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|Ixatemit (standard:science fiction, 3419 words)|
|Author: Ian Hobson||Added: Apr 03 2004||Views/Reads: 2672/1514||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A lonely young night-time Internet surfer finds himself travelling in time…|
Ixatemit ©2003 Ian Hobson Tim was unable to sleep. Naked, apart from a pair of boxer shorts, he rolled out of bed, padded into the kitchen of his two-bedroom flat, half filled his electric kettle and switched it on. He had been alone for almost three weeks now and the loneliness had played havoc with his sleep patterns. He walked through into the spare bedroom and on impulse, switched on his desk lamp and then his computer. The computer buzzed and the hard drive began to sputter. Tim returned to the kitchen to make a mug of tea. The computer went through its boot-up routine, and within a few seconds the screen was half filled with icons over an image of Tim and his girlfriend, Miranda. Tim returned from the kitchen, mug of tea in hand, and sat down at the computer. He sipped his tea and stared at the image behind the icons; a photograph taken when he and Miranda were on holiday in Greece. He missed her terribly. Tim set his tea down on the stained drinks mat beside the keyboard, rubbed his eyes with the fingers of his left hand, then, deciding to 'surf' the net, he took hold of the mouse and clicked the icon for Google, his preferred search engine, and then the connect button. The speakers chirped and wined as the connection was made, and the Google homepage filled the screen. Tim yawned, wondering where to start his surfing. Miranda's image came back into his mind and without really thinking about it he typed her name into the search field and hit the return key. Several options came up, one of which was 'ixatemit.com.' The text beneath the title read '...let Miranda be your guide...' Intrigued, Tim clicked the title and again the hard drive sputtered as the web-site began to download, but slowly. Tim watched the blue bar at the bottom of the screen creep from left to right, thinking that perhaps it was time he invested in a broadband connection. After almost a minute he decided to abort and was about to double click the search field and type in something else. But as he moved the mouse a young female voice said 'Please be patient, the download is almost complete.' This surprised Tim. He knew that many web-sites used music, and that a few used voices, but a voice, or even music, during the download, he had never experienced. Suddenly the download was completed and a spectacular aerial view of a very futuristic city filled the screen. 'Welcome,' said the female voice. 'Please wait while we overcome compatibility problems.' The computer's hard drive sputtered briefly then hummed softly, and to Tim's surprise, the image of the city began to change, panning from right to left and zooming in on an impossibly tall building which was being demolished, piece by piece from the top. Tim realised that he was watching a film, speeded up and played in reverse. And as the process accelerated he saw the building devoured and carried away by a multitude of vehicles, until there was nothing left but a hole in the ground, which was just as speedily filled. The camera panned again and Tim watched, as more buildings were un-built. And as the process continued to accelerate, Tim was reminded of an old film he had seen about a man who had built a time machine. Finally there were no buildings left and the city had become a wind-blown desert. The hard drive stopped humming. 'You have a microphone connected. Please speak once for level.' It was the female voice again. Tim thought her accent seemed slightly American, and slightly familiar. 'Err... hello,' said Tim. 'Please confirm your date as July, fourteen, two-thousand and three, and your time as zero two, zero eight.' Tim instinctively looked for the digital clock at the bottom right-hand corner of his monitor, only then realising that the desert scene was filling the whole of the screen. But as he looked, both the date and the time appeared: 14 July 2003 02:08. Tim reached for the mouse, wondering how he was supposed to give the confirmation. 'A "yes" or a "no" will suffice,' said the voice. 'Your keyboard and mouse will no longer be required.' Click here to read the rest of this story (346 more lines)
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