Halloween Story Contest: Schrodinger’s Man

By Kevin Yeargin

 

The following is a transcription of audio recovered from the tape recorder of Johan Verner. In the interest of public safety, the tape and every physical remnant of the experiment have been destroyed. In the interest of science, this transcription remains in the custody of the U.S. government.

VERNER [11:45 AM, Thursday]: Hello, my name is Johan Verner. I am a particle physicist here at Venkman Labs, and I am conducting what I hope to be a monumental experiment on quantum superposition. I am sequestered here inside a 20 ft. by 30 ft. bunker 1000 ft. underground. And I have with me here a device of my own design which should create a closed quantum field around the bunker, effectively turning its walls into the boundaries of a new universe. Honestly, I have no idea what will happen. Might be nothing. Could really be something. In approximately 10 minutes, I will turn the machine on. Then I will report back at 12:30 PM.

VERNER [12:30 PM, Thursday]: Well, the machine has been on for 30 minutes. I observe no physical changes. [light static, indistinct voice?] I will continue to observe the environment and, if nothing changes, report back at 4:00 PM.

VERNER [3:41 PM, Thursday]: Incredible. Absolutely incredible. Just… incredible.

VERNER [4:00 PM, Thursday]: Umm, hmm. I, uh, have discovered a strange phenomenon that I will attempt to describe here. Physical contact with the walls produces some sort of rippling effect, almost as if I were touching… I don’t know, touching water.

VOICE [4:01 PM, Thursday]: W-w-w-water.

VERNER [4:01 PM, Thursday]: Did you hear that? I will, umm, I will play the recording back to see if it picked up that voice. I will report back in one hour at the latest.

VOICE [4:02 PM, Thursday]: L-l-l-latest.

No further recordings Thursday.

No further recordings Friday.

VERNER [3:31 AM, Saturday]: I’ve just had… I’ve just…

VERNER [7:55 AM, Saturday]: I was right. I was so right. The experiment is a success. I have just made first contact with another form of intelligence. We talked for hours about Mozart, about elementary physics, about nothing at all! It was so engrossing that I did not sleep for the past, what is it, two days?! I will get some rest and then attempt to communicate further with my new friend. He does look tired. He is now sitting in the corner of the room, behind the bed. He is not looking at me.

VOICE [7:57 AM, Saturday]: [indistinct screaming, language unknown]

VOICE [8:43 PM, Saturday]: [whispering] Johan… Johan… [static]

No further recordings Saturday.

No further recordings Sunday.

No further recordings Monday.

No further recordings Tuesday.

No further recordings Wednesday.

UNKNOWN [11:00 AM, Thursday]: I am.

ASSISTANT [11:30 AM, Thursday]: [indistinct rustling] [hatch opens] Got it. Dr. Verner? The lights are off. What’s that smell? [flick of the light switch, rustling continues] Oh my god. I can’t, no… no!

End of recording.

The bodies of Dr. Johan Verner and his assistant were never recovered. The bunker was destroyed with dynamite, and the shaft leading to the bunker was filled with cement.