Hey kids! I have a Halloween ghost story for you…
Teranz never grew tired of the brilliant kaleidoscope of temporal transit, but as he and his partner, Saly, materialized into musty darkness, his excitement jumped a notch. Residual energy radiated off of them in blue translucent waves, providing just enough light for a few moments to see they were exactly where they hoped. It was the basement of the abandoned Renaissance Hotel, one thousand fifty-six years from where they had come.
They suppressed their sense of wonder and the urge to explore, skipped the small talk, and went straight to work. October 2011, after all, was only just a stopping point for a journey heading back through the eons. This was the first linkage of one temporal transit to another in a chain that might grow hundreds long; that is, if they were lucky enough to be able to identify safe spots for temporal anchors.
Nano-lights – invisible except for the ethereal glow they cast – spread out, illuminating their work space. They pulled components from their pockets, snapping them together quickly into what looked to the untrained eye like a spiderweb. When the anchor was nearly ready, Saly left Teranz to finish while she sought out a safe place where the anchor would never be found and would never interact with anything else to alter the flow of time.
Sherry pushed open the unlocked entrance, her flashlight beam cutting the black in two until it ended in a pale circle on a far wall. “You guys ready?”
Ghost hunting had become her passion of late, and rumor was the Renaissance Hotel would not disappoint. Her boyfriend, Tim, had been game, but it was his best friend, Bryce, who had been the most eager of the three of them. He had geared up with all sorts of gadgets that supposedly would help detect ghosts, stuff like electromagnetic detectors, temperature gauges, and high speed video.
Bryce adjusted his battery belt. “I’m ready.”
Tim just smiled at Sherry with a slight nod. She squeezed his hand and stepped inside. As they walked down the dusty hallway, decorated with half-peeled wallpaper and broken bits of plaster, the floor creaked under foot.
“What was that?” Teranz whispered, pausing from hanging the anchor in a deeply recessed corner between two brick supports. Even when this place flooded in the coming Meltdown, the anchor would be undisturbed.
Saly rubbed her nose, trying not to sneeze. “Probably just a rat.”
“Rats don’t talk.” Just then a light blazed down a nearby stairway, followed by footsteps and voices.
“Turn out!” she muttered urgently. Both she and Teranz pressed controls on their suits, which began to shift their molecular phase into another dimension. They faded to near nothingness, only slightly visible at certain angles and wavelengths of light. Turning supposedly would minimize the butterfly effect, since they no longer interacted fully with matter. A butterfly could fly right through them now, never deviating from its original course to devastatingly alter the future.
Unfortunately, Teranz realized, the anchor in his hand had not completely phased. It couldn’t if it were to be an anchor. The strands draping from his hand clinked together like a wind chime. In alarm he looked at Saly. Her eyes were filled horror and the faint illumination of the nano-lights, which also remained in normal dimensions.
This could be bad. Very, very bad.