Opening the box while tentatively holding their breath still couldn’t have prepared them for the sight that met their eyes. Inside, Sandra saw huddled in a corner the result of their experiment.

Months of painstaking searching, extracting and combining of the rarest elements had finally come to an end.

John looked up at Sandra briefly, eyes wide with awe, smiled and looked back into the box at the creature they would now have to name and classify and present to the Scientific Council in the following months.

Not only had they proven that a paradox can have a physical representation in the real world but they had created one.

Sandra wrote something indecipherable in her notebook and triggered the mechanism that closed the box once more so they could write their observations.

Gareth who until now had been sitting on the other side of the room sauntered over. “So what did you see?” he asked. They both looked at him scornfully. “Aww, come on I was joking” he said with a big cheeky grin on his face.“ I’ll have my turn soon enough, in the meantime I’ll make a drink.”

“Ooh I’d love a coffee Gareth. How about you John?”

John muttered his agreement as he typed his journal entry of the experiment.

On the table a slight whirring sound could be heard coming from the containment box.

Perhaps the initial nourishment was being delivered or some other necessary task being carried out by the fully automated box.

It was due to reopen for a second “external observation” at a random time within 24 hours from the first opening.

Gareth would be paged 4 hours before this time to ensure he is present for the observation.

The next opening would be in front of the Science council and would again be at a predetermined yet random time approximately 3 weeks from first opening.

The electronics in the box would  have already notified the council members of the date to convene in the laboratory. The team would only be notified much closer to the date to avoid tampering with the experiment in some unexpected manner.

All was quiet in the lab when Gareth arrived. Not even a sound from the box which was due to open  sometime within the next thirty seven minutes. He was anxious to see how the experiment was doing but of course had to remain objective for the observation. Making himself a coffee at the table opposite and keeping an eye on the notification light he pondered the implications of the experiment.

Finally after what seemed like hours the notification light turned red and the box mechanism came to life. Gareth walked over to the box and looked down through the observation hole a look of bemusement forming on his face. The other two had looked happy that everything was going well. Had they been playing a trick on him? He wondered briefly. No of course not came his immediate reply to himself. The box closed. He wrote his observation and went home to bed.

In the remaining weeks all three had written up their notes based on their observation and the measurements provided by the multitude of instruments connected to the box and now the day of truth. The council arrived and positioned themselves ready for the event. This time the box would fold down all four sides so that the experiment could be viewed from all sides.

A screen on the wall was set to show what each team member had seen on their initial viewing at the moment the box opened.The light on the box turned red and the sides dropped down.

The entity in the box looked out into the lab and with a tut of dismay wrote on his notepad INCONCLUSIVE!

Looking around the room it noticed the screen with the words Schrodinger’s Cat, Dragon, Nothing.

Murdering the Future

The air parted with a whooshing popping noise just like when people used to fly in airplanes, but this was without the head-throbbing earsplitting pain normally accompanied by that mode of transport, and to his complete unsurprise Anthony found himself standing in a monochrome cobblestone alley on a dreary night somewhere in London 1888. Amazed by how shiny the streets were, it’s only rain he mumbled to no one in particular looking at his watch just as a raindrop fell onto the glass making the numbers warp in a strange manner that temporarily entranced him.

The streets were mercifully empty and he stepped out of the alley onto what must have been a main street. I wish they would clue me up on where and when I’m going, a map might be useful. He understood well the reasons for minimal information and even less baggage when you travel anywhere especially in this manner.

The mission was simple, go back in time and demotivate Jack the Ripper , not prevent him from killing or actually physically stopping him as that would cause a problem with the whole time paradox and all that business that Anthony never really quite got the grasp of but he was always careful not to upset the gentle balance. Looking again at his watch and then up to the streetsign above him he realized that he was well within the time frame and close to where he should be.

All around was silence……..silence and fog, every now and again he heard a noise in the distance, unrecognizable by the filtering effect of the fog, the distance and perhaps even the fact that in his own time these sounds probably didn’t exist. Behind him a strange hollow knocking sound became apparent, several minutes passed as he listened to it get closer. Knock..knock Knock…knock it continued and then he realized it was a horse and carriage. Looking back into the fog he recognized the outline and was somewhat taken aback. Perhaps it was empty or the occupant had no particular hurry to get wherever they were going, the horse happy to oblige as it trudged slowly through the night until finally some 100yards ahead the carriage stopped and a figure emerged into the night, bade the carriage driver goodnight and turned down the alley where Anthony was fated also to follow. Slowing his pace so as not to appear he was following the dark figure in front of him, he looked at his watch, difficult to see in the shadowy side street so he stopped and lifted his arm to see better. Five minutes before he was due to be at the end of this grimly dark orifice into the unknown and the start of his mission.

Stepping around the corner Anthony became aware of the silence once again and suddenly the darkness seemed to loom out of the fog. An icy stroke across his throat; he made a gurgling gasp as he recognized the perpetrator and also the realization that the future was dead.