A Rift in Time Part 2
(Please read part 1 first or this will make no sense)
To the scientist’s dismay, pressing the cancel button was ineffective. The plunge into his past continued inexorably. It, however, was not without its benefits. Henry’s skin became supple and his muscles bulged as in his youth. His hair returned to the light brown that he hadn’t seen in decades. For the first time in decades, Henry felt, not just okay, but good and joyous in his renewed youth. He decided to stop his slide into the past at about age twenty when he would have his degrees and could live his career over again. If his “other self” was there, Henry would assume a new identity and make a whole different life for himself. It was an unprecedented opportunity and he meant to make the most of it.
Near his birthday in the year 1970, Henry hopefully pressed the cancel button and was rewarded with a loud click. But instead of gliding to a stop, the time machine accelerated in its journey into the past. Henry experienced the hormonal rush of puberty and felt adolescent acne break out on his face. Within minutes, a reverse growth spurt cut his height by several inches. Soon, he was a young child at play, oblivious to the danger of his situation. The year 1950 saw a tot and then a cooing baby. When August 8th passed, the infant suddenly had an umbilical cord attached to a nonfunctioning placenta. Its two umbilical arteries throbbed desperately, but the return blood through the umbilical vein was not oxygenated, nor did it contain essential nutrients.
Membranes enveloped the devolving Henry who now had the “old man” appearance of a fetus. Then he became a blastocyst, ready for implantation in a nonexistent uterine endometrium. Within seconds he regressed to gastrula, blastula and then the berry-like ball of cells called morula. Like some weird countdown, he became 64, 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 cells and then a zygote.
The paternal half of Henry’s chromosomes disappeared next, leaving only an ovum ready for fertilization. Even that became an oocyte needing to complete meiosis before it vanished entirely in the immature ovary of Henry’s infant mother.
Henry Higgins, born August 8, 1950 and died November 8, 1949, physicist and time traveler is missing forever.