The Prompt: A person invents a time machine for the sole purpose of traveling back in time to get the autographs of every historical figure (Washington, Napoléon, Hitler, Marline Monroe, JFK) before they die. After making hundreds of trips he becomes known throughout time as the grim reaper.
So this is a bit incomplete but at the end I think the reader will pick up on the implication.
“I know this is going to sound crazy, but i need you to take a look at this.” Andy said, sliding his ragged history textbook across the desk. The only other noises in the lightly dusted library came from across the reference section–probably just another senior studying for finals.
“Okay, two men dueling. Great.” Terry responded curtly, shoving the book back.
“No no. Look,” Andy said pressing his finger into the upper left corner of the small painting. Terry’s gaze left his AP physics homework once again to spy a figure in the background of the depiction.
“So,” Terry said, stirring in a stronger hint of annoyance.
“Don’t you think he look a little out of place?”
“C’mon Terry, everyone else in this picture is rocking waistcoats and high socks. But this guy,” Andy said lifting his gaze to Terry, “he looks a little more modern.”
It was true, Terry saw. He couldn’t put his finger quite on it, but the man looked as if he was holding a legal pad and a quill.
“Hmm, I guess I see what you mean,” said Terry “…odd.”
“Well, wait–check this out.” Andy flipped folded over a chunk of paper and through a hundred years of history. The dog-eared page found them in the middle of Japan in the 1870’s.
“Notice anything?” Andy asked, the excitement began to show in his rising voice.
“I really don’t have an eye for this Andy. I’m a science guy not an art major.” Terry responded.
“Look here,” said Andy pointing. “What is the same white guy doing in the middle of Japan during the abolition of the Samurai? And again,” Andy said flipping to a picture of a Nuremberg Nazi rally, “looks familiar, huh? How is this guy showing up at every historically significant event hmm?” Andy questioned as if he was proving a point with a raised eyebrow to boot.
“So what? You think this guy is a time traveler?” Terry laughed. But the small sliver of mysticism was intrigued, Terry began studying the face of alleged time-traveler, finding a faint familiarity.
“Any more of this guy in here?” asked Terry.
The two flipped through the textbook carefully studying each image. Both read as far as the a small section devoted to U.S. presidents and humanitarian work.
“I think I found him again,” Andy said lifting his gaze from the book.
“Yeah, right here. Just behind President Carter. He kinda looks like you to think of it. Plus ten years and thirty pounds.”
Terry saw the similarity. If not Terry, they could certainly have been related to his father. The two boys chalked it up to a strange coincidence.
“I’m going to go see what else I can pull off the reference shelf. Be right back.” Andy said.
Terry, still unsettled, returned to his own textbook and ripped a page out of his notebook for notes. The title of the chapter put his mind at ease. “Harnessing Quantum Uncertainty and Dimensional analysis.”