Collaborative story!

Collaborative story!
Collaborative story!

Lyle gazed through the telescope. He had been eagerly awaiting this night for more than a year. Tonight, he finally had the chance to see if his theories were correct.

His equations predicted that the blue comet would be visible again tonight. If he could see it, he would know all his work had not been in vain.

Lyle searched the two stars the comet would pass between. He soon found Raslia, easily identified as the bottom point of the Turnip constellation. Darelon would be harder; it was in the middle of the I Give Up constellation, so named because it didn't really look like much of anything.

After nearly ten minutes of searching, he finally identified it. Then he moved his telescope halfway between Raslia and Darelon, and waited.

It was odd, Lyle mused, to be sitting up here alone when there were at least a dozen people downstairs. He wasn't sure of the exact number; he'd had to go up to the observatory early, just as the first guests had arrived.

Fortunately, they were quiet. He was no recluse, but he simply couldn't be sociable at a time like this. Even if the guests were there on his behalf.

It had been his wife's idea. She wanted their closest friends to be there to congratulate him - or console him, if the evening was a disappoinment - and he agreed.

Lyle hoped to be able to greet them with good news. But first he had to wait for the comet - his calculations suggested it would arrive sometime in the next hour and a half. He hadn't been able to pin it down more than that.

The astronomer could do little but wait. But he was used to that.

One hour and six minutes later, the blue comet appeared, right where he had expected it to. He let out a squeal of excitement, and followed with the telescope as it turned towards Darelon. It was following the path he had predicted, as well!

Lyle was just about to run down and share the good news, but was suddenly distracted by a scream from downstairs. Startled, he was stunned in place for a moment, still looking through the telescope.

He was startled again the instant the scream stopped, as he saw Darelon vanish from the sky.

In a panic, Lyle rushed down the observatory ladder and towards the stairwell.

He stopped when he saw the body.
Re: Collaborative story!

Professor Plum was scratching his head at the bottom of the observatory tower when Lyle came running down the final flight of stairs, panting slightly.

"Professor! What was that scream?"

In response, the Professor gave only a quizzical look. "What scream?"

Cursing the Professor's forgetfulness, Lyle ran on down the hallway, his footsteps echoing off the marble. Before him lay the ornate wooden doors of the main hall, the faded gold trim adding to rather than detracting from the décor. As he brought his hands towards the doorknobs, there was a... rushing� sensation-

"In fact, where am I?" Plum's voice came to his ears, but as if from a great distance.

It was as if a touch of lightest breeze had for a moment caressed his cheek, but it was not mere air that moved past him. There was something in the wind forcing its way through the cracks between the doors, between the marble floor and the bottom edge - something cold, bitterly cold, and carrying with it the smell of death.

"This IS the Timebuktu Observatory, isn't it?"

Lyle hesitated, his hand on the doorknob. The gold-plated metal felt unnatural to the touch, as if it were not quite connected to this world. The feeling in the air was palpable, like a dry, cold towel had been strained, fibers separated and suspended in the air. Experimentally, he moved his other arm and found it like moving through a sea of cobwebs-

"There was something terribly important I had to say to you, Lyle."

He could take it no more, and threw open the doors.


the clock rewound


Lyle stopped and heard the scream again. Again? He looked around, and saw his telescope, his room situated at the top of the observatory.

The door burst open, revealing a learned gentleman clad in plum purple - "Lyle! There's been...something or other..."

Cursing Professor Plum's forgetfulness, Lyle stepped past him and began his descent. The wind outside the observatory was bitterly cold tonight. His wool coat seemed ineffectual to the stabbing gashes of ice they wrought on his being, his entire body shaking with each slash as he descended.

The skies had been clear but this frigid winter's night seemed almost unnatural. It wasn't the air that was strange but rather the night itself - it eased itself like a thief into the very bones of those who wandered its black expanses. Lyle glanced at his watch, and started - the hands were spinning lightly backwards, a perverse reversed dance of a ballerina's fatal fall-


the great gears of time - suspended in an infinity of glass and clockwork itself suspended nowhere - paused


Lyle watched the sky in fear as the comet sped wildly across the wrong portion of the sky in a manner astronomically impossible. Impossible, that is, unless he had made a fatal error in his calculations - and the comet was in fact closer than he had imagined. He had discarded his telescope, for the comet was visible to the naked eye. As its apparent size outpaced that of the moon, he imagined he saw a vengeful face and felt the splitting cold of igniting ice-


and resumed, a timeline terminated. elsewhere


Timebuktu. A hub for science of every edifice. Now Lyle owned an observatory tower, the tallest structure in the city. Many people, some of them learned academics, had come to urge him to cease construction, but Lyle refused to do so without reason, which they would not give. One muttered about government zoning, a few others went away mumbling about airplanes, but the academics always kept their mouths tightly shut as they left disappointed.

The problem here of course was that the tower would act as an attractor to the already unstable temporal state of Timebuktu, and while it was nice to have some parts of the city back in 80 BC, it was still inherently a destabilization.