Đ TÎM̦ŚĪN: ĆAPTR XII AND EṖLOG

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“So I cem bac. Fr a loñ tîm I mst hv bn insnsibl upn ɖ mśīn. Ɖ blincñ ṣxeśn v ɖ dez n nîts wz rzymd, ɖ sún got goldn agn, ɖ scî blu. I briɖd wɖ gretr frīdm. Ɖ flucćuetñ conturz v ɖ land ebd n floud. Ɖ handz spun bcwd upn ɖ dîlz. At last I sw agn ɖ dim śadoz v hǎzz, ɖ evidnsz v dec̣dnt hymaṇti. Ɖz, tù, ćenjd n pást, n uɖrz cem. Prezntli, ẃn ɖ miłndîl wz at ziro, I slacnd spīd. I bgan t recgnîz ǎr ǒn priti n fmiłr arc̣tecćr, ɖ ʈǎzndzhand ran bac t ɖ startñpônt, ɖ nît n de flapt slowr n slowr. Ɖen ɖ old wōlz v ɖ ḷboṛtri cem rnd m. Vri jntli, nǎ, I sloud ɖ mec̣nizm dǎn.

“I sw wn litl ʈñ ɖt sīmd od t m. I ʈnc I hv tld y ɖt ẃn I set ǎt, bfr mî vloṣti bcem vri hî, Msz. Woćit hd wōct acrs ɖ rūm, traṿlñ, az it sīmd t m, lîc a rocit. Az I rtrnd, I pást agn acrs ɖt minit ẃn ś tṛvrst ɖ ḷboṛtri. Bt nǎ hr evri mośn apird t b ɖ xact invrśn v hr prīvịs wnz. Ɖ dor at ɖ lowr end opnd, n ś glîdd qaytli p ɖ ḷboṛtri, bac fōrmost, n dis’pird bhnd ɖ dor bî ẃć ś hd prīvịsli entrd. Jst bfr ɖt I sīmd t si Hiłr fr a momnt; bt h pást lîc a flaś.

“Ɖen I stopt ɖ mśīn, n sw abt m agn ɖ old fmiłr ḷboṛtri, mî tūlz, mî aplaynsz jst az I hd left ɖm. I got of ɖ ʈñ vri śec̣li, n sat dǎn upn mî benć. Fr sevṛl minits I trembld vayḷntli. Ɖen I bcem cāmr. Arnd m wz mî old wrcśop agn, xacli az it hd bn. I mt hv slept ɖr, n ɖ hol ʈñ hv bn a drīm.

“N yt, nt xacli! Ɖ ʈñ hd startd fṛm ɖ sǎʈ-īst cornr v ɖ ḷboṛtri. It hd cm t rest agn in ɖ norʈ-wst, agnst ɖ wōl ẃr y sw it. Ɖt gvz y ɖ xact distns fṛm mî litl lōn t ɖ peḍstl v ɖ Ẃît Sfnx, intu ẃć ɖ Morlocs hd carid mî mśīn.

“Fr a tîm mî bren wnt stagnnt. Prezntli I got p n cem ʈru ɖ pasij hir, limpñ, bcz mî hìl wz stl penfl, n fīlñ sorli bgrîmd. I sw ɖ Pal Mal Gzét on ɖ tebl bî ɖ dor. I faund ɖ det wz indd tde, n lcñ at ɖ tîmpìs, sw ɖ aur wz olmst et o’cloc. I hrd yr vôsz n ɖ clatr v plets. I heztetd—I flt so sic n wìc. Ɖen I snift gd holsm mìt, n opnd ɖ dor on y. Y nǒ ɖ rest. I wośt, n dînd, n nǎ I am telñ y ɖ stori.

“I nǒ,” h sd, aftr a pōz, “ɖt ol ɖs wl b abṣlutli incredibl t y. T m ɖ wn incredibl ʈñ z ɖt I am hir tnît in ɖs old fmiłr rūm lcñ intu yr frendli fesz n telñ y ɖz strenj advnćrz.”

H lct at ɖ Mediclman. “No. I canot xpct y t ḅliv it. Tec it az a lai—or a prof̣si. Se I dremt it in ɖ wrcśop. Cnsidr I hv bn spekletñ upn ɖ desṭniz v ǎr res untl I hv haćt ɖs fix́n. Trīt mî asrśn v its truʈ az a mir stroc v art t inhans its inṭrest. N tecñ it az a stori, ẃt d y ʈnc v it?”

H tc p hiz pîp, n bgan, in hiz old acustmd manr, t tap wɖ it nrṿsli upn ɖ barz v ɖ greit. Ɖr wz a momntri stilnis. Ɖen ćerz bgan t crīc n śuz t screp upn ɖ carpit. I tc mî îz of ɖ Tîmtravlr’z fes, n lct rnd at hiz ōdịns. Ɖe wr in ɖ darc, n litl spots v culr swam bfr ɖm. Ɖ Mediclman sīmd abzorbd in ɖ contmpleśn v ǎr host. Ɖ Editr wz lcñ hard at ɖ end v hiz sgar—ɖ sixʈ. Ɖ Jrṇlist fumbld fr hiz woć. Ɖ uɖrz, az far az I rmembr, wr mośnlis.

Ɖ Editr std p wɖ a sai. “Ẃt a piti it z y’r nt a raitr v storiz!” h sd, ptñ hiz hand on ɖ Tîmtravlr’z śoldr.

“Y d’nt ḅliv it?”

“Wel——”

“I ʈt nt.”

Ɖ Tîmtravlr trnd t s. “Ẃr r ɖ maćz?” h sd. H lit wn n spouc ovr hiz pîp, pufñ. “T tel y ɖ truʈ … I hardli ḅliv it mslf…. N yt…”

Hiz î fél wɖ a ḿt inqîri upn ɖ wiɖrd ẃît flǎrz upn ɖ litl tebl. Ɖen h trnd ovr ɖ hand holdñ hiz pîp, n I sw h wz lcñ at sm haf-hīld scarz on hiz nuclz.

Ɖ Mediclman rouz, cem t ɖ lamp, n xamind ɖ flǎrz. “Ɖ jînīsịm’z od,” h sd. Ɖ Sîcoḷjist lent fwd t si, holdñ ǎt hiz hand fr a spesimn.

“I’m hañd f it isn’t a qortr t wn,” sd ɖ Jrṇlist. “Hǎ śl w gt hom?”

“Plenti v cabz at ɖ steśn,” sd ɖ Sîcoḷjist.

“It’s a krịs ʈñ,” sd ɖ Mediclman; “bt I srtnli d’nt nǒ ɖ naćṛl ordr v ɖz flǎrz. Me I hv ɖm?”

Ɖ Tîmtravlr heztetd. Ɖen sudnli: “Srtnli nt.”

“Ẃr dd y riyli gt ɖm?” sd ɖ Mediclman.

Ɖ Tîmtravlr pt hiz hand t hiz hed. H spouc lîc wn hu wz trayñ t cīp hold v an îdīa ɖt iludd him. “Ɖe wr pt intu mî pocit bî Wīna, ẃn I travld intu Tîm.” H stérd rnd ɖ rūm. “I’m dámd f it z’nt ol gwñ. Ɖs rūm n y n ɖ atṃsfir v evri de z tù mć fr mî meṃri. Dd I evr mc a Tîm̦śīn, or a modl v a Tîm̦śīn? Or z it ol onli a drīm? Ɖe se lîf z a drīm, a preśs pur drīm at tîmz—bt I c’nt stand anɖr ɖt w’nt fit. It’s madnis. N ẃr dd ɖ drīm cm fṛm? … I mst lc at ɖt mśīn. F ɖr z wn!”

H còt p ɖ lamp swiftli, n carid it, flẹrñ red, ʈru ɖ dor intu ɖ coṛdor. W foloud him. Ɖr in ɖ flic̣rñ lît v ɖ lamp wz ɖ mśīn śr inuf, sqot, ugli, n ascy; a ʈñ v bras, eḅni, îṿri, n trnzlūsnt gliṃrñ qorts. Solid t ɖ tuć—fr I pt ǎt mî hand n flt ɖ rel v it—n wɖ brǎn spots n smirz upn ɖ îṿri, n bits v gras n mos upn ɖ lowr parts, n wn rel bnt arai.

Ɖ Tîmtravlr pt ɖ lamp dǎn on ɖ benć, n ran hiz hand alñ ɖ damijd rel. “It’s ol rît nǎ,” h sd. “Ɖ stori I tld y wz tru. I’m sori t hv bròt y ǎt hir in ɖ cold.” H tc p ɖ lamp, n, in an abṣlut sîḷns, w rtrnd t ɖ smocñrūm.

H cem intu ɖ hōl wɖ s n hlpt ɖ Editr on wɖ hiz cot. Ɖ Mediclman lct intu hiz fes n, wɖ a srtn hezteśn, tld him h wz suf̣rñ fṛm oṿwrc, at ẃć h laft hyjli. I rmembr him standñ in ɖ opn dorwe, bȍlñ gd nît.

I śerd a cab wɖ ɖ Editr. H ʈt ɖ têl a “gōdi lai.” Fr mî ǒn part I wz unebl t cm t a cncluźn. Ɖ stori wz so fntastc n incredibl, ɖ telñ so credibl n sobr. I le awec most v ɖ nît ʈncñ abt it. I dtrmind t g nxt de n si ɖ Tîmtravlr agn. I wz tld h wz in ɖ ḷboṛtri, n biyñ on īzi trmz in ɖ hǎs, I wnt p t him. Ɖ ḷboṛtri, hvr, wz emti. I stérd fr a minit at ɖ Tîm̦śīn n pt ǎt mî hand n tućt ɖ līvr. At ɖt ɖ sqot sbstanśl-lcñ mas sweid lîc a bau śecn bî ɖ wind. Its instbiḷti startld m xtrimli, n I hd a qir reṃnisns v ɖ ćîldiś dez ẃn I yst t b fbidn t médl. I cem bac ʈru ɖ coṛdor. Ɖ Tîmtravlr met m in ɖ smocñrūm. H wz cmñ fṛm ɖ hǎs. H hd a smōl camra undr wn arm n a napsac undr ɖ uɖr. H laft ẃn h sw m, n gev m an elbo t śec. “I’m frîtf̣li bizi,” sd h, “wɖ ɖt ʈñ in ɖr.”

“Bt z it nt sm hox?” I sd. “D y riyli travl ʈru tîm?”

“Riyli n trūli I d.” N h lct francli intu mî îz. H heztetd. Hiz î wondrd abt ɖ rūm. “I onli wont haf an aur,” h sd. “I nǒ ẃ y cem, n it’s ōf̣li gd v y. Ɖr’z sm maġzīnz hir. F y’l stop t lunć I’l pruv y ɖs tîmtraṿlñ p t ɖ hilt, spesimn n ol. F y’l fgiv mî līvñ y nǎ?”

I cnsntd, hardli comprihndñ ɖen ɖ fl import v hiz wrdz, n h nodd n wnt on dǎn ɖ coṛdor. I hrd ɖ dor v ɖ ḷboṛtri slam, sītd mslf in a ćer, n tc p a dêlí pepr. Ẃt wz h gwñ t d bfr lunćtîm? Ɖen sudnli I wz rmîndd bî an advrtismnt ɖt I hd promist t mīt Rićdsn, ɖ publiśr, at tū. I lct at mî woć, n sw ɖt I cd bérli sev ɖt ingejmnt. I got p n wnt dǎn ɖ pasij t tel ɖ Tîmtravlr.

Az I tc hold v ɖ handl v ɖ dor I hrd an xcḷmeśn, odli truncetd at ɖ end, n a clic n a ʈud. A gust v er ẃrld rnd m az I opnd ɖ dor, n fṛm wɖn cem ɖ sǎnd v brocn glas fōlñ on ɖ flor. Ɖ Tîmtravlr wz nt ɖr. I sīmd t si a gostli, indistñt figr sitñ in a ẃrlñ mas v blac n bras fr a momnt—a figr so trnspaṛnt ɖt ɖ benć bhnd wɖ its śīts v drw̃z wz abṣlutli dstñt; bt ɖs fantazm vaniśt az I rubd mî îz. Ɖ Tîm̦śīn hd gn. Sev fr a sbsîdñ str v dust, ɖ frɖr end v ɖ ḷboṛtri wz emti. A pein v ɖ scîlît hd, apaṛntli, jst bn bloun in.

I flt an unrīzṇbl amezmnt. I ń ɖt smʈñ strenj hd hapnd, n fr ɖ momnt cd nt dstnḡś ẃt ɖ strenj ʈñ mt b. Az I std stẹrñ, ɖ dor intu ɖ gardn opnd, n ɖ mansrvnt apird.

W lct at ć uɖr. Ɖen îdiyz bgan t cm. “Hz Mr. —— gn ǎt ɖt we?” sd I.

“No, sr. No wn hz cm ǎt ɖs we. I wz xpctñ t fînd him hir.”

At ɖt I unḍstd. At ɖ risc v dis’pôntñ Rićdsn I steid on, wêtñ fr ɖ Tîmtravlr; wêtñ fr ɖ secnd, phps stl strenjr stori, n ɖ spesimnz n foṭgrafs h wd brñ wɖ him. Bt I am bginñ nǎ t fir ɖt I mst wêt a lîftîm. Ɖ Tîmtravlr vaniśt ʈri yirz ago. N, az evrbdi nz nǎ, h hz nvr rtrnd.

 

EṖLOG

 

Wn canot ćūz bt wundr. Wl h evr rtrn? It me b ɖt h swept bac intu ɖ past, n fél amñ ɖ blud-drincñ, hẹri saṿjz v ɖ Ej v Unpoliśt Ston; intu ɖ abisz v ɖ Cṛteśs Sì; or amñ ɖ gṛtesc sōrịnz, ɖ hyj reptiłn brūts v ɖ Jrasic tîmz. H me īvn nǎ—f I me yz ɖ frêz—b wonḍrñ on sm plesịsōṛs-hōntd Alitc coṛlrīf, or bsd ɖ lonli selîn lecs v ɖ Triasic Ej. Or dd h g fwd, intu wn v ɖ nirr ejz, in ẃć men r stl men, bt wɖ ɖ ridlz v ǎr ǒn tîm ansrd n its wirism probḷmz solvd? Intu ɖ manhd v ɖ res: fr I, fr mî ǒn part, canot ʈnc ɖt ɖz latr dez v wìc xperimnt, fragmntri ʈiyri, n ḿćl discord r indd man’z culṃnetñ tîm! I se, fr mî ǒn part. H, I nǒ—fr ɖ qsćn hd bn dscust amñ s loñ bfr ɖ Tîm̦śīn wz md—ʈt bt ćirlisli v ɖ Advansmnt v Man-cnd, n sw in ɖ growñ pîl v siṿlîześn onli a fūliś hīpñ ɖt mst inevitbli fōl bac upn n dstrô its mcrz in ɖ end. F ɖt z so, it rmenz fr s t liv az ɖo it wr nt so. Bt t m ɖ fyćr z stl blac n blanc—z a vast ignṛns, lit at a fy caźl plesz bî ɖ meṃri v hiz stori. N I hv bî m, fr mî cumf̣t, tū strenj ẃît flǎrz—śrivld nǎ, n brǎn n flat n britl—t witnis ɖt īvn ẃn mînd n streñʈ hd gn, grattyd n a ḿćl tndrnis stl livd on in ɖ hart v man.

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