21 March, 2013
I have a confession.
I’ve taken too much of your time already and there’s no way to give it back. I can only explain and ask for, not forgiveness, but understanding.
I have been a practicing chronomancer for about five weeks now, or to put it another way, for several centuries. Stealing time from someone always seemed unethical, but the laws of large numbers convinced me that there was nothing wrong with slicing away a second or two from someone. They’d never notice, and with enough seconds then I would be able to do so much more with my life. Read more books. Walk more streets. Dance more dances. Kiss more lips. Experience more of everything. Or hell, just catch up on some TV.
It’s so simple to do these days, there’s no excuse not to do it. In the dim and hazy past, chronomancers slaved for minutes, sometimes months, over hourglasses filled with liquid time.
Now there’s an app for it.
I’d brought my phone on holiday. I needed more time. And there you were…
Dancers are easy targets. Obsessed with timing, with the beat. Stepping in rhythm, feeling the flow and ebb, and if you dance with the right person, and start to drain time at just the right moment… then you can live forever.
We danced in the rain, syncopated drops splashing on our faces. Summer rain, giving way to the fall. You turned, and as you looked away my finger tapped a button, and a second was transferred from you to me. Just one second shared between us forever. Tiny. Miniscule.
Our minute second.
But I made a mistake. I hadn’t reset the phone for the continental time zone. Instead of one second, an hour of concentrated time flowed out over the dance floor. Days spilled into the Spree. So much wasted time. I tried to stop it, to reverse what I had inadvertently done. I could see the time of your life around me. Nothing worked. Time ran out of my hands.
And now here we are.
Time flows fast for you. It’s stopped for me. But one of these years, in a couple of days, maybe we’ll meet again. Just in time.
21 March, 2013
The piano was bound tightly to the boat, ropes straining as the small craft beached onto the island. Burly locals unleashed the unused wooden instrument and began the long march into the hills. Hours of sweat and grind brought the piano to the natural amphitheater, a desolate caldera where she waited. People from across the island had come to hear her play, and so she did, long into the night. The moon was high as the last of her audience left for the lights and warmth of the village. But she had not brought the piano here for them. The air was calm, the stars bright and her fingers danced – lost in music – until the glow of dawn brought her exhausted back to the earth.
21 March, 2013
She hated cats. They were a curse in the castle, tripping her up, making her sneeze, leaving dead rats in her bed. Her only response to the misery they made of her life was to be increasingly cruel to them. She would hit them with brooms, throw them over walls and set the hounds on them. The castle was known to be haunted, and she would tease her brother with ghost stories while waving the head of a cat she had put on a stick. One day she slipped on the stairs and died. Her viciousness kept her soul in the castle, her ghost doomed to walk the halls for eternity.
But she was not alone – all the cats she had ever killed were there too. Their spirits, nine ghostly lives for every cat she had known in life. Ready to torment her forever.
21 March, 2013
That first dance, that first night, that moment we clicked. I can still remember the rise and fall of emotions, the pulse of excitement and trepidation. I would move and you would follow effortlessly for we danced the same language. There was no fear of being misunderstood, each motion I made was in response to you, in response to me, in response to you. Deeper and deeper, what we were doing could not be done alone. I could never dance like this without you. You could not dance like this without me. We created something new which in that time, that place, was perfect.
Nervous smiles, a slight unbelieving air. Were we really that good? What just happened? Let’s not jinx this, just dance again. And again. The tempo changed, the mood changed and we changed with it. No longer just ourselves, we were subservient to this thing we had created and could not stop. The dance was all, the dance filled us with joy and inspiration and that memory of why we do this at all. Sheer pleasure. Flow. Bliss. Grins that we couldn’t put away.
But reality was waiting. Lurking in the background, waiting as it always does.
For once that night was over we knew we would meet again and would want to dance that perfect dance once more. That dance which emerged from the unexpected pleasure of connection that we felt. But now that connection was expected, we could see in plain sight that we could be amazing.
And if we could be amazing, then we should be amazing.
And then if we weren’t amazing it meant the magic was gone, and how can a ‘perfectly fine’ second experience compare to what we had? We will try too hard. It will feel forced. Maybe we shouldn’t bother. Maybe we should leave perfection alone.
Of course we danced again. The high of that first experience was too good. I needed that fix and I saw in your eyes that same desire. The crowded floor called to us. The music flowed over us. I took you in my arms and we danced.
It wasn’t the same.
21 March, 2013
Since storylane is shutting down I thought I’d repost my stories from there. Nothing to do with myths or science, but still…
“It’s not really me though, is it?” I asked Google.
“No, but then you are not really you either. At least, you are not who you were a moment ago, so does it matter that this 13 year old is a construct I created? I based him not only on your memories and the growth structures of your brain’s neural network, but on all those people who had interacted with you up until your 13th birthday.”
He didn’t look like me. When I was 13 digital cameras were rare so I had not been saturated with the idea of what I looked like. I remember one photo and to me, that was what I looked like. Google had found a lot more images to reconstruct me (and probably used some sort of processing on my current looks) so while I am sure it was a more accurate depiction of my younger self it didn’t resonate.
The holoroom we were in was not that big, only a few meters across. Younger me was reading comics and didn’t seem aware of my presence. Robotic dinosaurs were engrossing in a way that an old man from the future clearly wasn’t.
“He wont react until you talk to him.” Google always seemed to know what I was thinking.
“I don’t even know what to say. It’s not real, this won’t change anything. I mean if you had a time machine and I went back to tell myself some life lessons then maybe this would be worth something…”
Google paused for a second before replying.
“We don’t have a time machine. It got stolen by a singing…actually that doesn’t matter. Let’s just say time travel is impossible and leave it at that.”
I can never tell when Google is trying to be funny.
“I know that, I just don’t think I have anything to say. Nothing that makes a difference.”
“That’s OK. It’s just a meme you were tagged with. I can switch off the hologram and you don’t have to record your questions. The socials will understand. Look a new meme is coming in for you already.”
That was good. I couldn’t answer this question – maybe I should work on what life lessons I should tell my 13 year old grandchildren rather than myself. But then what would I know about today that would be useful to them? I still used Google, and hlogged for a hobby. What a relic. 13 year old me shimmered out of existence as the holoroom reset to its defaults.
“OK Google, what’s the next one…”
“It is just this – Tell Any Story.”
That I could do. A story about anything. Anything at all…..hmmmm….
Maybe I’ll just tell a story about robot dinosaurs.