TIMES ARROW

TIMES ARROW

A Story by alanwgraham
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An unusual look at history!

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<<<<TIMES ARROW>>>>

 

 

Over the great cities of the earth, over the harbours, highways, railroads, bridges and airfields, over the places of learning and of worship, over schools and hospitals, over towns and villages, over fields and forests and over factories and mines, great mushroom clouds of destruction writhe their dance of death.


v


The sun has come to the earth and found that it burns. It lasts but a moment, that chain reaction, that dervish dance of neutrons wreaking mayhem, the pure energy of a billion atoms shedding mass. Then it is over. For a moment, time itself quivers on the cusp of inevitability and then shudders into reverse.

 v


Atoms split just an instant before, now rejoin their critical mass in the warheads within their casings. The bombs fall back up into the missiles and bomb bays of the B52’s and the TU95’s which then return to their airfields. The missiles retrace their trajectories through the fringes of space to re-enter smoothly into their silos where the warheads are reinterred into their lead sarcophagi. The presidents cancel the launch orders. The alerts and alarms are silenced and war has become peace.


 v


In each corner of the earth the great unravelling goes on apace. Workers swarm to dismantle the great edifices of civilization. Skyscrapers are dismantled, level by level, girder by girder, concrete sections slab by slab until they are laid flat. Highways, bridges and tunnels are torn up, pulverized into dust and returned to the earth. Aircraft, boats and automobiles are returned to their places of manufacture where they enter the disassembly lines to be unbolted and unwelded, one by one, back to the first Model T. Then the assembly plants themselves are disassembled.

 

Each last drop of oil, coal and gas is returned to its rightful place in the dark bowels of the earth. The tunnels are backfilled, the oil wells and drilling rigs are removed and dismantled.


v


In obscure camps in central Europe a new race is born from the sickly choking smell of Zyclon B. Each day for year upon year thousands more emerge from the doors of their gaschambers to become professors, doctors and world famous artists, scientists and musicians, mothers and fathers, grandparents and children.

v


Along the blood soaked trenches of battlefields the dead spring up from where they lay, the bullets emerge from their wounds to fly back and be caught by their enemies rifles. The undead march back to their barracks, become untrained in the ways of war, cast off their uniforms and arms and return to their wives and children. The naked and torn earth returns to pastures and fields and the shattered towns and villages are reborn. The rifles, machine guns, tanks and artillery pieces return to their factories, are disassembled and melted back to base metal.

v


A physicist called Albert Einstein now working in the USA sits at his desk and pauses, pen in hand, pondering before putting pen to paper. A very curious little fellow that Albert has had dealings with before appears and sits on the easy chair in the corner.

 

‘Ah, my old friend Mr ‘Genie.’ I thought you might make an entrance!’

'No pun intended Albert but you are a ‘genius'. Well - are you going to let me out of the bottle?  Once I’m out, there’s no going back!’

Of course Albert had been agonising over this for decades and with great misgivings put pen to paper.


v

 

Albert Einstein
August 2nd, 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
Sir:

Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations.

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America--that it may be possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated  …..


 v


In burial places across the earth the dead are dug from their graves and emerge from their coffins to return to life. The undeceased pass some time in retirement, enter work, care for a family, return to school, unlearn that which has been learned, take their first steps, first words, toddle, crawl,  suckle, and finally, laboriously re-enter the womb. That umbilical link that once joined mother to child into the future now unwinds into the past.


 v


The age of steam which powers factories and mills and drives the great locomotives and steamships of the age rolls back to the last feeble puffs of steam from the first tiny funnels. The iron rails that had spread like tentacles to every settlement are pulled up and returned to the steel works to be returned to iron ore.

v


Now the progress of times arrow slows as work depends on the strength of a man and the power of a horse or oxen. The great castles and cathedrals of the land are taken down stone by stone. The great monuments of the future, Machu Picchu, the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids and Stonehenges are dismantled and the stones dragged back to their quarries. The fields and clearings used for cultivation return to the forest.

v


Mankind  now lives in small clans in the forests and plains. They use simple language to communicate and plan their hunts. They use expertly fashioned tools which exhibit their mastery of their surroundings. They worship their, still to be ancestors, and record their hunts and themselves, as masterworks of art on cave walls.

 v


Still unwinding in time, we return to a small clearing where a group of proto humans are gathered. Language has shrivelled back to the last word. The creatures might be mistaken for modern man, albeit it shorter and hairier but they lack the vital attribute of speech which would uncork the genie.


v


One of the creatures, known to the others by a grunt that we might translate as ‘scarface’ lifts his wooden club. He looks at it long and its name forms on his tongue. The words could be used to communicate with the others, as for example, ‘give me club’ or ‘hit him with club’ His words confer the possibility of choice on his actions - the name lodged in his head could be used for abstract thinking and planning.

 

For some unfathomable reason, the name tantalisingly teasing his tongue as in a game of hide and seek, departs, and then remains unsaid for ever.

Man had spoken his last word. Without speech, his power to plan ahead and to recall the past except as ill defined feelings has disappeared.


v


In any meaningful sense for these proto humans time had ceased to exist. Life in the forest passes unchanged from one generation to the next.  Proto-Man lives in harmony with his surrounding, taking only what he needs. The past and the future have become as one.


v

 

Until one morning Einstein’s ‘Genie’ appears to the small clan. At first suspicious of the bizarre looking stranger they became bewitched when he projects a glittering dazzle of ideas into their heads. He makes them an offer -

‘I will give you the gift of words, a sound for every thing. With these you will get the power to imagine and plan, but you will also get the power to choose between right and wrong.’

 

‘Your future, your choice!’

 


© 2017 alanwgraham



My Review

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Featured Review

I'd like to think that mankind, if given a "do-over", would make better choices the second time, but I have doubts. Perhaps greed is the culprit. If we didn't want riches and power, we would be so much a better species. This is a fine bit of writing--imaginative and very well done. Oh--thought-provoking, too.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

2 Months Ago

Thanks Samuel. i know this is a bit way out and not everyone will get it so i appreciate your kind c.. read more
Samuel Dickens

2 Months Ago

Fighting off a second nap for the day, I may not have understood it right.
alanwgraham

2 Months Ago

I think you understood it perfectly although it is still valid if the reader takes his own interpret.. read more



Reviews

A very interesting concept - what if humanity got a second chance? Would we make the same bad choices? Well, probably. The thing is, though, we're trying. Failing badly along the way, but trying. I wouldn't really consider myself an optimist (especially with all that's going on nowadays) but somehow I do have some faith in progress and good intentions.
Personally I would consider - most of all - words and stories as our way to salvation. We can empathize through stories. We can mediate through words. So, if there was one invention I would not want to vanish, it would be speech. I'd go as far as saying that it what makes us human. The ability to make up stories, the talent to name things that do not yet exist. Take that away and what is left? A timid prey animal, in fear of those with stronger muscles and sharper teeth. We are the creatures of language. Let's use it for something constructive rather than fear mongering and defamation. That is my belief. That is my goal. So, if the genie had visited me, I would have gladly accepted his offer. Probably even knowing what was about to come from it. Does that make me bad? I'd like to think: it makes me human.

Cheers,

Kali

Ps: I always relish a story that makes me take a stand. Love it!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

1 Month Ago

Thanks Kali for your very thoughtful observations. At this time (and at all times) having those arou.. read more
Kaliope

1 Month Ago

Thanks Alan, and no worries, I'm still writing. If I'm lucky, I'll even be published by the end of t.. read more
alanwgraham

1 Month Ago

Good luck with it all. Your writing is definitely worth nurturing!
Alan
I really love your description of time moving backward. This is a very thought provoking piece. Easy to read.

Posted 1 Month Ago


alanwgraham

1 Month Ago

Thanks Craig. It did make me think a bit so I'm glad you got something out of it.
Cheers, ala.. read more
To fly the arrow back through space and time,
turns works of physics to a puzzled frown.
If we upset man's total paradigm
then every dream and scheme comes falling down.

Could Einstien's brilliant works have come to be
Without the help of cavemen, just like me?


Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

1 Month Ago

Caveman I think not! Thanks
Again
Cheers
Alan
Thats incredible and factually accurate. Quite impressive to read. great mindset!

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

1 Month Ago

Thanks Benjamin. I was pleased with this but not sure if everyone would get it. You must have a grea.. read more
This seems to be written in a way such that time is going backwards in some parts & forwards in others. The dramatic spectacle & abundance of details regarding nuclear bombs seems to reflect your unique style of thinking, which is chock-full of stuff that most people never know or think about. It's kinda mind-boggling, the same way I feel about how the Chump is taking us closer & closer to this insanity. He thinks the USA should increase nuclear arsenal times ten -- just what our world needs. I don't understand everything about your message here, but the intensity & chaos is very much reflective of what we have been living thru in the age of the Chump . . . *sigh!* (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

2 Months Ago

Thanks for taking your time to look at this Margie. I know its a bit way out and I wasn't too sure i.. read more
This made an interesting read. Yes indeed, what if time went backwards! Perhaps it has, maybe several times before. You have written it very well in a matter of fact sort of way, and I like the personification of the Genie, and his generous offer at the end.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

2 Months Ago

Thanks very much for your comments. It's a 'what if' imagination but hopefully a few ideas.
<.. read more
I'd like to think that mankind, if given a "do-over", would make better choices the second time, but I have doubts. Perhaps greed is the culprit. If we didn't want riches and power, we would be so much a better species. This is a fine bit of writing--imaginative and very well done. Oh--thought-provoking, too.

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

alanwgraham

2 Months Ago

Thanks Samuel. i know this is a bit way out and not everyone will get it so i appreciate your kind c.. read more
Samuel Dickens

2 Months Ago

Fighting off a second nap for the day, I may not have understood it right.
alanwgraham

2 Months Ago

I think you understood it perfectly although it is still valid if the reader takes his own interpret.. read more

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Added on October 6, 2017
Last Updated on October 11, 2017

Author

alanwgraham
alanwgraham

Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom



About
Married with three grown up kids, I retired early from teaching physics but have always enjoyed a second life enjoying the outdoors, particularly the mountains. In my mid forties I experienced a manic.. more..

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