The Taxi A short story by Tony Knight
My home for sixty five years is a cottage set on about an acre in a country road about a mile from a small village which has its own village store, a post office and a public house, The Red Lion. As a widower for almost eleven years, I live a fairly lonely but busy life keeping my smallholding going. I’ve a couple of goats, about a dozen chickens, a cockerel, and some ducks which inhabit a small pond shared with a neighbouring farm. By profession I am a retired physicist and my evenings when my day’s work is complete, are filled by a continuing enthusiasm for the development of quantum theory, physics and cosmology. I have an excellent library on these subjects with books by most of the experts in those fields.
But I now have a very big problem arising out of an extraordinary event.
How will I get anyone to believe the story I have to tell? This is a question I ask myself.
Another is how if I tell it, will I cope with being thought a fantasist, idiot, liar, or plain barmy, for I alone know the absolute truth of what I am now to disclose.
No matter how I prepare you for what I am about to say, I am sure that whilst you may listening carefully and may even be prepared to give me the benefit of the doubt, you will nevertheless find yourself thinking those adverse and hurtful things I mention.
However I must tell of the event which was to set me above my fellow men and yet would leave me without any credibility.
On a Monday night I slept soundly and woke early to the dawn chorus which on reflection seemed a few decibels higher than usual. The morning was calm and dry, the sky was clearing and the moon in its last quarter was setting in the west.
I intended to get stuck in to some vegetable gardening after breakfast, so I showered, put on my gardening clothes, had a light breakfast and got ready for work.
I went out of the front door into the garden. I noted the time which was exactly half past seven and I heard the sound of an approaching car. When it came into view I was surprised to see that it was a black cab like one of those on the streets of London. It slowed down and stopped at my front gate so I went to see what the driver wanted. He seemed to me to have a slight speech impediment, but I understood him to say that there was a body on the side of the road about five hundred yards back. He asked me if I would come back with him to render some assistance. I readily agreed and climbed into the cab which he turned around and we set off.
From this point in my story I crave your understanding that I am a truthful man telling everything as it was.
As soon as I took a seat in the back, the windows of the cab blacked out, hiding the outside from my view. A strong blue-white light filled the cab interior. The partition disappeared, there was no driver and I felt no motion. The best I can do to describe my surroundings is to ask you to imagine being inside a giant juke box with twice the number of flickering coloured lights. If I say I wasn’t frightened it was because indeed although I felt excited, I was calmed by the exquisitely flavoured air I found myself breathing. I felt strangely reassured of my safety and got up and walked around the large room which had no doors or windows as far as I could make out and no evidence of any technology other than the lighting. I had no concept at all of the passage of time which I recall gave me a wonderful feeling of what I can best describe as an eternal ‘now.’
A presence appeared. It was an utterly streamlined being of such physical beauty as I will never see again, two limbs, apparently hands, were held out clearly inviting me to take them in my own which I did. I was immediately aware that we were on a journey. I knew also that my mind had been filled with the content of every one of my books on subjects such as the speed of light, anti-matter, teleportation, the first and last three minutes of the universe, parallel universes, uncertainty, inter dimensional travel and about fifty others of high technical content. The being indicated that I should return to my seat which I did. The interior instantly returned to normal and now I could see that the cab had stopped at my garden gate but although that is what it appeared to be, I knew that it was not my cottage but a perfect replica set on unknown land. I went inside and was met by a trio of beings of exactly the same delightful appearance as the one in the cab. I said politely, that I would like to know what was happening. They didn’t, actually talk, yet I knew what they were saying. It was an indescribable sensation.
They made me aware that they were part of a team of cosmic archaeologists. I learned that their technology although superior by several billion light years to anything on earth, left them in the same difficult situation as our own archaeologists who work to interpret long extinct ancient writings and scripts.
They were I realised, seeking the inter stellar equivalent of the Rosetta stone to enable them to understand our levels of scientific knowledge which to them is primordial and lost in the mist of their time. They had come back this far in time to pursue an ongoing quest and I had been singled out to solve their problem which I did gladly. I felt really privileged to see their great joy at the success of their mission and to enjoy the gratitude offered to me with their generous apology for the way they had hijacked me.
In return I asked them how they managed to travel the distance they had and how long had it taken them. I explained my questions by relating it to our own space exploration whereby even to reach the outer solar system takes us many years in unmanned capsules. I learned that they travelled by highly developed teleportation based upon their super advanced capability to vary the speed of light and link it to molecular entanglement by up to ten million times the limit in our Milky Way which they easily override. The replica of my cottage would they said remain to be exhibited in their leading museum.
I was then taken out again to the cab which behaved as it did at the beginning of my adventure and I was transported back to Earth and deposited at my front gate. I was handed a small gift wrapped in a most unusual marbled covering. I heard the cab departing along the road for no more than three seconds then silence. I went indoors and noted the time. It was still morning and half past seven exactly.
I opened the package which had been given to me and found a small model of a cab in pure gold with sapphire windows and diamond headlights on full beam.
It is here for you to see if you don’t believe me.