After talking to Lizzie and Rob, I realized that my copy of The Time Machine had one extra chapter, and that my Chapter 12 was different from theirs. My Chapter 13 more matched their Chapter 12–with a few obvious revisions. It seems that someone (perhaps a modest time traveler?) had gone back and removed this initial draft from history. I don’t know how my copy of this unique edition made it through, but I’ll share it with you all.
” The dials had slowed until they read eight hours prior to my initial departure. The strange twilit sky of the future earth was a comforting sight, but I could not deny how alien it looked to me even now. How slowly they do turn, and even eight hundred thousand years from now the night sky will not have changed so much as would a neighborhood after a decade. How transient man of the present exists.
” It occurred to me then that, after eight hundred thousand years, no apocalypse had come to claim the worthy in rapture, nor a judgment to drag down the wicked to eternal hellfire. Why not travel the other direction? Not thousands or millions, but billions of years back to where science places the beginning of time. Either I will hit a barrier after a few thousand years and see the Hand of God spark the universe into being over a week period, or I’ll extend further; into what, I don’t know.
” Reeling with excitement, I pulled the quartz lever. The day and night flickered once again, and I had to look at the spinning dials to confirm I was indeed traveling into the past. After a short time my home began deconstructing around me, giving me view of the street where buildings too devolved and vanished. Green, untouched vegetation came quickly in place of grey concrete. And trees assembled themselves from decomposition, and then shrank into sprouts only to be replaced by larger, prehistoric trees. The terrain shifted and I watched mountains grow and shrink. The dials ticked millions and I calculated that even at this rate it would take a great length of time to reach the beginnings of the universe. So I pushed the quartz lever inward further and then ticked the millions as fast as half seconds. Massive climate changes past across great extremes in seconds, and for a several seconds the sky was completely overcast.
” Within minutes the earth around me glowed a blinding orange and white as the rock comprising it melted and broke apart. Countless debris exploded in reverse and flung into space, disassembling the planet. Soon later, my machine left the rock beneath me, or so it appeared, as the earth dissipated into flecks of dust and debris.
” What would become of me should I stop in this state? My machine rested in the orbit of our sun’s infancy, which too dissipated until I was surrounded by a brilliant nebula. And, left alone by anything familiar, so ticked the billions, and galaxies swirled apart and vanished around me. And twinkling stars sparked in and out of the darkness. Eventually the darkness became brighter and the stars more frequent. Then, abruptly, my machine came to a stop.
” I shut my eyes, fearing the lurch of the machine from stopping so suddenly. But none came. All was still [I would later attribute this to an absence of physical laws as we know them]. I opened my eyes and in front of me was unbroken blackness. Yet, the dials and brass of my machine were still illuminated. They read: “———” A peculiar sensation fell on my ears that mimicked that of having one’s ears plugged with water. I called out, but no sound came. Anxious, I turned in my seat, cautious of my hold on the machine, for I dared not leave the safety of the protective sphere around me, and behind me was a sheet of unbroken white.
” Two halves: black and white, with me right in the middle. Could this be first day of Genesis? I remembered Poe of the 1800s, and the gradient of matter. Behind me: was it the spirit or the physical? Can one call either light or shadow more tangible than the other? And then I forgot of my own safety as I reached out to touch the light. But there was nothing to touch.
” If I should reverse the dials once more I thought I would enter the void. I hung at the very edge of the entire universe–of Time. Should a box be pushed off a desk, it would fall. What would happen if a box were pushed past the limit of its fourth dimension? I admit, I did not want to test it myself, and I too realized perhaps that an unseen force had done me the courtesy of stopping my machine before I reached that limit. So, not wishing to test the will of that force, I gradually pushed the quartz lever into the forward position, and, like the turning of the sun on my first journey, the black and white of my surroundings broke slowly into a gradient. I realized then that the black was the spirit matter, as Poe referred to it, as it was penetrated by the white matter. Into the physical went the spirit, shaping and forming it into what I soon recognized as space. I pushed the lever forward, and quickly did the universe reform around me.
” Laughing, I thought perhaps I should make a journey to America 184– before returning to my guests this evening. Perhaps with a pipe and some tobacco.”
I’m beginning to suspect this book is less fiction than H.G. Wells would have us assume. That said, it seems to me this chapter implies the discoveries of our universe’s secrets over time may have been mis-credited. And that our humble Time Traveler has chosen to divulge these secrets to particular individuals over human history as he judges our society fit to handle them.