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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2195222
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Dark · #2195222
A man tries to abuse time to save his daughter and village.
The midday desert was peaceful. ~1~



Nothing but the wind disturbed the yellow sands, and the man closed his eyes. He meditated, focusing on pure nothing, as he had for many years past. He felt the cold of the void around him, despite the hot, dry air on his skin. With his eyes closed he saw naught but the dark, and he floated through it peacefully. The void. ~2~



And then, as he had done many times before, he focused on time itself. Focused on changing the weaves of time, bending and distorting what was otherwise straight and linear. He saw the threads appear, and he was so startled he almost lost the void. He pinched two pieces of the thread together, which he instinctively knew was a few minutes ago and this morning, and intertwined them. Then, he let go. The threads faded, and the void shattered. ~3~



He opened his eyes, and shifted his position. A lizard skittered across the sand into a hole. A hawk cried overhead. He stood. ~4~



The mystic walked forwards, down from his dune towards some dead bushes, when he felt the cold of the void again. Calling. He looked up towards the sun, and his peripheral vision began fading, until there was nothing but the sun. He tracked it as it reversed, moving down in the sky, towards the sunrise. The sky changed from a typical sky blue, turning darker, and the horizon grew red and orange, and he tore his vision from the sun. Dawn had come again. The imprint of the sun was left on his vision. ~5~



He dropped to his knees on the sand, feeling more accomplished than he ever had. He'd done it. He'd reversed Time itself, after many years of training, he'd finally be able to go back and fix his mistakes, save his daughter, fix the wrongs done to his village. ~6~

Then the man realized he felt overwhelmingly exhausted. As if he'd lifted the weight of a thousand waterskins, as if he'd ran between villages nonstop. His arms ached and burned, his legs turned to jelly, and he laid, unmoving, in the desert sands at dawn. ~7~

He slept. The sun had risen partially in the sky, making it mid-morning. He was parched, hungry- he'd been out in the sun this entire time. He stood slowly, feeling the soreness resulting from his feat. He walked slowly back to his village, where he resumed normal life, for a time. Until he felt he was ready to attempt again. ~8~

A week later, he felt rejuvenated. As the sun set, the mystic set out to that same dune, the same spot he'd been using as long as he could remember. ~9~



Once more, he meditated. He calmed his breathing, lowered his heart rate, and ignored that going on around him. He closed his eyes, focused on complete nothingness, and felt the cold of the void. Again he saw the threads of Time laid bare before him. He reached far, far back, years into the past, and stopped. He felt.. wrong, somehow. As if his actions would have consequences, though he did not care. The Church be damned, Magar be damned, for he was going to rewrite his past. ~10~



The man grabbed a thread, seven years and eight months ago, and yanked it forwards. He flew through the void, to present day, where he tried to bring the threads together. ~11~

The thread of Time resisted. It would not cooperate, was forcing itself away like magnets of the same charge, but the man pushed harder and harder. Finally, he felt a click as they touched, and he quickly intertwined them. And then it sent out a pulse. ~12~



A shockwave blasted him away from the threads and shattered the void, and he laid flat on his back behind the dune. ~13~



Soon, he stopped feeling sorry for himself and stood. His arms and legs ached, though not as badly as before. The man walked over the dune, and back to the same spot where he had reversed a day. Once more, he felt the cold of the void, calling him. When he embraced it this time, however, the sun flickered. It flickered like the spokes on a spinning wheel, flashing day and night at a rapid pace, until it just.. stopped. It was dawn once more. ~14~



He felt exhausted again, but he did not care. He stumbled and dragged himself back to the village, from a distance seeing parts of the village restored that had been destroyed. ~15~



He heard a mechanical whir, and the sound of something walking through sand. He looked around, but could see nothing. Paranoia? Hallucinations? In either case, he walked as fast as he could without falling. ~16~



The village was in full swing, people walking through with buckets, carrying things, pushing carts. He heard a mechanical click from a nearby roof, and saw something metal out of the corner of his eye. When he looked however, there was nothing. Nobody else had seemed to notice, either. ~17~



He snapped back to attention. He must find her. He must. ~18~



There. ~19~

He saw a little girl with brown hair run through an alley, and he knew what was coming. He must stop her. He must. ~20~



Then he heard it. The horn. ~21~

Adrenaline raced through his veins. He had little time. ~22~



A great horn blew, one signalling danger. He used a burst of energy, darting forward through the frantic people, calling her name, but when he reached the alley she was gone. Through to the other side. ~23~

He gave chase through the alley. Forward, there was nothing but desert, with death and destruction on the horizon. He looked left, nothing. He looked right, and saw a flash of hair going around a corner. He gave chase once more. ~24~

Around that sandstone corner he found her, his daughter, giggling. ~25~

"Darn, you found me!" She said excitedly, between giggles. ~26~



His eyes snapped open. ~27~



He looked forward, once again on the same familiar dune, to see something mystical and strange. A brass machine stood before him, on two legs like a human, though he could see gears and mechanical bits on the inside of it. Its head and the top of its chest was replaced with a massive hour glass, which seemed to be running out of time. It held out a brass hand, and the man jumped, skittering backwards despite his aching body. ~28~

"Wh- what happened? Where is she? What are you?" ~29~



He spoke with a strange, metallic voice. "Quarut. You have made a grave mistake." Whirring noises came from his body as he spoke. ~30~



The Quarut pointed its finger at him, and everything around him slowed. His movements were in slow motion, as if he was suspended in gel. The Quarut however, moved normally, walking circles around him. ~31~

"You are to be punished for your crimes against Magar, the god of Magic and Time. You are hereby charged with the Manipulation of Time, and Conspiracy to Prevent a Calamity." ~32~

He struggled, thrashing in the gelatinous bubble of time to no avail. He tried to speak, to cast a spell, but his hands moved too slowly for the gesture and when he began to chant, the time seemed to fill his mouth, and he could no longer move his jaw. ~33~

"None of that. Your magic has been stripped from you." The Quarut whirred. "We will meet again to discuss your punishment. I must consult." ~34~

With a flash, the man reappeared on the dune in the middle of the day, with the brass machine nowhere to be seen. He tried to close his eyes and meditate, but no matter how much or how little he focused, he could not achieve the void he desperately sought. ~35~



After a time, he gave up and began to weep. Weep for the second loss of his daughter, weep for the loss of his magic, weep for the waste of Time his endeavor had been.
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