(Audience) The Emperor of Time

Time has stopped!

In the grand citadel of the Emperor of Time, an adorable chocolate rabbit struggles to pull the lever that will start time up again.

It has been a long journey. He has traveled past the pits of snapping ligers (half-lime, half-tiger). He has ducked beneath the flying discs of the palace guard. He has the spear of a Cyclope’s thunderbolt still thrust through the muscle of his shoulder. That’s why he’s so bloody. That’s why he’s so weak.

From the balconies above, the dashing courtiers and handsome ladies of the court of time look down. They are admiring, approving, smiling; it would be discourteous to show how much they yearn for time to end.

The rabbit can’t pull the heavy lever on his own! It’s up to YOU!

6 thoughts on “(Audience) The Emperor of Time

  1. Far away, in deepest, darkest Newfoundland, a viking warrior lies in the snow. His shieldbearer (also his nephew) stares at the sword handle which emerges distractingly from his uncle’s chest. The nephew wonders if maybe he should do something.

    Time has stopped. The warrior does not die.

    He is waiting for the Valkyrie to come take him away, off to the glorious sky halls of his ancestors, to drink copious amounts of mead, eat jellybeans, and play shuffleboard until Ragnarok.

    Time has stopped. The Valkyrie cannot ride.

    The Wagnerian music has not yet begun playing. Odin has taken the record out of it’s sleeve, blown off the dust, but he has gotten distracted by scanning the liner notes for the names of his past lovers.

    Time has stopped. The record may never play again.

    In the great citadel of Time, the chocolate bunny struggles to pull the great lever. And, far away, in Newfoundland, voices call out to him.

    “I believe in you, tasty rabbit,” says the dying warrior, the Valkyrie, and the All-Father. “Let time begin once more!”

  2. The rabbit bounded from one giant stone to the next along the gravel path, hurriedly making his way to the great Castle of Time.

    He was late, very late, and to make it to his important date, there was only one possibility!

    The rabbit bounced through the castle gates, bounced over the flying thunderbolts, under the spinning discs, along the hall of the fawning lords and ladies, onto the giant switch and pulled–

  3. The white rabbit mustered up all his strength, backed up a few paces, and ran full speed at the lever. As rabbits are known for their rapid acceleration, this worked surprisingly well. Click, the lever moves. Up in the gallery, the great reels of the Time Court start to roll. Star, Cherry, Lemon, Diamond, they scroll past faster and faster until they can spin no more. Clink, Clink, Clink they come to a stop. Lemon, Lemon, Lemon! The crowd cheers. Fruity cereal showers the courtiers children and they laugh and frolic. Below the rabbit gazes in amazement. There is no reward for him, no fruity cereal, time does not resume.
    “Have I labored in vain?” he calls up to them. “Past the magma rivers and four eyed slobering tree sloths for nothing!”
    His only answer is the refrain that has haunted his kind for generations. “Silly rabbit, Trix is for Kids! (Free Time Restarter in Every Box!)”

  4. Time started again, though not without a few hiccups, as time is wont to do. Odin still was distracted by the liner notes of the record, and so the Valkyrie were forced to complete part of their ride merely whistling the Wagnerian music rather than having it blare from the sky. Fortunately Odin put the record on before the fallen warrior had a chance to hear the whistling ride of the Valkyrie.

    As for the rabbit, he was most confused to see a chocolate bunny with several wounds dripping blood and hot fudge all over the floor. The bunny would’ve expressed his disappointment at not being the one to save Time (especially when it was really his job to do so) but he passed out from blood loss. He was brought back in high honor, because the rabbit decided he’d rather not deal with the celebrity that being the Champion of Time brings.

    The chocolate bunny lived to a ripe old age before melting in the sun one day, much to the sadness of the community at large, who had all hoped he would die of natural causes so they could finally eat him.

  5. The lever broke/had broken/was breaking/will break. The distinction between tenses shattered with the rest of time.

    The world fragmented.

    Moments of climax drifted free from context or resolution.

    Time stood still.

    “I’m sorry, John,” Iphigenia said, tears in her eyes. “But there’s no other way.”

    “There has to be. The Capacitor—the council, or someone will know how to reverse the effect, or one of the others will find the book before it’s too late. There has to be a better option.”

    “No,” she said, quietly, cutting him off with a kiss. “There really isn’t.” The kiss broke when her lips grew too hot, and the tears on her cheeks began to sizzle.

    “I’ll miss you,” he said, as she began to glow, and the tips of her hair burst into flame.

    “I know.”
    Glowing with the light of a single sun, Iphigenia turned to face the darkness.

    And time stood still.

    7…

    “Cut the red wire!”

    6…

    “Which one is that? I’m colorblind! It’s a law of dramatic necessity!”

    5…

    “The one on the left!”

    4…

    “No! Your other left!”

    3….

    2….

    Time stood still.
    The DeLorean accelerated, careening ever closer towards the barricade…. 85….86….87…. 87.5….

    Time stood still.

    “I don’t understand,” Reed gaped, horrified.

    “You never did.” Jason’s expression was smug.” Not when the Katarins invaded. Not when Tytalia died. Not when we spoke the word of power… you always thought this was about restoring things the way they used to be. That time is past, old man, vengeance is all that’s left.”

    “Jason, don’t be a fool. If you pull that trigger… there’s no going back. Is that really what you want?”

    Time stood still.

    The pastor droned through the sermon slowly, taking what seemed like an eternity before he finally turned to the assemblage:
    “If anyone here knows any reason why these two should not be joined in the irrevocable bonds of holy matrimony, let them speak now, or forever hold their peace.”

    It was then Sid burst through the doors of the chapel, panting and out of breath. Truth be told, he’d made it there 15 minutes earlier and had time to stop to cool off and catch a bite to eat, but there’s protocol to such matters.

    “Emma! Wait! Don’t marry Saul!”
    “I love you. I want to be with you! I know I’ve made mistakes in the past, but we can put that behind us. Don’t throw it all away – you don’t love him, he isn’t right for you. We were meant to be together.”

    “Plus, he eats people, and that isn’t right.”

    Emma hesitated, finding the latter point reasonably salient.

    Time stood still.

    “Yeah? Well, if your God is so all powerful, why doesn’t he strike me down, right here and now?”

    Time stood still.

    As suddenly as it had begun, it was over. The hundred mirrors of Versailles great hall reflected a certain outcome: Shashi’s crescent blade lay half way across the marble court yard, and the point of Heirophant lay at her neck. Tiara’s final apprentice had at last defeated her first.

    “So much pain. So much suffering. All because of your betrayal. All because you didn’t think what she offered you was enough—because of your greed for power.” Cynthia snarled, something shaking in her voice as she pressed her blade until it drew blood. “And it still wasn’t enough, was it?” she demanded “What do you have to say for yourself?”

    Shashi coughed blood. “She loved me best.”

    Time stood still.

    The earth rumbled with the devil’s footsteps. The stones of castle Gargamel rattled, each against the other, with the force of the vibration.
    An inky tentacle coalesced into a comforting hand on the fallen Kaiju.

    There was silence, save for a well timed rush of wind and a soft rain of cherry blossoms fell unseasonably from nearby trees.
    “I believe in you, Mother’s Day-Sama! I know you can do it!”

    Time stood still.

  6. Simon looked up from the transcript, shaking his head.

    “How could we let the bunny die? He was the hero, and they don’t die – do they?”

    Everyone looked at the newcomer. It was a strange look. A ‘You really don’t get it, do you?’ look. An ‘I’d like to see you try!’ look.

    So he did.


    Once upon a time, in a faraway castle, the Emperor of Time invented a magic switch. He planned to make everyone as happy as they could possibly be, and then throw the switch. The switch would stop time, you see. Time would freeze with everyone in the world experiencing a state of perfect bliss. Nothing would go wrong.

    The Emperor sent forth his subjects, all ten thousand nine hundred seventy eight of them. They went into the world with the Things That Make People Happy, handing them out to everyone and continuing on their way. When they found the last person, they gave him a bubble wand. He was five years old, and dearly loved bubbles. He went to dip the wand into some soap as the subjects returned home to their families.

    By the time the subjects were out of earshot, the boy came to discover that he had no soap for his bubbles and started to cry, but it was too late. The switch was thrown, and one boy’s tears continued to flow. The filled reality with salty bitterness, because he had no time to stop crying or run out of tears. The villagers were accordingly worried.

    Naturally, the Qwik Bunny’s heightened awareness caught the problem and set to deal with it immediately. Racing to the castle of the King of Time, with such speed as to render time irrelevent, the Qwik Bunny confronted his first challenge…

    …it would be discourteous…

    …does not die…

    …very late…

    …hiccups…

    Simon looked up from the transcript, shaking his head.

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