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The Stem by Z.E. Ratches Flyleaf Literary Journal Chicago Issue #7

"The Stem" by Z.E. Ratches

Issue #7 / June 2014

Illustrated by Heidi Unkefer


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Z.E. RATCHES lives in Tigard, Oregon, which Z thinks is a really funny sounding name for a town. Z is the oldest (and shortest) of three children and grew up next door to George Washington in Mount Vernon, Verginia. Z graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University. Z also went to law school, but doesn’t like to talk about it.




"The advent of time travel was far less dramatic than all the old science fiction movies and comic books had led us to believe. Mainly because you could only go three minutes into the past and only for 33 seconds. It was a novelty. A gadget to buy to say you had it. As with most modern gadgets, Apple developed the first one. They, predictably, called it iTime. It looked like a thinner, longer iPad and cost about as much. Also predictably, Google came out with a cheaper, better version about six months later. They called it Google Time and it sent you back 33 minutes where you stayed for about three and a half minutes. A few third party developers got involved after that, their scientists and engineers tinkering until they eventually developed the current models that can take you back exactly three days from the present where you linger for 33 minutes.


Scientists seem pretty convinced this is the furthest they’ll ever be able to send us. Travel into the future is still not possible and has hit a roadblock so big, no one is really working on it anymore. The limit on how far back we can travel has to do with the nature of time, the realization of which was the catalyst for the discovery of time travel. Time is a part of our physical world and not just a concept. Before, we had only really been able to measure time, but now, we are beginning to analyze and quantify it as a part of physical space. However, there is a limit. Just as mass is theorized to turn into energy at a certain speed, time becomes rigid the longer it sits. Time begins almost fluid and then hardens the longer it exists. It makes me wonder if time in the far past is brittle. Maybe it falls away. Perhaps that is the beginning or ending of a universe.



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