Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


Crystal Love
by Francis Marion Soty

A Little at All Times
by David R. Bunch

Bounded in a Prison Pod
by Alan Rader

Isolated Incidents
by Nick Nafpliotis

by Barbara Krasnoff

Kella Vector
by Henry Szabranski

Growing Pains
by A.L. Sirois

It’s the Last Ice Shelf!
by Anthony Langford

Time Out at the Café Metropole
by Guy T. Martland

Canvas of the World
by Frederick Obermeyer

by Louis Shalako


Science Fiction and Fidel Castro
by Ricardo L. Garcia

Ebola’s Deadly Path
by John McCormick




Shorter Stories

Comic Strips



Isolated Incidents

By Nick Nafpliotis

THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME CURIOUS, and we feel important, selected excerpts from the journal of Gregory Titor, a former DARPA and HAARP researcher whose whereabouts have been unaccounted for since November 11, 1979. The contents are protected by Presidential Determination from all Freedom of Information Act requests as well as being exempt from Executive Order 13526.

The journal itself was recovered in the wreckage of World Trade Center Tower One on August 8, 2002. Prior to this discovery, most information regarding Titor’s role in military research and development had been redacted or permanently removed from the archives.

All information or inferences and speculation generated by it is to be classified as Top Secret: Beta Majestic.

Project Execution: November 11, 1979

Today is the day that we finally see if this works. All tests and scenario models show that Project Well Spring should displace my molecules through time to the date set on the device.

There are so many questions to answer, but first and foremost among them is why we haven’t come in contact with any other time travelers. It stands to reason that if our team was able to achieve this, then other such projects from the future should have visited us by now.

This has me more than a bit worried about the possible repercussion of volunteering myself as the first one in, but it’s too late to back out now. Onward and upward in the name of discovery!

Day 1: August 8, 1945

It worked! I’ve successfully been displaced six days prior to the celebrations in Times Square over the end of World War II. As expected, I ended up in the same spot that our lab now stands in Nevada.

The formerly barren and unoccupied status of the area at this time helped ensure that my molecules wouldn’t phase into other matter. Unfortunately, it also means I have to find a way to get to New York within a week.

As far as anomalies go, the only thing I witnessed during displacement was a strange looking flicker outside the pod before a flash of white. I’m not sure what that was, but I am unharmed and where I am supposed to be, so I’ll leave it to you fine folks back at Project Well Spring to solve that mystery. In the meantime, I’ve got a cross country journey ahead of me!

Day 6: August 14, 1945

Getting to New York was a monumental challenge. At first, I just thought people were being particularly rude when they refused to acknowledge my presence. I soon realized, however, that they actually couldn’t see or hear me at all!

This is indeed a very bizarre development. All inorganic matter that I brought with me remains stable as does my own molecular structure. I am also still able to interact almost completely with the inorganic matter of this time period. I can only pick up objects for a few seconds before the displacement becomes so painful that I cannot bear it. This makes eating a task that must be done fairly quickly. It also means that should I ever need to defend myself (which seems unlikely because no one can even tell I exist), I probably won’t be able to procure or hold any sort of weapon.

This new set of parameters is disconcerting, but getting to see the famous “Kissing Sailor” photo in the flesh is one of many experiences I suspect will still make this trip very worthwhile.

Day 59: October 6, 1945

Today, I finally broke the rules. Instead of gathering information to send back to the project team, I took in the last World Series game at Wrigley Field. I already knew the outcome, but I had to witness the Curse of the Billy Goat for myself.

Sure enough, Billy Sianis showed up with that damned goat of his, got turned away, and cursed the stadium as he stormed off. I still don’t believe in magic, but that didn’t stop me from trying to convince the usher to let the guy in. I know that attempts at significant interaction with the past are strictly forbidden, but I couldn’t help myself. You’d understand if you were a Cubs fan.

Unfortunately, I am still unable to be heard or seen by anyone. The goat, however, seemed to glance in my direction at one point. It could have just been my imagination, but I swear that the creature actually saw me!

Day 88: November 3, 1945

As fascinating as this journey has been, I look forward to my impending extraction. I find it funny how our biggest concern was making sure not to significantly interact with the environment ... especially in light of the fact that I cannot communicate with anyone!

I’ve grown infinitely tired of how much pain and suffering the simple act of lifting food into my mouth entails. Combine that with the fact that I often have to steal food that is already sitting out, and this entire ordeal has been far more taxing than even our most dire models anticipated. It will be good to finally go home.

Day 90: November 5, 1945


I reached the Nevada site (a day early, in fact) and waited. The device never came through. I shall remain here for a few more days or as long as my hunger allows me.

Day 139: December 25, 1945

I never cared much for the holiday of Christmas, but the loneliness this time of year can bring is understandably getting to me. Perhaps that is why I once again broke protocol and visited the childhood home of my mother.

It was quite strange to see my mom as a young girl (especially considering how attractive she looked). She was sitting by herself in the living room for a while, so I decided to speak to her. As expected, she didn’t react. But as I was leaving, I saw her look in my direction. Is there a chance that she heard me? The woman always was a bit superstitious, believing in ghosts and such. Was my visit the reason for this?

Day 365: August 8, 1946

I visited the extraction point again today. It’s become a depression monthly ritual for me during the year that I’ve been trapped here.

I’ve continued attempting to speak with people more and more over the last several months. I used to consider myself an introvert, but the toll of being invisible to every other human being has begun to feel more than a little unbearable.

Unfortunately, I still haven’t found a way to communicate. I have noticed, however, that if I whisper in someone’s ear for an extended period of time, it appears as if the subject will hear trace amounts of what I am saying.

Doing this probably breaks all types of protocol, but at this point, I figure that Project Well Spring owes me a fair amount of leeway.

Day 699: July 8, 1947

While I do believe that extraterrestrial life exists, I do not believe that it has ever visited us. How can creatures intelligent enough to master traveling beyond the speed of light constantly forget how to drive once they get into the parking lot known as Earth?

Still, I had to see the infamous Roswell UFO crash incident for myself. Sure enough, it wasn’t aliens. The truth, however, was so much worse.

Annie Jacobsen was right: That bastard scientist Mengele had done all types of grotesque things to those poor children that they removed from the craft. I wish more than anything that it really had been alien life, instead. I guess I’ve always realized that there was such sickness in this world, but being isolated as I have makes observing it somehow even more painful to watch.

Day 894: January 19, 1948

I know that I shouldn’t do this, but what happens tomorrow cannot be allowed to take place. Maybe if I save him, the world won’t end up like it does.

I know this will break all types of protocol, but if you aren’t going to extract me, then I figure it’s time to do something that makes this trip worthwhile.

Day 895: January 20, 1948

I did it! After messing with their bomb and hiding their camera (which was a simple matter of pulling a sheet over it), the thugs who assassinated Mahatma Ghandi failed. If this gets me arrested and locked away when (or if) I return, then so be it. The world will surely be an infinitely better place with this great man able to live out his life till its natural end.

Day 905: January 30, 1948

It didn’t even matter. They still killed him. Maybe I should have never left his side, but it’s not like I could spend forever hovering around him like some time of incorporeal bodyguard.

Please extract me. I do not wish to be here any longer. I’m ready and willing to face the consequences for my actions, which don’t seem to matter here, anyway.

Day 1,012: May 16, 1948

Being in the middle of the Arab-Israeli war should provoke a sizeable amount of fear and panic. Instead, I’m surprised at just how detached I feel from it all. As long as I stay out of the line of fire, there is no risk of danger to myself while observing the death and destruction around me.

I’m occasionally tempted to step in and do something, but what would be the point? I’m not an army. I’m just one invisible man who can only lift something for three seconds ... nothing but a worthless observer to the unending march of death and destruction that our species perpetrates upon each other for the flimsiest of reasons.

Day 1,253: January 12, 1949

Vice President Forrestal is still the Secretary of Defense right now. I’m about to try something that once again constitutes a severe violation of protocol and ethics. But if keeping that man from holding office saves as many lives as I think it will, then to hell with the consequences.

Day 1383: May 22, 1949

I did it. After months of whispering into his ears about communists coming to get him and not being able to trust anyone, Forrestal leapt to his death from the psychiatric institute they’d placed him in. I will not deny feeling some guilt about this, but the many lives I may have saved will hopefully assuage it.

Day 1,833: August 15, 1950

More war, this time on the Korean peninsula. When will people ever learn? I thought what I did was supposed to keep us from invading countries.

I recently traveled back to the Nevada site again in hopes of an extraction only to find it was still empty. I wish more than anything for Project Well Spring to hurry and send a device back through so that I may interact with other people again. Aside from the occasional dog barking in my direction, I have absolutely no impact on this world whatsoever.

Day 1,877: September 26, 1950

Happy birthday to me. Maybe I should go visit myself and stop this terrible existence from even occurring.

Day 2,251: October 7, 1951

I couldn’t do it. I’ve peeked in on myself from a distance numerous times, but I’m too worried that something I do might cause me to no longer exist. Maybe I’m just a coward, but I’d like to think that there is still much to be learned by observing the past ... and maybe I can still change it for the better.

Day 2,809: April 17, 1953

Took a trip to our nation’s capital to see Mickey Mantle hit what was long believed to be the farthest home run in history. Once it was over, I was a bit disappointed at how pointless the entire afternoon had felt.

On the bright side, I don’t think I’m aging at all during this period of time displacement. Please do not consider that, however, as a license to slow down on your efforts to extract me.

Day 4062: September 21, 1956

Yet another rule broken, but hopefully this one sticks. Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza García didn’t have his guards there when Perez pulled the trigger and killed him. Now maybe that son of a bitch won’t be able to use his country and his people as a way to pad his own pockets.

Day 4,091: October 20, 1956

Unbelievable. García’s sons just stepped right in and kept the family tradition of corruption, exploitation, and slaughter alive. As expected, our own corrupt government has backed them, as well.

Forget trying to change things. All it does is delay the inevitable in this wicked world.

Day 4,536: January 8, 1958

Watching Bobby Fischer play chess was the first time I’d actually gotten excited about something in years. When it was over, I considered following him to see what I could learn, but what would be the point?

Day 5,455: July 15, 1960

I don’t believe it! President Kennedy selected that crook, Lyndon Johnson, as his running mate! Assuming things go as they did in my time and Kennedy wins the election, a man who was supposed to die in jail will now end up being the Vice President of the United States ... and eventually the president. God forgive me.

Day 6,290: October 28, 1962

The world almost blew itself up over missiles being put in Cuba. Maybe that’s what should have happened ... maybe that’s what the human race deserves.

Day 6,680: November 22, 1963


I took the most cliché time traveling trip in the world to Dallas to witness the assassination of President Kennedy. It may be happening a few months later than I remember, but it still followed almost the exact same script.

I went up to the room in the Texas School Book Depository where sure enough, Oswald was sitting with his gun. He didn’t even notice when I sat down right next to him.

Across the road in the infamous “grassy knoll,” however, I saw something flicker for an instant. I ran back down and across the parade route just as the shots were being fired. When I got there, the form of a man in a lab uniform much like mine was moving away, flickering in and out of the air space around him. He turned, looked me right in the eye, nodded, and walked away. I tried to follow him, but he was soon lost in the crowd.

I suppose the main questions anyone would have after such an encounter should involve how he got here or why he wanted to assist in killing President Kennedy (or how he was able to lift a gun). But what really pulled at my heart and mind more than anything was jealousy. Here was a man who might be trapped out of time and space just like me, but he’d managed to actually make an impact on the world!

I know that might sound like a grotesquely inhumane sentiment, but your perspective on things tends to change when the world doesn’t notice or care if you exist.

Day 7,152: March 8, 1965

Even though I still appear not to be aging, I feel so much older.

Boots landed on the ground in Vietnam today, so maybe that’s why the only emotion I seem to be able to experience is hopelessness. Despite causing Forrestal to kill himself all those years ago, the passage of a few extra years was all it bought. The war and the damage it will cause is still going forward.

Nothing I have done seems to make a damn bit of difference. The world goes on killing itself in the same various ways.

Day 8,337: June 5, 1968


I managed to get to the Ambassador Hotel in time to watch Sirhan Sirhan, who I’d been following for three weeks now, assassinate Bobby Kennedy. I suppose I could have stopped it, but I was much more interesting in observing the flickering presences that kept appearing next to him.

As I stood in the hotel kitchen on the day of the killing, I once again witnessed a brief flickering out of the corner of my eye. When I turned, it was the man I saw in Dallas. This time, he stayed next to me, pointing in the direction of the shooter.

There in front of us was Sirhan Sirhan. Beside him was another Flickering Man whispering fervently into his ear. I couldn’t hear what he was saying, but before I could step any closer, gun shots rang out and sent the room into complete chaos.

The Flickering Man from Dallas grabbed my arm, which just about caused me to pass out. It had been so long since I’d felt any sort of human contact. He pulled me in close and said very softly:

“We were abandoned. We will not be forgotten.”

A moment later, he was gone.

Day 8,340: June 8, 1968

Martin Luther King was killed today. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He was supposed to die an old man in his bed, slightly scandal-ridden, but still the greatest civil rights leader in history.

Did killing Forrestal cause all of this? Am I solely to blame?

It can’t all be put on my shoulders. I’ve been stuck here for so long. There was no way that I couldn’t be expected to at least try and make the world a better place. Maybe if Project Well Spring had gotten me out after ninety days like they were supposed to, they wouldn’t have an isolated and ignored subject imprinting history.

This is not my fault. I didn’t pull the trigger. Rest in Peace, Dr. King.

Day 9039: April 20, 1970

Now we’re invading Cambodia.

If I do nothing, death and destruction commences. If I try to do something, more death and destruction commences. This world disgusts me.

Day 9131: August 8, 1970


Went back to the extraction point today, just like I do every damn year. This time, however, I was actually met by someone who could speak to me!

The Flickering Man was there along with another one (who I’m pretty sure I saw whispering to Sihran a couple years ago). I blurted out more questions than I even knew that I had. They just smiled and waited, flickering in and out of the world around me. I feared more than anything that they would disappear without warning. In the middle of my question about why they were involving themselves in assassinations, however, the first one finally spoke.

“Because it’s what they deserve.”

He must have seen the confused look on my face, so he continued.

“Our time is not a closed loop. An infinite web of various existences stretches across the flat circle of time. Some are vastly different, while some are virtually identical to the reality that you know before this one. But in all of them, one constant truth remains: This world is a truly rotten place, unworthy and unable to attain any form of redemption.

“We were like you, sent back and abandoned on this string of history’s web, only to watch our best attempts at helping it get twisted into a different manner of our species’ inevitable self-mutilation.

“Wickedness will always exist no matter what we do. All there is left to do is experiment and observe.”

The Flickering Man’s words sounded a bit selfish, but I didn’t care. Someone was finally speaking to me ... someone who actually understood just how disgusting the world around us was. I think I’ve earned the right to some discussion and the exchange of ideas.

I’ve also earned the right to learn how to lift objects for longer than three seconds, which is one of the first things my two new companions have endeavored to teach me.

Day 9,336: March 1, 1971


Attempted a detonation in the Capitol Building today. Unfortunately, I severely overestimated my still-developing displacement skills with regards to weaponry and explosives. The bomb went off, but with little to no impact. It was also placed in the wrong area. Luckily, a radical political group was eager to take responsibility.

More study and training is required before I can create a true variable.

Day 10,954: August 10, 1974


We considered killing this Nixon character, but found it much more interesting to sit in on all his secret meetings to see what we could influence. A few years later, he is now resigning from office. The resulting political fallout both from within the Washington power structure and in the general populace has been fascinating. This definitely deserves more study.

Day 10,985: September 5, 1975

Convinced Ford to pardon Nixon. This has resulted in two failed assassination attempts and massive political unrest. Watching the subjects react so violently to various stimuli without affecting any real change is fascinating.

Day 11,626: June 7, 1977

I have managed to grip the country in a state of fear by influencing one unremarkable man by the name of David Berkowitz. It’s almost laughable how subjects who are thousands of miles from his killing area still panic and change their behaviors, lashing out at each other with ridiculously unwarranted suspicion and violence.

I believe one of my colleagues is a bit jealous of my recent success. He continually compares my work with Berkowitz to a new subject he has been grooming for a urban paranoia study by the name of Jeffrey Dahmer.

Unfortunately, I have a feeling these experiments will end up being little more than an amusing diversion. We will likely return to larger scale operations, where the effects of real fear and mistrust can be fully explored across the entire species.

Day 12,513: November 11, 1979

Success has been attained on two fronts.

We traveled to the Project Well Spring intercept point today. With the help of my fellow travelers, we were able to shut down and destroy all evidence of it ever existing. My past self will hate me for a while, but will also be thankful later when he doesn’t have to live through his wretched, normal life with the rest of these reactionary test subjects.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Iran has been fomented to a boiling point. It will be simultaneously fascinating and a bit frustrating to watch how this plays out in the years to come. Will people revolt against their rulers once it’s revealed what part they played in bringing this chaos down upon their own heads ... or will they do as they’ve always done, swallowing their mistrust and continue on about their lives?

At what point does this species stop simply reacting to abuse and destruction at the hands of their leaders and take action? When do revolutions truly become charged by ideas rather than the displacement of one false god for another? They may not be able to see the influence we are exerting, but it appears it wouldn’t matter if they did. Aside from some angry ranting and a few minor insurrections, those we deem to be the species’ kings and queens have seemingly no limit to how hard their boots may press down upon the masses.

We will continue this field of study, attempting to find a point where paranoia, both justified and not, intersects with a breaking point in the general populace. It may never come, but the scientist in me says that it has to eventually.

Until then, we will continue applying pressure to the virtually unmovable variable of species’ hearts and minds. It may be impossible to stop the world’s pain, but it can still be directed for our own personal study and interest. END

Nick Nafpliotis is a music teacher and writer from Charleston, S.C. His work has appeared in several anthologies including “Horror in Bloom” and “Black Treacle.” He also maintains a blog about crime, writing, and other topics at RamblingBeachCat.