Miranda Kate’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Time and Motion - Part 1
Valdimir hoped his back tyre wouldn’t slide again; he hated cycling in the snow. He needed to get to the Professor fast, but ploughing through this stuff was hard going. There wasn’t much time left, not if what he had just discovered was true and he needed the professor to confirm it whether it was pronto.
His time at the Sternberg Astronomical Institute had sped up as they began to realise just how high functioning he was, and the professor had taken him under his wing, nurturing his ability to see things others couldn’t in all the complicated theory. The professor had also made him aware that others would want to use his talent for far less desirable purposes once word got out, and had kept tightened security around him to try and prevent anyone approaching him – or worse, kidnapping him.
It’s what caused him to keep looking over his shoulder now. He had seen that black sedan before. It might look nondescript to others – and in Moscow they were certainly were a common enough sight – but with his photographic memory the registration had come up before: both outside his house and at the professor’s lab. Of course there were other residents that it could belong to in both those places, but it was the way this one was keeping its distance, randomly stopping and starting, and even though Valdimir had taken two short cuts through housing estates, it was still in view over his shoulder.
As he rounded the corner into the professor’s street he was able to speed up; the road having been cleared here recently. He whizzed into the side alley by the main lab building and jumped off, dragging his bike out of sight into a doorway. He was sure the sedan would drive by the end of the alleyway at any second, but he didn’t see it before he rushed in the side entrance and up the stairs to the professors’ rooms.
He burst into the classroom, startling all the students, but when Professor Shustov saw his face, he didn’t reprimand him; instead he dismissed the class for the day and took Vladimir by the elbow, leading him out to his personal office.
“What is it Vlad? What have you found?”
“Oh professor, you have to check this for me, I can’t be sure, but if I’m right we haven’t got much time.”
The Professor took the proffered piece of folded paper and moved to his desk to pick up his glasses. “Much time for what, Vlad?”
“You remember we talked about proving the sim possibility? How it was only a matter of finding a glitch in the figures we ran on the parallel universe theories?”
“Yes?” The professor’s eyes widened as Vladimir spoke, knowing that nothing he did was ever to be taken lightly.
“Well I found one – well two in fact, but I also found something else, that when they happen there is a way to switch them.”
“Switch them? You mean we could run another reality, like changing train tracks?”
“Well more like a junction really, as I’m sure there are more possibilities. But I need you to check these figures, to see if they’re right, so then we’ll know when the next one will happen.”
Professor paused. “What? We’ll know exactly?”
The professor gawked at him for a second then fumbled the piece of paper open and rushed round to his chair, thumping down into it while picking up a pen.
There was silence while he looked it over. Vladimir felt like he was holding his breath, as he watched the professor’s pen follow the figures down the page. When it reached the end, the professor looked up at Vladimir with fear in his eyes, his finger still sitting on the last figure.
“As I suspected, there’s nothing incorrect here,” he said in a low tone. “So tell me Vlad, how long have we got?”
“About two hours Professor.”
Vladimir thought the Professor’s eyes were going to pop out of his head. “Two hours?! But we’ll never be ready that soon. How often are they occurring, surely we can wait for the next one.”
“Well, that depends, Professor. From my calculations that won’t be for another 30 years, will we both still be here then?”
The professor knew better than to question any of Vladimir’s figures. For a second he didn’t move, then he sprang up and said, “Then there’s no time to waste. We need to go now!”
He bundled his coat on as he left the room, Vladimir at his heels. They rushed out the main doors to the professor’s four wheel drive, and Vladimir noted the sedan parked across the street.
As he climbed into the front seat, he said, “I was followed here Professor.”
The professor glanced at the sedan as he reversed out. “I know Vlad, you’ve been shadowed for a couple of weeks now, but don’t worry, they’ve only got a couple of hours left!” He chuckled, and Vlad chuckled with him as they sped off in the direction of his home.
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This is really good... perfectly paced & poignant too. Very nice.ReplyDelete
Oh boy! You have me on the edge of my seat. :)ReplyDelete