Wednesday December 8th, 2010

The exercise:

At g2's request (insistence?), in honor of Pretend to be a Time Traveler Day the prompt shall simply be: the time traveler.

Now also seems like a good time to re-recommend The Time Traveler's Wife.

Tonight we finished off the kitchen counter and finally got the trim around the bathroom window. So now we have painting and flooring left, for the big jobs.



The man stood at the corner of 5th Avenue and Davis Street, his gaze alternating between the sky and the rather large silver watch on his left wrist. The crowds parted around him, many of them giving his mismatched shoes or too-small leather jacket a second or third glance. The rest simply ignored him, too caught up in their own important business to notice or care.

With an aggravated sigh the man spun on his heel and stormed toward the newsstand half a block away. The vendor eyed him warily as he snatched one of the locals from the middle shelf and shook his head.

"Not the good news you were hoping for?" the vendor asked.

"This doesn't make any sense," the man muttered, again checking his watch. "They were supposed to come for me at exactly ten minutes past eleven in the morning on August 12th. And it's already twelve minutes past the hour!"

"Well, I may have no idea what the heck you're talking about," the vendor said with an uneasy laugh, "but I do know that today is August 21st."

The man's face went pale and the paper slipped from his suddenly numb fingers, fluttering to the pavement like an ink-stained butterfly. He couldn't believe it. His dyslexia had yet again cost him another year in the past.


Greg said...

Yay! Paint the floors and board up the walls! Or... maybe it's the other way round? I forget, these little cuboidical dwelling rooms are just so cute, aren't they? Actually, I've just realised I can still remember the look on your face, Marc, when we first took a look at icosahedral bathrooms -- you slipped over and broke your arm in three places. Oh how we... I... laughed!
Nice set-up, I particularly liked how the details subtly led the reader away from your ending, making the twist work so much better. One small point though: in the last sentence of para 2 the time-travellers snatches "one of the locals from the middle shelf" which had me confused momentarily. "Local editions" or something similar might work a little better without disrupting the flow.

The Time-Traveller
"Lachy," he said, sitting down on a leather pouffe. The room was as it always was -- a gigantic sewing studio. The loom took up a lot of space in the middle, the tapestry as rich and complicated as ever, and skeins of threads hung from the walls. Lachesis was seated at the loom, holding a large pair of shears. She looked up at him.
"This one's a dud, honey," she said, her voice chocolate with age.
"He knows I'm coming?"
"No, but he's under better protection than Miss Kitty knows about."
"He evades me every time?"
"Only twice, the rest of the time you die. The best outcome for you--"
"Is to kill Bad Kitty instead?"
Lachesis tsked. "Typical man. No, she's got nine lives. Her bodyguards get you before you kill seven of them. You'll find yourself something that looks like Dr. Septopus and bring her the body."
"Won't she realise?"
"She does, of course, but she's also got a short attention span."
"Thanks, Lachy." The Assassin stood up to go. "It's really good knowing a time-traveller like you."
"Time-raveller you idiot. And I still think this is cheating."

Watermark said...

Greg: That really made me laugh :) Another brilliant scene!

Marc: That was quite gripping and wondered what would happen so wasn't expecting the ending at all. Great way to end your scene :)

I sense an idea for a story brewing in my troubled head based on today's prompt and the "In the airport" prompt we had several days ago. Thank you! :)

The Time Traveller

“Mhmm.. so run this past me again,” she said as she looked over the tiny vial in her hands.

Leo hated repeating himself. He knew that the truth was far beyond anything she would comprehend but he had hoped that she would just trust him and listen. She owed him that much.

“Look, just drink it. One quick gulp, don’t try and taste it, make sure you get it all, every last drop of it. Do this tonight without fail, just before bed. It’s the only way we can stay together.”

His tone had been irritating and he knew it; a deliberate ploy he was hoping would fast track this moment. But she remained silent, her face not flinching once nor giving out any reaction. Her calm facade unsettled him. It was so unlike her. A few seconds later, she was still fiddling with the vial. Leo searched her face, trying to read her thoughts and started tapping his fingers nervously on the table. He saw her flick a glance at him and then slowly, she pushed the vial back into his hands.

She crossed her arms and gave him a penetrating look, “I’m not doing it, Leo.”

But she did not wait to hear Leo’s protests because seconds later she was walking out of the door. It was as simple as that. Leo dropped the vial on the table and buried his head in his hands. How could he get her to believe him? He had been waiting for her to call him absurd, irrational, a lunatic even. He had been expecting her to spew out accusations and incredulous expressions of shock, like he was used to. But none of that happened.

Her last words rung in his ears, “Goodbye, Leo, you’re nothing but a figment of my imagination.”

Zhongming said...

The time traveler

He rubs his eyes while lying on his bed with medical cast covered all over his body. His stomach rumbles as he attempt to move himself out of the bed. As shock as it is, he is still experiencing a series of tumor after the incident. His mind is in a whirlpool as he try to get it out of his head. It only became worst as he put his mind into it. He became seriously confused and in doubt with that dizzy condition. He struggle to move his limbing legs as he endure the pain quietly. 

His only hope is to time-travel back as he slowly saw glimpse of the incident happening in his head.

morganna said...

He slips through time
She dances between the stars
Flitting through eternity,
The time travelers.

Anonymous said...

Marc - I love it!

Greg - Time-raveller - clever!

Watermark - Awkward and incorrect use of words made this jarring to read. Liked the closing line.

Zhongming - So time travel fixes what ails him, huh? ;)

morganna - nice imagery

Anonymous said...

In a haiku kinda mind. :)

The Time Traveler
No patdowns, bags or bad food
Oh to be so free!

summerfield said...

a little vignette, something i've been wanting to write.

Hortense peered at the old woman’s face and said, “I know you; I’ve seen you before. But I can’t remember when. Or where.”

“Yes, we have met before, quite a few times, in fact,” the woman answered.

Hortense examined her face, the droopy eyelids and the little lines around her eyes, the unmistakably high cheek bones and the full lips that now curved downward. Then, as if spark occurred in her brain, she recalled that day when she was five, at the cemetery, her grandmaman’s burial.

It had just rained and the funeral procession started from the little chapel to the family musoleum situated a few meters towards the back of the cemetery. Somehow, little Hortense lost her grip on her mother’s hand and the rush of people walking towards the musoleum pushed her aside. She stood atop one of the old stone tombs, the one with the large metal cross that now gleamed in the light of the setting sun. She watched as the last person in the procession disappeared at the corner. She noticed a double rainbow in the sky, its colours so vivid it made her smile and made her sing.

“Nice song, good voice.” The voice startled her and she gave a little shriek as she put both her tiny hands over her mouth. She was surprised to see an older woman sitting on the little tomb next to her.

“They went over there for Grandmaman’s interment,” Hortense said, pointing to the corner where the procession had turned several minutes ago.

The woman just stood there, smiling at her. Hortense eyed her with curiosity little children always had with people they don’t know. She liked the way this woman smiled at her, like she found Hortense amusing. Hortense was used to being ignored. In her family, the attention is always on her sickly older brother, or her cute little baby sister.

“Look at the rainbow,” Hortense pointed at the rainbow. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Have you seen a rainbow like that before?” She jumps down the ground, her feet splashing on the little puddle of water between the two tombs. “Is it really true that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?”

The woman smiled at her, but replied, “I don’t know, I’m not sure.”

“What is your name?” little Hortense asked.

“My name is Hortencia.”

“Oooh, we have the same name!” there is giddiness in Hortense’s voice.

“Hortense!” It was her mother.

“Maman!” and Hortense ran to her mother.

“Who is that?” asked her mother, eyeing the older lady suspiciously. “Didn’t I tell you not to talk to strangers?” She pulled Hortense as she walked away, looking back at the woman only once.

Hortencia waved at them. When Hortense looked back, Hortencia was gone.

A switch had been turned on in Hortense’s head. Hortense…Hortencia.

“It was I!” she exclaimed, touching her face and staring at herself in the mirror. “I visited myself when I was five!” Her reflection in the mirror smiled.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I thought about that 'locals' line but then let it go.

I love how your various writings are getting tied together so nicely :)

Watermark - no, thank you! I love it when my prompts lead to something much bigger :)

I like where your story is heading. I do hope you run with it for a little while longer.

Zhongming - I love your take on the prompt. It was unexpected and very well done.

Morganna - that's lovely :)

Allycat - haha, great haiku.

Summerfield - very nicely done. That final line was perfectly chosen.