And it is getting worse with each passing second.
I could feel it, the fluctuation in time and space.
Unlike me, normal people are not aware of the temporal distortion or the bodily horrors.
Good thing that I am so experienced with seeing grotesque imageries.
My stomach would have lost what remains of a very delicious turkey sandwich from before if I didn't.
Furthermore, my power protects me from all kind of temporal effects as well as from death itself.
Sometimes I wish it doesn't.
At least then I don't have to come face to face with the all the contorted person as they try to evacuate from the building with their belongings.
Seeing them startles me again and again, especially little children running down the staircase.
They looks like abomination crawling down a spiralling well of steps, which seems to stretch or expand into oblivion.
The distortion of space and time also gives me this tingling sensation.
It is hard to describe, but it feels like thousand of tiny insects are crawling all over my skins and inside my body.
Creepy as hell, but I have handled much worse before.
I try to ignore the feeling since it is more of a distraction than actual pain.
Before investigating the apartment and the odd temporal phenomenon any further, I decide to give a call to the owner of the building.
Getting his number is easy thanks to all the terrified tenants.
With my generous offer, the owner becomes a very happy man. He immediately sells me the haunted building, citing that whatever happen afterwards does not concern him. This includes all the reporters and public servants.
Chrono Reserves will work out the legal side of thing for me. It is one of their jobs.
I request a division of Shield personnel as well. Several dozens of men arrive to the apartment in SUVs within the next couple of hours.
Alongside with them are some Hydra scientists.
The scientists are there to confirm some of my theories. I do have better understandings of the natural world than them due to my studies in the 31st century, but it is good to have a scientific discussion.
They also brought along much needed equipment and measuring tools.
"From the initial examination, there are temporal fluctuations all over the building, Lord Maxwell. It is highly unstable at the moment. It is also expanding, but losing intensity at the same time."
The guy named Hammond Washer tells me once the building are emptied of people.
Everyone has gotten evicted from the building by the people from Shield Security. They are forced to leave their belonging behind since taking those will only slow them down.
A couple of the men have gone missing in the process. Like the other victims, they just vanish without a trace.
Even the tracker embedded inside their body stop emitting signals.
To stop losing more men to the temporal distortion, I have them retreat away from the building.
They are to set up a perimeter and negotiate with the public instead.
Having the police and politician in your pocket does help things along. The cover story is some kind of chemical spill.
Of course nobody with a working brain buys that fictional shit like they do in the movies, but the cover story does give the media something to focus on for now.
"Tell me something I don't already know, Mr. Washer."
I snort. Even without all the high-tech measuring tools, I could have figure that out myself. I suppose that I should give Hammond and his men a break.
They are not witnessing everything happening like I do.
"Umm... the effect will dissipates with time. We just need to evacuate everyone from the surrounding area to prevent them from being spirited away. In a couple more weeks, this building will be habitable again, I think."
He is unsure whether the building can be occupied in the future, but from the preliminary readings he got so far, it does seem to be likely.
"You think? Is that a scientific thing to say. What about the people who are... what did you say it was? Spirited away? This is not a supernatural event."
Hammond shrugs at my question. He doesn't really know, but he does have some theories about what happened to those people.
Every scientists do.
"We believe that the people are displaced in time, either to the past or to the future. We won't know until we do more measurements and experiments. Is it not possible to use your ability to see where those people are?"
Everyone in Hydra knows about my ability by now.
It is not really a secret.
The top scientists have tried to research my ability with my expressed permission, but there is a reason why time travel has not been invented even in the 31st century.
They did conclude that my power is not technological. As they are men of science, they don't want to say it is magical or spiritual. They eventually decided that it is just another mystery of the universe like dark matter and dark energy.
"It is not that easy, Mr. Washer. With the distortion in place, it is very difficult to navigate through the timeline and lock onto a certain instant in time."
I point out.
"Oh. Okay. This might take a while, Lord Maxwell, so you might have something else better to do than to watch over us. We will do our best to give you a satisfying answer."
I suppose he is right. I do have better things to do. I have a multi-millions dollar company to run and a lot of people to crush in the future.
How did Henry do all of that and still have time for his family?
I already know the answer to that.
I didn't attend the funeral of one Marian Oxford but I did send my condolences in form of an expensive bouquet.
If I didn't send my condolence, Hydra and Shield might think that they should be getting ready to take down Henry and his family.
No one from Hydra attended the funeral on the account I did have her killed. Only the higher ups from Shield did, but they are long time friends with Henry.
They wouldn't dare if I am actually at odd with Henry.
"Keep me updated, Mr. Washer. Bring in more hands if you have to. Also, find out of this phenomenon is happening elsewhere."
It takes a full day for Hammond to report back to me with his findings.
The first line on the report confirms my fear.
It is not an isolated incident.
More than a dozens temporal distortions are located throughout the United States.
They're all started on that particular Monday around 8am.
Hundreds of Shield personnel and vehicles are scrambled to those locations, getting the handle on the whole situation.
Luckily, the temporal distortions there are not as severe as the one in the apartment.
News all around the globes tells me that it is not restricted to the United States either. Missing reports are found in China, India, and Japan. People just vanishes without a trace.
Hydra has sends teams flying across the globe with temporal detectors to secure those sites. I cannot allow this to spread and cause mass hysteria.
It seems like Marian has forced me to open the Pandora's box.
The timeline is destabilizing.
Even jumping to the past will not prevent this from happening.
And the future shows me a world full of temporal rifts.
The rifts are tearing the planet apart, scattering people through time and space.
"Call Mr. Jobs and Mr. Gate that I will have to reschedule my meeting with them tomorrow. Something very important has come up. I will be away for a week, maybe longer. Just follow the schedule I have planned. Everyone should know what they have to do."
I left several more messages before bringing Antigone to massive Shield Headquarter in orbit.
My daughter is much safer there than on Earth.
If I cannot stop a temporal rift from forming, the headquarter will propel itself away from the planet along with some of the brightest minds of the human race.
It is built like a generation ship to ensure that humanity will never be able to destroy themselves.
The only way to do that is spread humanity amongst the stars and across to the infinite universe.
Unfortunately, the universe cannot protect humanity from the destruction of the timeline.