Enter the Fourth Dimension for Friday Flash Fics, March 25, 2022 by Jeff Baker

The Fourth-Dimensional Chronomizer

by Jeff Baker

I had not seen Professor Dummkopt for several weeks, not even at the regular meetings of the Radical Club (which studied the unknowable) when I received a note by messenger to meet him at his rooms there in Boston at One-thirty the day after next. When I met him there he had a most remarkable contraption hanging from his ceiling; wires and metal plates and crystals, the latter looking like lenses which focused down on a chair in the middle of the room.

I say “remarkable,” but where the Professor was concerned, the remarkable was common place.

“This device, my young friend,” he said pointing upward “is my Fourth-Dimensional Chronomizer. It is an extension on my previous experiments involving the transfer of souls. With this I intend to transmit my essence, not to another person, but to the future!”

“The future?” I asked.

“Yes!” the Professor exclaimed. “To behold firsthand the wonders of man’s progress!”

“Um, are you really sure that that is a good idea?” I asked, certain that it wasn’t. In the last few years I had heard tell of some of the Professor’s experiments and of some of the repercussions.

He, of course, ignored my concerns and enlisted my assistance in using his device.

I was outfitted in a pair of dark goggles and told to stand by a large lever he had built into the wall. At a per-determined signal, I was to push the lever upwards. Then, I was to wait twenty minutes and push the lever downwards again. In the meantime, I was not to interfere in anything the Professor did, and that I should not be surprised at anything I saw.

The Professor sat down in the chair and I affixed the goggles to my head and stood by, awaiting his signal. When he gave it, I raised the lever. There was a clink and a shudder of movement as the lenses moved into position accompanied by a hum of power from what source I did not know.

I could not see much through the glasses but I could make out the ticking clock at the end of the room. And as I looked at the professor I saw, or I thought I saw for an instant, a blurred copy of his form flying from his seated form. But that might have been a trick of the goggles.

I stood and watched the Professor. He did not move. I counted the ticks of the clock.

At the twenty-minute mark I pushed the lever back down. I tried to keep an eye on the professor to see if the phantom figure had been an illusion but I blinked and the next moment the Professor stirred.

“Terrible! Terrible!” The Professor said. “I traveled into the future! Nearly 143 years ahead! I found myself in a building full of bottles on long, tall shelves. A store where they sold nothing but wine and liquor and beer.”

I smiled. I imagined the Professor was probably familiar with such places.

“I stood there looking around and I realized that nobody there could see me and I stepped effortlessly though a rack of bottles. I felt normal but I realized I was not breathing at all and that didn’t bother me. I walked around the room, not wondering how I did not sink through the floor or fall into space. I glanced out the window and saw a sunlit street with metal vehicles speeding by. I wondered how far ahead I had gone and at the same time realized that while the Chronomizer had enabled my essence to travel this far ahead, I had done the actual traveling myself. With that thought, I endeavored to test my theory and willed myself to travel ahead a year. Instantly the room blurred and I found myself standing in the same shop but with the shelves and racks empty. With a hideous crash, some huge yellow metal machine ripped through the wall! Surely a machine of future war! I willed myself to return to my own era and found myself seated in the chair, drawn back to the moment you turned the Chronomizer off, re-uniting me with my corporeal form.”

The Professor shivered and closed his eyes.

“I figure the 21st Century is one of war and destruction.”

I was not so certain. It seemed that the Professor may have misinterpreted the events which I had no doubt he saw. Nonetheless, I vowed then and there to contact Mr. Mitchell who has carried reports of Professor Dummkopt’s experiments in The Sun. And I will be relieved if the Professor resumes his regular attendance at the meetings of The Radical Club.

So many of our members keep disappearing…

—end—

AUTHOR’S NOTE: One of the disadvantages to doing a story from a prompt every week is that sometimes the story doesn’t go the way you want it. The story I planned to do here, a mystery/crime story, wouldn’t be ready by the deadline at least I couldn’t do it justice. So, noting that March 24th is the birth-date of pioneering 19th-Century sci-fi author Edward Paige Mitchell I decided to revisit one of his characters and ape his style. Hope you enjoyed it1 —-jsb

This entry was posted in Edward Paige Mitchell, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Friday Flash Fictions, Science Fiction, Short-Stories, Time Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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