(Note: I was not happy with my original telling of this story. And if I turn it into a longer work, I need to change it. Here is the original.)
Black. It wasn’t the absence of light, because light could not exist. It was the absence. The absence of everything. Of light, of space, of time: there was nothing.
And then there was everything.
Everything expanded almost infinitely fast, though it didn’t, since time hadn’t ticked on yet and there was no space to travel. But then, in a small fraction of what some people would eventually call a “second”, the Universal clock ticked on and everything screeched to that ultra-slow speed that the stuff that would eventually be called light traveled.
Everything continued to expand at just below this new threshold.
He fell into this everything.
As he had before and as he would continue to do forever, as long as time existed.
He, of course, didn’t exist either. Not yet.
He gasped for a breath.
Consciousness tried to fight its way to the surface, but was swallowed by the visions.
A thousand horsemen raced down onto the village, killing all in its wake. The sea lapped peacefully on the shore as a few people wearing rough furs dug for clams. A spaceship left the sprawling city and descended out of orbit towards the blue Earth below.
He shivered. With the shiver consciousness finally won its fight.
He sat up, nameless, alone and naked.
Where was he? When was he? Why here? Why now?
He had slipped again, that was for sure. But he knew little else besides confusion.
The fog of his mind lifted.
It was a gentle field. His mind first spoke of northwestern Ohio, but then it settled into Brittany. No, that was wrong. Close, but wrong.
A shape grabbed his attention.
He jumped up.
A Chorg! They arrived in the 75th century.
But no, it was just a standing stone. It had an odd angular pattern similar to a Chorg’s face, and bumps at the top like the eye stalks, but it was just a stone.
He walked over and touched it.
There was usually a reason for everything. The stone most likely drew him in.
He shivered again.
He was always naked when he awoke from a slip. How could it be otherwise?
There were voices.
A man and a woman were approaching.
Clothing always helped. They were dressed for winter. They were also dressed for the late 20th century or the early 21st.
Much experience taught him what to do.
“Hello,” he said in late 20th century English. “I’m a bit confused. I have no idea where I am nor how I got here. Can you help?”
The couple drew back, shocked at the appearance of the naked man in front of them.
“Please?” he said, his words a puff of steam in the frigid air. “I’m lost and cold.”
He half smiled.
The man took off his coat and handed it to him.
“Let’s get out of this cold,” the man said, leading them back from the stone.
This was a routine perfected from countless encounters, a trick of the trade for the timeless.
But now he had hardened into a time and needed to figure out why.
This is the second take on this story. Here is the first.
This is now a serial story. yes, again ;)