Dickens penned the final words to The Mystery of Edwin Drood and relaxed with a dreamy look on his face. Somehow he had felt he was battling against time to complete the novel. He was relieved it was finished.
Back in the control centre of the Flexible Alternative Relativistic Chrono Extender there was great excitement as the final page was scanned and stored.
“OK, collapse the Time Bubble.”
“Collapse in progress. Awaiting final confirmation. And, check, normal historical time is restored.
The Controller sighed with relief and consulted his notes.
“Now, what’s next, ah yes, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony.”
Author’s note: What unfinished work would you like to see completed by the original author? My choice would be Sanditon.
The Great Sorcerer glared at his young grandson through bristling eyebrows and tapped his pointed hat making light flashes flare around the room.
“Now pay attention lad. We are about to conceive a great magic spell. Watch and learn.”
With much waving of his wand and many mutterings of mysterious words a grey fog began to creep around the room.
“Behold! You see the mists. Now we will conjure your father and speak to him even though he is on the other side of the world!”
The young boy sighed and opened his laptop.
“Grandad, we can just use Skype.”
Author’s note: Another ancient craft rendered pointless by modern technology.
“In conclusion, we’ll miss you Pete but we all wish you a long and happy retirement.”
Pete Spencer basked in the warm applause and downed his champagne. Colleagues clapped him on the back.
“You lucky son of a gun.”
“How did you manage to save up all that money?”
“Just 35! It shouldn’t be allowed.”
“Of course, it won’t seem as if you’ve left!”
The next day Pete stayed in bed until Noon and then drifted down to the pub for a leisurely lunch. He sighed happily.
At the office his exclusively manufactured clone walked in and set to work.
Author’s Note: A way of letting people retire while retaining their skills.
I could see into the future. I made fortunes winning several lotteries and became the most famous person on Earth. Everybody wanted to kidnap me to exploit my power but it was, of course, quite easy to avoid them.
That is, until the power suddenly disappeared. I said I was stopping predictions and went into hiding.
The CIA got to me first. I awoke in a nuclear bunker and my hosts looked ugly. Fearing torture, I panicked and said I’d allowed them to catch me as a nuclear bunker looked like a good place to be just now.
Author’s Note: They might not have believed him even if he had told the truth and they would probably have jumped to the same conclusion!
Cariaxxa and Gerxxo levitated their presents and telepathically removed the wrapping paper.
“Universe Creator! Cool!” they cried in unison.
“I’m going to build a wonderful little universe where everybody is happy and there are never any wars,” said Cariaxxa.
Her brother snorted as his Big Bang exploded in the containment field before their eyes.
“Typical girl. Mine’s going to be so huge you won’t believe it and I’ll put a tiny little planet somewhere near the edge with people on it and they’ll think they’re so important but I’ll just make them fight and fight until they all destroy themselves.”
Author’s Note: It does sometimes feel as if a teenage boy is running everything!
Terry’s grandfather was a professional magician. At parties he did amazing card tricks for the youngster and before each one he tapped mysteriously on an old pocket watch hanging by a huge gold chain from his waistcoat.
When the old man died, Terry asked his parents if he could keep the pocket watch. He could remember the pattern of taps and found to his astonishment that the watch stopped. And so did everything else. Time itself came to a halt.
Terry had a wild time, stealing money and committing many other unspeakable deeds.
Unfortunately, however, he couldn’t restart the watch.
Author’s Note: Always check out your exit strategy.
Sir Reginald was approaching his big speech. He was enjoying himself. The new gizmo in his eye was displaying the words for him.
He was too old to remember his lines now but with this thing he could go on for years.
“To be, or not to be, that is the Software Error 37.”
He stopped in horror. Nothing else appeared. His mind went blank just like his screen.
Slowly the lights came on. Every member of the audience looked up from their various phones and tablets.
The play seemed a little short but nevertheless they broke into warm applause.
Author’s Note: Don’t you hate it when people don’t watch the play in a theatre?
I started to come round after the operation. I was in the recovery room and feeling rather groggy.
I noticed the patient opposite was staring at me. His gaze seemed horrified and I suddenly realised he looked exactly like me.
A nurse approached him followed by a lady. It was my wife.
“Mr Smith. Here’s your wife to see you.”
He gaped and blinked. “That’s not my wife. And my name’s Jenkins.”
I began musing on the weird effects of anaesthetics when a hand touched me lightly on the shoulder. It was another nurse.
“How are you feeling Mr Jenkins?”
Author’s Note: I’ve recently had an operation and was determined to get some writing ideas out of the experience. As far as I know I haven’t switched bodies with one of the other patients.
The aliens arrived in 2034.
We blasted them out of the sky just as they were starting to explain how delighted they were to meet us. It was only later after analysing the wreckage that we realised they were not only peaceful but had no knowledge of weapons or warfare.
It was the catalyst for change. Three centuries later we were just like them. We had learned our lesson.
To our delight we saw the aliens returning in 2335. We prepared a great celebration and made ready to apologise.
They blasted the planet to pieces.
They had learned their lesson.
Author’s Note: I’m pretty sure we would react to the first encounter like this. I’m not so sure we would have changed though by the time of the second encounter.
The spaceship had always been there. Or so it seemed. It had landed so long ago that it was now classified as a prehistoric monument. There were even tourist trips.
“Our delightful ancestors had no interest in investigating the artefact or seeing if they could communicate with it,” explained our tour guide, “they simply tried to destroy it with their primitive nuclear weapons. However, as you see, it is still in pristine condition and, sadly, we now think it is empty. Its purpose will probably never be known.”
A little boy tugged at his mother.
“Look, Mummy, the door’s opening.”
Author’s note: Aliens who live for millennia would probably take their time working through the pre-EVA checklist.