Tag Archives: ritual

The Fire Sings

“It’s going to be nice,” says my mother.

She stood up, grabbed my hand and led me out of the hut.

Walking down the dry path we already saw the crowd setting wood in its place.

We walk around the site one, twice, thrice.

“It’s the tradition,” says my mother. “It keeps us safe.”

A girl sits on the floor, not far from the wood. Her mother feeds her the special leaves and the root.

“Chew well,” says the mother.

The girl cries. Continue reading

“I can show you how to time travel.”

YouTuber “NoahJReads” kindly narrated this story:


I’ve known Guillaume for years. We had the same metaphysics class back at university, and he was the one that kept my attention away from the lecturer. He was always the clown and he always had crazy ideas.

I thought he was joking when he said he found a piece of ripped out notebook paper that allows you to “look into the future.” He said that, of all things, he found it in an old copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the university library.

I don’t remember the words Guillaume said, but he sounded incredibly excited. The next day he passed me the slightly yellow paper in a lecture – I remember that the topic was whether or not objects exist through time.

It was obviously ripped out of a normal notebook – there were the usual punch holes on the left. And the lower part of the page was ripped off.

At the top, in capital letters was the sentence “YOU CAN TRAVEL THROUGH TIME.”

The rest of the page was filled with small, tidy block letters – but someone had made the effort to write it all in mirror writing. It was somewhat confusing but still possible to read.

There were a few sentences that sounded like they were advertising time travel, and below a series of instructions on how to achieve it. I don’t remember the details, but the gist was this: You were supposed to make a mix of several powders, and then find a strong light source in an otherwise dark area and carefully draw a line where your shadow fell. In the center of it there were supposed to be two arrows, not unlike the recycling symbol I’ve seen in some countries – two arrows, arranged in a circle and each pointing towards the end of the other arrow.

Then, I think, you were meant to light the whole thing on fire and “keep your shadow within the lines.”

There was no information on what exactly was supposed to happen. All it said was that it will make you understand time and allow you to travel through it.

I think at the bottom of the page, where the paper was ripped off, was the beginning of a sentence – and the other part was ripped away. It started with “Make sure the moon –“ and that was it. Guillaume told me he had looked for the other part, but he wasn’t able to find it in the Hitchhiker’s Guide or on the shelf where he found the book.

Guillaume wanted to try the experiment on the same day and he had already arranged most of the ingredients – I remember salt and powdered white chalk and there were a few other things – but the one thing he wasn’t able to get was magnesium. We tried to convince Dacota, a chemist friend of ours, to steal magnesium for us, but she refused and we couldn’t find another way; the mix Guillaume had made ended in the trash. I thought the yellowed paper ended there too.

I thought that the note was gone – until two weeks ago, when Guillaume texted me. It was years that I last spoke to him – and his sentence only contained two words:

“Guess what?”

I gave him a call and Guillaume asked me the same question. I guessed that he was engaged. He laughed and asked me whether I remembered “the note” – which I didn’t until he said that he meant the “time travel instructions.”

Guillaume found the note in one of his old notebooks – and he wanted to give it another try.

I laughed; I thought he was joking – and we ended up talking for nearly an hour about the good old times; then I told him about my awesome-sounding-but-horribly-boring job and Guillaume told me about his recent break up.

We met up on Friday night, had a great laugh – and just before we said goodbye Guillaume said that he had all the materials ready and was going to “try time travel” that night. I was too tired for his jokes and –like an old man in a young man’s body – went home instead.

In the morning I had several messages from Guillaume.

00:14 (am)

Gonna try it now. See you in the future, mate!


Burned like hell but not much else happened. Seems like it’s still the same day. Damn, I wanted to see whether my wife will be hot.


Whoa, dude, I think the fumes got to me. My shadow seems strange.


Dude, my shadow moves faster than I do.


Listen, this is really freaky. I feel completely sober and I can touch my nose and everything – but my shadow is still strange, it looks as if it’s predicting my movements.


Okay, I think I’m nuts. My shadow just grabbed a glass off the table long before I did. And then it got up. God, I’m serious, my shadow moved as if I got up and took a few steps. It literally left my feet and was a few steps away until I followed.


Fuck man, it’s not predicting my movements, it makes me do things.


Dude, really, I can’t do anything but what the shadow does. I’m not joking. This thing works. This thing fucking works.

(Two missed calls)


Can’t reach you. Call me man.


My shadow just went to bed. I see it lying there. I’m still standing in the doorway but my shadow is already in bed. I can’t stop my feet from moving.


(One missed call)

My shadow is not here. I don’t have a fucking shadow. Fuck man this is scary. Call me.


Dude, my shadow was waiting in the shower. I’m not joking. It left the room when I stepped inside, but I couldn’t follow it. Now I’m in the kitchen and my shadow is moving near the counter. I think it’s making sandwiches.


You should try time travel too. It’s awesome.


(One missed call)

I didn’t want to write that. I wrote that to several people. I didn’t want to. Don’t fucking do it. Help me.


It just left the house. It took something out of its pocket and threw it on the table. I think it was the phone. Please

I tried to call Guillaume but he didn’t answer his phone. I only reached him at night – and he behaved normal and said that he was fine and that he was just joking in the morning. We talked for a while and everything really seemed fine. There were some erratic sounds in his voice, some occasional cracks as if he was interrupting himself, but he said it was just a rough throat.

I wasn’t sure what to make of Guillaume’s his behavior. It was just two days before April the first and I didn’t put it past him to play an elaborate prank on an old friend.

On Sunday I texted Guillaume again, but he didn’t reply.

And on April the first I was proven right. He sent me a bunch of messages, one after the other.

11:03 (am)

Call me.


I need to show you something.


You won’t regret it.


I can show you how to do time travel. Call me.


This is awesome, man. Call me, or better even, come over.

At 11:06 Guillaume called me. I didn’t see his messages until after the phone conversation – but the conversation was nearly the same as his messages. He kept repeating that he had travelled in time and that he wanted to show me how to do it.

“Come over.” Guillaume said again and again. “You really need to try this.”

Guillaume seemed disappointed, nearly angry, when I told him that I didn’t have time to come over. I knew it would take me at least an hour to get to his house – and I already had plans with my girlfriend for the night. I promised Guillaume to meet up the next day.

After our phone conversation I got straight away another message.

Come over. I can show you how to time travel.

He sent the same message three more times during the evening. When he sent a fourth message I put my phone on silent.

In the morning I had two mailbox messages from Guillaume.

The first was from around 11pm and was very short:

“Come over. I can show you how to time travel.”

The second was from around 3am. In this message Guillaume’s voice sounded hoarse.

“Come over. You can travel through time. You need to try this. I can show you how to time travel. Come over. You can travel through time. You need to try this. I can show you how to time travel. Come over. You can travel through time. You need to try this. I can show you how to time travel. Come –“

Guillaume’s voice paused for a moment; then he screamed “Help!” and the message ended.

I tried to call Guillaume when I heard his messages, but his phone was dead. I checked my email and finally Facebook. His page was filled with several people asking Guillaume to stop spamming them, and one saying that he must have a spam bot in his email.

Then I saw his last status, from 1am the same morning:

“I can show you how to time travel.”

It had about forty likes and several comments – the first were asking Guillaume for his “secret”, but the latter comments were all asking Guillaume to stop spamming their inboxes.

Throughout the night he had sent me 14 messages, nearly all identical, except that two of them had spelling errors. They all said the same thing:

“I can show you how to time travel.”

I wrote back, asking him to stop and tried again to call Guillaume, but his phone was still dead.

The whole day I was unable to get in touch with him – text messages, phone, email, Facebook – but Guillaume didn’t respond.

I wasn’t sure whether Guillaume was still available for our evening meet-up. Still, right after work I drove over to his place. I hadn’t been there in years and got lost on the way. My mobile phone finally led me in the right direction.

Just then, when I was about five minutes from his house, I got another message from Guillaume.

“When you come over I can show you how to time travel.”

Guillaume’s house looked strange. All the curtains were drawn and his car was parked half on the street and half on his front lawn. I stopped my car in front of his garage.

Before I was even able to get out of the car Guillaume came running out of the front door. He had a wide grin on his pale face.

“Come in.” He shouted. “Quick, quick, come in.”

He grabbed my arm and pulled me away before I was even able to lock the car.

“What’s wrong with you?” I asked.

“Everything is great.” Guillaume said. “I can show you how to time travel.”

I played along with his joke. I felt guilty that he had it all planned for April fool’s and was sad that I hadn’t been there.

The moment I stepped inside the living room I knew I was wrong. The smell of burnt plastic hurt my lungs made me cough.

“Come in. Come in.” said Guillaume.

The curtains on the back windows were drawn too and the furniture was pushed towards the walls. Only one large floor lamp was lighting the room from the direction of the kitchen. On the wooden floor in the center of the living room were several plastic sheets.

Guillaume pulled me towards one of the two plastic sheets lying flat on the floor, a heap of grayish powder at the end near me. Two more plastic sheets were crumbled in the corner of the room, I noticed they were a darker color.

“Stay still.” said Guillaume, while he placed me at one end of the plastic sheet.

He smiled while he grabbed a handful of the white powder and kneeled down.

“Stay still.” He said again. “I will show you how to time travel.”

It took me a moment to realize the single floor lamp behind me; to see my shadow placed perfectly on the sheet. Guillaume quickly moved quickly and placed a thin line of the gray powder around the edges of my shadow.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Time travel.” He said.

When Guillaume reached my head I had my first realization:

Guillaume was using his left hand. He had always been right-handed, but he was using his left hand to place the powder.

The grin on Guillaume’s face began to grow when he finished my head, grabbed another handful of powder and moved over to the other side of the sheet to outline the other side of my shadow.

The moment Guillaume kneeled down on the other side I had my second realization:

Guillaume didn’t have a shadow.

I stepped backwards, my shadow grew.

Guillaume stopped distributing powder and looked at me. His grin was gone.

“Stay still!” he said.

“Stop it.” I said.

“I can show you how to time travel.” He said. “You have to time travel.”

I took two steps towards the front door.

Guillaume got up, the powder still in his hand.

“You have to time travel.” He said.

Guillaume took a step towards me.

I took a few step towards the front door; Guillaume quickly followed me; I took another step, then began to ran. Guillaume was closely behind me.

“Time travel!” he screamed.

I pulled the front door open; Guillaume tried to grab my arm, I pulled it away and ran out of the door.

He froze for a moment; then he ran after me.

“Time travel!” he screamed. “I can show you how to time travel!”

I pulled my car door open, leapt inside and slammed the door shut; I just managed to lock the door before Guillaume pulled the handle.

Guillaume grimaced and stepped backwards.

I pressed the key in the ignition, turned it. Outside Guillaume threw his gray powder on the floor and pulled something out of his pocket.

Just when I began to pull backwards he lit a match.

“I will show you how to time travel.” He screamed.

The car moved away from Guillaume’s garage, just when the powder began to burn.

Only when I got on the street I realized that the fire was just right next to where my car had been. Guillaume hadn’t tried to throw the powder on my car; he had thrown it on the car’s shadow.

“Time travel!” screamed Guillaume while I pulled away.

On the drive home I convinced myself that it was all just a prank. When I got home I was half expecting to find a video of myself online. Instead I realized that I couldn’t access Guillaume’s Facebook page anymore.

I still can’t. I still can’t access his page and I can’t reach him. I thought about calling the police or maybe social services or somebody else that deals with mental problems.

But, late that night, I got another text message, from a mutual friend of ours from university. It was Dacota, our chemist friend. And since then she has sent me 30 more messages. They say all exactly the same thing:

“Come over. I can show you how to time travel.”

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.