Page:Avon Fantasy Reader 10.djvu/118

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by Amelia Reynolds Long

Inosofar as all men are mortal and foredoomed to death, and as far back as history and myth can pierce we are impressed with the similar mortality of cities and peoples and kingdoms, it is quite natural that the death of the world is a subject that would engage the thoughts of the imaginative. In Amelia Reynolds Long's story, the subject is approached in an intriguing fashion. Without stirring from their own time, without a "time machine," the characters of "Omega" manage to get a vision of things to come—to share those experiences as well.

I, doctor michael claybridge, living in the year 1926, have listened to a description of the end of the world from the lips of the man who witnessed it; the last man of the human race. That this is possible, or that I am not insane, I cannot ask you to believe: I can only offer you the facts.

For a long time my friend, Prof. Mortimer, had been experimenting with what he termed his theory of mental time; but I had known nothing of the nature of this theory until one day, in response to his request, I visited him at his laboratory. I found him bending over a young medical student, whom he had put into a state of hypnotic trance.

"A test of my theory, Claybridge," he whispered excitedly as I entered. "A moment ago I suggested to Bennet that this was the date of the battle of Waterloo. For him, it accordingly became so; for he described for me—and in French, mind you—a part of the battle at which he was present!"

"Present!" I exclaimed. "You mean that he is a reincarnation of—?"

"No, no," he interrupted impatiently. "You forget—or rather, you do not know—that time is a circle, all of whose parts are coexistent. By hypnotic suggestion, I moved his materiality line until it became tangent with the Waterloo segment of the circle. Whether in physical time the two have ever touched before, is of little matter."

Of course I understood nothing of this; but before I could ask for an explanation, he had turned back to his patient.