I’ll see you at the end of the world.
It was a line she didn’t like reading because of two reasons: 1.) Who knew what she was doing and knew exactly where she would be and 2.) what did at the end of the world mean? Both of those questions she knew she couldn’t get answers by just mulling over the letter. There were a lot of things that she didn’t like to think about since things had started and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to do them anymore.
“Perdita?” Liam’s voice pulled her back.
“Yes,” she said taking a bite of the three fries perched at her lips.
“So as I was saying,” he pointed with his burger to her notes. “You have been able to travel through time pretty easily with your work and the device on your wrist.”
“That is correct,” she said. “And you can easily travel from dimension to dimension.”
“That’s correct,” Liam nodded. “But no matter what, I slip into the same point in time in every dimension. Meaning that I change my vibrations to match the new dimension and slip over.”
“How many have you jumped?” She asked swirling her Coke.
“Three hundred and twenty-three,” he said. “Before I met you. Since then, the apparatus claims that I’ve jumped twenty, but I only remember doing it once.”
“I think I know why that is,” she said.
“And what is that” he folded up the yellow wrapper that had held his burger and laid it on the tray beside them.
It was seven in the morning. They were sitting in a booth at McDonald’s with a stack of burgers and six cokes between them. Something both had noticed was that the food that they needed to stay full was increasing with every single move they took. Neither of them was sure what it meant, but they didn’t care.
There were four other people in the lobby. A middle-aged woman wearing a white dress suit watching a young boy that looked around the age of five nibble at his pancakes and syrup. He as wearing a bright orange beanie and a white jacket. There was a man in the corner reading his newspaper and looking at his watch. He would take a sip of his coffee, frown at it, and then continue reading. The fourth was a woman behind them that had decided after eating the meal someone had bought her, that she was going to go rob a gas station and use the money to get her life back on track. Her first step would be putting a down payment on her student loans.
None of those people mattered to Liam and Perdita. For him, there were three people and for her there was one. They could only think about or see those people in their minds as they kept moving forward to the single goal driven by the single emotion. Love, they knew, as scientists could be described, categorized, and broken down into chemicals. That should have stopped them from doing what they were doing, but it did not.
“I have no way to base any of this because none of this has any science besides our own to back this up,” she said. “And you’re not going to like it, either.”
“I mean, we’re in the field,” he said. “There’s no way to know. And why am I not going to like it?”
“So, you’re jumping on a date when the large hydrogen collider is used,” she said. “Each time you move, they use it at different times. What I think is happening is that by using this machine, we—humanity—are somehow merging two dimensions together.”
“That’s,” he paused. “Not really possible.”
“Why is it not possible?” She asked.
He had no answer so he shrugged.
She unwrapped another burger and took a large bite.
“With that being said, every time you jump, there are times when two strings, as you call them, are pulled into one,” she continued. “So you could be meaning to jump one but by that time three or four of them have merged.”
“What happens to everyone in the other strings,” he asked.
“That’s the part you’re not going to like,” she sighed.
“That’s a horrible suggestion,” he frowned. “To think that we are inadvertently killing entire realities.”
She didn’t say anything. She lowered her burger and crossed her hands on the table.
“I’m really sorry, Liam.”
She could see that the realization of what she suggested, based on what he told her on the first day, was starting to sink in. He closed his eyes and rubbed his forehead.
“They’re lost,” he said. “My girls, my friends, are lost.”
“Well, they’re merged into those other people,” she said. “They will remember and not remember.”
“You call that the Mandela Effect,” he said. “Where you’re from they call it that, but it isn’t real?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “Until now, they were just false memories.”
“Someone needs to stop them from doing this,” he whispered.
Neither of them moved because they knew that they were both thinking that this was someone else’s problem. That they had better things to do with their time. The man in the corner finished his paper, drank down the entire contents of his coffee. He stood, checked his watch, and walked out. He, on the other hand, had heard enough and had to fix things. But this story does not follow Arden Verdean Coleridge.
“You are also not going to like what I have to say about New York,”
“I broke some rules,” she said. “I think I broke some really big rules. But I can’t remember.”
“You did something to cause the reality to split,” he said. “And everyone was dead.”
“That sounds about right,” she said.
He sat there and looked at her for a long time.
“It’s hard to say that I’m sorry,” she said.
“But they’re all dead,” he said. “The entire world.”
“I can’t remember,” she said.
“Then let’s go back,” he said. “Let’s see what you did.”
She stood up and balled up her paper.
“No,” she said. “Let’s not go back.”
“We’ve already broken a lot of rules,” she said. “If we go back and see ourselves.”
“That’s bullshit,” he growled. “There’s nothing that says that but movies.”
“Do you want to try it then?” she asked. “You’ve seen what I’ve apparently done.”
She sat back down.
“I don’t think you’re a monster,” he whispered. “If that’s what you’re thinking.”
“I was,” she said. “You’re the only person I know now.”
“This isn’t fun,” he said. “Because we know we don’t belong. And the people know we don’t belong. “
They both looked around the room to the remaining three people. They were worried about their own things. The woman with the child had decided she was going to take him on to school, check in at work, go back home and shoot her husband. The woman behind them had already decided robbing gas stations would be an easy way to pay off college loans because loan companies weren’t going to ask where the money came from.
The man. Well, as it was stated earlier. This wasn’t his story.
“No, it’s not as fun as I imagined as a kid,” she replied. “I actually hate it.”
“It’s the worst,” he said folding another wrapper into a triangle.
“Why are you doing it?” She asked. “For fun, for science, or what?”
“My wife is/was dying of cancer,” he said. “I know there’s a cure. What about you?”
“My daughter is gone,” she took a deep breath. “So I was looking for her.”
“Yes, gone.” She replied.
“What do you mean gone? Dead?”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said.
“Fine,” he held up his hands. “That’s okay.”
“Do you want to look for the cure,” she said.
“Where do you think it’d be,” he asked.
“I’m pretty sure way ahead,” she replied.
They both finished up eating and threw away their things. They ordered two black coffees to go, walked out into the parking lot, got in a car they had stolen from a car dealership, and drove down the main stretch of a highway that led into a set of mountains.
Neither of them no longer cared where they were because it didn’t matter. Nothing would stay the same and they could already feel themselves losing care for the world around them. And though they were a little worried what that meant, they didn’t think on it too much because they didn’t want to feel the guilt of what they were doing by doing what they were doing.
“You know we could really go retro on this whole ordeal,” she said finally.
“How do you mean,” he asked.
“Go back in time,” she said.
“With you so far,” he smiled passing a car.
“Go to the DeLorean dealership,” she said.
“Okay,” he said.
“Put our minds and machines together and recreate Back to the Future,” she said.
“I don’t know what that is,” he said.
“That’s disappointing,” she sighed.
“We had those cars,” he said. “I was never sure as to why we had them. They’re pretty ugly.”
“It was a good movie,” she nodded. “Even with the whole his mom wanting to have sex with him thing.”
“That doesn’t sound like a good movie,” he said looking up at the sky. It was growing dark faster than normal, and it bothered him.
“You just had to be there,” she shook her head. “You look worried.”
She looked up at the sky as well.
“I think it’s time we leave,” he said.
“Pick somewhere far,” she replied.
They agreed on a time and how many skips over. Then they pulled over the car and finished their coffee as they gathered the things, they were planning to take with them. Then they stepped into the forest, took each other’s hands, and disappeared from the reality. The sky lightened back up and the cars started up their usual speed down the road. The car that they left behind, on the other hand, began growing a thick film over it.
Later, when someone went to investigate, they would disappear along with three police officers, two dogs, and thirteen deer. None of that mattered, the car was impounded and eventually crushed because of the smell that came from it. The guy that crushed it swore that it made a noise and bled. He was reassured by a man with an odd, shaped head and a bowler hat that all cars make noise when crushing them.