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  1. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
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    Manchester, England

    Short Story Contest (52): Theme - Time Travel - Submission & Details Thread

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Gannon, Sep 15, 2009.

    Short Story Contest 52
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: Time Travel​

    Open to all, newbies and established members alike. Please post your entries as replies to this thread. At the deadline I will collate all entries and put them forward for voting in a seperate thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. Sadly, there is no prize on offer except pride.

    Theme: 'Time Travel' (courtesy of member -NM-, amongst others). Any interpretation valid.

    Suggested Wordlimit: 500 - 3000 words.
    Deadline for entries: September 28th 2009 10.00 am (UK local)

    There is a 10% word-limit leniency at both ends of the scale. Please try to stick within the limit. As below, any piece outside of the suggested limit may not be entered into the voting.

    There is a maximum of 20 entries to any contest. If there are more than 20 entries to any one contest I will decide which are entered into voting based on adherence to the suggested word limit and relevance to the theme, not on a first-come-first served basis.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seemingly outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece manner to decide its legitamacy for the contest.

    Submissions may not have been previously posted on this site, nor may they be posted for review until voting has closed. Only one entry per contest please.

    Please try to refrain from itallicising, bolding, colouring or indenting any text to help avoid disappointment. These stylistics do not reproduce when I copy-paste them into the voting thread.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please leave me a visitor message or PM me. Please do not clog up this, or any other thread, with your questions.

    Thanks and good luck.
  2. Catchlight

    Catchlight Member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Likes Received:
    The Seventh Wave (777)

    He had found me on the beach one day. I was lost, alone and bruised. My mind was on other things, like counting the waves. I was hoping that the seventh, the biggest, would carry me away. It might as well, I was all alone and no one would notice that I was gone. All I had left was me.

    “Would you like to borrow my umbrella?” He asked. I looked up, trying to make out his face, lost in a halo of sunshine.

    “Why? It’s not raining?”

    “No, it’s not. It was a line. I suck at lines.” He raised his hand to shade his face from the glare of the sun.

    “You could just try saying Hello.”

    “Ok, hello. I’m Daniel, idiot but all round nice guy, mostly.”

    “Hi, I’m Kelly, no idea whether I’m nice or not anymore.”

    He sat with me then, on the beach with its disappointing surf and made me laugh. I learned quickly that with him, there was nothing to fear. He was warmer than the sunshine, brighter than the moon and more constant than the tide.


    We sat on my sofa while a movie played unnoticed on the television. His finger stroked along my brow, gently shifting the hair from my face.

    “I can’t see your eyes.” He said.

    “You’re not missing much, they’re just eyes."

    “Oh how wrong you are. They’re a time machine. In those eyes, I see our future.”

    “Ah really, so what do you see?” I nibbled my lower lip as a smile teased at the corners of my mouth.

    “I see you, standing on the beach in a white dress, waiting for me. I see you again after a few years have passed. Your hair is longer. You’re holding a tiny baby in your arms and smiling. The baby has your nose.” His finger traced its way down my cheek and drifted to my lips.

    “Does the baby have your hair?”

    “Mm hm. It has my hair with your eyes and nose. It’s the most beautiful baby in the entire world.” He nibbled along my jaw line, his hands lost in my hair.

    “I like time travel; does it have a happy ever after?” I asked.

    “It does, it has a very happy ever after. I promise”


    Daniel had apologized to me the day his doctor told us he would die. He was sorry for the promise that he couldn’t keep. But he didn’t fail, it was all me. He had saved me, been my family and been my life. When his turn came, when he needed a hero, I was helpless. Useless.


    “I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.” I whisper into his ear, my lips grazing the light stubble that decorates his cheek.

    “I’m sorry I couldn’t stay.” His voice is strong today, his eyes still bright as he looks up into mine.

    “I see a time machine in your eyes,” I say.

    A smile creases his cheeks, torturing his dry lips. “What do you see?”

    “It’s beautiful. I see perfection, the most wonderful life in all the world."

    “You do?”

    “I do. I see me standing on a beach in a white dress with a minister. I'm holding a handful of roses, I'm waiting for you and I'm smiling. I see you standing in the door of a hospital room while I hold our little baby in my arms and we name her Katie. I see a little house with flowers in the garden and you sitting beside me under a big shady tree. I see all the things that we have had in these few years.”

    “I like time travel. Does it have a happy ever after?” he asks. His lip quivers just a little and a tear rests at the corner of his eye.

    “No, not this time, but it had the most beautiful of beginnings.”

    But I am wrong.


    It is over and I sit on the beach, watching the surf and counting the waves. In a flurry of sand she stands before me, hand shielding her eyes from the bright sun.

    “What are you doing Mama?” she asks.

    “I’m just wishing that I had an umbrella,” I say.

    Katie sits in my lap and looks up at me. “It’s not even raining you know.”

    “I know sweetie. Look at the waves, aren’t they pretty?”

    She doesn’t look at the waves; she keeps looking up at me. Her eyes are golden, like the sand, like her fathers. And I see it, our future. It’s there, swimming in the eyes of our child.

    I found it Daniel. Our bright future, our happy ever after.
  3. -NM-

    -NM- Active Member

    Mar 19, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Standing On The Edge

    1732 Words

    As Will reached the summit he stopped for a moment to catch his breath. The climb had taken a lot out of him and he was breathing very heavily. He leaned over and placed his hands on his knees, trying to draw the air into his lungs – it was cold and burned his dry throat.

    After a minute or two he stood up straight; his face was flushed from a mixture of the cold and the exertion and he rubbed it to warm it up a bit. Despite his thick coat and his hat and gloves, he was still very cold. Up on the top of the cliff the air seemed to be stronger and it stung any exposed skin, leaving it raw and painful. Even through his clothes his fingers and toes were going numb, but it didn’t really matter that much, he wouldn’t feel the discomfort for much longer.

    There was no-one else up here at this time of morning, as the sun was barely out and the air was still full of the night’s mist. He was alone, so very alone.

    He stepped slowly over to the edge of the cliff, taking in every sensation as he passed over the soft grass – tipped with silver dew – and across the mud. He stood for a moment and looked out at the horizon. In the distance the sea was dark and ferocious; he could see the waves rolling this way and that, putting on a show for him, giving him just a glimpse of its power. Directly beneath him the water was clearer and it struck the side of the cliff gently, washing up around several large rocks which stuck out of the surface.

    Will closed his eyes and listened to the gentle sound of the water hitting the rocks and the distant call of the seagulls as they swooped down from the sky to search for food. So alone...He felt like the last man on earth, standing at the very top of the world looking down upon it all, soaking up the beauty and the tranquillity it offered him.

    He removed his coat and held it out in front of him, he looked at it for a moment and then let go. It floated gently downwards, shaking as the wind assaulted it and tried its best to keep it airborne, until the moment that it hit the water, where it simply floated on the surface, rolling back and forth as the gentle waves came in. Next was the hat and then the gloves, they followed the coat down to the surface of the sea and remained floating there a few hundred feet below, looking up at him, encouraging him to follow them. The jumper was next to go, followed swiftly by the t-shirt. Both of which swooped down like a bird of prey going in for the kill, landing gently on the water.

    He stood there staring down at the clothes, shivering slightly but wanting to feel the cold, wanting to experience every last sensation he could before he left them behind forever. The wind struck his bare chest again and again, challenging him to regret it, but he refused.
    He took a deep breath and felt the morning air fill his lungs close to bursting point; he held it in for a moment, then released it to the world once more and turned his attention to the horizon.

    “Nice day for it eh?” said a voice behind him.

    Startled, Will spun around and saw an old man standing next to him, wrapped up in a warm coat and scarf, banging his gloved hands together to warm them up.

    “Nice day for what?” asked Will.

    “You know what,” replied the man.

    Will turned back to face the sea. He really didn’t want an audience for this. This was a private moment, the last moment he would ever have and he wished to share it with no-one; it was between him and God, no-one else.

    “What do you want?” he asked without turning to face the man.

    “To talk to you,” the man replied.

    “Well now is not the best time,” said Will sarcastically. “Come back later.”

    “Now is the best time,” said the old man, “Now is the only time.”

    Will turned to face the man again. The lines and wrinkles on his face were made more prominent by the cold weather and his whole face looked dry and aged. His hair was short and white, combed over slightly to the left, resting on his forehead just above his eyes.
    “Who are you?” asked Will.

    “Someone who doesn’t want to see you do something stupid.”

    “You’re calling me stupid? You don’t even know me. You don’t know what I’ve been through, what I’ve had to endure. Trust me, a lesser man would have been up here years ago, it’s a miracle I’ve made it this far.”

    “A lesser man may have, but a greater man wouldn’t be so cowardly. A greater man would face his problems head on, deal with them and live his life.”

    “Who the hell do you think you are to give me advice on life?” said Will angrily. “You think you can just waltz up here, spout a few pieces of your wisdom, save my life and be back in time for lunch? You’re nothing, you’re nobody, now please leave me in peace.”
    “But I know you Will.”

    “How do you know my name?” asked Will, narrowing his eyes.

    “Because I know you, I know you better than you know yourself.”

    “What is that supposed to mean?”

    “I am you Will. I am you aged seventy five.”

    Will scoffed and looked the man up and down sarcastically. “Well lovely to meet me, I’m sure. Now if you don’t mind, I have some business to attend to.” He pointed towards the rocks below.

    “I know what you’re going through,” said the old man, “because I went through it myself. But you must remember that no matter how bleak things seem, how dark your life may get, there is always light at the end of the tunnel Will, always.”

    “Yes, I agree. And that light is waiting for me down there,” he replied.

    “You’ve fought to overcome problems and grief all your life, now is no time to run.”

    “What is the point?!” shouted Will. “When no matter what I do, everything just keeps getting worse?!”

    “The point is that you are still young, you have your whole life ahead of you, so many sights, so many experiences, not all good, but some truly breathtaking. Do you really want to throw all that away?”

    “I’m not throwing anything away, I am never going to have the kind of life I want and dream about. I am going to be stuck in this hell forever until the moment that it finally, blissfully ends. And that moment is now.”

    “But you can, don’t you see. I know that it seems like it’s just a distant dream, but it isn’t, it is a reality and you have to fight for it if you want it.”

    “Look, who the hell are you?” asked Will, the annoyance clear on his face.

    “I told you, I am you.”

    “And I’m supposed to believe that am I?”

    “You can believe whatever you like,” replied the old man, pulling his scarf tighter to shield his neck from the cold.

    “So let’s suppose for a minute that you’re telling the truth,” said Will, “and that you are me from the future. You’re what? Time travelling?”

    “Not exactly, but for all intents and purposes, I suppose so.”

    “But if you’re me then you know I don’t kill myself, as otherwise how could I grow into you?”

    “You have to make your own choice, just as I did when I was your age and I saw me at my age on this cliff.”

    “I could do it you know. I could step off this cliff right now, then what? You will cease to exist? Or you’ll just watch me fall because you’re really just some old prat who thinks he’s funny?”

    “You would never know which,” said the old man.

    “Maybe I should do it then,” replied Will, stepping right onto the edge of the cliff until his toes were resting on nothing but air.

    “Maybe you should,” replied the old man.

    Will turned and looked down at the rocks below and the salty water washing up all around them. They looked so inviting – a release from this hell, eternal peace and quiet and rest. He turned back to the man again.

    “You’re lying,” he said. “You’re not me.”

    “Aren’t I?”

    “No. If you were then that would mean my future is already decided, that my choice here has already been made, as well as all my choices. That every action I take has already been written, already been played out and I am no more than an actor going through the scenes. I don’t believe that. I can’t believe that. I have to believe that I am in control of my life, of my destiny.”

    “You are,” said the old man. “But you will have nothing to control if you take that step.”

    Will looked out at the distant reaches of the sea as it touched the sky, blending dark blue into light as the two became one. He turned back to say something else but the man was gone. He was nowhere to be seen, not even any footprints left in the mud where he had been standing.

    Will looked down one last time at the rocks and took a deep breath. The air rushed into his lungs and his bare chest expanded as it filled.

    Had the man been telling the truth? Was he really destined to walk away from this and go on with his life? In which case what was the point if it was all already decided for him? Or had the man not even been real? Maybe he had just been a figment of his imagination – one last gasp attempt by his subconscious to snap him out of this and save him.

    My life is my own and my choices are yet to me made, he thought to himself. And only one choice remains.

    He closed his eyes and listened to the sea below him – so
  4. losthawken

    losthawken Author J. Aurel Guay Role Play Moderator Contributor

    May 5, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Eternity Undone - 1752 words

    “I love Seamus, I really do. It’s just,” Sarah’s voice cracked as she strained to find the words, “Oh Henry, I don’t know what to do anymore.”

    The girl stared at the floor and her auburn hair fell over her face. Images of meeting Seamus on her first day of school, studying together for exams, and their long talks of physics, life and love flashed through her mind. Henry reached an age spotted hand into his pocket and produced a clean handkerchief.

    “Thank you,” she sniffled regaining her composure, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-“

    “Its find dear,” replied Henry’s gentle voice. “You’ve been saying for quite some time that he has been too busy with his work.”

    “You’re so sweet,” she replied placing her hand on his. “You’ve been like a father to me since I started school here, and I... I know you’re right. It’s just that in the last week it’s been so much worse, he’s stopped eating, he barely sleeps, he’s spends all of his time in this stupid lab. I’m really worried about him.”

    As she spoke Sarah motioned to the laboratory in which they sat and the many technical devices that lay strewn about it. The tears began to well again and she looked down at the weathered hand holding her own as she searched for a distraction.

    “How did you get that?” she asked. Motioning towards an old cross shaped scar in the thin leathery skin.

    “What this?” replied Henry. “Oh, I got that eons ago. I’ve nearly forgotten how it happened.”

    Sarah sighed. “I don’t mean to keep you from your work.”

    “I suppose these floors won’t clean themselves,” with a smile Henry reached for his cleaning bucket and made his way towards the hall. Though he was just a janitor, Henry was well known as a listening ear to many students in the building.

    “I’ve been talking to Seamus too, but he doesn’t listen much to me,” he said pausing at the door, “I’ve been around long enough to know when something is going on. I’ve heard strange sounds and voices coming from this lab. The instruments here are much more advanced than any I’ve seen a student work on. I fear that Seamus has gotten involved in something dangerous. Something tells me that your the only one that can help him. Please try.”

    It was an odd comment for the university janitor. Sarah sat perplexed with her emotions and waited. Moments later the shadow of Henry leaving was replaced by that of Seamus entering the lab carrying yet another strange device.

    “Sarah, what are you doing here?” Seamus was more curt than usual and had a harried look about him.

    “Seamus, I came-“

    “You shouldn’t be here. You need to leave now!,” His voice was both stern and anxious as he glared through bloodshot eyes.

    “No Seamus, we need to talk,” Sarah stood and approached with determination. “What is going on with you? I haven’t seen you in a week! You don’t sleep, you don’t eat. I asked Dr. Morgan but he is convinced you are working on a micro-fab project. But I don’t even recognize the devices you are working on here. What are you doing?”

    Her voice shook as her emotions surged. The flood of tears was still only a moment away, but Seamus didn’t seem to notice.

    “Too late,” Seamus muttered to himself as he looked at his watch. He turned to the door and quickly bolted it shut.

    A sudden gust of wind blew through the sealed room, tossing papers and pushing the wheeled carts about the in all directions. Sarah heard something start to hiss. The sound expanded into a deafening roar as it echoed through the room. She covered her ears and clenched her eyes when it culminated in a blinding light that illuminated the dimly lit laboratory.

    “What is she doing here!” boomed a familiar voice out of the silence that followed.

    “She was here when I got here,” apologized Seamus. “It’s Sarah.”

    Sarah looked up. Standing in the room now was a middle aged man, but not on like she had ever seen before. Energy seemed to radiate from him. In various places pulsating devices were embedded into his skin. Below silvered hair a glowing light shone through his eyes.

    “Of course I know who it is,” replied the man sternly. “No matter, this is the hour. We have a very short window and we cannot afford to be delayed.”

    Those eyes! Sarah gasped. The stranger had the very same eyes that she had gazed into on countless nights since she had started dating Seamus.

    “Impossible,” Sarah stuttered as she rose to her feet.

    Seamus gave Sarah a helpless shrug as he followed the beckoning of his older self. The pair began to work together assembling devices around the large platform in the center of the room. They discussed their work in hushed voices, indifferent to Sarah’s presence.

    “Seamus, what is this? What is going on?” She demanded trying not to screech her exasperation.

    “Sarah, I know it’s a lot to take in, but thirty years from now I will discover time travel.” Seamus paused to explain despite cold looks from his future self.

    “But what does that have to do with now?” it was a lot to accept but not nearly as unsettling as the menacing grimace of the uncanny man beside Seamus.

    “Simple girl,” replied the more mature Seamus in a voice like ice. He motioned to his junior self to continue working and returned his own attention to the devices that he was assembling as he continued to speak, “I haven’t spent the past century arranging these events to be delayed by foolish prattle. So let me explain briefly while we continue.”

    “To be most accurate, your Seamus WOULD have discovered time travel thirty years from now. From there he would go on to change both history and the future. Over thousands of leaps through time he would delay the inevitable human Armageddon until technology advanced far enough for him to achieve immortality,” the enhanced Seamus gesture towards himself with a sweeping hand, “With an immortal body I have pushed the time-space continuum to its limit and I have discovered a way to escape its limitation altogether! But I need a younger self to complete the process, and so your Seamus will renew my journey and take us into the transcendence of time, into eternity!”

    “But Seamus, what about your life here? What about us?” She pleaded. Looking at his back as he worked she searched for any sign of the love he had once professed for her. She found only a fleeting glance as Seamus continued assembling the device. A control panel was now being attached to the instruments assembled around the platform.

    “You heard him Sarah, immortality, transcendence! How can I not follow my destiny? I will come back for you I... I promise. But I have to do this first,” he spoke without looking at her. Was he afraid to look? Afraid that if he saw her face his nerve would unravel? She hoped that it would.

    From the corner of her eye Sarah thought she saw the future Seamus smirk.

    “Seamus, please. This doesn’t seem right!”

    At that moment sparks leapt out from the wall where Seamus had been connecting heavy cables that would power the nearly assembled device. Cursing Seamus clutched his hand and stared at the smoldering burn.

    “Don’t worry, Seamus,” called the older man with a smiled from across the room. He held up a matching scar on his own hand. “It will heal.”

    Seamus tore a piece from his shirt and wrapped his injured hand. Still grimacing with the pain he surveyed the equipment one more time before stepping onto the platform.

    “I’m sorry Sarah, I’ll come back for you I promise.”

    “Seamus if you love me please STOP! I don’t trust him!” she cried out one last time.

    Seamus’s future self stepped to the control panel. With the touch of a few buttons the machine began to power up. Sarah could feel the surge of energy as the hairs on her forearms and neck stood on end. Walls of glowing energy surrounded Seamus. Through them Sarah saw him looking at her and smile as he mouthed the words, ‘I love you’.

    Sarah’s hands covered her mouth as the tears overwhelmed her. A sickening blend of grief and rage filled her. She her head shook and the whisper escaped against her volition.

    “No, you don’t.”

    The next few moments were a blur. Henry reappeared striding toward the machine with a vigor Sarah had never seen. As he reached for the control panel the future Seamus bellowed and swung at the elderly man, but his arm passed through its target like a vapor. Next there was an explosion followed by two sets of wrenching screams.

    Then it was over. The room was quiet and dark except for bits of the broken machine that still sparked at random. The acrid smell of smoke and burning flesh filled the room. Sarah found herself alone with Henry who stood silent and still at the control panel. On the platform was a pile of darkened ash.

    The elderly janitor turned. She could see that tears were streaming from his eyes as much as hers.

    “I tried to stop them,” he whispered almost to himself as he wiped his cheek with his scarred hand, “a million lifetimes I tried. You cannot imagine what they did to humanity, what I did, all for such vain ambition. You must understand; there was no other way.”

    Sarah couldn’t move. Her disobedient muscles merely quivered in trauma that surrounded her. Henry made to leave, but paused as he reached Sarah’s side. Staring at the ground he spoke again through a horse voice.

    “I’m sorry to have done this to you, but you were my last hope. I thought that my youthful love for you might change my future. I’m sorry Sarah. He didn’t know love.”

    “But your scar!” Sarah finally found her voice. She pointed toward Henry’s hand, clinging to any hope that her beloved Seamus was not gone, “How can he be dead if you are still here?”

    “My dear Sarah,” The man replied and looked up at her. His face gleamed softly with an unnatural light. Through his tears she could see a love that her Seamus had never been able to give her, “some things take an eternity to understand.”
  5. ThadOcho

    ThadOcho Member

    Oct 27, 2008
    Likes Received:
    The Paradox Infringement Project (2268 words)

    When Drake Young saw Mathis, he felt a heated blush crawl up through his face. The blush was not one of embarrassment, but of intense loathing. Drake had not seen this killer’s face in a few years, but here they were reunited again, underground and both apart of the Paradox Infringement Product, or the PIP. It was humorously nicknamed in the press, however, as “Time Machine X”, and today was the experiment’s first launch, after two years of hard work and nonstop construction and analysis; production on the machine never stopped, as there were both day and night shifts for the crew, which consisted of around two thousand engineers, around a thousand architects, and many scientific professionals from all across the globe.

    Drake himself was one of the engineers, and had worked on the Paradox Infringement Project since Day One, after the brutal murder of his mother one year before that. He had gotten the job fresh out of college, and was shipped to Australia where the underground facility was already created, and construction began the next day. It took two years to build the machine itself. The machine was a twenty-mile-long electrical cylinder, 83% being the development of a massive particle, that all workers on the PIP hoped would obtain the object in the test chamber, which was another 1%, to move faster than the speed of light. Another 6% was the acceleration engine, which would be started up simultaneously as the massive particle was created. The last ten percent was a small tunnel, big enough to fit an obese man, that lead to the Ending Bunker, which was a floor underneath the machine itself. The Bunker was to be the place where the test subject would--hopefully--end up after ten minutes. The subject will then be interviewed on the experience, if the subject lives, and another experiment would be planned to duplicate and increase the experience. The PIP was a very big project for humanity, and a lot of it relied on the test subject: former Doctor Isaac Harold Mathis, prisoner on death row and Drake Young’s mother’s killer.

    Mathis had been Bella Young’s psychiatrist. Little did anyone know, though, was that Mathis was only part-time doctor, and full-time sadist, who manipulated his female patients to come to his home where he would torture and kill them mercilessly. Mathis had killed six woman before Mrs. Young, and did not dispose of their corpses for whatever strange reason he could come up with. After Mrs. Young’s disappearance, Mathis was also absent from public life for some time. Mathis’ neighbors confirmed they heard screaming from Mathis’ house, and an investigation was ordered. Mathis was imprisoned with a life sentence, and more recently death row after raping and killing another prisoner, who was a young man around Drake’s age, although Mathis gave his word that the prisoner had threatened him.

    Drake met Mathis at the former’s trial, at which the killer apologized heartily to his victims’ families, and pleaded for them to forgive him. Drake did not oblige like the others; he loved his mother very dearly, and the psychopath did not deserve any forgiveness for his actions. Also, Drake believed none of it. He suspected Mathis was playing remorseful so the judge would go easier on him. This new death at his hands proved Drake’s point: Isaac Mathis was not sorry for his murderous actions, and would continue them if he could.

    When it was announced to all workers of the PIP that a serial killer on death row agreed to partake in this, Drake paid no mind. When he was told that it was his mother’s killer, however, he was astounded and outraged; Mathis would partake in this project, and if he lived, he would be free once again. This caused almost daily arguments in Drake’s head.

    We need him to live through this to change humanity…
    He killed my mother! I hope the machine is broken and he dies, horribly at that!
    For the good of mankind.
    Let justice be served already!

    However, the fear etched upon Mathis’ face right now was enough for justice. An instructor was telling him what was about to happen, or what was supposed to happen, and Mathis looked as though he would die of terror right here, right now. Everyone, workers and the press alike, was gathered at the entrance of the test chamber, which was a cylindrical room that eventually connected to the development of the mass particle’s chamber.

    Mathis was in a dark blue jumpsuit, and he was trembling like a live wire in it. Before this, Drake had been told that the killer was given the best meal of his life and the best sleep of his life last night before coming this morning. But Mathis looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks, and that possibly final meal looked just about ready to be upchucked.

    “He’s real brave, isn’t he?” asked fellow engineer James Potts, noticing Drake staring at Mathis.

    “Oh, yeah,” Drake agreed half-heartedly. “Bravest man I know.” He saw Mathis whisper something to the instructor, and wished the noise of everyone in this metallic room would shut their traps so he could hear the killer’s frightful inner thoughts he was asking the instructor about.

    Even if Mathis survived through this, Drake had no intentions of letting this man roam free. In his spare room at his apartment aboveground in Sydney he had a .22 Smith and Wesson which he had bought the day he heard Mathis was coming. He did not know how to use a gun, but he knew that if he HAD to use it, he would.

    And he seemed to be the only man in this audience who was wishing he wouldn’t.

    A voice on the loud intercoms that were built into the ceiling said, “Production of particle has been launched. Please put subject into chamber in no less than ten seconds.”

    Big, burly men escorted Mathis hurriedly to the chamber’s main door. They pushed him through the open door, and punched a button that closed it automatically. Everyone was silent suddenly. Silent except for Mathis, who was banging on the metal door and screaming; apparently the killer did not want to partake in this any more.

    Then there was a loud, humming sound that caused many workers cover their ears with their gloved hands, and Drake saw some of the press drop their equipment at the unexpected shock of the noise. Drake kept his ears open, focusing hard on his mother’s killer’s screams. The humming grew louder and louder, and the last audible thing Drake heard Isaac Mathis say was, “OH DEAR SWEET JESUS--!” before the humming became a thunderous rumble, the sound of a stampede of many giants.

    The underground floor began to tremble slightly. People began clinging to others to stay on their foot, while some others fell with meaty smacks against the marble floor. Drake grasped Potts’ shoulder, and Potts did the same and they both kept each other afoot.

    Then the trembling stopped, and then the rumbling stopped. Everyone was dead silent.

    The intercom spoke again, “Please do not go near the chamber entrance to those near the test chamber. Anyone who tries will be shot on the spot. Next report in ten minutes.”

    Five minutes passed. Many people talked amongst themselves in low voices, as if generally loud noise could some how disrupt the project. Drake did not talk to anyone, not even Potts. He pursed his lips and said nothing. Six minutes passed. Drake began to push through the audience towards the exit to drive home and get his gun.

    The Ending Bunker was a small arena-like room with a red circle in the middle of the floor. A group of fifty or so professional scientists sat in a amphitheater-like room that had a large window that looked into the arena-room. The theater-room was cool and dark, with a digital clock on east and west walls each that was slowly counting to ten minutes. It was five seconds away. Many of the professionals were biting their nails.

    In a blink of an eye appeared Mathis, right on top of the red circle. There was no flash, no ear-numbing bang; he was simply there, and that was all. Many of the professionals cheered, but one looked closely at the man through the window.

    “What’s wrong with him?” the man asked. “He seems to be paralyzed.”

    The others looked; indeed, Mathis was standing still in the most unusual position. Both of his arms were reaching out, as if grabbing something…or warding something away. His eyes were gray and looking at the blank wall in front of him. Every couple of seconds, they blinked heavily. One professional pulled a microphone out of his seat.

    “Isaac?” asked the professional, speaking into the mic. “Are you alright, son?”

    Mathis’ lips moved from inside the soundproof walls, and out came his words from the microphone.

    “I am fine,” said Mathis. “Better than fine. I am beyond fine.”

    The professional looked at two armed guards who were standing at the door and said, “Bring him in, please. I think we’ve made a mistake.”

    “No,” said Mathis. The professional looked out the window at the subject; somehow, Mathis had heard what he said. “Do not send them in. They can do nothing to me.”

    “Clarify,” said the professional, frowning. The others whispered amongst themselves, troubled.

    “I am Isaac Mathis but I am more than Isaac Mathis now. I’ve seen all…I am all.”

    “Security!” called another professional. “Someone! Someone kill this man, please! His brain is raddled!”

    “You made a mistake,” said Mathis. He was still staring at the wall in that awkward position. “Time travel feels like a mere second, but it is full of information. I know all. I see all.”

    “What do you mean?” strained the mic-holding professional.

    “I mean,” whispered Mathis. “Everything since the beginning of time…it is in me. I am beyond life, beyond death, beyond time…”

    And with that, Mathis vanished. Some professionals roared in shock while the two guards walk into the room, with loaded shotguns, to investigate. The guards looked around while the professionals discussed what had just happened. And then the professionals were crudely interrupted when one guard screamed. They turned to the window and saw one of the guards pinned to the ground by some unseen force. The other guard backed away towards the window, horrified as he watched his fellow worker begin to shudder and jerk maniacally. Then, the pinned guard stopped moving, stopped breathing.

    “What just happened?” asked the mic-holding professional.

    “I don’t know!” cried the living guard. “He just--” Then the other guard was slammed hard against the window, cracking the glass. He was jerked forward in a macabre fashion and then was promptly slammed against the window again, this time breaking through the glass, dead just like the other one was.

    Many professionals ran for the exit in a hurry, but were stopped as if hit by an invisible wall. They dropped, their noses and faces bleeding. The others looked at the hole in the glass window, which seemed to be blowing gusts of winds out of nowhere at them. Then something stepped through the hole, something that wasn’t there before. It was a phantom-ish veil of light purple matter.

    “Beyond space, beyond time,” whispered the being. The window behind it began to crack everywhere, and soon it broke into a million pieces. The being moved forward, and the pieces began to move.

    The professionals screamed as the shards pierced them.

    As Drake Young began to make his way closer to the exit, the voice on the intercom spoke for a last time.

    “Warning! This is immediate evacuation! On-duty guards please traffic these people out of here abruptly! Plea--OH NO! Stay back! Oh God! Please, God, please God, Jesus, NO!”


    Then another voice spoke. It was inhuman, cold and reptilian, something no man or woman in the facility ever heard before or would ever hear again. Only Drake realized with a gasp that behind this voice was the voice of Mathis, deep underneath whatever else was talking.

    “I am beyond, beyond all,” said the voice, and that was all.

    The lights went out. People began to scream, to run around. Guards desperately tried to direct people to the exit. Masses of people hurried to the doors, and Drake was caught in the middle of it all, being pushed to and fro. He was able to make his way to a bare wall, which he leaned up against, panting.

    And then something caught his eyes. Something was moving through the crowd, causing those it touched to drop, something a light purple color with no form. The thing faced Drake, and Drake felt a feeling of recognition coming from the being. Drake’s heart dropped as he realized that Mathis was not only given the experience of time travel through the project, but also something else: everything. In the realm outside of space and time, Mathis had been given everything, and with that, he became everything. Drake wondered what exactly happens beyond time as the Mathis-creature approached him.

    “Let’s finish the job,” the creature whispered, if it COULD whisper, and moved forward.

    Drake thought of the gun in his apartment, how he could’ve ended this before it happened…but if they were talking sense of time, maybe that couldn’t have happened and-

    The engineer Drake Young died before he could finish the thought.
  6. elfen

    elfen Member

    Sep 18, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Untitled (Couldn't think of one that fitted)

    *1372 words*

    It had been a while, sat like this, my head caught up in memories of the past, the present, and the never going to happen. I rocked, shifting position slightly, and closed my eyes, blocking out the ever present incandescence of electric light. The bulb was too strong again, I had told them before, but no-one seemed to listen to me, no-one even cared if I existed sometimes.

    To sleep, perchance to dream, was still the line that echoed in my head. I knew sleep would elude me, as it had done for the past god knows how many nights of how many weeks, months, or quite possibly, years. I kept my eyes closed, hearing the buzz of people surrounding me, checking, constantly interfering with the things I wanted to do. Had I no choice anymore? My mouth pulled into a taut line of frustration, my eyes slipping half open, before closing again. I started to hum, it was a song I hadn’t heard in a while, but it took me back to the good times, times when I thought I ruled the earth.

    I carried on humming, it quickly turning into the bass line of the record my mother was playing on the gramophone. I was sat in her room, on her bed, watching her as she prepared for another evening with my father. She looked so pretty, dressed in her silky dress, the lace edged petticoat peeping out from underneath when she moved. I could also hear the rustle as she moved, bending over slightly to see herself better in the low mirror. I looked at her, and smiled, it being met by another that blazed out of her face as she looked at me, her youngest but much loved daughter.

    I raised my hand, fingers outstretched to touch her dress. I wanted to feel the silk in my hands, but she batted them away, wagging her finger. I knew she didn’t want her dress to be dirty, so I stood up, slipping off the bed to stand next to her in the longer length mirror that hung on the back of the mahogany wardrobe door, the dark wood nearly melting as it meshed with the silver surround of the mirror, the light twinkling on every facet and line it touched, engraved into the cold, unforgiving flesh of silver, its cruel twists forming delicate waves. At least, this was how I saw it.

    I stood in front of the mirror, next to my mother, who pulled me in front of her, my curled and beribboned hair barely touching her waist. She put her arm around my shoulder, then her ungloved hand in my hair, teasing out the coiled strands that refused to be tied in. She laughed, pulling me closer towards her, the smell of roses wafting from her silky pink dress.

    She turned me, and took me to the bathroom, showing me her dresser and the myriad assortment of things that lay there. Her necklace, a line of pearls that glimmered wetly, reminiscent of the sea. Her lipstick, shining pinkly, like a conch shell to be held to one’s ear to hear the sea coursing by. It was this that interested me, this and the scent. I raised my head and smiled as she dabbed rose water on my neck, and put a thin layer of lipstick on. I looked in the mirror and smiled, seeing behind childlike eyes the woman I would one day become, the woman I was now.

    I didn’t like looking into the mirror nowadays, it showed all too well what had happened. It didn’t help that I didn’t want to believe what it showed me, for I knew it all too well to be true. I smiled slightly, softly, opening my eyes to the now dimmer light, feeling my way towards my bed, where the covers were turned back invitingly, and the rain lashed at the windows, safely shut and bound together. I had always loved the seaside, living near it when I was young, always entranced by the sand and the blue sparkling sea, and the sunset, where fingers of red would blemish the sky, blazing a trail across the horizon.

    I closed my eyes once more, all the better to hear the rain with, all the better to slip silently into another memory. It was raining that day too.

    Father had bought me my first car, a dashing little thing in green with a canvas pull-up roof that I never always got up in time, the rain usually lashing down onto the leather seats, me and any passengers with me. I had got the roof up in time this day, but it wasn’t enough, as the rain smashed down from the sky onto the roof, my poor little car gave up.

    Maybe it was the weather, I didn’t know, but I stepped out lightly into the rain, a sudden storm on a bright summer’s day, dressed in a light cotton dress, driving gloves and a scarf. I looked up to the sky, the rain falling onto my face, battering my cheeks with wetness that was then rushed off by the suddenly harsh wind. It appeared we had driven directly into a storm, and as for my little car, we would have to wait until it stopped before we could help her.

    My companion got out of the car, and, rushing around to my side, he grabbed me by the hand as I grabbed my skirts with the other and we ran, stepping over the ditch at the side of the road already filling with dirty water and a sludge-like mud, before we clambered over a sty and into a field. I had to let my skirts down, for they were being pulled out of my hands by the wind, that fey sprite that could never decide whether to be a lion or a lamb, but battered us either way. My skirts streaming, spattered in mud, we ran up to the highest point, under an old oak. We stood and looked at each other dripping wet, and couldn’t help but laugh, couldn’t help but be amused by the looks on each other’s faces. It was that day I knew I loved that man, and that one day he would be my husband and I would be the luckiest woman alive.

    Of course, things like this couldn’t last forever. I opened my eyes, the rain still battering into the windows across from me, the wind still lashing and catching in the branches snipped so harshly that they had all but given up hope.

    In a way, I was like the branches. I had all but given up hope.

    There was nothing now to hold me to this world, and no-one here who would miss me either. I closed my eyes again, and saw not only my husband, my beloved, as he used to be, but also my mother, and my father, him resplendent in uniform, with shiny buttons and shoes, and my mother in her pearl pink evening dress that shimmered in the light and rustled when it met itself. She held her hand out to me, beckoning me come closer, as did my beloved, dressed in the suit he wore on our wedding day, calling me closer.

    And as I stepped closer, I changed too. I wasn’t clad in a nightgown with a silly hat on my head, my white hair poking out from underneath like a wild creature, it was slick, tied in a neat chignon, as auburn as it was when I was younger, the curls trying to escape from their neatly styled grace. I could feel the silk slippers on my feet, the gloves on my hands, no longer wrinkled and old, kept imprisoned by the arthritis that riddled me. I no longer saw through rheumy glazed eyes, the clouds having lifted from my sight.

    I smiled again, and was lost, laughing with my family, laughing with those who loved me, as I slowly left age and infirmity behind me, leaving the shell of whom I was, trapped in a bed, slowly growing cold and ever more alone as the sun rose on another day I would never see.

    Yet on my face was a smile, and around me was the scent of roses, as my mother met me as heaven’s gates.
  7. WMMorgan

    WMMorgan Member

    Jul 29, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Ellisville, Mississippi
    Royce with a V


    “That’s the paradox,” I heard Royce say. He twirled that odd blinking-LED pen of his. “Go back in time, kill your father. Never mind why.” [noparse]

    I knew he was twirling that pen because that’s what Royce always did. I was not there to see him twirl it because I was late for our meeting, and Charley Vanniker hated late. Charley had late reserved only for rock-star authors, or the occasional next-big-thing sex-a-licious starlet.

    Royce, being neither, at least had the smarts to show up 10-a.m., on the dot.

    “Makes no sense in the first place,” Charley sighed. He grinned at me as I tried to slink unobtrusively into his office. Charley Vanniker had many kinds of grins. This one said, you and I gonna have a little talk about this—and where the hell have you been?

    One rule I swear by: Never apologize for being late. Pretend momentary absence, be light on your feet and jump right in. Royce had his spiral notepad open on Charley’s desk. It displayed a diagram drawn in free-hand, the same one I warned Royce not to mention as we met for lunch at Delmario’s the day before. Christ in a sling, I am dead.

    “Mr. Royce,” I interceded, “we producers love fresh ideas. Even old ideas with fresh takes. This,” I said, tapping his sketch, “is not fresh. I hope your take on it is.” I threw a hail-Mary smile back at my boss before I took the chair by his desk. I never liked sitting there. I always felt puny next to that huge mesa of hand-carved mahogany.

    Royce nodded. “Traipse back just fifty years to kill my father?” He eyed Charley, speculating. “I aim instead for my great great great grandfather.”

    Charley stabbed the air above his desk with his finger at Royce. “See, there you go again! Dad or great-great-granddad, what’s the difference?” He swiveled in his chair and pointed at me. “Evan, remember—rational motivation! Avoids plot-holes in film.”

    I stared. Charley Vanniker, godfather of that legendary embarrassment Cheerleaders from Mars, dared lecture me on plot-holes?

    Royce politely sniffed, as if aware of the irony. He tinkered with his flashing pen and tried to flex his knobby fingers. “Mr. Dyer. Recall when you shook my hand in Delmarios’s? What it felt like?”

    Recall? I’ll never forget it. It was like clutching a bundle of jangly bamboo, the culms bent swollen at rotting nodes. I danced around the obvious. “Firm,” I replied, “not sweaty. A big help in this business.”

    “As firm as I was able. You’re most kind, Mr. Dyer.” He framed Charley with his hands, thumbs touching and fingers vertical, that well-known gimmick directors use to visualize shots. Such a brazen pose would usually end a meeting right then and there, for all practical purposes. Give off even the faintest whiff of the geek or the nerd or, God forbid, the trekkie, and you were radioactive; you were over in this town. But the specter of those cragged fingers, together with Royce’s mournful visage as he looked from his hands to Charley and back, was as anti-schlock as you could get.

    Charley half-mimicked Royce, looking like a presbyopic inspecting his fingernails. It was almost rude. “Got a touch too, I think. We age faster in my family.”

    Royce seemed not to hear. “No cure for hologenetic syndromes. I was disqualified from the Ganymede crossing. Then, my application for the Aldebaran expedition, denied.” He dropped his head in his hands. “Do you have any idea what it’s like to have your fate chained to a long-dead relative? Any at all?” He rested his elbows on his knees as he hid his face from shame.

    I thought he was about to weep. The schlock-level lapped still at low tide, but Royce was sailing perilously close to Charley’s comfort limit.

    Incredibly, Charley smiled. Then he laughed. “You know, Evan? I was close,”—he pinched at some invisible thing—“this close to grabbing Royce here by the scruff and boot him. Out the door! You may’ve found us a gem in the rough.”

    Charley stood up with slow grandiosity, a touch of showmanship he stole from Peter Finch and for which he never apologized: I’m as mad as hell, and I am not gonna take this anymore! He reached for Royce like a televangelist embracing his scattered flock.

    “No story. No bios. Yet effortless you slip into character, and infirmity is your strength. And not even an actor!”

    Surprising the hell out of me, Charley swept clear most of his desk. Piles of local mediocrity and dogged small-town hopes tumbled to the floor, the screenplays and manuscripts like mortally-injured geese. “Space to work. Okay, Mr. Royce. Dreams dashed by interstellar voids. I like it! Beats the crap out of cheerleaders from Mars.”

    He plucked a cigar from his humidor, torched it with his lighter and settled again in his chair. He leaned back to blow smoke at the ceiling. The fumes lingered over the desk like an indifferent ghost.

    “But we need more,” Charley begged. “And try not to creep us out too much.”

    Royce jolted upright, dropped his hands between his knees and just as abruptly dropped his misery-fugue. The mood-shift was so quick it startled. Charley even jerked in his chair.

    “According to Morgenstein”, Royce said, “ante-forem patricide risks the unthinkable, father and son trapped forever in a Schrödinger flux. And never mind the cataclysmic consequences. They are beyond calculation, dodecaflops upon dodecaflops.”

    “Morgenstein,” Charley muttered. “Who the heck is Morgenstein?"

    Royce smiled condescendingly. “A champion of Hawking, until the Geneva Collapse.”

    Geneva collapse? What in hell was Royce talking about? Schrödinger sounded familiar; didn’t he once poison a cat? And I recognized Hawking, as in Stephen. I still had my copy of A Brief History of Time, and had I bothered to read it I might have known who Schrödinger was. Instead the book collected dust in a loft, in a stack with my other postponed weekend time-killers.

    “I’ve heard of teraflops,” I admitted, proving I was not a complete technophobe. “But, dodecaflops? That’s a lot of flops.”

    Royce chuckled. “Yes, quite a few flops. But we digress.” He regarded Charley with the same laser-like gaze he used to pin me to the wall in Delmario’s. Charley looked almost nervous.

    “But Sintaro’s corollary trumps Morgenstein,” Royce continued. “Go back a few generations, and the flux disperses. One lives, one dies, and nobody is trapped. Crippling traits never pass on. I change for the better, while remembering all, and more.”

    Now it was Royce’s turn to mimic Charley as he rose slowly out of his chair. Again without melodrama, he framed my boss with his diseased hands. “An ancestor planted this harvest. The roots worm their way to my era. They swelled with each generation.”

    Royce was becoming genuinely spooky.

    Charley Vanniker never spooked easy. He shot to his feet, applauding. It was classic Vanniker. “Magnificent! How about it, Evan? What do you think?”

    What did I think? For a moment there I thought I had doomed myself to a slow and genial ease-out from Vanniker & Associates. So I played along. As the old song goes, there is a time to cast away stones, and there is a time to kiss royal ass.

    “Very imaginative,” I gasped dramatically. “No plot, yet I sense a foundation. There’s a story here, Charley.”

    Charley was either desperately humoring Royce to grease our meeting to a quicker end, or he really did glimpse contracts. “Damn right there’s a story, I smell it.” He snatched up the humidor, opened the lid and presented it to Royce. “Take one. Genuine Havanas. If you don’t partake, give it to a friend who does. A gift that keeps on giving.”

    That was when I saw it, as Charley offered the cigars which Royce regarded with mild disgust. With Charley peering inquisitively at Royce, his head tipped at the same angle.

    Their profiles were identical, from the slope of the forehead to the chin. I felt an inexplicable urge to shout a warning.

    To warn about… what?

    Bit by an afterthought, Charley looked down at the appointment book that somehow escaped his desktop purge. “Mr. Royce. Your middle initital. It’s a ‘V’.” He raised a curious gaze at Royce.

    Royce did not smile. He did not nod, and he did not shrug. He just stated plain fact. “V for Vanniker, Mr. Vanniker. Named for that same cursed antecedent. I was hoping you’d miss that.”

    Charley shook his head and plunked the humidor back on the desk. Its lid clapped shut with a hollow whonk. “Alright, okay.” He waved his hands in a frantic cease-and-desist at Royce. “I warned you about creeping us out.” He kicked back in the chair and clomped his feet up on the desk. “Don’t get me wrong, creeping out is good. Plop yourself down at a keyboard, and you can write your own ticket.”

    Charley chomped his cigar. “But Royce, old boy, I’m calling your bluff. Can we see your driver’s license please?”

    “I don’t have one.”

    “What? You don’t? Why not?”

    “I don’t drive.”

    “You don’t have a car?”

    Royce twisted a ring on his strange pen. He grimaced as he forced each finger to share its fair load. It was painful to watch. I was afraid those knuckles would click against each other like castanets.

    The red light flickered faster. “Automobiles are foul obsolescences,” Royce said. “We don’t need them.” He watched the pen’s little LED (if it was an LED) as if counting its flickers. I could barely tell off from on. No way anyone can count that fast.

    Charley watched the flickering too. I think it told him something. The cigar dropped from his teeth as he reached for the phone.

    The flickers merged to a steady glow. “One last question, Mr. Vanniker. Just being sure. Do you have any children?”

    “No,” Charley whispered. The cigar lay on his chest, burning a hole in his tie.

    “No,” Royce whispered back. “Not yet.” He pointed the pen at Charley.

    Through the huge plate window behind Charley’s desk, I saw the Los Angeles skyline wobble. Whatever force that made the glass buckle outward and shatter tried to do the same to my chest. I was lifted with my chair and slammed into the wall. In the reception area outside, Charley's secretary Anita screamed.

    A picture frame fell and gashed my head. I never noticed it, because I was staring at the scintillating fragments that used to be the window. I swear, they were soaring away. They coalesced into a tinkling cloud, and the cloud swirled off at incomprehensible speed into the cloudless blue.

    What the f---!?

    I blinked, blinked again, and gasped for air. Then I looked at Charley.

    Charley was a fat manikin made of sand. Tendrils of steam curled upward from the exquisitely carved grit. The cigar that had burned a hole in his tie glowed on his belly like a rod of hot iron. As I stared, stunned beyond even horror, the sand began to cascade away and hiss to the floor.

    All that was left of Charley Vanniker was a crackling skeleton. That was when the horror kicked in.

    “Jesus Christ!” I tried to crawl backwards up the wall. “Jesus f------ Christ! Oh Christ oh Christ oh Christ—!”

    Turning away from what used to be Charley Vanniker, I looked at Royce.

    He had his deadly instrument pointed at me. Its tip flickered. It blazed into an uninterrupted gleam.

    I had nowhere to run. Not that I could, and not that it would have mattered.

    “Sintaro discourages observers,“ Royce said. “But I accept that risk. None of this was your fault, Mr. Dyer.” The light went dark. Royce slipped the pen in his shirt pocket. Then he looked at his hands.

    They were strong and unblemished and beautiful. Hands that could sell Daisy-Fine lotion to hard-cursing dockworkers, or steer ships between stars. Royce marveled at them. I thought I saw tears in his eyes.

    “By the way, Mr. Dyer,” Royce said, “Thanksgiving Day, three years hence, you don't want to be anywhere near Los Angeles. Or downwind of it. Find a place in Portland, or Seattle. That should be safe enough.”

    Then he turned and walked out. There was a crash of a tipping chair and a fearful yip from Anita as she ducked under her desk.

    I did not move. I would not look at Charley, to see whether his skeleton was still there or if it had collapsed into ash. I could not do anything, until the fire alarms sounded and the ceiling sprinklers opened up their smothering torrents.

    I jumped up and ran out to my office, past Anita cowering under her desk. “F----r roasted my boss,” I thundered, enraged. “F----r roasted Charley!

    There was a stage-prop locked in my drawer in my office, a .45 Taurus automatic. It was a gift from a muscle-bound third-tier actor for whom I had bent heaven and earth to win a supporting part. I lost precious seconds fumbling with the key. Before I yanked the drawer open, I feared the pistol would not be there—that I had taken it home or given it away or tossed it in some river, and it was only instinctive wishfulness, woken by atrocity, that shut out those pesky factoids, as if such negligent magic would miraculously put the gun back in that drawer.

    The drawer slammed open. The Taurus was there. I grabbed it and rushed back out through reception. Anita peeked over her desk, mascara running and beehive ‘do slumping under the fire-sprinklers.

    “Call the police,” I shouted. “Call the f-----g Marines, anyone! Now!” Then I was gone into the hallway in a sprint for the stairwell.

    As I leapt down the first flight, I heard Anita scream again. Against her better sense, she had immediately rushed into Charley’s office. Her screams ascended into stratospheric shrieks. They followed me all the way to the ground floor.

    In the lobby I was confronted by Marcus, chief of building security. He ogled my monster automatic as he reached for his Beretta. “Mr. Dyer! What are you doing?”

    “Marcus! You signed Royce in, right?”

    Marcus said nothing as he scrabbled at his holster. “Dammit Marcus,” I yelled as I grabbed him by the shirt. “Royce killed Charley! Where is he?”

    Marcus gaped. “Sweet Jesus! Just here a minute ago. Came out the stairs—”

    I shoved him up against the wall. The automatic's muzzle ended up jammed under his ear, though I didn’t mean to do that.

    Marcus got my drift. He pointed at the glass doors on the far side of the lobby. “Out on Wilshire! But you’re never gonna—“

    He stared at the doors. “Damn, there he is!”

    And there Royce was indeed, passing by on the sidewalk. He must have made a wrong turn on the way out, and was backtracking. Not waiting for Marcus, I took off across the strangely empty lobby, a huge Mies van der Rohe expanse of polished granite. You could play the Super Bowl in there.

    Royce was out of sight when I pushed through the doors into the half-crowded sidewalk, but he could not have gone far. There were screams and someone shouted a warning. “He’s got a gun!” I shouldered an Asian couple aside. They instantly crouched and threw their arms over their heads. They must have been tourists.

    I spotted Royce, seemingly unaware of the commotion behind him. His unconcerned stride made me hesitate. Was Marcus wrong?

    I had to be sure. I pointed the pistol at the lanky figure and yelled.


    By now you must certainly be wondering, how can Mr. Dyer shoot anyone with a stage-prop? But the formerly-starving actor who presented me the Taurus had shown me how. Drill out that barrel plug, he confided to me on a studio set, between scenes, buy a carton of magnums and you’re ready to rock-and-roll. All of which I did.

    Royce turned. I aimed and squeezed the trigger.

    More used to Hollywood special-effects than the real thing, I expected a blinding flash, with a dramatic pa-Tow! What I got was a deafening kuhWHOOM and a wrist-cracking jolt. My ears rang. The Taurus bucked up and I nearly fell backwards. My stance was all wrong, as an experienced witness later testified.

    No matter. My aim was true.

    Royce calmly plucked something out of the air at eye-level. He held it up, a coppery nugget caught between perfect thumb and perfect forefinger.

    It was my bullet. I simply knew it was so. But that was hardly the strangest thing.

    Wilshire Boulevard was gone—its buildings and cars and people, all vanished. Royce and I stood now upon some otherworldly plain, a shimmering prairie. On the far horizon, impossibly tall spires impaled a nebulous sky. They pointed the way for a gargantuan ship that hovered in their midst, like a floating leviathan in its reef of luminous coral.

    Still holding the slug, Royce spoke to me one last time. Because of the ringing in my ears from the gun blast I could not actually hear him. But I know what he said.

    Thanks for the souvenir, Mr. Dyer.

    Then he turned and ran. The prairie and the towers and the beautiful starship all folded in about him, and he disappeared.

    I was back on Wilshire Boulevard. Royce was nowhere to be seen.

    I don’t know how long I stood there holding that gun. When the police screamed for me to drop it, I had no clue who they were shouting at. Half-oblivious, I turned to face them, and the Taurus swung around with me.

    They took me down, hitting me in eleven places.


    The state charged me on suspicion of murder. They simply could not bear dropping the case on lack of evidence, especially with a suspect stone-cold at the scene. But before I was even discharged from the hospital, my lawyers arranged more-reasonable bail and a reduction in charges. After all, the prosecutors had no weapon.

    Hell, they were never sure they even had a body.

    Vanniker Charges Dismissed, trumpeted a headline. A gossip tabloid shouted another: DYER GETS AWAY WITH IT! (We sued them.)

    I’ll mention one more headline. Vanniker Exec to Relocate to Seattle.


    I changed my mind about Seattle. I have a new occupation now: studying serial-killers. I still live in Los Angeles, and will until Thanksgiving next year. What better place to study such prolific predators? My favorite show is Dexter. I have even visited the set to talk to the writers about their research, and about the most "successful" methods.

    They suggested I should indeed go to Seattle. There’s something about Seattle that attracts so many different free-spirits. [/noparse]

    But I prefer Los Angeles. I have my reasons.

    There are a lot of Royces in Los Angeles. I’m making a list, checking it twice. Comparing photos, too. I have stills of Mr. Royce himself from the building security videos. (Not surprisingly, at least not to me, they show a somewhat different-looking Royce leaving than the one who entered). I think he has quite a few ancestors here.

    Soon, my Royce-list and my studies will reach their syncopating pinnacles. When they do, my real task will begin. I will then pursue this new line of work with a vengeance, until that awful Thanksgiving Day finally arrives. Or until the Los Angeles police take me down again, and for the last time.

    Wait until you see the headlines then.
  8. Gabe_85

    Gabe_85 Member

    Jul 12, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Portland, Oregon
    The Hero of Tomorrow [3206]

    “GREETINGS!” Kyle shouted at the top of his lungs. “I demand to speak to your leader at once!”

    Everyone stared at the man making a scene.

    “Uh, sir, we usually only have people speak to our manager if there is a problem.”

    “Well there is a dire problem! I must speak to the King at once!”

    The man at the cash register was reminded of how he hated his job. He was paid minimum wage to open and close a box all day, and have a cheerful demeanor towards everyone while doing it. He thought about how dealing with crazy people wasn’t in his job description. After a few seconds he left his drifting thoughts and came back to the sad reality of his life.

    “Look,” he said as if he was talking to an idiot. He was pretty sure he was. “This is BURGER King. Buuurrrgggeeerrr King. Do you know what a burger is?” The customer appeared puzzled. “Well,” started Kyle. “using my knowledge of this time, I believe it is a circular compacted piece of meat, usually...”

    “Yes yes yes, you got it. Now either buy one, or leave.”

    “I have no time for burgers!” Valiantly shouted the protagonist. “I demand to speak to your king!”

    The cashier’s well of patience started to run dry. “THIS IS A FAST FOOD RESTAURANT! THERE ARE NO REAL KINGS HERE!”

    “Why didn’t you say that before? Don’t waste my time!” The cashier cringed at the irony of the last statement.

    Kyle had now become angry too. “Where is your real king? He demanded.

    The cashier decided to respond in a way that would allow him to keep his paying job, instead of beat the customer to a pulp as he desired to. “Sir, you must leave now. The king is elsewhere. Keep looking.”

    “But where...”

    “I DON’T KNOW! OUT!”

    Kyle stormed out of the restaurant. “What a misleading sign,” he thought to himself, as he glanced back at the large Burger King advertisement once more. As he walked, he looked around, in search for a way to access the leader of the planet. He pondered his mission. Although he had vigorously studied what the world was like 1000 years before his time, things looked strangely different from what he expected them to be. As he strolled along, he saw a man throw a roll of paper in a black cylinder. Kyle did not understand this practice, so he decided to investigate. He looked inside the black hole. It contained various forms of waste, such as the remainder of different foods, wrappers, and unidentifiable liquids. He grabbed the bundle of paper on top. It said The Chicago Tribune in large bold letters. Kyle was confused. Newspapers had become obsolete long ago. ‘And why does everyone place their garbage in the same container? It’s much easier to release it where ever you like,’ he thought to himself. Kyle’s eyes drifted to the top corner of the paper. He gasped. It said “May 7, 1999.” Kyle was from the year 3999 AD. He was, as they called him, an imbecile. As a child, he lived in the shadow of his older, smarter, stronger, and more handsome brother. Kyle did poorly in school, and could not play any sports. His one passion, was his tuba. He played Cindy, a name he had chosen carefully for his tuba, 2 hours everyday after school. However, his past time would soon lead to his demise. Kyle played in the band. The coveted prize for band players was to play in the pep band during the football games. Only the best band players were chosen. Sophomore year, Kyle made the pep band. He was excited, but nervous. During the game, Kyle became so overwhelmed with his stress and nerve, he started to puke. But not just puke on the floor. He puked into his large tuba. Cindy sprayed Kyle’s vomit on a row of teachers, and the entire cheerleading squad, not to mention all over Kyle himself. After this, Kyle was either hated, or ridiculed by everyone in his school. To make matters worse, the entire debacle had been caught on film. The video was put onto MyTube, a video sharing website. It became a viral internet sensation. Kyle was not just the laughing stalk of the school, but of the entire galaxy. Because of his poor grades, and the fact that he was known throughout the universe as “Puke-Boy,” Kyle was unable to do anything successful with his life. Some things just don’t seem to change over time. High school will always be high school.

    Kyle’s brother, turned out just the opposite. He married 15 women, and became one of the smartest scientists in the galaxy. He won the Nobel Prize for his invention of the time machine.

    Kyle had an idea. In his time period, the galaxy is in impending doom, from an oncoming meteor shower, that will destroy almost all of their planets within five years. The problem was, all governments had previously decided not to build comet protection artillery, and it was far too late to make anything sufficient. Kyle decided to warn the King of 2999 about the future meteor shower, and to ask him to command the building of such anti-meteor-crafts. Catastrophe could be avoided, the future saved, and Kyle would be the hero of the universe, instead of his current status as the laughing stalk. So he snuck into his brother’s house one night with his key, stole the time machine, and began his quest. Kyle was supposed to travel to 2999 AD in order to warn the King of the time of the eminent doomsday approaching the planet. However, Kyle had inadvertently sent himself to the year 1999. “Must of set the dial wrong,” he muttered to himself.

    ‘I should read the paper to try to understand this world, since I won’t be able to go home for a while.’ Time machines used a great deal of energy to travel thousands of years, and needed a few days to recharge.

    Kyle skimmed the newspaper. There was an article about the recent effort to save the ozone, and how effective it has been. Kyle had never heard of this ozone. As he pondered what it could possibly be, he continued to flip through the paper.

    Everything was different. Baseball players were punished instead of required to take steroids, there was only one planet to fill with garbage, and people were apparently concerned about helping those in poverty, instead of eating them. ‘What an odd time,’ he thought to himself. He knew he would have a hard time fitting in.

    Kyle neatly set the newspaper back in the black can. With three days before his time machine would be ready to work again, Kyle wasn’t sure what to do. Exhausted and with nowhere to go, he was forced to sleep outside in the cold, on the street.

    A loud screaming noise woke up Kyle. He bolted up from the concrete sidewalk and looked up. A large group of metal boxes on wheels were speeding by close above him, creating a loud deep, yet also high pitched noise. He saw people calmly riding in these large boxes. “They must not have teleporters yet,” said Kyle out loud. For the first time, Kyle realized people walking by him were staring. “I don’t blend in at all!” He said once again directed at only himself. He was right. Most people were wearing business suits, or colorful t-shirts and blue jeans. Kyle bore a silver padded jumpsuit and black boots. “I must find some clothes to blend in,” he once again stated out loud.

    Kyle stood up, wiped the dirt off of himself, and began to search for clothing shops. He tried on many different outfits in many different shops, but his currency card was rejected every time, making him unable to pay. Despite his protest, Kyle could not persuade anyone to give him new clothes. ‘No matter,’ he thought to himself, ‘I like my jumpsuit better anyways.’ His mind began to drift. He thought about how back home everyone thought he was stupid, and how he had earned the title of Puke-Boy. Kyle desperately wished people would stop calling him that. Saving the planet would certainly make him a well appreciated hero. He pondered whether stealing the time machine was the right thing to do. Suddenly, he realized something. “I must check on the time machine!” He shouted, as he sprinted down the street. A few people shook their heads at this strange man.

    Kyle didn’t stop running until he was exhausted, which was fairly quickly considering his lack of athleticism and exercise. However, he was able to soon reach the alley where his time machine was located, two blocks away from the Burger King. He entered the dark alley. To his relief, the time machine was still there. He continued to walk towards it to inspect closer. Kyle jumped when he saw two men stand up from behind the small machine. They had wrenches in their hands.

    “What in Science’s name do you think you’re doing?!” questioned Kyle.

    “Uh, getting some parts. What’s it to you, homie?” One of them asked.

    “This is my time machine! I demand you leave at once!” He said, using his most assertive voice.”

    “I think you’re the one who better scram!” answered back the other man. He pulled out a gun and pointed it at Kyle.

    Kyle knew what to do. Or at least, as usual, he thought he did. “I have one of my own,” he said as he pulled out his laser. It had a straight bar for a handle, with a large cylinder as the barrel. Three tiny pyramids stuck out from the side.

    The two men laughed. “Man, that’s just a kiddy toy! This here’s the real deal. I suggest you leave before you get yourself killed!”

    Kyle responded, “I don’t think so.” He took aim at the man on the left, holding the gun. Kyle then pulled the trigger. A red laser shot from the chrome gun instantly turning the thief into a small pile of ash. The other man stared in disbelief, his eyes wide. “HOLY...!”

    Kyle stopped paying attention to what the man was shouting. He examined his gun. “Woops,” Kyle said. Woops was right. Kyle had accidentally set the dial on his laser to “vaporize,” instead of “stun,” as he intended. The other man bolted past Kyle and ran screaming in fear through the streets.

    There was not much Kyle could do at this point, so he decided to move on and attend to his time machine. He examined the space where the two men were working. Instantly, Kyle got a sickening feeling in his stomach. There was a small hole where a blue energy crystal should have been. This was the source of the time machine’s energy. Without it, the time machine would not work, and Kyle would be stuck in 1999 forever.

    Kyle rushed out into the streets. He frantically scanned the area for the man who had been taking apart his time machine, but to no avail. Just then, two cops noticed the strange man blocking traffic in the middle of the street. “Hey, Tony, check out this hooligan.”

    “Oh man Rick, what a nutcase.”

    “Yeah, but Tony, don’t he seem familia’ to ya?”

    “Oh yeah, yeah, Rick, didn’t just a minute ago, that crazy guy, describe a guy, jus’ like this guy?”

    “I think so Tony. Let’s check it out.”

    The cops approached Kyle. “What’s the matter with you? You lost, Copernicus?” asked Rick.

    “I’m not Copernicus, I’m Kyle.” responded Kyle anxiously. “And I am looking for my blue crystal to power my time machine! Without it it won’t work! Help me!” he cried desperately.

    The two cops looked at each other, and grinned. “Sure, sure thing slick. Why don’t you come down to the station with us, we have some talkin’ ta do,” said Tony. The man named Rick started to arrest Kyle. “Ya’re unda’ arrest for....”

    “No! No!” Shouted Kyle. “Stop this at once!” All around, people were staring at yet another ordeal involving this crazed man in a silver jumpsuit. Out from the crowd, pushed the man who had escaped from the alley. “That’s the foo’!” he identified Kyle as said “foo’.”

    “Hold ya’re sails copernicus,” said Tony. “Meet us down to tha station and you can tell us all about it.” After a few beatings to sedate Kyle, the cops dragged him into their police car and drove to the station.

    The man who had survived the alley encounter with Kyle, started to walk home to get his car and drive to the police station. When he passed that fateful alley, he stopped and gazed in. The time machine sat there, with the door open, and only one piece missing. The man pulled a glowing blue orb from his pocket. “Naw, there’s no way...” He said to himself. But he also knew hand-held vaporizers didn’t exist either, and clearly he was wrong. The curiosity screamed like fingernails on a chalkboard. He had to try it. No one would see him do it, he wouldn’t have to tell anybody that he was crazy enough to believe time machines might exist. He went to the machine, and placed the crystal back in the hole from which he had previously removed it. He entered the capsule. It was a cozy little place, with synthetic pads to comfort one while leaning back. He closed the door. Thousand of little lights began to flash. A tray with dials on it raised up from the door. They appeared to be dates. He changed the dials to say “January 15, 1947.” He pressed a large red button next to the dials. The capsule sealed shut, a red light started to flash, and a loud siren began to sound. It shook vehemently. Just as suddenly as it had started, it stopped. The door made a spraying sound and released pressure. He pushed it open. The time machine had worked. Everything looked “old school,” as our character would say. There were brick buildings, and an old Chevy across the street. He poked his head out. Something caught the corner of his eye on the ground. He looked down. Under the time machine, was a pretty woman. Apparently, the time machine had landed on her and separated her in two. He screamed like a little girl. He felt like throwing up as he saw the blood oozing on the street. He slammed the door, scrambled the dials with a swipe of his hands, and pressed the red button. The time machine went through the same sequence, of sounds and changes, taking him to the destination of, “July 2, 1937.”

    Slowly, he opened the cockpit door. Wind rushed in. He peered out. Everything was gray. He couldn’t distinguish anything. Finally, our adventurer looked down again. At first it was gray. Then it became blue. A small metal plane was gliding below him, coming his direction. He realized, that he was falling from the sky, and would soon land in the ocean. Once again, he let out a girlish scream, and slammed the door shut. This time, he carefully, but quickly set the dials to his home time. He pressed the button. He heard a large crash, as if the time machine had landed on something. He could hear some sort of loud noises outside, but it was impossible to tell exactly what it was. He closed his eyes.

    When the time machine had “landed,” he opened his eyes. He pushed open the door in fear. Thankfully, he was back in the alley. He ran out of the time machine and shouted for joy. However, his parade was quickly rained upon. Apparently, he wasn’t the only one who had learned of the time machine. Hundreds of police cars were lined up around the alley trapping him in. Without warning, he was shot with a dart gun. Everything went black for him, as he fell to the ground. A swat team grabbed his body, threw him in a black government SUV, and he was never seen nor heard of again.

    A crowd had gathered at the scene. Despite the best efforts of the police and FBI, they were unable to be contained. A tall man in a suit, had an idea. “People, people!” He started. “I am your senator, Barack Obama.” Many people gave out a cheer. The senator hurried to the center of the police barricade. “We must be patient, and responsible. I know everyone wants to see, and use this machine. But I ask you to all kindly leave and wait for more information.”

    “When are we gonna use it!” Someone shouted above the rest.

    “Hopefully, never,” responded the Senator. “It is too powerful for us. We don’t want to change the past and negatively affect the...”

    An overwhelming cadence of boo’s and syllables of dissent came from the crowd and drowned out the Senator. The crowd started to throw food and garbage at Mr. Obama. From that day on, his persona was tarnished, and he was forced to resign as senator. He never again participated in politics.

    Meanwhile, the two cops from before started to run towards the commotion. “Catch him!” They shouted. Many of the police and FBI members looked. All they could see, was two crazy cops chasing air. Kyle had used his cloaking shield, and phaser to escape from jail. With this shield, he could not be seen. Baffled, the authority figures at the scene had no idea what the cops were talking about, and were unable to stop invisible Kyle. Kyle rushed into the time machine, and set it to his time, 3999 A.D. He also changed the location setting from random, to his address. Our previous time traveler had failed to see this monitor. The time machine rumbled. Up above, government helicopters approached. Everyone in the crowd became quiet. They watched as the time machine disappeared, and the helicopters landed in an empty street nearby. President Clinton and his entourage rushed to the scene. “Where is this time machine?” He asked.

    Kyle rushed into his house. It was 2:00 A.M., the night before he was to steal the time machine. He used his house key, and darted upstairs. He saw himself sleeping in his bed, and shook himself. He stirred. “Kyle, wake up!” He opened his eyes. Then they became wide with fear. He snatched his phaser and shot himself. “Aaaaghck!” was his dignified last word, as he was transformed to ash. Kyle took a deep breath. “Oh no! It was on ‘vaporize,’ and not ‘stun.’” He frowned. “Guess I’ll have to change it in the morning.” He set the phaser back down on his desk, and went back to sleep.
  9. Gannon

    Gannon Contributing Member Contributor

    Jan 15, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Manchester, England
    Thanks for all the entries. Voting and the next contest will be launched later today. Gannon
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