It was on a Thursday, in 1976, that I selected to visit. My parents and brother were out and I was home, alone. That’s when I chose to visit myself. Insert rant about how the English language is ill suited for time travel. I appeared in a clearing out in the forest behind the house. In my time, it’s a street with an empty lot, but thanks to old aerial photos of the place, I was able to position the machine in a spot free of trees. However, I ended up displacing about 3 feet of soil. Sigh.
From there, it was a short walk down the old path, through the gate, and down the driveway to the house. The light was on in the kitchen, but I knew that I would be in the basement. I used an automatic lock pick on the garage door and entered the house. The garage connected to the basement, so there was no creaking steps, but the doors… I stepped into the basement and I could hear the incessant typing on the ancient home computer, state of the art at the time, meaning myself was completely oblivious to everything but his programming.
“Hi Charles,” I said in a normal voice.
I jumped like I had been shocked. “Who-who are you! I got a knife!” I… me… he… crap, let’s use he, even though it’s me. He pulled out the combat knife my dad had given me. Dull gray metal with a wicked edge.
I, that is, me the narrator, smiled, and pulled from my bag, the exact same knife, only 40 years older.
Myself stared at it in disbelief. “That’s… that’s my knife.” He looked at me and stared intently for a moment, then realization hit. “Oh my God! You’re me!” He looked me over and said, “We’re still fat and now we’re bald. You time travelled!” The he had a look of concentration, “This is forming an alternate timeline isn’t it? Otherwise we’d be experiencing a paradox.” He cast me a quizzical look and said “And paradoxes are not allowed?”
“Correct, going back in time creates a new timeline,” I said, “and it continues on until the differences between the universes are indistinguishable…”
“When at that point, they merge back together,” he said with a sense of self satisfaction. “Charles’ Law: Any difference that makes no difference, makes no divergence.”
“We’re a self-satisfied S.O.B. aren’t we?”
He smiled in answer, then said, “So, even though it won’t affect your own timeline, why have you come back to visit me?”
I smiled in reply…
So what does Charles the older have in plan for his younger self? Is he really telling the truth about the lack of paradoxes? Is this the first time he’s done this?