Author : Glenn Leung

He was the Hero of time, that was all we knew. For millenia, long before he was born and long after he had died, he had been saving the world. An alien invasion two hundred years in the future, a genocidal plague three hundred years in the past, had all been averted by him. He had never once revealed his identity, even though people have seen his face. I even own a plastic figure of him, have pictures of him from eyewitnesses, and am always on the lookout for him in real life. Yet, I have not met this man, nor has anyone else in this time.

“He sounds very much like that alien with two hearts,” laughed my brother. “Does he travel in a blue box?”

I giggled, I did not realize how similar those stories had been.

“So you think it’s all just mass delusion?” I asked.

“Quite likely so, although I’m very surprised in this age of logic and reason, such things can still happen.”

Indeed, it was unthinkable that mass delusions could occur in this age of science. However, it was just as unthinkable how stories of his exploits in the future could arrive with us. Some people say that this is evidence time travel exists, citing photos that were allegedly taken with him against a futuristic background.

“The experts say the photos are genuine,” I often hear such protests against claims of photoshop. Yet, everyone knows that nowadays, experts are often wrong about many things.

“Maybe he’s a concept,” my friend Jody had once mentioned. “You know, a concept personified. Just like comic book superheroes were during the second world war. They were supposed to represent the people’s wish for a good person of immense power which brought an end to suffering.”

“But he’s not a fictional character,” I had replied. “The things he did, or will do, are supposed to be real.”

Jody sighed in disagreement.

“Who knows, a thousand years from now, people may think superheroes actually existed.”

Was it all just an issue of legends made real then? I told others I remained open-minded, but secretly, I wanted to believe. I wanted the Hero to be real, and I wanted him to be my Hero, a brave man detached from his time, traveling around to make things right. I wanted to follow him, be his sidekick, and get to know him better.

“Hey Johnny! Come take a look at this!”

It was my brother, slouched on the couch, as he has been doing every day at nine. It was the news, and some security footage was showing. It was a shot at the entrance of an old castle. No one had been in the castle at that time of night, yet at precisely 2 in the morning, someone was shown leaving it.

I could barely believe my eyes. I recognized that face, that hair, that outfit practically anywhere! It was him!

“Yet another sighting,” sighed my brother. “I bet it’s just another extremely elaborate hoax.”

No…I thought. He was here, in this time, for something. Something is about to happen, and soon, the people of this time would know how real he is. I was excited, my Hero was coming to life! So elated was I that I did not realize that the lights in the city were starting to go out…

Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows