I have been a member of the Fantasy Faction forum for getting on for five years now and one of the best things about the community has been the writing contest – it’s only 1500 words so come give it a go! Contest winners were posted on the website but that hasn’t happened for a while, so I’ve been asked to fill in. It’s an honour to do so, and here is another winner.
The theme for the competition when this story won was “Ticking Time Bomb Scnario” and the story is The Spiral by Alex Hormann. You can follow Alex at his blog ‘At Boundary’s Edge’ on his twitter to see more of his thoughts on SFF and other such things, or come join us at the forum!
Time is a spiral. A thread. A single line entwined about an invisible core we call reality. They understand this, the ancestors-yet-to-come, and through the spiral, they will send this information to us, so we might replicate it in our own time. This we have done. Yet we were not merely the recipients. A return-to-sender envelope was discovered. A temporal loophole that we alone were bold enough to exploit. Bold, and foolish. As the words of our children dripped down the spiral of time, we received it gratefully. Greedily . We never sought to alter that future. Let that much of us be said. If there will be legacies, let that be ours. That we truly, honestly, meant no harm. Yet intentions are as dust compared to the rocks of action, and act we did. It seemed like nothing to us. Along that trembling thread of time we saw possibility. We plucked the string and sent a signal of our own, rushing forwards, futurewards like an unknowable seeding bullet. A thank-you letter. A confirmation of delivery. That was all we meant by it. But it was enough. Enough to destroy everything the future had worked toward. For you see, time is a spiral, but it was only intended to turn one way. Just as children descend the helter-skelter at the fairground, so may information be dribbled to the less temporally-enlightened. Consider for a moment the same fairground ride. Picture the child who, eager for more, begins to climb up the same slide as others descend. Imagine the chaos and destruction this act would cause. This, in essence, is what we did. We ascended as others descended, in disregard of all temporal laws. A child’s mistake, and so it is children who will pay the price for our transgression. Our children, and theirs, and theirs. Until the last syllable of recorded time. We alone will not pay the price. Our time, our brief moment of cosmic presence, will be safe. We will be severed, but we will endure. We will always endure, until that same syllable. Remember us not for what we did. Remember us not as time’s murderer. Remember us as children who made a mistake, and please forgive us.
Time is a spiral, and our children will kill it. They have sent their warning. Their apology. It does us no good. The entropy they have set in play cannot be contained. We could no sooner move the stars in their courses than we could rewrite time. What is done is done, as is what will be. With their warning sent, they ensure the current course of time. The spiral rises still, but it frays. Threads spin out, disappearing like embers in the darkness. We see this, even with our comparatively primitive monitoring stations. We are the first to witness the dying of time. The first to set in record. That there will be no one to read this record does not deter us. We ink it on paper, set it in stone. For this is what humans do. What we have always done. Perhaps there is still life in those drifting embers. Our equipment cannot tell, but we dare to hope. Hope that they live still. Hope that we will not be the last of humanity. Hope that the spiral may yet be rewoven. It is a hope that fades as they days themselves fade. But what else can we do but hope? As reality itself collapses, we still must hope. It is all we can do. Without hope, we are already forgotten, like all those descendants who will now never be.
Time is a spiral. We know this, even if we cannot see it for ourselves. For how does one perceive such a thing as time? Not withe yes, but the mind. The purest of organs. We are united in this knowledge, and it is this unity that binds us together. Even now. For knowledge is not always a blessing, and now it is most certainly a burden. We are cursed with the knowledge that the spiral of time is dying. Falling apart at its seems, collapsing. And when it collapses, and time itself falls, where will it land? Upon us. We will crushed by our own potential future. Some see a certain irony there, but bleak humour will not preserve us. Only the plan will save us. We will scream of our fate. Not forwards, but across. To the spiral’s other side. To before.
Time is a spiral. Or so is the theory. Our greatest minds, scientists and philosophers alike, are agreed upon this. For where else but across the spiral of time could the Scream have come from? Time is unravelling, coming to an end. We cannot prove it, but we believe it. That is enough. Enough that we have made a plan. A desperate gamble for the future we will never see. It is our children that will do this to time, and this we cannot allow. We must stop them.
Time is a spiral. And like a coin tumbling into the charity barrel, we have received a warning from above. In our future, we will commit an atrocity. An act of unprecedented genocide. Against ourselves. In a way, it works. It prevents the future we will fear. Because this act will prevent all our futures.
Time is a spiral, coiling about itself, crushing all within. The paradoxical releases of entropy are too great, and we will all suffocate amid time’s corpse. There is nothing we can do but weep.
Time is a spiral collapsing on itself, contracting about a single point. Pieces shear off, becoming new times, flickering then dying.
Time is a spiral no more. Neither future nor past. Only now exists.
Time has died. This is time’s last syllable.
We have broken the spiral.
The thread snaps.
One thought on “FF Story Winner: The Spiral by Alex Hormann”
Ooh, I liked this!
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