The Place Where Clocks Tick Backwards – Bus Stop #1

clock-ticks-backwards

In the brief time you will know me , you will come to learn two things, two very important truths that you simply can not allow yourself to forget. and I really must stress this, these things are essential, never forget these two things, okay?. Number One: I’m not crazy, okay?, Number Two: ah…I don’t remember the second thing right now, I’ll get back to it.

I’ve come to realize I have a problem, what that problem is , well ya know, that’s hard to say, you see I have these blackouts, I will wake up in strange places, sometimes standing upright as if I’ve been awake the entire time. Once I woke up standing on a walking bridge staring out over the ocean, no idea how I got there, it actually took a while to find my way home after that, but you see, I don’t always find my way back that’s the thing, sometimes I just keep walking, unable to recognize my surroundings, eventually I’ll just collapse from exhaustion only to wake up back at home.  Many times my clothes are horribly torn and stained, like I’ve been crawling through a muddy forest, other times I’m covered in all kinds of scratches and burns.

But most of the time, after I blackout I wake up in the middle of the night lying on a bench in the rain, waiting for a bus that never comes on the same abandoned street. It’s always the same bus stop too, in fact, that’s where I am now, on this bench in the rain.

wet-streets

The streets are always wet, I’ve never seen them dry, and uhhh…. every clock I can find… is ticking backwards. Now I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a dream, it’s just a very very vivid recurring dream, and maybe you’re right, it would certainly make things easier, but I’ve come to realize that can’t possibly be true.

I’ve ruined more shoes in the last month than I have in my whole life. Sometimes I wake up with shoes so caked with mud it’s like I’ve been standing in a bog, in a deep muck for hours. Other times I will wake up to find the soles of my shoes are completely withered away, I don’t even know how far you’d need to walk in shoes to wear down the soles that much, but I do, I do it overnight, and it’s not like I black out for long enough to walk 1000 miles, I never miss a day, I’m rarely even late for work.

This has become such a problem that the shoestore clerk knows me by name and he even started keeping my favorite shoes in stock, tons of extras in just my size alone. He jokes every time that I am his best customer, and every single time I offer up the same half-hearted chuckle in response.  Doing everything I can to avoid bursting into tears right there in there in the checkout line. I don’t have enough money to see a doctor or a therapist, but even if I did, I doubt they’d find much wrong with me. I’m in the best shape of my life, my legs don’t even hurt anymore.

But I still don’t know why this is happening or where I’m even walking to, I don’t know, I don’t know. how do I get to the place where the clocks tick backwards, and how do I get back?

Whenever I wake up there, I’m alone, I never see another soul, not even an abandoned car, not even a parked car, the streets are completely empty. There’s nothing, no trash, no debris, the trash cans are empty, all of them, I’ve checked! The streets are completely clean! What I’d give to find just one newspaper blowing in the wind. It’s like I’m walking through a ready-made world that was never actually used, like it was all ready to go, but was scrapped at the last minute.

I realize that’s not possible, but it’s true, the only explanation I can think of, is that maybe I walked so far that I wandered into a different dimension, or maybe it’s the fact that my conscious mind is unaware of my actions that my body is able to find this dimension, the place where the clocks tick backwards. I find if I just relax in this place, sit on the bench for hours and hours, morning will never come, it’s actually kind of peaceful, it’s just this permanent cool evening with a soft breeze and a light misting of rain. It would almost be my personal paradise if it wasn’t so damn freaky to be lost here unable to consciously return.  And every time I check my phone the battery is dead, but I feel like even if it was charged there would be no signal, and even if there were, who could I call?

I don’t know if I’m doing this, or if something is possessing my body or what, but I’m telling you, it’s like my body will just walk off without me, it’s like I keep leaving my consciousness at the bus stop by my apartment, I don’t know, I have no memory of how I get here, but the fact that I wake up in this place makes me think that my consciousness has been trying to catch up to me and when it finds me I’m not on Earth anymore, I’m somewhere else, in this place.

And I have vague recollections of other places too, just these bizarre visions of vast cloudy yellow green skies and the continuous agony of my feet struggling to move through endless fields of knee high sludge. Not to mention this familiar sound, it’s like waves crashing against cliff sides. These visions are so vivid in my mind, but I can’t really remember them. I know these sights so well and yet I don’t, it’s almost as if they were only nightmares.

What really scares me, is I’ve started to enjoy my visits to this rainy dimension, I enjoy the solitude a little too much I think. I worry about staying here too long, what if I stay so long that I’m never able to return home, I’ve never found any food here, so I doubt I’d survive too long anyway, but oddly enough I don’t remember feeling very hungry here either.

The reason I’m even telling you this is, I recently woke up in a dimension even stranger than this one, it scared the living hell out of me, I don’t even know how I got out of there, thank God I haven’t gone back to it yet, but I’m always a little scared that today will be the day I return, the day I return to the place where all monsters live, but that’s another story.

Sometimes I just…………wait a minute…. what the hell is that noise? Is that a bus?

I’ve never seen a bus here before. Oh my god, it’s stopping, what do I do?

“Well….Are you gonna get on or not?”

“Uhhh yeah, yeah I’m getting on, where is this bus going to?”

“Same place it always does, the next stop, now put your change in and sit down I got people waiting!”

“But the bus is empty.”

“This is the first stop okay? You’re the first pickup, you’re always the first pickup, we’ve got quite a few stops left on this cycle, so please put your change in, bus isn’t gonna move until you do.”

“Okay, well I got a bus pass.”

“Oh son, that aint no good here, put your change in.”

“I only got 50 cents.”

“Sounds familiar, but that won’t get you very far, not on this bus.”

“How far will it take me?”

“One stop.”

“What is the next stop?”

“Oh for the love of…, it’s LOLLIPOP LAND OKAY!!! IT’S THE LAND OF FLOWING HONEY, WHO CARES?! Look buddy, do we really have to have this conversation every time I pick you up? Now please put your money in and sit down.”

“Jeez, fine, okay. There are you happy?”

“Find a seat!”

I uhhh, don’t know what’s happening, this has never happened before, but this guy acts like he knows me, he’s seen me before, but how is that possible. God these seats are freezing, suppose it doesn’t help that I’m soaking wet.

What the? Oh my God, I just noticed something really strange, the bus driver… his hand it, it only has five fingers on it….. Oh crap, I just remembered the second thing………. never trust the bus driver.

“Next Stop Monster Universe!”

“Ohhhh shit.”

__________________________________________________________________________________

What did you think of this story? This is going to be a decently-long series of short stories, you just read about Limbo Universe, and obviously these two fellows are going to be making a pit-stop in Monster Universe in the next installment, so keep an eye out for that. I typically write short stories very fast and now that I’m just posting them, you can expect to see new content more often! I will probably still try to narrate some of these in youtube videos if they get popular.

Calvin
I'm interested in anything out of the ordinary. Usually anything science-fiction-related and the darker the better, but I also really like positive character growth and emotional arcs in storytelling. I'm also fascinated by the unknown, I like trying to piece the whole picture together, which is why I enjoy making Theories. I will post more on PlanetCalvin.com than on YouTube, because it's faster, so keep coming back for more!
  • What do you think of my latest short story? This is going to be a decently-long series of short stories so be sure to check back for new installments and follow me on twitter to never miss a post.

    • Fillieppines

      Hey! This is Fillieppines, and I wanted to let you know I’ve read your story and wanted to share my thoughts on it. Very well-written and thought-provoking story.

      It reminds me of Neil Gaiman in style and substance. The language is very light and conversational. It helped me identify and sympathize with the persona. The material itself leaves a fair amount of dark ambiguity and open-endedness that made me think for a few minutes about my personal interpretation.

      Off the top of my head, the theme that struck me the most is the struggle with one’s destiny. The persona mentions several times his dread and unease, especially with his seeming lack of control. He seems to sleepwalk to a different dimension, desires to get away from it, and wonders in terror what kind of dimension he has reached. Even when he is back on Earth, he can feel his life altered and changed, such as his unnaturally many trips to buy new shoes.

      It struck me that over time, he learned to accept his fate and relaxed in his struggle. He took time to think, reflect, and accept that even his phone would be useless in that new dimension–so he might as well come to terms with being there, whether or not he freely chose to do so. I think that is a profound moment, to have in control one’s own consciousness, but to lose control of one’s body and environment–and to accept one’s fate. Ironically, the moment he gives up his struggle is the moment he regains control–he has learned to live and embrace the time he spends in Bus Stop # 1.

      And yet, cruelly, just when he settles, he is taken away by a mysterious stranger on a bus to a dimension that seems even more Upside Down (hehe) and frightening than the first. Once more, he is about to lose control and be swept away by destiny. He has gained control only to lose it once more.

      And a final thought: is the persona even human, especially after finding it strange for the bus driver to have five fingers? That line unsettled me a bit because after sympathizing with him a bit, I suddenly began to wonder how much the persona could be known or trusted, especially since he seems to be hiding a lot of information about himself still, even though he has opened up so much to the reader.

      That’s what’s awesome with this story: the intentional blurring of lines between dreams and reality. Well done!

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