A classic paradoxMature

The fourth day was the worse. Boredom, tedium and monotony began to turn a great world weary apathy into a great self loathing.

Landy was being kept prisoner by his own self, own selves, literally his own worst enemy. Every time he considered seriously trying to commit suicide they would turn up and stop him. Never explaining, just stopping him. He hated it, hated them, hated that he was trapped, hated that he wasn't even allowed the right of death. He hated that they had stolen his future from him.

On that fourth day something flipped. He looked in a mirror, well, he looked at a wall and pretended it was a mirror and wondered "Who gives them the power? Who gave them the right to treat me like this? Even farm animals receive better treatment than this"

He looked insulently and sightlessly at the concrete for a moment as he considered the question then he glared at his reflection in the wall and said "They're keeping you locked up because you're fucking mad. Because you're talking to a wall that you're pretending is a mirror and because you have the power to undo everything they've done before it's even begun. Because if you die, they die. Because they're scared of you."

He looked around himself at the stark and barren room, almost a padded cell, and gave his own words a snort of derision.

He strode into the center of the room and lay back on the hard floorboards, reflecting that perhaps his throat was getting better.

He lay motionless on the floorboards for a good half an hour then his shoulders started shaking and his face grew red as he laughed the hardest he had ever done. around him were his silent watchers, the ghosts of probability, future selves from all along his timeline rewitnessing the moment they first began to understand who they were.

When Landy sat up and dried his eyes, having recovered from his laughing fit, the ghosts were gone. Silently he whispered to himself "Who gives them that power? I do"

He sat for an hour silently staring into space then he got to his feet moved as far back as he could and began to charge at the furthest wall, even leaping at it. As expected he was pulled back from hitting the wall by a future self and asked the shabbily dressed man "How can we talk? Surely if you're me in the future then you know everything both I and you are going to say?"

As expected, his future self remained silent, so Landy smiled and added "As I thought, you're tied to the present wherever you land and cannot contradict your own timestream, can't change your memories. You might be me but you aren't really me, you're an echo of who I am now. I can change things. I can kill myself but you can't."

Finally his future self said something "We shouldn't speak here and I cannot confirm or deny what you say, I need to go"

His future self turned to go but froze when his earlier self said "There's lag, isn't there?"

"No, don't answer," said Landy "It could never be that easy but how old are you? Twenty five? Thirty? Not much older than me anyway and already there's lag of a noticeable amount. You can only remember things in detail about my time in this place a moment or two after I've actually experienced it and then the memory must seem refreshed, right at the top of the pile, that's how you performed that little mind reading trick earlier isn't it?"

The future Landy left and present Landy chuckled to himself before spreading his arms wide, proclaiming "Did you get that future selves? I now have power over you because just at the moment I'm a little set in my ways"

Landy waited a moment for another self to turn up and berate him for his sudden arrogance  but none showed and he snorted derisively.

Probably scared

Landy found a spot on the floor, sat cross legged and began to stare at this fingers the indexes hovering half a centimeter apart. As he sat and stared, he pictured all his hate, rage and self loathing, bathing in its rich power.

He meditated like that for five hours, upon which time he heard a click and looked up to see a gun held to his head. His own face stared back at him.

The gun holder cried "You sadistic bastard! You shot me! You shot your own future self! Lord alone knows here you got the gun but I've had enough now, you can get your wish!"

"I thank you" said present Landy, taking the gun and getting up off the floor.

"Just do it!" screamed his future self "Pull the trigger! END! YOUR!! LIFE!!!"

"Fascinating!" said Landy, staring at the gun. "Tell me, what do you remember of these events?"

His future self looked flabberghasted "You killed me and now, what!? Do you want a report!?"

"Stop shouting" said Landy in a stern tone "Or I'll blow your knee caps off, now explain"

His future self gave him an odd look then said "You put the gun to your head, you were going to shoot yourself, I had to come back and that's when I saw him. My own body lying awkwardly on the floor in a rapidly spreading pool of blood. You killed him."

"Did he have knee caps?" said Landy

"What?" said his future self, thoroughly confused.

"Were his kneecaps missing?" said Landy

"No, although now I come to think about it his legs were kind of shot to pieces at the knees, why" said his future self

Landy grinned "Where do you think I got the gun?"

His future self watched aghast as his past self raised the gun and fired.

Landy grinned, fascinated "Blank!"

He fired again and kept firing till the gun was emptied of ammunition. All the bullets were blanks. He threw the gun aside with a wide smile and said "My memories determine your present. I can make you do anything."

Landy's future self picked up the gun and left.

The End

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