Chapter 3: Narrow Slice of Time

In which our misguided and overly belligerent heroine experiences the process of time travel, and in which our gentle readers discover Aubrey’s true purpose for taking her trip.

Aubrey felt confused, but was not overly upset.  She was afraid of the two monks who had carried her off from the reception area, but did not mind being afraid of them.  And here they were walking beside her as she glided on a gurney down a dimly lit corridor and into a brightly lit room filled to bursting with oddly shaped bits of equipment.  She felt like smiling at her two companions, but she doubted that they would notice as they kept their stern eyes in their stern faces focused straight ahead.  Perhaps they were eunuchs.

They had treated her indifferently when they carried her from the reception area into an examination room, wrestled her down onto a table, and injected her arm with a hypodermic needle.  The shot had at first heightened her senses before a wave of passive tranquility had washed through her, and she had seen, while she still was able to struggle, that the monks took no more notice of her body than they would a slab of rock or a wooden plank. She knew that some men got excited when they treated women roughly—her ex-husband  had—but she had felt no sexual energy from them as they held her down on the table and waited for the drug to take its full effect.  She had writhed and squirmed on her back and had screamed filthy words into their ears, but they just kept their faces blank and their breathing calm and even.

The brightly lit room with the odd equipment looked like a stripped down operating theater to Aubrey.  A man in orange surgical scrubs and mask stood near a tray covered with metal instruments.  He held a computer chip up to the light above the tray and studied its surfaces.  She blacked out when they gave her another injection, and woke with a mild headache and a dull pain in the back of her head. The skin of her scalp felt like it had been pulled taut.  She did not like her pain and discomfort, but disliking something felt all right.  The two monks wheeled her out of the room and they entered another hallway.  They glided past men and women who were dressed in black and gray, and some others who wore yellow uniforms and carried clip boards. The yellow uniforms were pleasant to look at.  The yellow was buttercup yellow.

She tried to sit up to take a better look around her when she had stopped gliding and had come to rest in a large room with glass enclosed booths along one wall, but found that she could only move her eyes.  A large, silver machine loomed over her on her left side, and she vaguely remembered its shape from a diagram in a brochure.  Something about time…the brochure talked a lot about slices of time.  Time could be cut into thin shavings as salami could be cut into slices. Or was it bread?  A loaf of bread and a slice of salami made a sandwich in time but she did not feel particularly hungry.  The monks opened the side of the machine…it looked like they had lifted a giant, rubber-lipped mouth up and off the side of the silver thing, and they slid her inside the opening behind the mouth.  She realized that she had come here today to be eaten by a machine, and while that bothered her, it did not bother her all that much.  They closed the door on the hatch and she felt a tightening around her arms, ankles and forehead.  A gentle light bathed the interior of the chamber, and while she should have been suffering from claustrophobia, she felt soothed by the closeness of the white walls.  They glowed softly as if lit by moonlight.

She heard a hissing sound and felt puffs of air on her cheeks.  Her thoughts became clearer and she remembered why she had come here today.  She was going to kill her ex-husband before he became her husband.  She had told the gurus that she was merely going to give him a piece of her mind, to deliver some choice words that she had been saving for him after their divorce.  But he had got himself killed in a bar fight two years after the papers came through, and she never had a chance.  She told the monks that she needed closure, but that was a lie. The baldies would not have nodded and smiled if she had told them the truth:  she was going to kill Jeff before he got a chance to ruin her life with his threats and beatings and verbal abuse.  She was going to kill him before he got a chance to desecrate and destroy the sweet, loving girl that had once lived inside her.

Thoughts of vengeance usually raised her blood pressure and created a burning sensation in her chest, but now as she lay in a white chamber inside a silver machine she felt calm and tranquil.  Killing Jeff was just something she would do today.  She had cleaned her kitchen, drove with Bill to the Hall of Time, had fought with monks in orange robes, and was resting calmly inside a time machine.  Killing her ex would just be one more item on her to do list.

The hissing stopped and Aubrey faintly heard the sound of voices outside the machine.  A click sounded in her ear, followed by a squeal of feedback on a speaker embedded in the ceiling above her head.

“Aubrey, Aubrey Piazza.  Aubrey,” said a deep bass voice.

“Yes?” she whispered.

“It’s time for your journey.  It’s time to travel.  It’s time to close your eyes and focus them on a point on your forehead in the center of your brow.  Focus.  Focus your eyes.  Focus your eyes on the third eye.  Follow your breath, in and out, in and out.  Om and aum, in and out…om and aum, in and out,” said the disembodied voice.

“Om and aum,” Aubrey whispered as she closed her eyes.  She followed her breath, om and aum, and stared with closed eyes at the point in the middle of her brow.  She felt a tingling sensation in her forehead.  The tingling sensation spread to her head, her neck, down her torso and legs until it curled her toes.  The sensation grew more intense and pulsed from the top of her head down to her toes and back again in rapid cycles…It felt better than sex…it felt…

A chorus of chanting voices erupted from the speaker and reverberated inside the chamber.  The intensity of sensations and the rapidity of the cycles grew much stronger, and Aubrey began to fear that she would fly apart if things went any further.  The chanting sounded like her om and aums, but had variations in pitch and rhythm that seemed to build a living, pulsing unity of vibrating movement within her body.  She opened her eyes when the power of the cycles sent shimmering waves down the length of her and she felt as if she were no longer solid.  She briefly hoped that the process would stop before it was too late, before she disappeared.  The last things she saw were the chamber pulsing in fluid waves around her and the sight of her toes dissolving into nothingness.  Darkness descended on her mind and she became nothing.  Nothing and everything…she was no one and all things.  She was nowhere and everywhere.  She was everything everywhere.

Then she saw a point of light in front of her and she sped faster than thought to it like an arrow seeking its target.  She pierced the point of light and began to spin downward in slower and slower spirals to a green and blue world that looked achingly familiar, like home.  She felt her feet touch earth, and her body began to slow the swirling dance of its molecules, to gel and solidify from her feet up to her head.  Her hair whipped around her eyes and ears for several more seconds, and then her body, her self came to a standstill.

She was standing in an alley behind a dumpster.  A maroon pick-up truck was parked at the rear of a bakery.  The fading, mud smeared bumper sticker on the tail gate read “Romney/Ryan:  Take Back America.”

Here’s a link to the Amazon page where the book is posted:




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