Temporal Onanism

“Mum, I’m pregnant.”

Waves of cold contempt. “Who’s the father?”

“It’s difficult to explain.”

“Do try.” The word is laced with icicles.

“You remember daddy’s pet project. From before he died, you know?”

“Yes, that cursed junk heap. I don’t know why I never got around to putting it in the rubbish. It was too much effort, I suppose.”

“Well, mum, it works.”

“What? Even in death he’s infected you with his damnable ideas. Look where it got him, Reese!”

“It works, mum!”

Mother is suddenly tender, her arms outstretched to press her child against her breast. “Oh, come here, baby. It’s all right, we’ll find you help, it will be all okay. We can fix this—”

“No! Please believe me, mum! Daddy’s time machine works!”

“Who’s the father?” The ambient temperature dropped; one could imagine snowflakes swirling in with the creeping darkness in her voice. “Who’s the father?!”

“I know you’ve always been ashamed of me, for what I am. A circus freak!”

“That’s not true—”

It is! Well, mum… I’m the father.”

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