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Archive for August 25th, 2011
A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston
“So. You’ve come to kill me then?”
He didn’t turn around. He didn’t need to. He’d heard the faint click of the gun’s hammer being pulled back, and knew there was only one person who could be holding it.
“I have to. You know I have to. It’s the only way.”
“You won’t be able to.” He turned his chair around, wanting to face the person with the gun. He knew a general identity but not a face, not even a gender. There was no mistaking the man there. The high cheekbones. The gentle nose. This could only be his grandson. “And really, I’m disappointed in your lack of imagination here.”
“You’re not making this easy for me.”
“It’s not supposed to be easy. In fact, it’s supposed to be impossible. I’m sure you’ve seen the equations, the proof that the timeline is immutable, unchangeable. And really, picking on an old man like me?”
“You’re five years younger than me.”
“Oh sure,” he rose from his chair, and walked towards his grandson. Around him lay the bits and pieces of his failed prototypes, in a room beyond was his success. “I suppose now I am, but don’t you know me as an old man? Wasn’t I kind to you? I’ve always wanted to be a grandfather. Your grandmother says I can’t wait to be old, and I suppose she’s right. Are we still alive?”
His grandson’s hand was shaking, more and more as he stepped closer and closer. “Please. Please just stop. You know it has to be this way.”
“Why? Just because it’s called the Grandfather Paradox? You have another grandfather, you know. Somewhere else out there. You could have even tried to kill your younger self, same paradox.”
“You invented the thing. You’re the one everyone knows. You’re the one that proved it’s impossible. It just…it just has to be you. Has to be this way.”
“Could you please sit back down?”
“Stop saying that!” He was getting flustered. There were tears streaming down his face, and his hand shook all the more.
“What’s your name?”
“Why does that matter?”
“If you’re going to kill me, I’d like to at least know your name.”
“They…they named me after you.”
The inventor smiled. “Charles, then. Do they call you ‘Charlie?’ I always hated Charlie. Why don’t you give me the gun. There are other paradoxes, other ways of testing things. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
“It…it does.” The resolve in his voice was slipping away. His grip on the gun loosened. The inventor reached out and pulled it away.
“That’s good. Now, I’d love to hear all about your life. My life. That would be a paradox, too. Let’s just put the safety on this,” the gun was slick with sweat. It slipped in his hand. He tried to catch it, but as he did the world exploded in noise and pain. He looked down at the gaping hole in his own chest.
The inventor fell to his knees, looking up at his grandson’s shocked expression. “This,” he said, each word a struggle, “wasn’t in my equations.” Darkness closed in around him as the paradox storms swept in.
Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.