The end of the Time Traveller’s Tale?

Andrew Fletcher who happens to like my music, has written his version of the ending of my Time Traveller suite. I think it’s ace, and he has kindly agreed that I might post it here. I suppose it might count as a piece of ‘fan fiction’. Fun!

Tom Slatter recently released a new album “Three Rows of Teeth”

Three of the songs on this album are all part of one unconcluded story, “The Time Traveller’s Suite”

In the first song, a man is awoken in the depth of night, a girl with a missing eye stands at the foot of his bed staring at him. Before he can act, she says; “Is this the way that my death began?” and with a cosmic shimmer, the girl vanishes from sight!

The man sits up in bed and asks “Is this how one loses a heart?” for in that brief encounter, he fell in love with the mysterious girl. “How do I find her? how do I trace the girl with the missing eye?!”

He sets about developing a machine that will enable him to travel through time in order to find her again. His friends, family and colleagues grow concerned as he searches scrapheaps for budget pieces, but eventually he becomes more desperate, and in the face of adversity, he sells his part of his family’s inheritence in order to fund the remainder of the project.

He eventually finishes, he throws the switch and the whirring machine sends him into the distant future. The years speed by, fashions change and buildings rise and fall until he arrives at a time with endless nights. Convinced that this hell at the end of the Earth is where he’ll find her, since he evidently can’t travel backwards to the night she appeared, he has concluded “If I can’t go backwards, neither can she!”

However, his search seems to have been in vain. He is unable to find the girl with the missing eye, and now trapped alone at the end of the Earth with apparently no way back, he despairs.

A recurring feature in this first song is “What we say three times is true”, I’ve personally concluded that it’s some sort of mental determination therapy technique, if he tells himself three times that he’ll do something, he’ll do it. He vows to find the girl with the missing eye and make her his.

This is where the first song finished. Left at the end of the Earth.

The second song begins with “Maybe I lost you when the roses died”, referring back to a point of time he shot past while searching for her. It goes on to sing about missed chances and reasons he could have missed her.

In this despair, he stumbles on a way to go backwards. “Rise another leaf, and fall another empire… I’ll bring the whole thing down to it’s knees! I’ll find the love that once found me!”

He channels what little energy is left on Earth, destroying it to propel him and the time machine backwards an undetermined amount, but this would give him another chance to find her!

The third song “Love Letters and Entropy” had me confused until I actually looked up the meaning of the word. Entropy meaning chaotic threw the song well into context. He manages to go back in time, and begins his search with a much stronger determination. Being told by ignorant bystanders that “Love is behind every fallen star” though he has been to where the stars finish, and she wasn’t there.

Now that he’s back in the past, the world is different, it’s chaotic from what he remembers. Perhaps his time travel or his unhealthy obsession has warped his vision.

Although it’s not clearly stated, I have my own interpretation of what happens next.

“Found love in the world where we met”, he has made his way back to where he started, to just after he left in the first place. His friends and family get him to a psychiatrist. While in their care he meets a nurse and falls in love with her. Their romance comprised of love letters written to each other amidst the chaos that is Earth.

This is where I feel the third song ends, but I think I know the next part of the story.

Things seem to be looking up when a future version of himself appears, he has a replaced eye and looks as though he has been wrecked and attempts to kill him, shouting incoherently that he’ll not let the girl with the missing eye die. He shoots! The traveller is shot through the face. The future version of himself vanishes much like the girl did at first.

The nurse gives one of her eyes to the traveller and then goes on a hunt to find this mystery assailant. When the traveller recovers, he realises what’s happened and attempts to chase her.

Unfortunately, he is unable to chase the nurse, who is now the girl with the missing eye, because she has taken the time machine. The traveller must now build a second machine, without money and the sheer complexity of the contraption, it’s safe to say at this point, the traveller is trapped.

The girl with the missing eye follows the assailant, the future traveller. By the time she finds him he’s an senile old man, killing him now wouldn’t be enough, he would die naturally soon enough, she wanted him to suffer. So she leaves the old man to die and travels back destroying this alternative future which won’t actually happen if she kills the assailant at an earlier point in time.

While tracing the assailant’s life back, she finds herself standing at the foot of the bed of a much younger version of the assailant, recognising him as her love from the hospital. It suddenly dawns on her that SHE is the one he’s been ranting about, the one he could never find. To prevent a paradox, she had to leave him and never be found.

She mutters aloud “Is the way that my death began?” knowing full well that for her love to live, she would have to disappear and die never seeing him again.

She then travels into the future and hides in the day after the last day of Earth. Somewhere she know he would never search for her. Poetically hiding behind the last fallen star as is pointed out in Slatter’s third chapter of The Time Traveller’s Suite.

Back with the traveller, many years pass… Busking for money and parts for him to invest in the second machine. One with appropriate modifications to go forward and backwards so that when he found her, he would have to destroy whenever they were to bring her back with him.

Out of desperation though, he runs a test of the incomplete time machine, he knows it shouldn’t work, but he’s got few choices. It “works” he is launched back to but a few hours before his future self would come in and try and kill his past self.

With haste, he acquired a small firearm and made his way to the hospital where the assailant would be. He got there, and there he was, with the nurse!

“I will not let the girl with the missing eye die!” realising all too late that HE was the assailant and he had just done what he set out to prevent. The time machine destabalises and he returns to when he tested the incomplete time machine.

He loses hope, he knows what’s to become of him. He can’t complete the time machine to chase her, and that past version of himself is destined to become the busker. He resigns to live in solitude, accepting his fate as a man ruined by love.

Many years pass, he still lives on the street as an old man. On a cold night, a familiar face appears.

“I finally found you… My love” He says to the girl with the missing eye.

She glares angrily at him, as though what he did so many years ago had just happened. Unsatisfied with the prospect of murdering him, she says “I will find your past, and make you suffer ’til the end of your days”

Did she appreciate how right she was? So ends the tale of the Time Traveller.