by Aidan Fritz
Ella swiped her badge against the security plate. Today was the day. Her palms sweated, they hadn't done that since her interview at the supercollider lab.
He had to love her. He was her mirror, positive and negatives switched. Her mother would scoff at their relationship. She'd ask, how could Ella know love if she'd never met the man? It was the dance of decaying particles.
Ella wasn't sure how long she'd stood there. The security plate blinked red. Access denied. She swiped her badge a second time. Blasted door, picking today to fail. The clock ticked.
Entering Director Allegheny's paper-strewn office, Ella said, "Something's wrong with my badge."
"Nothing is wrong."
"I can't access the supercollider core."
"You have worked too hard. Take some time off."
Bosses never understood. "Are you firing me?"
"I need access to the collisions." Her passage required alignment.
"No." Allegheny approached awkwardly like test tubes in an earthquake. "The psychological models predicted your actions. You must abandon this line of inquiry. The world consists primarily of antimatter. You believe in a mirage."
Ella slammed the director's door. Allegheny was an apparatchik, caring more about the dollars in grants that would disappear. A life waited for her.
It was easier than Ella expected. A custodian left his cart and badge outside the restroom. The security plate blinked green.
Accelerated particles streamed to strike the plate. Scared, she stepped into the beam. A flame-limned hand stretched to meet her. Her lover.
Today was the day.