Nic feels nothing as he passes through the door. There’s no wind, no special effect, no indication of a complex space-time vortex in action. He hears the door closing, softly, behind his back. The room he’s now in looks just like the room he’s just left. On its other side, right in front of him, there’s another door and someone, his back turned to him, is in the middle of stepping through it. “Hey!” he shouts, but the other guy passes through and the door closes after him with a soft sound. Nic runs to the other door, which opens quietly, quickly steps through it, and manages to see, in the new room, the other guy’s back as he’s running right at a door in front of him.
“A time-loop, then,” Nic says aloud, immediately feeling stupid for doing it. Some sort of bloody time-loop/sequence, he thinks, sheepishly. He stands motionless for a moment, then turns back towards the door he just entered the room through, opens it and glances back at the previous room, in which he sees someone’s back turned to him, as that someone is busy peeping through the previous door he’s passed through.
“Hey!” he shouts, and immediately, behind him, someone shouts “Hey!” at him. He turns back, getting ready to face another version of himself, but when his head is fully turned, so is the head of that version of himself that had shouted at him, probably towards some other time-copy of himself further down the line.
Fine, he thinks. I can get over that. He turns left, slowly, looking at the wall, so that anyone standing at the door can see his profile. Now, slowly, he turns his eyes, only his eyes, to the right, so as to see the profile of his other self standing at the door.
But the other person is a woman.
Not a time-loop, then.
Just as he decides to say”Excuse me?”, someone to his left says it, and he notices that it’s a woman’s voice too, though all that doesn’t stop him from saying “Excuse me?” as well, and the woman to his right follows suit immediately. How can this not be a time loop/sequence? he thinks. Our actions are too coordinated. We’re not controlled by anything. At any given moment I can decide to, say, shout – “Hey!” the woman to his left shouts, just before he shouts it, just before the woman to the right shouts it.
Right. So these women must be, in some way, me. He stares blankly ahead as another thought sneaks into his mind. Could I have turned into a woman? Slowly, he turns his gaze down. To be sure, he also moves his hand down, way down.
He’s not a woman.
Are these women, somehow, him?
“My name is Nic,” the woman to his left/he/the woman to his right say. Then there’s a short three-voice musical canon consisting of the word “Crap”.
The hell with space-time continuum, he wants out. Right now. He clicks the buzzer in his pocket. The side wall turns on itself, and through it he steps out. The wall turns and closes behind him without a sound.
And someone says, “Hey, Nic, I liked you more when you were a woman.”