I awake to the sounds of cinnamon and the lemon scented moonlight streaming through my window. The noise of a butterfly engine outside my window and –
Wait. This is not quite right. Something is a little off.
I close my eyes, and slip again.
I awake to the sounds of the air conditioner and the silvery moonlight streaming through my window. The noise of crickets outside my window and the faint hum of the fluorescent light in the hallway tell me that I could very well be back in my own...my own what?
I am not sure how to explain it. Parallel worlds? Alternate dimensions? Different existences? Other realities? It is all of these, yet it is none of them. I simply call it slipping.
I long for an escape...a release. I work for Jenner Corporation, and the nature of my work is unknown to me. All I know is that the work I do is a very small part of a much larger whole. I do not know what the whole is, and I am told I will not live to see the end result.
When I complete my day’s work and return to my apartment, which Jenner provides for me, I sit and listen to the silence. I do not allow myself to hope that the telephone will ring or a visitor will stop in. Those I call family and friends are so far removed from my life that I can not relate to them.
I exist in a lonely and miserable reality.
I think that is the reason I slip.
I start by examining the possibility of time travel. First, I believe I would like to travel to the future and see what it is that I work on. Then, I realize that I would rather return to the past and decline the job offer from the Jenner recruiters.
I soon realize that time travel is impossible, as there is no past or future, only the now. Slipping, however, is not only possible, it is what I do.
Every millisecond that passes in my reality spawns a choice. For every choice, there is an alternate option. Whatever can happen must happen, and a new, parallel reality is formed that is identical to the current reality with the exception of the alternate choice. And, of course, all the ripples that the choice generates.
I think of it as being much the same as a double chaos pendulum. The main pendulum arcs in the same fashion every time it begins to swing. The two smaller pendulums begin their own arcs, and the possibilities and permutations rapidly become limitless. Infinite, even.
As I say, time travel is not possible. However, there exist realities that are exactly the same as the one I am born to, save for one important difference – the events that occur do so earlier or later than in the reality I claim as my own.
To be more specific, there are a near infinite number of realities in which I am born, live, make the same choices, and die, just as I do in this one. The difference is that in some of them, life forms and evolves a day or a year or a millennia earlier or later than it does in my reality, and in this way, slipping to these realities is similar to time travel. I say again, though, time travel itself is impossible.
So I slip. I can not say when I first begin to slip. It could be yesterday or tomorrow. Slipping is random, uncontrollable. I believe that I am in my own reality, but I can not be certain. I wonder if I have simply slipped into a reality where I am slipping through other realities, unable to return. I am aware that there are infinite possibilities, and by slipping I increase that number exponentially.
I slip into a reality where I do not slip. I must learn to slip again, if I am to return to my reality. I slip into a reality where I am content and at peace, but I do not speak the language of this reality. I return to my solitude and fruitless efforts. I slip into a reality where I am dead for a million years, and another where I am born in a million years. I slip into realities that are foreign and alien to me, and others that are comforting in their familiarity. Still, I slip.
I do not find the reality I search for.
As I say, slipping is random, uncontrollable, and utterly chaotic. And still, I long for escape, and peace, and respite.
I close my eyes and slip again.
I fear that I may slip to a reality in which slipping is impossible, or worse, a reality where everyone slips.
And I hope that I will slip to the reality I seek.
I hope that I will slip to the reality in which there is nothing, for it is there I find the peace of oblivion.