Cyclochron
the ex

Alice loves Bob. Bob Loves Denise. Denise loves Charles. Charles loves Alice. And as if that weren’t bad enough, they built a time machine. So now Alice is dead, and it was that son-of-a-bitch Bob that killed her. Charles always knew there was something wrong with that guy. Brilliant, sure, but . . . wrong. Whatever did Alice see in him? There was only one thing to do now: use the time machine to go back to before Bob killed Alice, and kill Bob.

He did, and it was horrible. Horrible! What a bloody mess he’d made of it. But at least Alice was alive again. Thank God for that.

***

Alice knew that Charles was jealous of Bob, but she never thought he’d resort to murder! And apparently, he’d used the time machine, too. They’d all agreed no one would use it without the unanimous consent of all the others. But why did he use it? An alibi—of course! He used it so he would have the perfect alibi—at least until the cops found out about the time machine. Which meant he was planning to kill the rest of them. Charles was nothing if not thorough. She’d have to use the time machine herself—go back to before Charles murdered Bob, and kill Charles. She didn’t want to kill Charles, but she wouldn’t miss him all that much, either. Neither would the rest of the team. He was always harping about whose turn it was to make the coffee—who was going to miss that?

***

When Denise confronted Alice, she confessed, sobbing—but as to why she killed Charles—Alice tried to explain it to Denise, but it didn’t make any sense. She said she murdered Charles because Charles murdered Bob. But Bob was alive—alive and well and clearly not murdered. It must have something to do with that God-damned time machine. Denise hated that machine—wished she’d never agreed to be on the team. It wasn’t at all what she’d signed up for. In fact, the reason the four of them got together in the first place was to create an ironclad proof showing time travel wasn’t possible. Talk about epic fails. It gave her the willies thinking about how their invention would be used. Whoever had a time machine had more power than God. And power doesn’t just corrupt, it metastasizes. She was the last person in the world who would ever think about going back in time and killing someone, but now . . .

“It’s okay, Alice,” Denise said, “I’m going to help you set everything right. You just sit here and have a nice cup of tea and pull yourself together. I’m going to go and . . . clean things up a bit before someone stumbles on the . . . well, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

***

“Yes, I killed Alice,” Denise said. “I killed her for you, Charles. I killed her because I love you, and she was going to kill you.”

“You’re crazy! I’m calling the police!”

But calling the police, Charles realized, wouldn’t bring Alice back. Only one thing would. Sure, he’d have to kill Denise, but it was her or Alice, right?

***

When Bob found out that Charles murdered Denise, he went back in time and murdered Charles, and Denise popped back into existence.

***

When Denise found out that Bob murdered Charles, she went back in time and murdered Bob, and Charles popped back into existence.

***

When Alice found out that Denise murdered Bob, she went back in time and murdered Denise, and Bob popped back into existence.

***

When Bob found out that Alice murdered Denise, he went back in time and murdered Alice, and Denise popped back into existence.

***

So now Alice is dead, and it was that son-of-a-bitch Bob that killed her. Charles always knew there was something wrong with that guy. Brilliant, sure, but . . . wrong. Whatever did Alice see in him? Well, there was only one thing to do: use the time machine to go back to before Bob killed Alice, and kill Bob.

He did, and it was horrible. Horrible! What a bloody mess he’d made of it. But at least Alice was alive again. Thank God for that.


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