The Pendulum (Bradbury)

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The Pendulum
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: An inventor, imprisoned in a pendulum for causing a deadly accident, survived an alien invasion, only to die alone in his swinging cell after a thousand years.

John Layeville, an inventor, created a time machine with the help of thirty of the world's most gifted scientists. However, during the public display of the machine, an accident occurred, killing all the scientists and leaving Layeville injured.

John Layeville — inventor of a time machine; imprisoned in a pendulum; determined, misunderstood, and ultimately triumphant.

He was accused of murder and put on trial, where a man suggested that instead of destroying the machine, they should rebuild it into a clock and imprison Layeville within its pendulum as a form of revenge.

We shall rebuild his machine, take his precious metals, and put up a monument to his slaughtering! We’ll put him on exhibition for life within his executioning device!

Layeville was locked inside the transparent pendulum head, which was set to swing continuously. He struggled to adapt to his new life, eventually learning to eat and sleep while in motion. People came to see him as the "prisoner of time," and he lost track of how long he had been imprisoned.

One day, Layeville witnessed an alien invasion that wiped out the city's population. He realized that his pendulum prison had inadvertently saved him from annihilation. The robots that maintained the clock continued to care for him, and he continued to swing back and forth.

A thousand years later, a group of visitors from another world discovered the pendulum and the now-dead Earth. They found Layeville's skeleton still inside the pendulum, with a grin on its skull as if it had conquered time.

The Prisoner Of Time, Layeville, had indeed travelled along the centuries. And the journey was at an end.

The visitors stopped the pendulum, ending Layeville's journey through the centuries.