Sharp Respite

“And.. now,” Charlotte said. Steve eagerly glanced around the hotel lobby to search for differences. The same handful of patrons and hotel staff that were in the lobby at 11:59 p.m. were still there one minute later at 6:00 a.m. At least, it was supposed to be 6:00 a.m. Steve glanced at his watch to be sure.

“The time changed, but nothing’s different,” he said. Charlotte smiled and nodded.

“It took a lot of work to get it perfect, but Ms. Sharp insisted. Every night at 11:59 p.m. the world resets to 6:00 a.m. seamlessly. Everyone is doing exactly what they were doing from one loop to the next. Of course, most of them don’t know it’s happening.” Charlotte lifted her wrist to point at the thin, red-glowing bangle on her wrist. It was exactly like the one Steve put on before he arrived at the hotel.

“Please keep this on at all times. Since you’re not a Unique Soul you’re susceptible to the timestream here.” Charlotte shook her head as she warned him. “You don’t want to fall into the timeloop. Getting you out won’t be a problem, but it would throw off the rest of the day. Considering what it took to get here, that’s something you really want to avoid,” she said with a bright smile. Though, her brown eyes were stern and serious. Steve nodded. Ms. Sharp was the most powerful woman in the universe. He knew he didn’t want to be on her bad side. His whole purpose for being there was to try and work his way up to her. He was reporting on the niche vacation packages offered by Sharp Development. It was a long way from the woman herself; but, it was a starting point.

“Have you worked here long?” Steve asked Charlotte. He gestured at one of the tables in the lobby, then pulled out a seat for her. She smiled and sat; he sat across from her.

“I’ve been the general manager here since we opened a century ago,” she replied.

“So you were there at the beginning,” Steve grinned. “Tell me. How in the hell did Ms. Sharp think this concept had any traction?” He shook his head. “I can’t believe anyone would pay for this.”

“Ms. Sharp noticed that every Earth created time-loop myths at some point in their development. There’s a longing for that ultimate solitude. The market’s always been there; Ms. Sharp is the first to act on it. Though, being affiliated with powerful Muertes helped with the actual controlling of time,” Charlotte giggled.

“Earlier you said, ‘most of them don’t know it’s happening’, does that include staff?” Steve asked. Charlotte nodded.

“We let them decide, and they’re allowed to change their mind from quarter to quarter.”

“This Earth is known as the Groundhog Server, does Ms. Sharp have any other time-looped vacation servers?” Charlotte nodded once, then shook her head.

“Ms. Sharp owns a wide variety of servers. I’m more than sure some of them are time-looped. However, the Groundhog Server is the only one available as a vacation destination. The demand has always been there, but there’s still not quite enough to warrant a second Earth. Currently this server is only half-full.”

“Does Ms. Sharp visit often?” Steve asked. It wasn’t related to his article; but, he hoped he could steal a few minutes of her time if she randomly showed up.

“Only for business,” Charlotte said. “She’s very busy. In fact-,” Charlotte stopped talking for a moment. Amusement sparkled in her eyes as she looked at something behind Steve. He turned to follow her gaze and found a black portal open and waiting.

“In fact, most of the time she just summons me when she needs something,” Charlotte stood from the table. “We’ll have to finish the interview later, I hope you don’t mind.”  She disappeared into the black hole and it closed behind her.

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