By Darren Wilson
“I keep killing them. I keep killing them and killing them, but it’s never enough.”
“Killing who?” The man asked.
“How can you kill yourself and be here? In this time?” The man asked.
“That’s what I keep asking myself, but every time I return to those times I visited, they’re there.
Every single one. There must be over a hundred of them. When I was murdering other people, innocents for sport, I never kept count of how many times I visited. I should have, but I didn’t. I just thought I never needed to know. It was the sport that kept me going, no rational thought. Just violence.”
“So you go back to these times and who else do you kill?” The man asked.
“I kill those like my former self. Wayward souls. Beasts that ludicrously pose as men. Monsters. They are all monsters, I make sure of this.”
“What I would think is that, as long as you killed one, that you would have killed them all. Including your present self. This makes no sense. I’m telling you this from an expert on time travel’s perspective and knowledge. Once you kill one, they should all be dead. This is… vexing to say the least,” the man said.
“I go back and I kill my other selves, before they start the hunt. Before they kill innocents. Right at the moment when they are most vulnerable.”
“Before you had this revelation. Before you overcame your hunger to kill innocent people. What were you like?” The man asked.
“I was insane. Clinically, psychotic. Rage was the well I drank from. Bloodlust was my companion. Murder was my purpose. Like I said. I was a monster.”
“How many dates do you have to go back to?” The man asked.
“Like I said, I never kept count. I only know that I always skipped two years ahead of the last time I killed.”
“I’m coming up with a theory now. Are there dates in the future, past this time now, that you went to?” The man asked.
“Yes, up to 2312. Why?”
“Are you certain of this? There are future versions of your present self and you had your revelation, only in this time?” The man asked.
“Then you’re… an anomaly.” The man said.
“An anomaly. How?”
“I don’t know how, that is something you must figure out,” said the man, “However, I can tell you what this means. You have to go to each time you visited and destroy every last one of your doppelgängers. You are an anomaly, therefore, they are all anomalies as well. The rule must apply throughout every instance of your travels. Somehow when you time travelled, each time, you created a permanent version of yourself, unbound from the rules of time travel. Do you see?” The man asked.
“I am a damned bastard just like my father said. My life is pointless.”
“Don’t drown in the sorrow of your ill will. Embrace your purpose now. Your mission is to stop each murder of yours. Right down to the last rotten animal you unleashed from within,” said the man.
I stood up. I checked my watch. It indicated the time until my body would become weary from sleep deprivation. The time I would become too weak to do my job correctly. I had four hours. That would give me enough time to kill 23 of the abominations; me.
I thanked the sage for his knowledge. Sages were common these days. In 2227 they are at their most populous point, before the revolution that happens in 2269, when sages are killed out of the fear that they will soon rule the world. I did not tell him of this. Not because I still had a desire to kill innocent men, but because telling him would alter the timeline which needed to stay concrete in order for me to do my job, or else my other selves might change the timing of their hunts. I desperately needed to have the upper hand. If they were anomalies that meant any alteration of the timeline would result in unpredictable activity on their part.
I left the sage’s office, and prepped my Modular Kronaian Gate-key, and as soon as I was in an empty alleyway out in the streets of New York I set the key to take me to Dublin, 2116.
I counted down. 3. 2. 1, pressing the button at one.
Suddenly a blast of sound, seemingly from within and without, mauled my senses. Following that, a high-pitched sound that wouldn’t stop at shattering glass, but stone, too, whined. A low-pitched rumble that might as well have been the chorus of atomic explosions, roared. It probably was.
I felt myself being peeled like an apple, but the process didn’t stop at the skin, it skinned deeper and deeper, until my very bones were shredded.
My mind was the only “thing” that managed to stay together. Barely. Clearly, it suffered in the process. Memories played without my say so, seemingly all at once. It didn’t matter what they were: tastes, sounds, feelings, thoughts, images, and smells, like a tornado. Like a hurricane. They say that if you can’t hold on, you’ll spend months recovering from the disorientation. Mind-fracture disorder.
The process slowed.
My thoughts collected and stabilized.
My body collected and stabilized.
The sounds, which I could not have heard without a body, played like the warring of gods, quieter, quieter, like rains coming to an end, until pitter-patter, pitter-patter.
I felt ground beneath my feet. I felt the pressure of cosmic space release me. I breathed in an air all too sweet and welcomed. I tested my body, appendages and fingers flexing.
I always closed my eyes, so I never saw the transition between times and spaces, or rather, spaces and spaces. At least, I tried not to see, but I always feared I would be blinded by the light between places.
I often thought that it is not my vision perceiving the light, but my mind itself.
I always opened my eyes when the pain stopped.
Time travel was not a beloved experience for most people because of the pain, but it was for men like me… or… the man I used to be.
Time travel made no noticeable sound to the natural world.
This was the perfect moment. I was right behind him. Me. He walked forward, I swiftly closed the gap between us. He hadn’t noticed me. I sliced his throat and he gurgled blood. He died. I just killed number 27.
I time traveled to Sydney, 2118. I saw myself stalking a couple. He had a loaded gun. I had my knife out, still. I’m much more experienced than him. Me. I got behind him. I’ve done this 27 times before. I slit his throat. He coughed up blood. He died. I just killed number 28.
I traveled to Hong Kong, 2120. Something was not right. The scent that I remembered from this time. It was dif-
I woke up. I was tied to a round table. I was naked. Cold. Very cold. I hadn’t even realized that I was shaking because I was so disoriented.
I looked around the room and there they were. All of them, maybe. The rest of me.
“The pure one must be purged to allow our sin to flourish,” they chanted.
I realized my attempts were futile. The anomalies. They had figured it out somehow. They got me. One sliced my throat.
I am number 57.
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