“Listen,” she said. “It’s very simple.”
Although she was a little girl (four, I’d guess, and then remembered, oh, yeah, she told me that before, she is four) with a high-pitched voice, her tone carried a judge’s authority.
“I’m listening,” I said, injecting a hint of jocularity.
My hint gained me an eye-roll. “We remain in a humaverse. It’s only the timeverse that’s changed.”
I conjured up more questions. She stilled them with a small rosy palm.
“Stop. I know what you’ll ask,” she said. “The humaverse is the universe as humans perceive it.”
I pursed my lips to issue another question but faced the all-powerful palm again.
Eyebrows going up, she tilted her head. She did that often, resembling a small dark-haired, white parakeet when she did. “I’ve been through this before. Let me finish. Humans have certain perceptions and observations that create agreed and accepted preconceptions about how everything is supposed to work, like gravity, time, and light, for instance. I’m talking classic physics, of course. Light travels at cee. Gravity is a force that causes bodies to be attracted to one another, as Newton expressed in the most commonly accepted explanation in this humaverse. Time flows from the past to the future and can’t be revisited. Well, it can but you need to shed preconceptions to make that work. Most people can’t.”
Her glance lashed me. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m sure that you can’t.”
“Hey, that’s — ”
“Excuse me, I’m not finished. So, that’s why it’s called the humaverse. It’s the universe as humans define it. Others can use it, though, but they’re not usually limited by the humaverse’s laws. It depends.”
“Okay.” It depended on what? “And a timeverse?”
“A timeverse is an agreed upon reality within a humaverse based on the constraints and parameters established by the results from major events of a specific time-period, as humans think it happened.”
“Like…who won world war two.”
“Everyone always brings that one up.” She sounded mystified. “That, and Jesus of Nazareth. But, yes. There are many timeverses. Some people call them alterverses, but they’re not really. To be a true alterverse, enough residual chi-energy to change humaverse rules must be present. I’m talking about classic physics, of course.”
“Of course.” Like I knew, but I didn’t want another eyeroll. If her eyes were weapons… “So…there can be more than one humaverse?”
“Of course. Now we’re wasting time. Yellow will be coming after us. Let’s go.”
Swinging around, she marched off. “Adults,” she said. I wasn’t sure if she talked to herself, me, or someone else. All were possible with this child. “They can learn if they can just forget.”
As I hurried to catch up with her, I thought with cynical amusement, I never will.