The End of Time

A/N: I got this prompt from a website, and the idea formed itself almost at once, whole and unbroken, and I just had to pen it down. 🙂 I hope you like it!

Link to original prompt:

As the character kept on pedalling, time started to travel backwards.

The old man walked downwards, leading a weird object beside him. He was old, hunched over and his steps were slow. He was very nearly bald, with the exception of two patches on either side, and his beard was long, and as white as his hair. His face was covered in wrinkles, and he squinted against the soft glare of the sun, before taking his seat on the thing he had brought with him, placing his feet on pedals on either side.

It took some time and effort to begin. His legs were weak, and his muscles almost all deteriorated, but his eyebrows furrowed in determination, and his hands gripped the handles tightly as he forced his legs to move. It was an odd looking contraption, composing of three large cog-wheels forming a ‘Mickey-Mouse’ shape, with  two smaller gears at the tail end of one, held together by numerous poles and chains and metal rods.

At the very top was an odd machine, shaped almost like a syringe, except that where the needle normally sat, there was a two-pronged fan, and the plunger was replaced with the end of a key. The machine was suspended above the town, hovering in the middle of the air, and it attracted the stares and whispers of the people who happened to glance up.

As he pedalled, slowly at first, the first wheel began to turn, winding up the mechanism. His pedalling grew stronger, and picked up pace; the second cog turned, soon followed by the third. By this time, there wasn’t a single hesitation in his footwork, and a pace had been set. Up and down and up and down and up and down his feet moved, marching to an invisible beat, until there was a click and the fan began to turn.

Below, a mother and her son had took notice of the strange object in the sky and were just beginning to point at it when they froze. A passing car turned sharply to avoid a dog running across the road and suddenly stopped; the dog began to snarl and then, mouth half-curled inwards, halted and did not move again. The streets were very abruptly quiet, at a standstill.

In a nearby building, in one of the apartments, a woman was sitting on the ground, hands held above her face as a man – her husband – stood above her, arm raised. A single drop of blood was suspended a few feet above the floor. The man in the sky kept paddling, and, suddenly, without warning, the trickle of tears that had made a path down the woman’s bruised face retreated, tracing its way back up into her eyes.

The drop of blood flew backwards, and she stood up; the man pulled his fist away from her face and took a few steps back. With a sweep of his hand across the table, the plates of food scattered on the floor picked themselves back up and laid themselves neatly in a row.

Outside, the dog ran, backwards, to the pavement, and the car reversed all the way down the street. The mother and son retraced their steps to the toy shop, where the cashier handed them money, and they put the toy back on the shelf before walking back out, and further down the street, where they got in their car and drove back home.

Still the man continued paddling, not once faltering in his movements.

Elsewhere, a fish came back to life in the hands of a small boy, and jumped onto a nearby book; the boy threw the line out into the open ocean and the fish was set free.

Further away, a seagull returned a French fry to the hands of a teenage girl, and she placed it back on the plate before a waiter came and took it back to the kitchen, where it was placed into a fryer, frozen, and poured back into a bag which was then kept in the freezer.

The chef went home and climbed back into bed, and, as the man picked up his pedalling speed, the moon rose and the man ran to the bathroom, brushing foam away from his mouth and spat mouthwash back into the container.

The man continued onwards, picking up speed instead of losing it, and the world itself began to move backwards.

Planes flew out of two tall buildings, which fixed itself, before it was carefully taken apart by human hands. Houses and offices and railways were dismantled, and hills and mountains were formed. Pieces of wood were dragged over by cranes, and righted by giant bulldozers, making trees.

People became babies and babies became sperm. The man – now seemingly in his early fifties – pedalled even faster, until everything was passing by in a whirlwind of movement. An hour went by, and then, abruptly, he slowed down.

This was his favourite part, and he watched, intently, as, from out of the ground, bones became flesh and took form, and creatures once long extinct started to roam the earth once again. He spent a few minutes watching the dinosaurs move through their life backwards, and smiled to himself as the dissolved into nothingness.

Slowly, the soil began to tremble, shrinking inwards, growing smaller and smaller before with an almost audible poof vanished into nothingness. Around him the galaxy glinted and shone with a trillion other lifeless planters, and even more stars. Purples and blues and greens and colours that did not have a name, brighter than anything he had ever seen on earth, greeted him as far as he could see.
And, finally, the man stopped pedalling, and his features had become softer and more firm. His white beard was absent, and thick mops of brown hair covered the top of his. There were no longer any wrinkles, but rather, a smooth, handsome face regarded its surroundings. He got off the device and straightened, stretching out tired limbs.

Pulling his device alongside him, the young man walked upward into the endless unknown of the universe, towards his home. There, he will lay aside his machine, and lay himself down, where he will sleep for the next five million years before he awakens.

When he does, he will dust off his only tool and make the trek down to the new world, with its new inhabitants, and start pedalling, erasing time and history itself, creating, for the next group of people, a blank canvas.

The end of the world has been speculated by many, depicted by even more, but nobody would have ever guessed that the only cause was, and is, and will only ever be Father Time, and his bicycle.


2 thoughts on “The End of Time

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