[WP] A person invents a time machine for the sole purpose of traveling back in time to get the autographs of every historical figure (Washington, Napoléon, Hitler, Marline Monroe, JFK) before they die. After making hundreds of trips he becomes known throughout time as the grim reaper.
A person invents a time machine for the sole purpose of traveling back in time to get the autographs of every historical figure (Washington, Napoléon, Hitler, Marline Monroe, JFK) before they die. After making hundreds of trips he becomes known throughout time as the grim reaper.
I pulled one more string onto one more photograph, took a step back, and looked at my web of evidence.
Each description is the same. A man with black hair with "abnormally blue eyes" coming to each of them. In Washington's memoirs, he wrote of this man coming. Hitler too, once spoke of a man with these eyes coming. This man is even in a painting of Van Gogh. He visited each one of them. And what is common with his requests to these people? Well, first he asked for their signature.
Second, he did it exactly one month before each of their deaths.
What is the point of this though? Does he require them to sign a contract? Is this an immortal collecting autographs? No, its not possible. Van Gogh was not famous until many years after he died. Maybe a lot of doppelgangers? Chances for this are too low. Aliens in suits? Would explain the eyes, but why collect signatures? Why not take them back to probe? Okay, this might be a time traveler. No, wait, it can't be. The man wore specific clothes which matched the time periods, which would be very inconvenient for someone who can simply move in and out very fast. What time traveler would not take the most convenient time where the targets exact location is known, and also just wear the same set of clothing while travelling right outside their doorstep? I take the lid off my marker and circle the final option.
This man is death itself.
He is in every myth and legend as the one who brings the end to life. Grim Reaper, Hades, Anubis, Hel, to name a few. He is getting these people to sign a contract to evict from their bodies and move into the underworld. Time to move is one month. That's loosely supported, but it makes a lot of sense.
And now, send this to all the news sources I know. Make a few reddit posts too. And then, as soon as I'm done with all that, the doorbell rings. Such perfect timing.
I open the door. It's a man, with a baseball cap pointed down, covering his face above his lips.
"How may I help you?" I say.
"Delivery for Mr. Johnson. Is he here?" Says the man.
"Alright." The man pulls a paper from his bag.
Sudden realization, followed by fear come to me. Oh god no. God no. Please.
"I'll just need you to..."
"Please, no. Please. Give me some more time." I say, barely a squeak.
"Urgent delivery. Just..." Eye contact is made. I can see them. Each description mentioned them. Abnormally blue eyes.
Feedback very much appreciated, I'm trying to get better at writing.
Edit: cleared up (a bit) why the narrator rules out time traveler
Haha this one is fantastic! Also, what a brilliant way to get the signatures!
It started off as something cool. I invented a time machine, tested it by doing something inconsequential to myself in the past, and feeling the small ripples it created. Of course, I knew there was the possibility that things would go wrong, after all, time travel is quite tricky. For instance, any unexplained things in my past could be attributed to my time travelling later on, and creating a temporal loop.
Anyhow, this isn't about time travel paradoxes or the way time travel goes wrong. No, no, this is about accidentally becoming the grim reaper. Or is it Grim Reaper? I think, because I have the title, I get to decide.
Moving on, it all started back when I wanted to impress a girl.
All good stories start that way.
This particular girl's name was Mary. Something of an oddity in the late 21st century, but it went beyond her name. She dressed like you guys — that's the people reading this (time travel is still really cool) — and even talked like you guys, with your full words and lack of contractions. Like, no use of 'member instead of remember.
But anyway, she was pretty. I was young. My father was actually working on a time travel device. And a few nights of tinkering about with the final pieces (all that was missing was a value to be inputted that allowed for stable time travel) while he was at work and I had done it.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Why in the world was your father the one to do it?"
Or something along those lines. See, the thing with time travel is that it was illegal. No president or person in power trusted the other to not abuse time travel, so it was internationally outlawed. But so are things like drugs, and that doesn't stop anyone.
Point is, I thought I'd be super cool and travel back in time, get the signature of Washington, show it to her and...
Given, I never thought further than that. I guess I expected her to take it from there and ask me on a date.
Look, I was young alright?
See, what actually happened was that I went back in time, got his signature, showed it off to her, and got blown off. Then, in a petty display, went back in time and got more signatures, and showed them off to prettier girls who did take me on dates.
God, I was really a proper adolescent back then, wasn't I? Anyway, girls became whatever, and time travel sucked me in.
So, I hit up Napoleon, who was actually quite tall. I met JFK, right before his head went ka-put (not pretty). Come to think of it, I might have actually caused the bubonic plague... Long story, but you know how the Europeans brought disease to the Americas? Yeah, I basically did that. But like, instead of with 90% of the native American population, only 30-60% of the European one. Sorry.
I mean, if it helps, I also helped out with research the cure for smallpox. That's gotta count for something, right? (Sidenote: Spanish flu might also have been me. But I really wanted to meet The Red Baron, ace pilot of WW1. Sorry, again. Oh, and the last Tsar of Russia.)
However, there was always one guy who stuck out in my memory. An old man who insisted I simply call him Alex (same name as me!). Like Alexander the Great, he asked me to do the same. But from what I could tell, there was nothing special about him. Still he always stuck with me.
Anyway, point is. I met a lot of famous people. And somewhere along the line, when photos were becoming more popular than paintings, my face became a symbol of death. In fact, Steve Jobs was even nice to me. Guess 'Death' asking for your autograph makes you little, I dunno, humble?
Or maybe he was scared of me?
I did illegal time travel to impress a girl, didn't impress the girl, went ahead and impressed other girls, got bored, got addicted to time travel, accidentally brought the worst plagues in human history but got everyone's autographs for my collection, including a creepy old man's signature.
Now, why am I sending this story back in time, today?
It's been a lot of years since then. And no, I've not matured a day. I'm that old and crass uncle that cracks rude jokes that has kids asking their parents what's going on, and parents getting cross at me for such words.
But either way, you probably want to know how the Grim Reaper died. You want to know about the way Death (that's me) went out, after collecting all his autographs. Well,
"...first thing, I'm going to insist you just call me, Alex."
Today, I met myself.
Thank you for the compliment and feedback. I was trying to imply that his theory got him famous within a month.
Why was this guy famous tho, love the story btw
First off, I made I set rules for myself. I would visit the historical figures I admired, writers, philosophers, scientist mostly, as near to their recorded deaths as possible. I'd get to meet them, get a keepsake and a chance to share with them what they had accomplished and how they would be remembered. I wouldn't alter their accomplishments or their life's work, or change the course of history in anyway. I'd time it perfectly, so that i'd appear to them alone, in their last coherent moments, and so that I could be the last people they interacted with.
It didn't go as planned obviously. It was just impossible to time it perfectly and I'd occasionally see bystanders, friends, family members - hell, even the subject, turn towards me. If i'd see this - I'd flicker out of existence, recalculate the date and time - and try again. No one really saw me clearly, I was sure of that.
Much later, I saw, and heard reference to the meme, or at least that's what I thought it was at first... little changes to the timeline, our culture, whatever.
When I'd make my brief returns to the present, I thought... that the fear and unease people seemed to feel about death was a new thing, a fade, just a crazy notion. I honestly didn't understand what I was doing, or I would have stopped sooner, before the present became unrecognizable.
But I realize now, that yes, during my travels, more and more I was greeted by looks of horror instead of curiosity.
How was I to know though? I couldn't see myself - or how I looked to them. I would arrive at various times, briefly, and if their was anyone other then the subject around, or if it wasn't near enough to the end - I would disappear!
I know now how it appeared to them - the living. A dark shape appearing in the darkness, a pale face peering out from beneath the black cloak, my form covered head to toe in shadows, the black goggles looking like empty sockets, the portal in spacetime arched above me like a glowing scythe, generated by a black staff gripped tightly in my hand.
So, you're here now - visiting me, at the end of my life I suppose. Honoring me for my contribution to culture - the idea I created. The fear I introduced into the equation. The religions created and wars waged, the fact that scientific advancement was pushed so far back and that our world is now depleted by technologies created to prolong life and overpopulated by people desperate to live longer.
In my world, we all knew that death was nothing to fear. It was peace, freedom and joy, a graduation to something beautiful and new. I've ruined that. I've introduced despair.
Leave me to die in peace. I hate the world I've inadvertently created.
Either that, or the time traveller spent some down time on reddit and found the post.
I thought the FedEx guy coincidentally had blue eyes.
Frankly I like the idea that the time traveler spent time on reddit, found the posts, and then decided to prank this guy.
So the narrator somehow gains famous notoriety for "discovering death" and dies a short time later which in turn prompts the time traveller to collect his auto graph.
I don't know if that's the angle you were going for but if it was it's great hook.
I've always thought there was something special about famous people, most of them radiate a certain energy when you meet them. They fill up the room even if it's just you and them talking. I've found this to be even more true about presidents, kings and emperors. Even about benign topics you can feel their influence and power, they talk about their favorite beer or sports team and it makes national news.
I was incredibly lucky to meet several presidents in my lifetime, even the least of which was remarkable, and I got addicted to the presence of exceptional people. While some people try their hardest to be around the great people I found a better way. I built a time machine so that I could meet the most remarkable people of all time. Ghandi, MLK, Napoleon, George Washington, even the terrible one like Hitler, Genghis Khan and Stalin.
Now I knew there was potential for time travel to have side effects, so I figured I would meet people at their last possible moment so that it wouldn't effect the time line. I had history books I could figure out to the day when most of them were on their way out. So I'd come by sneak them away for a quick conversation and return them to die after stealing a quick autograph.
I have met so many people and never once had anyone seemed to know who I was, it wasn't so different from my 'normal' life in that way. But after having come back from so many travels I started to notice people avoiding me, children gripping their parents hands and cowering away from. In some ways it seemed my presence demanded attention just like many of the people that I had met. It wasn't positive but it was powerful.
Eventually i was able to find someone who would tell me why everyone looked at me the way they did. An old lady saw me and shrieked, I asked why was she afraid and she told me
"You look like death himself, and I assumed you were coming to ask for my signature" I responded flatly "why would death need your signature?" She responded "No one knows for sure but when death comes, he talks of your life, the things you've done and how history remember you, and then has you sign a small slip of paper, it's believed that you're signing away your attachment to earth, for your soul to move on, a wish for a peaceful death"
I moved on surprised that I had come to be known as death, though it wasn't true people assumed I was more powerful then the greatest men, older than any empire, a counterpart to life itself. I had become greater than anyone I had went to visit in a way.
I enjoyed my new found fame and prestige and began visiting different people throughout time, and had them tell me stories of their life and had them sign their name to go on in peace. You could see the acceptance when they finished the last letter and were delivered back to their family, for a brief moment before departing.
I had been at this for years and I decided it was time to go home. I had been gone many years and figured I could see my family, rest for a while before resuming my reign as death.
I went to start my time machine when suddenly a sharp pain hit my chest, and I looked up and a young man said to me "would you mind talking with me for a bit, and giving me an autograph?"
First time writing in here in a long time hope you guys like it, it was formatted on mobile so it may look odd
Or maybe he doesn't die after a month, but the time traveller heard about an obscure theory about the 'grim reaper', realizes he's talking about him, so he goes back to around the same time his theory was published just to dick with him.
The man awoke in a cold sweat. Again the same dream. It was him again. The Grim Reaper. Hades.
Socrates and Plato wrote of him. So did Caesar and Cleopatra. Napoleon, Wellington, and Nelson. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.
In Canada, Churchill spoke of the same dream. At Yalta, Stalin had too.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt got out of bed. He walked slowly to his office, clutching the walls as he went. He didn't feel well.
It was still early morning when the man came. He was short, shorter than Roosevelt had expected. He smiled, but there was no warmth in his smile, only a mysterious sense of mischief.
"Thank you for meeting with me Mr. Roosevelt" The President started to stand. "Please, stay seated. I wouldn't want to put any strain on your legs." Roosevelt's mouth opened wide. The man pulled out an old-looking, leather-bound book and a pen. He placed it on the desk, opened it, and pointed to a line with Roosevelt's name. "I'll just need you to sign here" Roosevelt's shaking hand grabbed the pen and his eyes traveled towards the page. He froze. Above where his own name had been written was a signature. "Adolf Hitler" And above that "Winston Churchill" and a scribble that could only be Stalin. Roosevelt signed and handed the book to the Reaper. It was only now that Roosevelt noticed the lapel pin the man was wearing. It was a scythe. The President's eyes flickered back to the man. "We love you where I'm from, Mr. President. You're a war hero." Roosevelt stared, fixed in silence. Finally he spoke in a thick New York accent "Are you death?" Hades smiled. "By the time this war is over, around sixty million people will be dead. That's about half the population of the United States. I don't send anyone to their doom Mr. Roosevelt. But you do." And with that, Hades turned and walked out the door.
"I'm just, like, such a huge fan!" The girl said as she rushed after the man, who turned to look at her with a confused expression.
"Oh." The girl said as she checked a small device on her wrist. "Silly me, had this set to the wrong century but hey, at least I got the continent right, huh?"
"Who are you again?"
The girl held up a finger signalling to wait for a moment as she fiddled with the device. "18...04, there we go." Then she looked up at him with a bright smile as she offered her hand "Hi. Death. Nice to meet you."
"Death." The girl nodded.
"As in, the grim reaper?"
"Wha- no! Why do people keep saying that?!
"So your name is actually-"
"I mean, it was the exact same thing with Aristotle! I just picked a random name that sounded like a Marvel villain! Why does everyone- hey wait I've been here before" She inspected their surroundings. "Are we in Jersey?"
"Yes." The man said, suddenly grim. "In fact we're near-"
"-the same spot your son died! That's right, that's why this felt so familiar, gosh I can't believe I forgot...Anyway" She checked the device on her wrist again. "If you could sign this, it would be great."
She handed him a piece of paper.
"This just looks like a list of names."
"Uh, yes? They are autographs."
"My son is in here."
"So is George Washington."
"That one was surprisingly hard to get."
"And what are these weird round things?"
"Oh, that's just what writing looks like in a few thousands of years, don't worry about it."
"Listen, I get that you are, like, going through stuff or whatever but if you could just sign? Please? He's gonna be here any second now."
"Oh crap, there he is." She sighed, looking at the man approaching them.
The man she was talking to shrugged and signed the paper with a roll of his eyes.
"There, now, if you don't mind..."
"No, right, of course, I'll leave you two to it." She said as she put the paper away and sprinted away in the direction of the man approaching them.
As she reached him she slowed down for a moment, trying and failing to contain a mischievous smile.
"Aaron Burr, sir." She greeted him with a nod. "See you in thirty-two years."
Kind of has a death note feel to it
Could be because he gets famous (posthumously maybe?) for his 'research' on the Grim Reaper.
It is good, I feel you really captured the feeling of it being a transcription of someone talking rather than a work of fiction.
Alexander Hamilton's. Burr was the damn fool who shot him.
Basically the joke is that she's not so much a "huge fan" of him but of the musical Hamilton.
I love this story!! And I really like how you gave the man blue eyes, it's wonderfully different from my expectations of all black.
The only thing I'm confused about is why the protagonist rules out the option of the man being a time-traveler. It didn't make much sense to me as it could've been a viable option, or at least more so than the man being Death. This could've very well just been a misinterpretation on my part too, so don't sweat it.
I like your version more.
According to keikaku.
Hopefully I managed to get the excitement to worm its way in.
This is great. Well done!
The man wore specific clothes which died the time periods
This didn't really make sense did you mean "The man wore specific clothes which died with the time periods" or "The man wore specific clothes which matched the time periods"
Other than that great story.
Adolf Hitler sat there, staring at the painting. It was late at night, and he was the only one in the room. The portrait was of a tall man, with jet black hair pulled back into a ponytail, like from colonial times. The most noticeable feature was a long scar running down the right side of his face, passing through his eye and ending at the corner of the man's lips. His right eye was white, dead from the injury that caused the scar.
"That's an intressing painting. I know you're quite the collector of art."
"Actually, this is my own. I painted it years ago," Hitler replied, turning to the speaker, who was hidden in the shadows. "It is of Death, the one thing nobody can escape."
"I forgot you were a painter."
"Who are you? How did you get in here?"
"That is not important now. I am here to talk to you about your life," the man replied, not showing his face. The voice was deep, and felt powerful, though not loud.
"Yes. I was just wondering, why did you do it? All of it?"
"The Aryan race is superior, and they should rule the world. It is very simple, really. All other races needed to be eliminated for this to happen," Hitler replied, growing impatient.
"I've spoken to many madmen, and all of their answers are similar. They just sputter out the same lies they always have. I don't know why I even asked you."
"I should kill you. You're probably an assassin," Adolf said, reaching for his pistol.
"Oh, please, there's no need for that. The last time someone tried to kill me, I ended up with a nasty scar." The man leaned forward, revealing his face. There was a gash running across the right side of his face. "Turned out Genghis Khan had quite the temper."
Hitler gasped, recognizing the face from the painting. "You are Death. I knew you here to kill me! I beg you, please spare me!"
'No, no, no, nobody gets it," the man said with a sigh. "I told you, I came to talk. I am not Death, nor do I cause it. I am merely a traveler, an observer to the events of the world. People dying after seeing me is merely, err, coincidental. I am do not kill, and I am powerless to stop death. Like you said, nobody can escape death, not even I."
"So you only came to talk?"
"Yes, and to ask for a signature," the man said, handing a notebook to Hitler. "I collect autographs, and Adolf Hitler's is certainly one I want to add to my collection."
Hitler took the notebook, and flipped to a page that wasn't completely filled. He put his name under King George III's. "Is that all you wanted?" he asked.
The man took the notebook. He then said, "You might want to look behind you."
Hitler turned around, but only saw his painting. "What?" he asked. When he got no response, Hitler turned back around, only to find that the man had vanished.
***This is my first WP submission, so sorry if it was garbage! It'll probably get buried anyway, so it won't really matter. I'm open to suggestions, if anyone read it!
TLN: keikaku means plan
"Kill me, please. I don't have a life, fucking weeaboo social justice warriors."
Thank you for the compliment and feedback. Must've been my swipe type which changed matched to died
"Please kill me! I don't have a life, this stupid weeaboo [magical justice?] is shit."
I learnt Japanese as a second language so I'm pretty bad at this, but that's effectively what it says I think.
I am the last of my kind. The others are either dead, trancended, evolved or artificial. I have decided to end it. We had a good run, but it is time to let go. Before I leave, I want to make a little trip. I want to meet everybody, just before they pass, and ask them to give me their name and their story.
My task is done now. I have a huge collection of names. So many memories. As I stare at the piles of paper, thinking of all the faces I have seen, the discussions I have had, the countless games of chess I have played, I feel somebody picking my shoulder. As I turn around, I see myself. With a smile and a nod, we cease to be.
I love that last spoken line
i thought maybe he was sherlock holmes
you wrote all this on mobile?
Who's Aaron burr? Who's signature did she get?
Not OP, but I guess that regular people don't usually write their memoirs, and if they do we don't read them. So the narrator couldn't know whether or not non-famous people saw "Death".
I like it, it leaves the answer vague yet fulfilling.
Whoa, I wrote a time travel story for a History of Science class in college a few years back. If it feels a little pedantic or overly "scientific", it's probably because it needed to be. Here it is (a bit long though):
And with that, another assignment dutifully carried out. John Titor stood up from his ornately carved oak chair and offered his hand to the incapacitated man still sitting in front of him. Titor’s polite gesture was a habit built over the years, but as usual the subject never completed the handshake. After all, following a heavy dose of concentrated sodium thiopental, a commonly known “truth serum”, subjects tended to be fairly lethargic.
As he packed up his notes from the interview, Titor paused and turned to the twelve gauge Boss shotgun propped up in a rack just a few feet from the two men. Generally, Titor always had an itch to meddle with the Natural Order, but today the feeling was overwhelming. Ernest Hemingway was his favorite 20th century writer, and Titor thought it would quite a pity to let such a talent just go and kill himself off. If he just reached over and hid the shotgun, maybe Hemingway wouldn't blow his own brains out and could write another fantastic short story Titor could read to his daughter, Emily. His subjects always died just a few hours after his “visits”, mostly so Titor made the least impact on the subjects’ lives and influence the past timeline as minimally as possible.
Titor shook off his stupor and stalked toward the door. He had been warned countless times when he was still just a neophyte in training; the Academy’s number one rule above all else was to never attempt to alter history. Titor never bothered to figure out why, mostly because he took the job to put food on the table. As he clambered into the car, he couldn’t help but smile. Whenever he figured out his subject’s identity, he always felt a little proud of himself. His subject’s identities were never revealed, but he only interviewed the famous or privileged. So on occasion that he could cobble together a few clues and deduce whom he was interviewing, he always gave himself a mental pat on the back.
As he exited the subjects home and drove back to his hidden Launcher, a rocket from 3150AD that could travel at 95% of the speed of light that he used to travel to and from the past to his present, he could only marvel at the technology behind his profession. Once he reached his Launcher, he would leave the Earth for the distant corner of the Milky Way galaxy that contained an astronomically long, cylindrical, spinning, supermassive black hole. His Launcher calculated a very specific path in a roughly circular orbit around the longitudinal axis of the black hole. From what he could gather about the science behind the trip, the black hole acted as a Tipler cylinder. The massive black hole spinning on its axis created some sort of frame-dragging effect that warped spacetime enough to allow Titor to travel backward or forward in time. The frame-dragging effect tilted Titor’s light-cone in such a way that at certain points in the orbit around the quasi-Tipler cylinder, he would effectively be travelling to the past. The path Titor took was called a closed timelike curve or something like that. Titor never got past his basic physics course in high school, and consequently did not comprehend the actual science behind his time travel.
After a few hours of mind-numbing driving, Titor finally arrived at a picturesque scene that would have made Henry David Thoreau proud. Every so often a rainbow trout would leap out of the clearest, bluest lake Titor had ever seen and gracefully splash back into its watery abode as birds chirped happily nearby. As he stalked back to his oblong rocket pod just barely large enough to fit a grown man comfortably, he noticed out of the corner of his eye the same trout leap backward out of the water tail first. Occasionally, due their paradoxical presence, time travelling historians in his profession caused illogical events to occur. If Titor changed a big event from the past, the butterfly effect could cause a huge glitch in the past timeline. A fish jumping backward out of the water was no big deal, Titor thought to himself. Furthermore, Titor actually considered these little glitches fairly interesting to witness in person.
He clambered into his Launcher, built out of an incredibly robust but small carbon nanotube framework. Because his pod needed to travel at nearly the speed of light for the trip to be reasonably short, its design minimized the mass of the pod. Not surprisingly, Titor outweighed his pod nearly 20-fold. Sadly, there was no way science could reduce his own mass unless Titor starved himself. He closed the hatch, input the approximate coordinates of the black hole, and drifted into a deep slumber.
Awoken by a sudden jarring stop, Titor abruptly snapped his eyes open. His pod had traveled to the cylindrical black hole, taken the appropriate closed timelike curve path, traveled quite a bit of time to the future, and shot back to Earth. Truth be told, as annoying as time travel was, being able to land in his own front yard’s Launch pad was pretty convenient. Titor ejected out of his claustrophobia-inducing vehicle and walked quickly into his apartment. He flung the door open to his bedroom and lept into his leather swivel chair, typing furiously into his computer. As his eyes scanned the legal document emailed to him by his attorney, his heart sank faster than his Launcher could fly through a closed timelike curve.
He lost. He had lost the case. His good-for-nothing ex-wife had stolen his precious Emily away from him. The reason for losing his joint custody case was quite simple. Apparently, having a time-travelling historian for a father counted as an absentee parent in the judge’s eyes; missing the court case itself for an assignment didn’t help either. Titor slouched back into his chair, rubbing his eyes holding the inevitable tears back. Emily loved to tell her friends about her timetravelling daddy to her friends at daycare and how she wanted to be like her daddy when she grew up. She was a precocious, vivacious child, and Titor could tell she’d make an even better historian than he would. Her electric blue eyes were always inquisitive, ready to soak up whatever he said like a sponge. Due to the burgeoning fame his biographies caused, Emily had a right to be proud to have him as her father.
Titor stumbled out of his room into the living room past the sleek piano Emily was learning to bang her little fists on, past the ultra-high definition television she helped him pick out, and past the antique gun collection that Titor was going to teach Emily how to shoot once she grew a little older. His mind was blank, and his mouth suddenly went dry. He shuffled into his kitchenette and poured himself a whiskey from his flask. Wiping away the tears, he downed his drink in few gulps and poured himself another, nearly overflowing the glass. He shambled aimlessly into his small living room and collapsed onto the couch. Crying must have taken it out of me, thought Titor to himself. He was exhausted and tired; after all, finishing a mission and coming home to the worst possible news a father could hear was no easy task to overcome. In fact, his arms and legs felt like lead. I need another drink, Titor thought.
Strangely, he couldn’t remember which flask of whiskey he had just drank from. The Dalmore 62 Single Hiland Malt Scotch or the 400 year old aged Macallan? What did it matter? What did he even have to live for anymore anyway? As Titor wallowed in his own despair, he heard his front door open and close. As he looked up expecting to have to defend himself with one of his prized rifles, a slender twenty-some blonde woman swept into the room, smiling gently. Even if he wanted to shoot this intruder, his arms wouldn’t obey his commands. The woman looked at him, pulled out a small picture, and looked back at him.
“You don’t know me, and I wasn’t told of your identity either, sir,” she said ethereally. “However, I have a series of questions to ask you. You may be feeling lethargic, but don’t worry, you won’t remember most of this conversation. Sodium thiopental and whiskey tends to do that most people.”
Titor’s mind felt like a rusted trap, and he could barely even understand what she was saying.
“Apparently, you’re quite the famous guy around town,” the mysterious woman continued as she gracefully sat down next to him, pulling out a notebook. “Are you comfortable?”
Titor’s mouth moved of its own accord, and he croaked out a gruff affirmative response. He felt as if he was just a marionette, being pulled by a few strings unable to control himself. He shifted his eyes, staring directly into her eyes. Her electric blue eyes. Her inquisitive, electric blue eyes.
That is unknown to me. However, I know that by planning or coincidence, he happened to die a month after publishing his theory.
There's not much to say about my childhood. I grew up in an ordinary town with ordinary parents. Not to say they weren't there for me every time I needed them. They just did the nine to five and watched TV a lot like everyone else. I tried my best to be alright with it all, but I can't get over the underwhelming aspect of everyday life. That's why every second I could I studied the wonder of history. It is so amazing how an ordinary person can be thrown into an incredible situation just by a few choices. It would have been so easy to let life go by like everyone else. I couldn't take my mind of the greats that wouldn't be OK with how things were supposed to be.
At first, I stuck with the typical American heroes: Washington, Roosevelt, Lincoln, the Wright Brothers, etc. They filed the emptiness inside of me for some time until I couldn't ignore the hunger for more. I went through every detail I could find about anyone influential I could find. Tore through books, every article ever written, even the dark theories in every corner of the internet. That's where I found it. Right in-between a conspiracy theory about the people behind Hitler and the aliens behind the Illuminati. I found the beautiful notes from a collaboration between Nikola Tesla and H.P. Lovecraft. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever come across so I had to dig deeper. I had studied enough to know what could and couldn't be true online, but no one can pass up the idea of blueprints to a time machine.
Every step closer I got to the full schematics came with a feeling deep in the pit of my stomach. Anger, desire, power, pure joy? I couldn't quite place it. I didn't care. I needed so badly to push through the warnings of dire consequences to fullfil my lifelong quest. I needed to meet these great souls riddled throughout all of time.
After a few years of study, I found a quantum physicist who also dabbled in the study of Tesla. It didn't take long to convince him to help me build the machine with the promise of fame and fortune. Dr. Stephen Bohr could be the face and brains behind our shared path as long as I could control the destination.
The first trip back was a few hours to test. I came out of the machine to see Stephen exactly where I left him. Every inch of my being ached with failure. I had wasted years of my life in search of a fool's endeavor with nothing to show for it. I turned to destroy the wasteful junk of space I had put so much into when I saw him. He was a tad shorter than me it seemed and his choice of clothing didn't do much to flatter his slim build. His hair fell around his face in a disheveled lump like he hadn't slept in weeks. He was quite a curious man until I saw those eyes. They were sunken in and oddly empty. It made it that much more unsettling when I realized they matched the deep hazel of my own. They were my mother's tired eyes. It worked.
I had been compiling my list for my entire life. I wanted to start with the Presidents and work my way through the rest. The Great Houdini, Jack the Ripper, King Tut, I wanted to meet them all. After years of trying to decide the best way to leave the timeline unaltered while still getting mementoes of my trips, I decided on a single autograph from each person as close to their death as possible. It would leave little chance my impression could make a difference a few hours before someone was already meant to die. The only trick would be making sure I blended in with anyone else I happened to encounter. Stephen helped me decide on a pair of plain looking dark pants and a simple dark hoodie so my face couldn't easily be seen. I have never stood out very much in the first place so it wasn't that hard. The look was finished off with my ticket to time travel, a watch that would allow me to travel along my fixed list without the entire machine.
All the hours of study helped me decide on the perfect moment to sneak up to the greats. My first trip was to Abraham Lincoln just as he was entering the Ford's theatre. I imagined him to be so grand walking in with all of his guards in his well-known attire. It felt rather easy to walk up to a normal looking man in such a strange time to ask for his signature. He didn't say much, just signed without looking and hurried inside. I wondered if he even really noticed my presence but I got what I came for.
Next came another easy target, JFK. I arrived in 1963 on Thursday the 21st. Although it was already past midnight, it was around twelve hours earlier than planned. It seemed the people hadn't changed much since 1865. In nearly a century, people were still to busy to notice a man lurking about in all black. I walked around in amazement of Dallas ten years before I was ever born. Being too worried about getting caught, I didn't have as much time to really appreciate 1865 the way I could here. After walking around for an hour or so I came across the most exciting piece of this time period. The Texas School Book Depository in all of it's glory.
Breaking into a building 54 years before my time was much easier than expected. I couldn't wait to go and see the exact spot Lee Harvey Oswald stood to assassinate the great JFK before it actually happened. Even though it was hard to see through the darkness, the thrill was incredible knowing what would happen in less than eleven hours from now. The thrill wore off and I grew exhausted from my travels. I took my jacket off and used it as a pillow right there on the sixth floor. The sleep was restless with dreams of what was about to take place in front of me. I watched the bullet come from every angle imaginable over and over killing the president. It was the most vivid dream I have had in my short life. I awoke rather quickly to a man staring out the window less than a foot from where I slept. I must have left the door open in my fog of historical wonder. He didn't seem to notice as I stood up behind him to walk away before I could mess anything else up. As I turned to leave, he let out a very quiet sigh. He spun to face me, thanked me for my trouble, and turned right back to the window in one solid motion. It was Mr. Oswald himself that I unknowingly gave access to the very spot he would make history. The shock left me unable to form words. I could only run as fast as my body allowed away from that man. In hindsight, I should've gotten his autograph as well.
It was a little over two hours before the famous car ride. I knew every step the president took before getting into the back of the Lincoln he wouldn't step out of again. After twenty minutes of navigating the early Dallas streets, I found a taxi to take me to Love Field. I convinced him I was an undercover secret service agent sent to check out the safety of the president's arrival. His broken English made it almost boring to tell such an easy lie, but it kept me from paying for the trip. The crowds must have been gathering all morning making it hard to navigate the streets.
We arrived just on time. 11:25. I had roughly fifteen minutes to slip in and wait for my signature. It must have been the stress from changing the route so close to the president's arrival because I slipped right in completely unnoticed. I walked over to the car already waiting for JFK and pretended to check the fuel tank and tires. No one even looked my way. As soon as the plane arrived, secret service men brought the president and his wife right over to the car. Kennedy was more than happy to give an autograph to someone insuring the safety of his car. After he handed me my pen, he got into the car and we both went our separate ways.
The trip left me weary of future travels, however, I couldn't stop when I've come this far. I decided to meet George Washington himself on his plantation before his demise. The timing was off again as well as the destination. I arrived in a small but nicely kept room. It was dimly lit and reeked of sweat and blood. A shriek behind me told me I wasn't alone. My luck has been going so well with time travel I arrived 22 years early right in front of Washington himself. He stood in utter disbelief with his gun readily at hand. I quickly realized I had become the once debunked vision to warn Washington of Valley Forge.
Luckily the era was so unadvanced, an angel appearing before the Commander-in-Chief during war was much more believable than a time traveler would ever have been. I quickly changed my dialect to fit the times and warned the man before me of an upcoming battle with promise of victory. It all went smoothly convincing him the signature sealed in the fate of his men. I climbed out the window, to avoid being seen, triumphant after another trip.
A trip home finally felt right after three wonderful stories to share with my partner. Stephen would never believe the complete success that we have accomplished in just a few short years. He was overjoyed the second he saw the three seemingly fresh names of men who died long ago. However, he was weary of Washington's name amongst the two other greats. He could not understand why I would chose a man who died in war over so many other influential people first. My jaw dropped as I ran to a computer. Right there plain as day, "George Washington died January 15, 1778 during the battle of Valley Forge." I had changed the history of the greatest man in early American history and no one other than myself was aware of it.
(Sorry I made it longer than planned. Full story and ending here https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BJv_soy5UwMJm0IBM99k0RJmVdRUTfHApW07uEppAus/edit?usp=drivesdk)
Nice semi cliche ending, I like it
Kinda reminded me of The Doctor lol. I like it
Every time I got a signature, I would keep it in my own journal, which I had hidden away inside my house. People knew I existed, as every single person who I got an autograph from would either talk or write about it. The thing is, a lot of people fit the description of "young boy with blue eyes and blond hair." I was referred to as the Judge, since people believed that if I visited them, I would judge them by their actions. If I were to judge them as morally impure, death would follow soon after, no more than a year, but no less than a fortnight. This was far from the truth, as I didn't kill people like Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. This didn't stop people from looking at my public image as a symbol of death and destruction. The media was covering everything, from historians believing that I was the Grim Reaper, to how people stated that I had met with them.
But one day, I experienced a moment that I would never forget. I grabbed my notebook of signatures and went back to one of the most chaotic days that I could think of. D-Day. I wasn't going to get any signatures, but I didn't want anyone stumbling upon it.
It was more brutal and bloody than I could have ever imagined. Limbs, dead men flying through the air as a grenade went off, bullets whizzing by and destroying craniums. It was horrible.
Eventually, some soldiers were able to get to some cover near my position. They were covered in blood, sweat, and mud.
I remember one of the soldiers looking in my direction and his jaw dropping. He looked at me and shouted, "It's the Judge!"
All of the other soldiers looked in my direction. And for the first, and hopefully only time, I knew what it felt like to be feared like I was death itself. They stayed their ground, throwing grenades, shooting anyone that came near them, and holding out until the last enemy soldier fell.
Finally, the dust settled. Everyone had either run away or died. I finally got the courage to go up to the soldiers. They were terrified. Some of them were praying.
"What does he want?"
"Oh god oh god oh god..."
"I don't wanna die..."
I then decided to show them my book. Some of them looked even more terrified, as they knew that anyone who signed it would die in a year.
Instead of showing them a blank page, I showed them one of the most important signatures that I had ever gotten. It was the signature of one of the most evil, disgusting people to have ever lived on planet Earth. One responsible for millions of deaths.
Adolf Hitler himself.
The soldiers began to understand what I was saying. One by one, they began to smile.
"We... we win the war?"
Congratulations, you have just read he shittiest response in this thread! Feel free to give some constructive criticism!
I never said he isn't ;)
Young him got old him's signature. It's hinted at that he's mischievous, and might have given a false one.
A man with nothing but time on his hands could indulge in any number of hobbies; for Macaro, most of those were intellectual pursuits. From a shelf he withdrew an ancient volume, a leather-bound manuscript illuminated by a Benedictine monk in 1350. Carefully, Macaro turned the vellum pages until he reached the illustration he sought. The stylized drawing showed a young knight slaying what appeared to be a dragon. The knight had fair hair and wore a pale tunic, though the artist hadn't known what to make of the man's clothes, awkwardly rendering the outer garment as a surcoat. The knight wielded a mighty sword with two hands, driving it into the body of the horrid creature. The artist had depicted the thing as a dragon—probably because he simply never had seen anything like an alien species before. Macaro found a second book on another side of the library, a scholarly analysis of the Kent State University shooting in 1970. In one of the grainy black-and-white photographs stood a fair-haired young man in striped trousers and a plain shirt. Placing the modern book side by side with the medieval manuscript, it was patently obvious the two pictures showed the same man. More than six hundred years had passed between the slaying of the "Great Beast of Leicester" and the Kent State tragedy, and the blond man hadn't aged a single day. Macaro's fingers roamed along another shelf, pulling out yet a third book, a paperback account of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. He turned to an often-perused photo: the same young man, helping to carry an injured woman to safety. His head was turned to one side, mouth open, as if calling to someone out of the frame. Only the medieval manuscript identified the man, referring to him as "The Scientist." In the other two, he was just a face in the crowd. This strange man had become something of an obsession for Macaro. From what he could tell, the fellow had been popping up throughout the course of human history, from the very earliest written records. He was mentioned in Mayan codices, Egyptian hieroglyphs, in fragments of lost Aramaic testaments, in the writings of Greeks and Romans and Arabs. Scribes of China's Ming Dynasty and Japan's Heian Period made reference to him. Every civilization, it seemed, had been touched by this man at least once. Scholars had referred to him by any number of titles: Teacher, Healer, Scientist, Wizard, Wise Man, Old Man. But in modern writings—anything after the European Middle Ages—he'd almost exclusively been called the Doctor. Macaro had, over time, amassed a vast trove of information about the wandering traveler. It hadn't been easy at first, because the man's appearance often seemed so radically different—tall or short, old or young, dark-haired or fair-haired or white-haired, stocky or slim. For the longest time, Macaro had doubted they even were connected, or perhaps the honorific "Doctor" represented a legacy of sorts, passed along from one man to the next. With the advent of computer technology had come some startling revelations. Macaro had tapped the files of UNIT, a military branch of the United Nations dedicated to combating alien threats. The Doctor had been their chief scientific advisor for many years, and their records included photos of several different men. The accompanying reports, however, made very clear that all these men were in fact the same person, the same being. A year earlier, Macaro had acquired the private memoir of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, a late brigadier with the British military, a man who apparently had known more about the Doctor than anyone on Earth. His lucid and provocative autobiography revealed that the Doctor was a member of an alien species, that he'd been visiting Earth for centuries, that his ship could travel in time as well as space, and that he had a phenomenal ability to regenerate into a completely new body when he was close to death. The brigadier's memoir tied together all the disparate evidence Macaro had compiled and explained many, though certainly not all, of the Doctor's mysteries. So far as Macaro could determine, the Doctor had taken on the physical appearance of ten different men—he may have had more forms than that, but only ten were documented in Earth history. Macaro switched on the computer, and after it booted up, opened his folder on the Doctor, selecting a composite photo of all ten forms. He had no way of knowing their correct chronological order, but he always found a side-by-side contrast useful. The photo in the top row to the far right provided a good likeness of the man on the surveillance video: seemingly about thirty-five, Caucasian, tall, thin, brown hair, brown eyes, brown clothes. Macaro leaned back in the chair, ruminating. Every account of the Doctor made it clear that he most often turned up during times of urgency and disaster. Scholars divided sharply on whether he caused trouble or solved it—Macaro suspected both—but it seemed that whenever the man appeared, violence erupted, tragedy struck, and people died. Depending on one's perspective, the alien was either an angel of mercy or a walking genocide. Of all the descriptions Macaro had read of the man, none intrigued him more than the colorful summary penned by a long-forgotten Victorian scholar: The Doctor is a legend, a myth woven through time. When disaster strikes, he's there. He brings the storm in his wake, and he has one constant companion: death. And now the Doctor turned up in Hungary, on the eve of perhaps the final cataclysmic battle between two immortal species. Macaro didn't think it was an accident.
--Excerpt from "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" by E.A. Week
I loved reading this. My favorite among what's here ♡
She got Hamilton's signature.
Aaron Burr killed him in a duel.
January 20th, 2017 will be a day forever remembered. The first time a president has died the same day as his inauguration ceremony.
I was walking up 18th Street towards Pennsylvania Avenue when someone slammed into my back, effectively knocking me over. Instinctively, I threw my arms out, attempting to cushion my fall. The man, judging by his voice, muttered a quick apology before sprinting past me and disappearing around a corner.
"Jesus," I whispered out loud, "the inauguration isn't for another," I checked my watch, "hour and a half. Didn't even help me up."
Looking down at the concrete to make sure I didn't drop anything, I spotted a scattered pile of photos, most of which were in black and white. They probably belonged to the guy who knocked me over. I contemplated just leaving there, after all, it had nothing to do with me and I most likely was never going to see him again..
Deciding against rational thought, I decided to at least try to return the pictures to him. Bending down to pick them up, I noticed some writing on the back of one of the pictures, a date and a signature, to be exact.
April 30th, 1945, and under the date was a scribble where I could only make out the letters "A" and "H". On the front of the picture stood a man dressed in a long black cloak, similar, if not the same as the man who bumped into me, shaking hands with someone who had a strange resemblance to a certain German leader. That would explain the date and the signature but it wasn't possible. The man couldn't have been more than thirty years old, but there he stood, next to Adolf Hitler, smiling a thousand-watt smile.
I quickly shuffled through the rest of the photos. The man in the cloak standing next to so many famous people in so many different eras. There were some pieces of paper mixed into the photos with only dates and signatures on them.
Johann Sebastian Bach, Napoleon Bonaparte, George Washington, Marilyn Monroe, and many more.
I pulled out my phone and searched up all of these people, and the dates on the back were the same as the day they died. Either this guy had some serious photoshopping skills or something beyond my comprehension was happening.
There was no way that someone could be alive that long. There was a picture of him with Abraham Lincoln, for God's sake. This was insane, absolutely ludicrous!
Could he be the hidden reason behind their deaths? I wanted to slap myself and laugh for thinking such insane thoughts. The grim reaper didn't exist. I was a strong believer in science, there was absolutely no way that- that- there was just no way, I decided. I left the pictures there on the floor, forgetting that I was going to originally going to return them.
I continued my journey down 18th Street and turned right onto Pennsylvania Avenue, trying my damned hardest to erase what I had just witnessed.
The inauguration went without a hitch and everything went seemed to go smoothly afterwards, our new president even took pictures with some of the people that went to watch. I went back home to my family that night, already having forgotten about the signatures.
But nothing could have prepared me for the news regarding our new president the very next morning.
Donald J. Trump was pronounced dead on January 20th, 2017 at 10:47 P.M., for reasons yet to be disclosed.
AN// this entire "story" was a shit show im sorry
at least he didn't meta reference. Fuck people who use reddit in wrting prompts