Write the sequel for “Time Enough at Last”. What might Henry Bemis do Next?

If you need a refresher, see the info on this episode of the Twilight Zone


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There are 13 written responses to this assignment.

Time Enough at Last…For what?

Written by The Whispered Phantom on September 9, 2014 10:38 pm
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Henry Bemis started piling up the scattered books in front of the library. He felt so depressed about all the books he saw that were destroyed, torn apart by a meaningless bomb. He began to see the library as a treasure trove, and he would read his life away. Yes, that was it. That’s whet he would do. He would read and read and read until it was all over. He began with a random book, slightly dusty. He sat down on a ripped armchair and read it all the way through, only stopping to change the handkerchief on his leg. He read another. And another. And another. He read for three days, all the time there was light. On the last day he woke up weak and feeling heavy. He tried to pick up another book, but he couldn’t. His hand felt like it wasn’t attached to his arm or his body. No! No! This wasn’t how it was supposed to be! He was supposed to have time! Time enough for all these books. He looked helplessly at every book he hadn’t got to read. All those stories, all that knowledge…never known by him. He clawed one last book up onto his lap before falling unconscious.


“Ya think he’s alive?”
“Yeah, he’s breathing.”
“Well we gotta get him outta here then.”
Two salvage men hoisted Henry Bemis’s heavy frame onto their shoulders.


Henry Bemis was now the owner of a large library. After waking up in a makeshift hospital he had begged the people to go and get his books back. A few pitying salvage workers had gone and brought the whole library back, as many books as they could carry. Henry Bemis looked at them now, on the top shelf of his personal bookcase. So many books. He never could get over how many books there were in the world. He lived to a ripe old age before passing the library on to a good friend and dying happily in his sleep, surrounded by his beloved books.

At Last to Dream

Written by Eric Smallwood (KentAllard on twitter) on July 5, 2013 3:45 am
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“It isn’t fair…” the whimpering voice of Henry Bemis moaned.
“It isn’t fair, it isn’t fair!” & suddenly before rhyme, reason, or thought had come to him the slowly developing sensation of being pulled from one world into another was felt by this bookish little man.
Within a moment of this sensation realization began to form as well as conscious thought.
Bemis was no longer sitting on the steps of a post apocalyptic library surrounded by countless numbers of his beloved books suddenly rendered beyond useless to him but that had somehow been rendered EVIL by the cruelest twist of fate that had destroyed his sole means of clear sight, his precious glasses. An instant before he was bemoaning this dark destiny & even lamenting that he had left behind the gun that he’d found so that he couldn’t even end his misery now.

Recognition suddenly flew to Henry Bemis as if on eagle’s wings.
He was wearing his glasses & they were intact!
With a wellspring of joy threatening to consume him entirely he bounded up from where he was sitting in the vault and..
The vault.
But he had LEFT the vault hadn’t he?
Hadn’t he left that very same bank vault that had provided him the second chance denied all else in this final analysis?
Wasn’t he the last man on Earth?
The last living human being for that matter?

No he couldn’t be, not if he was back here now. Not if he had his glasses intact.

Could it be?
Could he have been blessed with one more opportunity?
Surely that was too good to be true he thought to himself.

He examined his glasses again more closely with the utmost of care.
They WERE intact.

Then he examined his surroundings.
The vault looked the same but then didn’t it always?
No to discover the length & breadth of this matter he would have to examine the rest of the bank & see if there were anyone else left alive & that was precisely what he was preparing to do when…

Henry was knocked to the ground by a tremor.
The world itself shook for a moment in time.

“Oh no this just cannot be, this is entirely too fantastic!” he thought to himself as the realization came over him that while he had dreamed surviving the end of the world, he had awakened only to REALLY survive it!

As Henry Bemis for the first time in reality makes his way to the dilapidated ruins of the library to plan out his future again he says aloud to no one in particular “Now I will be taking great care you see, for now I have been blessed not only with time but by grace I have been given vision as well. I was blind but now I see.”

And for a man named Henry Bemis somehow the end of the world became his happily ever after in The Twilight Zone.

Bemis, was time enough?

Written by Mark Christiansen @mchris008 on June 2, 2013 11:57 pm
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The sequel picks back up with poor Henry, back to the idea of ending his life. What did he have to live for? Alone…the world has been devastated, and the one thing he could ever want to spend his free time doing had been rendered impossible. After years and years of cruel nagging from his wife and badgering at work, Henry was already a pretty pessimistic guy. He looked to books to escape his horrible life. Then he realized….there was nothing left to nag him. He didn’t need an escape. He was finally free! It may not have been through books, but he had actually escaped, as if through one of his beloved novels, out of his life and into a new world. Hope at last! He wouldn’t have to deal with everything that had made him who he was, a pessimistic, sad, shell of a human. But then……..from far off in the distance- a voice. He couldn’t tell who had survived, but it was definitely a person! He was so excited! He wouldn’t be alone! Perhaps this person could even share stories with him.. as the person drew nearer, he could tell it was a woman…and the voice could be heard more clearly…….it was familiar……..oh F**k. His wife. Of all the people to survive, it was his cruel B!tch of a wife. Apparently, like in tornados, the bathtub can keep you safe from an H bomb…….and his wife had been enjoying a relaxing bubble bath thinking of more ways to torment her husband when the bomb had gone off. “BUT I WAS FINALLY FREE!!!” Henry shouted….”I was finally free…” he whispered.

Time enough at last restored!

Written by Katy Chase on June 2, 2013 4:52 pm
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In the sequel we discover that the catastrophe was caused by a radioactive explosion. As a bizarre response to the radioactivity in the air the books begin to speak for themselves. Beamis need only open to the correct page and the book will begin to read itself. There is, in fact, time enough at last!

Poor Bemis

Written by Rita Artinian on June 2, 2013 12:07 pm
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Henry Bemis ends up fixing his glasses, only to see that the zombie apocalypse has started. Only this time they don’t eat humans they eat books.

Road Warrior?

Written by Jim Groom on June 2, 2013 10:26 am
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Another alternative ending, taking my cue from paul Bond’s play on Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, is that a band of people do survive, and they have mohawks, ride motorcycles, and there is a huge fight for the last vestiges of natural resources like oil. That, in turn, allows Bemis to become a Road Warrior type character wandering blindly from one encampment to another kicking ass. I think Hollywood would love this.

Happiness is a warm…

Written by Jim Groom on June 2, 2013 10:18 am
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You know that gun? He finally gets to use it.


Written by @seanplacchetti on June 2, 2013 8:53 am
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I keep expecting to see someone else come up with this answer, but it’s nearing the 24 hours mark and I’m just gonna say it. Anybody who wears glasses keeps their old glasses in a drawer by their bed. If you break your main pair, you can make do. I think he’d go get his back-ups. Head back to the library and learn how to cut lenses. Head over the wrecked optometrist and make seven back ups, then read his life away.

Time Enough Through Multi-Tasking

Written by Cris Crissman (Cris2B) on June 1, 2013 11:41 pm
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After the explosion Henry made his way out of the vault and into a world he no longer recognized.

There was no bank manager. No apathetic customers. No bossy wife.

Instead there were thousands of creatures descending from space craft. They were little green men who carried small book-sized screens with words and pictures. Interestingly, these little green men were able to read their screens while continuing about their assignment of conquering Earth.

Henry was so impressed that he decided to join them so that he could inhabit his literary world and the real world at the same time and would never have to part from the books that gave him such pleasure.

Bemis Breakdown

Written by @NormWright on June 1, 2013 9:59 pm
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Big Book Burning Bonfire

As Bokonon would end it…

Written by Bill Smith @byzantiumbooks on June 1, 2013 9:15 pm
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Henry Bemis looked around and dimly saw the world for what it was. “Busy, busy, busy,” he whispered.

Your Move, Henry

Written by Charlie DiGiulian on June 1, 2013 7:36 pm
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He wanders around aimlessly using the time he always wanted. He does not know what he hopes to find/accomplish/do while he saunters through the mass destruction. He is in no man’s land. His helplessness does not last long however as he has no food or drink to sustain him. Perhaps his worst fear as he withered away was that no one would be able to read his obituary.

Time on the Road

Written by phb256 on June 1, 2013 7:09 pm
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They came shuffling through the ash casting their hooded heads from side to side. Some of them wearing canister masks. One in a biohazard suit. Stained and filthy. Slouching along with clubs in their hands, lengths of pipe. Coughing.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

They up ahead a weeping man sitting amongst piles of books. The one in the biohazard suit said, “I’ll bet he tastes like penguin.”