylindrical rods that receded into the door when unlocked and protruded out when locked. The receptacles for these locking rods above and below the door were nothing but holes in which the rods could hibernate.
The vault was waterproof, tornado proof, fireproof, bombproof, soundproof, and vampire proof, and that door was as shut as the speak-no-evil monkey's mouth—with me inside. The manual lock was destroyed so that no one could ever open it from the outside.
It must have been the military that ordered this—no one else could have been so stubborn. I went through scenarios in my mind over and over and over, and I, unfortunately, managed to convince myself that I wouldn't get out until after the United States of America was defunct. I should have considered myself fortunate that they did not fill the vault with quick-drying cement, or perhaps, with enough of a budget, they could've put me in a rocket and sent me into the sun. I was still, of course, not feeling very grateful about the situation that I was in.
In the pitch black I reached out my hands and felt for the wall, and then I guided myself around the cube. I paced several laps and then nested myself into a corner, sliding down the wall into a sitting position. The only thing I could do was wait it out, to wait until there was another nation above me, hoping that there would be somebody up there that hadn't forgotten about me…
In the beginning I was unable to persuade my memory to lend its stories to me for my amusement. I couldn't do anything but scream endlessly. I screamed until the air in the room tasted different. I punched the door as hard as I could, in the same spot over and over, hoping that, after millions of years, my indestructible fist would make a dent.
But those were the early days. Before I'd given up hope. I soon realized that I would never escape from this place and that I would never be rescued. I had been unable to dream because my mind was still holding out for hope, and it was this final acceptance of despair that brought it all back to me like a wave. My memories and my ability to dream returned, and I was free to pluck anything I wanted from this large basket of thought.
Not too long ago I had an addiction that was very much unique to me. I would travel on airlines endlessly, for years at a time, never leaving the airports, all in the hopes of experiencing the jolting, screaming, panic, terror, and peace that come together in the moments before a plane crash. Due to the unfavorable probability of a crash actually occurring, I eventually resorted to sabotage in order to ensure the desired outcome; by myself I very much skewed safety statistics of airline travel. It was well worth it—I don't think I've ever tasted a fear so thick as I would during those moments. I've sat through my share of crashes and I've seen all the different faces of terror, I've seen luggage and carts springing through the isles as if they had their own violent intent, I've seen planes being ripped open in midair and people flying out, and so many things… but mostly it was the new sounds that impacted me the most.
When you truly terrify an animal it will make a sound that you don't normally hear. The human animal is no different. In these flying mechanical wonders I've heard the sounds that man makes when he is in true mortal danger, and in all my centuries and in all my conquests I'd never been able to stumble upon it because there is nothing like the moment that leads up to a plane crash. The instinct to either fight or run cannot be obeyed because there is no person present that is a violent threat to you—there is no way to compete with others for your own survival, and there is nowhere to run; the only thing you can do is wait for death.
When the crash comes I can hear other sounds. The crash itself is very loud, but eventually I learned to discern the other noises. Glass shattering, seats crumbling, bones breaking… the most fascinating sound was right before the crash when the air would negotiate with the metallic body of the plane. It sounded different every time. Sometimes the metal resisted but groaned like an ancient, dying god; other times there was a brief, loud shriek as some part of the structure was ripped off suddenly and without warning.
Many times the survivors were trapped because they were pinned by debris or their legs were broken, and their fate was to be burned alive. Here there was nothing really new to be observed; I'd already seen the best and worst of humanity in the aftermath of similar catastrophes. Random heroes, mothers sacrificing their lives to save their children, mothers saving themselves and forsaking their children. Sometimes I'm rescued, sometimes I don't need to be rescued, and other times I'm the one who's left to burn.
If you leave the darkness of the vault, then you might find a world with natural laws that apply only in tales of fantasy, a world so deep in the past that the events that are told of this time are not possible unless you can imagine them.
I was a great one, and even the lowest of my soldiers was legendary. I simply did anything I wanted, and there was no one to stop me. I was, among other things, a practitioner of disciplines and arts reserved only for the highest of kings.
There exists an art that is as old as any other and yet one can never feasibly practice and train it daily. This is the art of the quick kill—to snap an enemy's neck. I had a horde of traitors and weaklings who'd been privileged to serve me to this end; in my conquest of thousands, I may have produced one enemy who was prepared to exact revenge… one enemy who had lost someone to my insatiable mountain of corpses and was willing to forsake his lot in this life in order to afflict me with equal heartache.
I was sitted upon my throne, contemplating things that would affect the lives of many serfs, and it happened that my immortal men saw a very old man counting the many steps that led to the top of my fortress. The last time an outsider came up those steps, he approached me with a psychotic smile and then stared into my eyes as he slit his own throat. It was a pathetic attempt from his master to strike fear into me; it failed, as did the ensuing invasion. This new visitor, however, was certainly no messenger. He looked more like a beggar. His physical state was so decrepit that my men began to take bets on whether or not he'd make it to the top. He did make it, I assure you, and what he had to say to me cut me deeper than anything I can remember.
"My lord, have mercy upon me," he begged, "and hear me before you render me dead where I stand."<
Not yet knowing the message that he had for me, I did not fully appreciate his sincerity. "Your silver hair and beard are wild, like an animal, old man," I sneered. "You are more delusional than you are dangerous. I should have no reason to strike you down."
He got down on his knees and prostrated himself before me. "My lord, I need your explicit promise that you will not thrust me through until the matter that I must present to you is fully articulated."
"I make no promises, and neither do I break them."
He twitched his head and hesitated for a moment. "My little one has been taken under by the devil."
"I knew you were delusional, old man," I mocked. "You're two decades too old to have a child."
"I am but two and twenty years, my lord," he replied. "My little one's capture has aged me beyond my years."
"And why does this matter concern me?"
"There is no other that can retrieve her. No mortal can go where she has gone."
"But why does it concern me?"
"My lord, do unto me as you will, but, before I speak plainly, promise me that you will not bring harm to my little one if you find her."
"I will not take your life, for your life is not worth taking. Yet even if it was, you can rest in assurance that I would not ever, in the name of vengeance, impose penalty upon an innocent party. That duty is reserved solely for God."
"Thank you, my lord."
"Now tell me what it is that you are hiding from me."
"When the devil came and took my little one away… when the devil came and took my little one, I gave him your little one, too, so that you would take the task."
"I have no little one," I hissed.
"I know that she has a special place in your heart," he said. "You spare all the little ones from the blood tithe, but you spare her parents as well. You are a great one, but I also know that you can feel mercy and compassion. You do not want Starla to suffer. You have a fatherly love for her."
Dead End of a Circle by David Myhro / Fantasy / Science Fiction have rating 2.5 out of 5 / Based on38 votes