Paul had done all the calculations. He knew the math had checked out. He powered up his machine, holding the kill switch in his hand.
“I’‘d turn that off if I were you,” a voice called out.
Paul turned quickly to see an old man, dressed in a crimson robe, maybe in his fifties standing by the garage door.
“Who are you?”
“Gavis,” the man said, “And you are Paul.”
“How do you know my name?”
“I’ve known your name for a while. To be honest, I’m honoured to meet you.”
“It’s not every day that you meet someone who changes the universe.”
Paul screwed his face up confused. “What are you talking about?”
“Tonight, you realize the truth.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Oh, I’ve come early. You haven’t realized yet.” Gavis strolled over to the egg-shaped machine that hummed in the center of the room and placed his hand on it. “Up to this point, your world has believed in certain principles, but this machine will change all that.”
“What do you mean?”
“What happens tonight, in a few minutes time, will break your very understanding of the conservation of energy. And then you’ll convince the world, and the universe will change forever.”
“What are you talking about? What does it do?”
“In your simple mind? Magic.”
Paul rolled his eyes. “Okay, enough, out of here—“
Gavis brought his hands up quickly and where there wasn’t anything, suddenly a dove appeared. He held it for a second before tossing it into the air. It disappeared.
Paul stood speechless, unable to hide his shock. “What did you just do?”
“Exactly as I said. Now turn off the machine.”
“Nothing of the sort. Please—“
“Do it again then.”
“No, not until you turn it off!”
The two men glared each other.
“So you’re telling this machine—my machine—can create whatever I want?”
“No, not yet, but your discovery leads to it. It is the first domino to topple in a long chain—
“And what? We’ll be able to do what you just did? Create things out of thin air, or make them disappear?”
“Yes, but it comes at a cost.
“The law of the conservation of energy continues to exist, but not from the present.”
“Then from where?”
“From the universe. From other points in space and time. Other dimensions—“
“But… not now? Not in our time?”
“No, no, no, stop thinking this way. It’s that same greed and short-sightedness that got us into this situation.”
“The Great Collapse. The end of the universe.”
Paul weighed what Gavis told him in his head. “When will it happen?”
“We don’t know, but it gets bad, and we know we are responsible.”
Paul studied his machine, humming in the center of the room. His machine, no bigger that a bread-maker, ready to make and destroy everything. He looked down at the trigger.
“But you can create anything?”
“What if I did what you asked for one wish?”
Gavis considered this. “What do you want?”
Paul nodded, and watched Gavis over the brim of his glasses, his hands clammy, his breath short. “My daughter.”
Gavis’s head shot up. “Kaitlyn? No.”
“Can’t it be done?”
Gavis didn’t answer.
“Can it be done?”
“Yes, but it won’t be what you expect.”
“Bring her back, and I’ll do what you want!”
“She’ll be different.”
“I don’t care!”
Gavis’s face dropped as he knew this man couldn’t be reasoned with.
He lifted his hands, and Paul watched in anticipation. But in that fleeting moment, Gavis teleported across the room and obliterated Paul’s hand out of existence and powered off the machine.
Paul crumpled, broken and bleeding and Gavis stared down at him.
“I’d hoped it wouldn’t have had to go this way, but you were willing to destroy a star just to spend a moment with an empty version of what your daughter once was.”
And with that, he waved his hands and vanished Paul to the far edges of galaxies.
Thank you so much for reading.
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