A Lasting Legacy

Updated: Sep 24, 2021



Writing prompt: Tom wakes up in the future and finds that his life has a lasting legacy.


Part one

Tom opened his eyes two moments ago. Even more frightening, Tom had closed his eyes ten minutes ago. Yet, in the eight moments between, entire worlds had passed. Earth was still earth, but not the Earth Tom had grown up on. The lack of breath in his lungs, the gap of his mouth, and the unblinking stare of his eyes make that clear. He stares, unmovingly, up and down the road bearing his bed.


Part two

Buildings, built on augmented reality, so vibrant they could actually hold weight, line the plains around him. It is evident that these monoliths are not real. Not in the classical sense anyway. They are not bricks, stacked on bricks, or glass fitted around steel beams. Yet, there they are, sitting next to the road, climbing into the sky, searching desperately for the sun. Stranger than they, is the flame that clings to them. There is nothing augmented about it. It perpetually burns, never dying, and never swallowing the pillars it engulfs. This portion of the world would be all but unrecognizable to Tom, if not for the coffee shop a few buildings down. It’s sign reads, “Warm Brew: Our Coffee Will Rock Your World”. This is Tom’s place of employment.


Part three

The poor fool. His face wrinkles to the point of being comparable to a pug sucking on a lemon. Could it be a dream? He considers the thought. His conclusion, probably not. Most often, if Tom thinks about dreaming as he dreams, his mind returns to the realm no dream can keep up with. But for Tom, his mind stays with the body he is now in and the bed with which he is already acquainted. Maybe it was bad food. Time will tell. For now, Tom is truly here and he has a dire decision to make. Is there more trouble for him in his bed, or in the world’s best cup of coffee?


Part four

The shriek of a distant banshee fills his ears. Coffee it is. He slides his feet out from his bed. It is cold outside, despite the large number of buildings burning around him. His blue and white striped pajamas, bunched up as they were, return to covering his calves when his toes embrace the asphalt beneath them. Tom is not an overly gratuitous man. Still, he cannot help but be glad about the shortened commute to work, especially by foot in this environment. It is a twenty second walk to the door, or for Tom and his belly, a thirteen second run.


Part five

The door’s handle is long and golden, and in the firelight it is quite beautiful. Still, It is pale to the touch as Tom grasps it. The hilt has no temperature of its own. Instead, it borrows the temperature of whatever it touches. This handle, apparently, has not been bothered with in some time.


Part six

Tom pulls the door open. His bod