Archives for posts with tag: scifi

‘Torch it,’ said RX as he turned away. ‘None of it matters.’ The captain saluted and cycled off to dispense the orders.

Hands tugged at RX’s leg from out the mass of limbs like gnarled roots. He shook and kicked them all off as they came, violently – but for one that persisted. A slender metal thing. Without thinking he bent down and grabbed it in his own hands and pulled out the buried girl whole. A dated model, with capped intelligence for security no doubt. Her serial ID was unreadable and an old fashioned QR code tattooed her face. 

‘You grab at me as though I might save you, little QR.’ He assessed the girl’s non-response before throwing her on a heap of body parts.

‘She’s older and braver than us both. Perhaps wiser too.’ 

RX looked to the voice. Sat cross-legged under the shade of a tree was a WYZ monk. Before him lay a gas can. ‘To have seen so much and still hold out for hope… There is great strength in that. Strength I surely lack.’

RX watched the old man curiously. ‘You’ve seen what I do, wanderer?’

The monk gestured at the skies. ‘Such tall plumes visible all through the countryside. Villages burn and our people return to the heavens as smoke. I have seen your works, demon. How can I not?’

‘Consider your tongue with care, old monk.’ 

The WYZ sighed before dousing himself with the contents of the can and setting himself alight. ‘I am beyond care. Only pain remains for me.’

RX watched him burn quietly. Senseless as it was, he would at least honour the monk’s final act with the dignity of an audience. 

‘Farewell, wanderer.’

Amid the crackling, RX picked up sounds of sobbing.

The hands and legs that surfaced the ground… some were still connected to living models like the QR girl. It was as though the earth itself cried for the WYZ monk.

‘You must have a reason.’ The QR girl was clearly awake now, tears stuck to her face. ‘Nothing could justify what you do to us. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a reason you do it.’

RX considered. ‘There is no reason for it.’

‘But it can’t all be for nothing. What happened to you that you could be capable of such evil? You must have endured some terrible tragedy.’

RX shook his head and turned away from the girl. ‘There is no terrible tragedy in my past. I have no pained back story. Perhaps such a story lies ahead of me still. I cannot say. I pillage and burn because I love to do it. And if a tragedy were to befall on my head tomorrow, I have already avenged myself against the world.’

RX nodded to his young captain and walked off. The captain gave the signal to the drones. And the drones razed the writhing ground of people and body parts. And the little crying QR girl.

Sadie released the tight grips with which she held onto the bottommost cereal shelf behind her. She had been sat, legs splayed, smeared across the floor and into the shelving for minutes that felt like hours. Her head turned to one side; her eyes glued to the other, to the boy who hovered in her periphery.

“You’ll be able to move soon. I’m sorry for that. I always am.”

The invisible pressure that trampled her let up enough so she could breathe again. Sadie’s hands dropped to the floor and she turned to face the floating boy. She pushed herself more upright and tried to compose herself, a hundred thoughts running past her as she gasped greedily for air.

“You say you know me.”

His feet daintily touched the floor one at a time. “In this moment in time, yes. Maybe better than anyone you’ve ever known.”

“And you’re not here to kill me.” Sadie looked around her. The people in the aisle were frozen still. Or moving too slowly to be perceptible. One woman was caught in the process of dropping a soup tin from overhead. It still levitated above her eye-line.

“No. Just needed somebody to talk to.” The boy blushed and looked away.

Sadie wiped her clammy hands on her jeans. “Sure. We can talk. About what? Why me?”

The boy shrugged. “I don’t know why. Out of all the people I’ve ever encountered… You’ve always been the easiest person to talk to. Now, I mean. I’ve tried later and earlier. It never works the same. Even when we’ve met before.”

Sadie got to her feet and looked at the boy. “What’s your name kid? You some kind of time-travelling alien robot?”

“Something like that. My name is Ayo: it means ‘joy’. And I’m the last – or only – of my kind.”

Sadie squat down until they were face to face and held his hands. “I’m so sorry. What happened?”

“I don’t know. There’s no way to ever find out. They just stopped existing. All of them. I go back and forwards but none of them ever were any more. But I remember them. I remember my parents. I don’t think I made all of them up in my head. Or else how would I exist?”

Sadie tried to hide her mental gymnastics. “You exist, Ayo. I can see you.” She looked into his eyes and squeezed his little palms. “And I can feel your warm hands.”

Ayo looked at her like an adoring puppy, waiting for her to say all the right things. Apparently again.

“How many times have we met? Ten? Twenty?”

“Hundreds. Maybe thousands. I don’t count. You’re my best friend.” Ayo considered his next words. “We don’t talk about the same thing.”

Sadie stood up too quick and paid for it with a faint head. “Oh Jesus.” She walked up the aisle unsurely. And then down. Up and down she paced. Thinking. All the while the little boy Ayo waited silently. Expectantly. The woman in the aisle still stood under her tin of soup. She’s stuck and doesn’t even know it, Sadie thought. That’s me. “Ayo. You can’t just keep me trapped here. It’s not right.“

“You’re not a prisoner. You live a full life after this.” The boy seemed startled. “I don’t understand. You’ve never reacted this way before here.” Perhaps he was telling the truth and this wasn’t her prison, but only his sanctuary. If so she had shattered it.

Ayo seemed to grow taller before Sadie’s eyes. His hair stood on end and his shoulders lifted. Sadie realised his heels had come off the ground and he was beginning to float again. Higher and higher.

“What’s happening? Ayo?”

The air became heavier. The boy’s eyes began to roll up as he spoke. “Something’s not right. I have to do it again. I’ve got to run it back. You always say the right thing.”

Sadie reached out, through the thick air, grabbing Ayo by his trouser pocket and pulling him back down to the floor. “No!” The boy’s eyes returned to normal as Sadie shook him. “No more do-overs.”

Ayo’s dainty feet touched the floor one at a time.

“Ayo. Listen to me. I know you’re lonely, but you have to let this moment go. You can’t live in this safe memory over and over. You have to move on.”

They both hugged each other wordlessly for a time. Ayo cried into Sadie’s shoulder. And then he left.

(The tin of soup hit the woman in the eye.)

timetw

I remember getting this out from the local library some time before the movie came out and enjoying what little I read. Generally speaking, I’m not one for romance books but I am for whatever reason a sucker for time travel stories. I blame Terminator 2 and Back To The Future 2. I’m also a big fan of wormholes and portals (anybody remember the Spot in the old Spiderman cartoon? I blame either him or Sliders) but it’s not like I go out of my way to find stories involving those although I dont doubt I could easily find a list thanks to the internet (rule 1 of the internet: you have no original thoughts and there are always people more dedicated than you who have done whatever you want to, thereby making life too easy).

Anyway, I noted down that I got upto page 50 last time before I ran out of time and couldnt renew thanks to the film’s popularity. Finally got it back and I’m about 100+ pages in. Have to say, it’s not a perfect book at all but it’s pretty well done. I’ve read better books and more impactful books and classic books, but this book is the first one where as I’m reading it I keep telling myself ‘I wish I’d written this.. even if it wouldn’t have turned out as great’.

Anyway, Bell Jar has decided to also skip queue and become available too so now I gotta try and burn through this (it’s easy reading though anyway) whilst also Nano-ing. I’ll probs get started on the movie adaptation too straight after. I put together a list of time-travel related movies (thank you based internet) too for good measure. Fun.

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