Alan had started from his grandfather’s laboratory, near Riverside Drive in mid-town New York. The date had been May of 1942. His watch, set above the other time-recording instrument on his wrist, told him that his start had been made only a scant half hour before, by his personal consciousness of time. How long ago—how far away that seemed now! There had been a reeling of his senses, the soundless clapping of swiftly alternating light and darkness at the shadowy laboratory windows. Then as his rate of change accelerated, the days and nights had merged into this flat, dead emptiness of gray.
Then the house had abruptly dwindled, thinned out, and disappeared from around him! He had reached a time-era before its construction. Still with greater speed, the shadowy shifting outlines of the great city were in motion, shrinking into smaller and smaller buildings, narrower, shorter roads.
It was a strange transition indeed. And yet to Alan Dane, the strangeness of his own emotions seemed not the least of it. Three years of his life had passed since that night when he had promised his grandfather he would carry on the experiments—three years in which he had lost his grandfather, but gained a wife and son. Ruth Vincent had married him and together they had worked on the fragile thing that he bore now on his back—fragile, but more potent in a strange, incredible way than any other device.