A Sound of Thunder

Eckels glanced across the vast office at a mass and tangle, a snaking and humming of wires and
steel boxes, at an aurora that flickered now orange, now silver, now blue. There was a sound like
a gigantic bonfire burning all of Time, all the years and all the parchment calendars, all the hours
piled high and set aflame.
A touch of the hand and this burning would, on the instant, beautifully reverse itself. Eckels
remembered the wording in the advertisements to the letter. Out of chars and ashes, out of dust
and coals, like golden salamanders, the old years, the green years, might leap? roses sweeten the
air, white hair turn Irish­black, wrinkles vanish? all, everything fly back to seed, flee death, rush
down to their beginnings, suns rise in western skies and set in glorious easts, moons eat
themselves opposite to the custom, all and everything cupping one in another like Chinese boxes,
rabbits into hats, all and everything returning to the fresh death, the seed death, the green death, to
the time before the beginning. A touch of a hand might do it, the merest touch of a hand.
“Unbelievable.” Eckels breathed, the light of the Machine on his thin face. “A real Time
Machine.” He shook his head. “Makes you think, If the election had gone badly yesterday, I
might be here now running away from the results. Thank God Keith won. He’ll make a fine
President of the United States.”
“Yes,” said the man behind the desk. “We’re lucky. If Deutscher had gotten in, we’d have the
worst kind of dictatorship. There’s an anti everything man for you, a militarist, anti­Christ, anti­ human, anti­intellectual. People called us up, you know, joking but not joking. Said if Deutscher
became President they wanted to go live in 1492. Of course it’s not our business to conduct
Escapes, but to form Safaris. Anyway, Keith’s President now. All you got to worry about is­”
“Shooting my dinosaur,” Eckels finished it for him

 

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