the times they are a changing

Mary, sipping on her first cup of coffee for the day, scanned the front page of the New World Times.  The sun eased through the window adjacent to the kitchen table and spilled across the tile floor, dancing with the long shadows created by the table and chair legs.  Inside, the low hum of her air conditioning faded to the background as she jumped from one headline to the next hoping for something interesting to read.  Outside, the chirping of other early risers welcomed the coming day in their own fashion.  She paused, her coffee mug halfway to her mouth for another taste of black deliciousness, when she spied an article worth reading.

“Looks like the scientists at the university have done it again.”  Mary placed her morning brew, the steam rising off the top and then disappearing as it was reclaimed by the air, on the table and flipped through the pages of the newspaper to get to the heart of the newest developments.  She’d been following the story for a few months and found herself trembling with equal parts fascination and dread.  Sure, they were basically rewriting the laws of physics and testing the boundaries of everything that had previously been known about the universe, but their experiments had already triggered more than one unintended consequence.

When Mary got to the meat of the story, she read aloud.  She couldn’t help it, the gravity of the words compelled her to even though she sat alone in the kitchen.  “After last week’s fiasco that resulted in the sudden disappearance of every single gas powered vehicle, leaving many industries struggling to come up with new transportation and assembly line solutions, the team of scientists determined that the worm hole they opened was a portal to the past.  They could only speculate that the use of refined oil machinery must have ceased at some point in our not too distant past as a result of a report on lowering oil reserves accidentally getting passed through the gateway.

“Dr. Kim, the lead researcher, had this to say, ‘It is speculation at best, as we have no way of seeing through the portal yet to ascertain what actually happened.  However, we know the report was on a nearby desk before we generated the worm hole, and it wasn’t there when we shut it down seconds later.’  The university has launched an official inquiry to determine if someone on the team purposefully passed it through and they will make their findings public as soon as they are complete.

“In the meantime, the team will continue to experiment with this gateway to the past and try to determine what, if any, control they can exert over it.  Can they pinpoint and adjust where and when it opens?  Can they pass fiber optics through it and see what is on the other side?  The full extent of their project is classified, so one can only speculate on what their end goal is.  However, based on the recent alterations to our world, the prospects are quite disturbing.”

Yes, “quite disturbing,” Mary thought as she finished reading.  Then again, if one report could change how the people of the past viewed and used the Earth’s natural resources, perhaps a few more specific items could be pushed through to avert some of the major disasters and atrocities of the previous century.  She neatly folded the paper and set it on the table in front of her before picking up her coffee to resume sipping at it.

“Perhaps they could start by trying to stop World War III from happening.”  She hadn’t grown up learning about the third world war, but the memories had started popping up ever since the cars had disappeared.  The two had to be connected.  Just as her New World Times newspaper, which had previously been the Los Angeles Times, also had to be connected to the meddling of those scientists somehow.

She finished her cup of coffee, rinsed it out and placed it upside down in the sink.  On her way out the door, she grabbed an umbrella, to protect her face, from the stand next to the door, and grabbed a light weight jacket, to protect her exposed arms, from the nearby coat hanger.  She braced herself for the onslaught and then sprinted through the intense heat to quickly jump in her car and turn the air conditioning on full blast.  Mary paused for a moment before driving to work as a nagging thought caught her attention.  Wasn’t it weird for it to be so hot, in January, in California?

When she couldn’t put her finger on why that was strange, she put her car into drive and pulled into the street to go about her day.



I missed last week’s Prompts for the Promptless and it just threw the end of my week off entirely.  It was no good.  Unacceptable.  I couldn’t let that happen again.  While I’m not entirely sure I exactly provided what the prompt intended, hopefully I’m close enough.

Thanks to Queen Creative and A.R. Neal for this week’s challenge prompt:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Retrocausality is a thought experiment addressing the question, “Can the future affect the present, and can the present affect the past?”.  Is it any of several hypothetical phenomena or processes that reverse causality, allowing an effect to occur before its cause.  It often refers to philosophical considerations of time travel, though the two terms are not universally synonymous.

More on Wiki:


18 thoughts on “the times they are a changing

  1. My favourite bit was when you described where she sat, the shadows, and the steam rising from the coffee.

    One thing, although I concede I may well be getting this wrong but she had a car, so was she not from that time, or did she not have a petrol (gas) powered car… losing all gas powered vehicles would certainly be excellent for global warming.

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