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Time Heals Most Wounds · Original Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
Circles Never Stop Themselves
So, someone's told you time heals all wounds, and they're going to have said it ironically or sarcasticcally or bitterly or without self-awareness or whatever, and it's all going to have been bullshit.

And you know it's bullshit, and I know it's bullshit, so let's talk about what it doesn't fix.

Time doesn't fix age, time doesn't fix cancer and time doesn't fix dead.

No, I'm not dying of cancer.

So let's walk.

Yes, I specifically said 'of cancer'. That wasn't me dodging, that was just you paying attention.

One sec, I need to hit the password.

15092026. Yeah, the date. That's the plan, anyway. Been planning this a long while.

Welcome to the lab. Ha! You think that's weird, you should see the basement. But yeah, it's definitely not the sort of thing you'd normally see behind an auto shop is it?

Don't know what normally goes behind an auto shop. I think meth labs, honestly.

No, this isn't- look, are meth labs this chrome? Chrome everywhere. Flashing lights. Tangled wires. Foggy air from all the evaporating liquid nitrogen. Even if you don't know what a meth lab looks like, you have to know it doesn't look like this.

It'd be hard to tie meth into my diatribe on time, too, let's be honest.

So here's the thing. There's the chair, there's the wire, ignore the smell of burning lab animals. Early trials. Look, nothing's rusted, so it's clear there wasn't all that much blood. Ignore the scorchmarks.

I said-

Fuck it.

Sixty years ago today my paternal grandfather flipped his car. Police instructional driver, wasn't wearing his seatbelt as he went over gravel. Either foul play or suicide.

After that, my paternal grandmother went through a series of abusive stepfathers to my Dad, alcoholics and addicts and abusers the lot of them.

After that Dad went on to be the same. Got sent out to boarding schools, came home to that bullshit, rolled out to other boarding schools, became just as bad as his parents were.

Brilliant man. Coming out with his Econ. Masters, came out of the final exam with the fastest ever completion and the fastest perfect score still on record. I mean, it was in business, so he was still a bastard, but it was impressive is my point.

Then, after that, he raised me. Beatings on Christmas, addiction to hookers and MMORPGs in equal measure. Business gym culture, couldn't understand why his kids weren't pulling triathlon bullshit. Leaves Mum, spends all his pre-financial crisis earnings on a Dutch woman he marries half his age, fantastic.

Here's another thing time can't fix; it's cyclical. It keeps happening. Circles never stop themselves.

I get shipped off to boarding schools, I come home to that bullshit. Then financial crisis happens, he goes broke, takes it out even more on us and witholds child support and then some more dominoes fall and I'm in and out of hospitals with nothing but physics textbooks and a web connection to MIT's curriculum to keep me occupied until I'm in my early thirties.

Sorry for the sob story. Just poke the dangling wires some more and pretend I never said any of that. But I didn't bring you here for any of that.

I'm here to say goodbye.

Because time doesn't heal all wounds – pass me the helmet, the one with the... looks like a colander with cables coming out? Yeah, there we go – but time travel damn well might. Prevention versus cures, right?

So if you could go over there and hit that red button there? We'll never have met in the Royal Alexendria. Because I'll never have been there, because that night, that night decades ago, that car's never going to have flipped.

And I'll never have existed. Or, better yet, I'll have had a happy goddamn childhood.

Probably for the best, either way. I didn't have all that much longer anyway.

So just hit the button, and sixty years ago a circle never starts.

And if you miss me, and you damn well better or you were never a friend of mine anyway, just remember; Loss is a wound time's good at fixing.
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#1 · 2
Yeah, yeah. A bit cynical, but quite superficial. I mean, the ranting harps on for too long, and the succession of events sounds contrived: they stack up one atop the other until they break immersion somehow. It really sounds artificial. I think you went a tiny bit overboard. And the end is a bit meh.

Instead of expanding the ranting for so long, as a final scene you could have shown us the guy materialising on a road by night. A car comes in at full tilt, its headlights pick him out in the middle of the road, the car jinxes and flips. And of course it's his Grandfather's.
#2 ·
Boy, this Writeoff's like the all-you-can-eat buffet of cynical narrators. The prompt allows little else, really, as was pointed out in the chat. But hey, I love me some cynical narrator goodness, and this delivers. Biting, well-voiced; solid construction; an errant typo or two, but they mean nothing. I enjoyed.
#3 · 1
Man, there's a lot of time travel going on with this prompt.

Nice title.

The best part of this is the narrator's voice, but it stands out all the more when he/she doesn't talk conversationally, which I particularly felt was the case with the final line. I prefer the penultimate line as the ending, tbh. Or something like: come on, press the button. Why wouldn't you?

I was also a little confused as to whether the 'you' was aimed at me as the reader, or at 'me' as a somewhat established character in this guy's life, which is what the stuff about them being friends etc at the end suggests. I'd like it to be more clear which one 'you' was. The clarity would make the story stronger, in my opinion, because I'd know whether I was intended to interact with it as a simple reader, or as an involved party.

Pretty good!
#4 ·
I can't help but compare this one to "One August Night." They're both telling practically the same story, or at least have the same premise. But this one just works so much better for me.

I think what helps this one the most is the narrator. His attitude and voice are distinctive and well-defined, and I find him mostly interesting to listen to. The part where he goes into detail about his step-grandfather and father and how they basically ruined his life is a bit much, and the story could probably be improved by either cutting it down, or just finding a way for more of the narrator's voice to show during that part instead of having him just straight up telling us about it.

My other problem with this story is that it's not really accurate. Circles do stop themselves sometimes. He's stopping one himself, albeit in an unconventional way. Sure, it's not easy, and the circles do oftentimes continue. But not every person with a terrible childhood and abusive parents becomes a terrible and abusive parent themselves. But I suppose that's just the narrator's cynicism talking.

Still, I think it's a pretty good story.
#5 ·
· · >>horizon
I enjoyed this one. :>

The narrator's voice is great and interesting, and the comedy is in tune. The voice was so interesting, in fact, that I was able to ignore the backstory infodump. In general, I think dropping that much information should be avoided, but oddly enough, this time around I was able to follow it and found it interesting.

I like the bits that indicate the implied conversation this narrator is having with the listener. Like, the listener is actually "saying" things in response [No, this isn't- look, are meth labs this chrome?]. The line [We'll never have met in the Royal Alexendria.] threw me off, because I didn't know what the Royal Alexandria was or what he was saying, but it took a second look through the story to realize he was talking about the listener, that he had met the listener in the Royal Alexandria. That solidifies that the listener is actually a character in the narrator's life and not just "me" the reader. It's a bit too late, I think, to reveal that. I would've appreciated an indicator earlier on that the listener is a distinct character in the narrator's life.

I like the use of paragraph breaks to help control the pacing. I think the pacing and the rhythm of it was pretty well done. So yeah, overall, I liked this one. :>
#6 · 2
Hay, now. I didn't accuse you of running a meth lab.

This underscores the difficulty of this sort of second-person writing style: it's intrusive. You're forcing me to take on the role of a character I don't know, but you're not generic enough about it that it can feel like 'me'. And one of the two problems I had here is that you expect me to push a button that will, according to your calculations, cause me to cease to exist... while at the same time saying I'd better miss you, which is impossible.

The second and larger problem is this: why the hay would you reveal your plan to somepony who could stop you, just to have them push a button for you which you could obviously do on your own? It really sounds like I'm being brought here because you need me to push the button, because this is a very short amount of information you're giving me with no actual reminiscing about our past. This doesn't read like somepony actually telling another pony about a secret this large, nor like somepony saying goodbye (even given his attitude).
#7 · 1
Alright, gonna try to get back on the review horse while I'm between calls at work and procrastinating on tech support.

For all that the pseudo-second-person all-dialogue format leads to some of the awkwardness described in above reviews, and for all the clumsy edges of the expositional narration ("No, this isn't- look, are meth labs this chrome? Chrome everywhere. Flashing lights. Tangled wires. Foggy air from all the evaporating liquid nitrogen."), and for all that both family-based emotional wounds and time travel are big recurring themes this round … I still like this one. The narrative voice here counts for an awful lot, and (as >>FrontSevens notes) the humor is both on point and a welcome leavener to the snarky cynical dough. Not without its flaws, but engaged me the whole way through.

Tier: Strong
#8 ·
The narrator talks about his messed-up life and about how he is going to use time travel to fix it (very possibly causing the original accident in the first place).


Nothing wrong with the core plot idea, but that’s all there is here – and it isn’t anything really new, and doesn’t add a new spin on it.