Recurrence

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Kangaroo.  Truck.  Explosion.
He sat up in bed, shaking his head vigorously.
Kangaroo.  The kangaroo appeared in a flash in his mind, big, a sharp movement across a rain-blurred windscreen.
Skip back a few milliseconds, and the truck blinked into existence out of the rain, huge, forbidding.  It was blocking the kangaroo.  The truck was huge, wet, moving with the momentum of twenty-two tonnes gross at one hundred kilometres per hour. The kangaroo had no option but to jump away from the truck, but that took it directly into the path of the tiny car. The bang was deafening, the glass exploded into his face.
He shook his head and shuddered his way out of bed.  It was a dream.  Dreams like that…. he sighed and rubbed a hand over his face.  Dreams like that, dreams that were clear and not nice and exploded into his mind even after he awoke, in his experience were dreams that were going to happen.
Images of planes exploded in fireballs above his head, repeated again and again, every time he saw a jet plane overhead.  The fireball ran back along the plane from start to finish.  The television one late night in Australia, attacking his mind, assailing his soul, as people woke to horror in another country.  He shuddered again and walked on cold feet to the kitchen, put on the jug.
He was a businessman, a mathematician as well.  Numbers crowded through his mind in orderly fashion, obedient soldiers marching to the beat of his disciplined mind.  Mistakes were rare.  Calculations were easy.  People were impressed with his command of the complex algorithms which ruled their worlds, unseen by them, patterning his every thought, ordering his world.  He stood above the Sudoku puzzle every morning, silently gazing at it for a minute or two, before picking up the pencil and filling in the numbers from left to right, each row completed in turn.  The first two times, he checked the result the next day.  After that, he didn’t bother.
Yet sometimes, a sudden intrusion would scatter the numbers in his world.  The numbers would disappear and images, movie-like, would push aside the neat algorithms. The images would connect to his mind like a virus in a computer system, and worm their way past all his defences, taking over his mind.  He was reduced to the role of an observer in his own mind.
A few days later, he would find the same images playing themselves out in front of him, on the television or in real life.  He would watch silently, controlling his breathing, in, out, in, out, because that was all he was controlling.  He was reduced to the role of an observer again, but this time he was watching a rerun of the images that had played out in his mind again and again in his dreams.  Sometimes the events were harmless.  Other times they were awful.
This one was the worst of all.  Kangaroo.  Truck. Explosion.
Who?
The next day his daughter arrived from the country and walked up to him smiling.  He hugged her, and said hello, then it struck him.  Kangaroo. Truck.  Explosion.
He was a businessman.  A man of science.  He would not allow his actions to be dictated by superstition.
He sat down to think, watching her.  She was clever, like him, and full of life.  She was loving the country life, but not looking forward to the long drive back that evening.  He walked out into his library and checked the weather forecast.  It was supposed to rain that evening.  He stared at the screen and switched it off.
It was not possible.  It was not logical.  It was not scientific.
He walked back into the house, looked at her and said, “Would you mind leaving your car here today?  Take mine.”
She hesitated and saw the look in his eyes, then nodded, “Okay.”  She was clever, like him.  He wondered if she knew.
She left and, decision made, he went back outside and used the phone in the library, “Scorpion Bull Bars?  I need a bull bar put on today, please.  I’ll pay extra.”
He expected an explosion from her when she arrived back that afternoon and saw her tiny hatchback with a bull bar on the front, but she looked at it, stared at him and said quietly, “I’ll call you when I get home.”
He sat down after she left and thought about her response.  She was clever, like him, but she had not been curious.  It was a puzzle.  She was the child who always asked, “Why?” She was the one who always asked him why people behaved in a certain manner.  She pulled his watches apart and opened up all the panels on the piano.
He ate his dinner and paced.  He picked up a Wilbur Smith book and decided after about 200 pages that Wilbur Smith was going senile.  He looked up something on the computer and paced the library.  He drank coffee, which he never did.
The future stretched its fingers out at him and he wanted desperately to believe he could somehow change it.  He saw his dream again and it played out before his face in the present.  Kangaroo.  Truck. Expl- the phone in the library rang and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
Her voice was quiet, “I hit the bloody roo.  You can go to sleep now.”
He felt the tension leave his body and closed his eyes.  Events; future and past, reality and dream.  They were connected somehow, in that marvellous creation that was his mind.  But there was no proof.  Nobody would believe him.  He was a businessman, a scientist.
He said, “Right.  Good,” and hung up the phone.
The next time he saw her, she hugged him tight and said, “Thank you.”
“What for?”
“For not being scientific.”
He gave her a wry smile, “Well, it was repeatable.”
“But not reproducible, not reportable,” she pointed out.
“Not really, no.”
 
 
 

About the Author: 
Sam Taylor is an Australian science fiction author who has written over 98 short stories, the novel Deadly Jewel, and contributed to the new 'Tales from the Perseus Arm' anthology which includes stories from John Gribbin, Rachael Kelly and Matthew Metzger. Sam has a Master's Degree in the sciences.

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