At first it was herald a miracle, the end of time itself. It took only a few short months for humanity to realise what had happened. The clocks never stopped, the Earth still turned day to night and night back to day again, but time itself, as a concept…
Harold had been suffering from cancer of the lungs. He’d come to terms with his untimely demise, forty seven years young, a heavy smoker (fifty a day). What did you expect? He’d told his family. Not that it made it any easier for them. But he’d be gone soon, he’d made peace with that.
Only Harold’ s end never came. His daughter Melanie and his dear wife Catherine were overjoyed! Harold’s judgement day came and long passed. Another week became a month. Another month became a year. The Doctors surmised that the cancer had simply given up, as if it was no longer interested in its prize.
Harold too felt that overwhelming sense of joy, at first. That indescribable elation when a nightmare that has long lingered over your head just disappears. Poof. But such feelings would never last. He had, after all, come to terms with his death. He’d expected it. He’d wanted it.
It wasn’t that he resented his family, more that he had in sight a freedom from them, one that had been so cruelly snatched away. A man does terrible things when death comes knocking at his door, things he might not otherwise have ever had to face.
There was the pitiful begging for his job back, the pleading to a boss he’d hated without cause. Oh, there was cause. That suave, self-righteous, wealthy p*rck. Telling his boss where he could stick his job was the most satisfying part of having been terminally ill. And now he’d had to tail back, a dog without a bone.
There was Karoline, too. The second wife, the dirty secret. He and Catherine had managed to move past it, knowing what was coming. But now? Not a chance they’d make it through another year. Worse still, Catherine had discovered the deeper part of Harold’s secret. Karoline was Karl, and Harold couldn’t live without his man.
Ashley had been pregnant when time chose to give up the ghost. Due just three weeks from that fateful day. Only there in lay the problem. With no time of death for dear Harold there was too no longer a time of birth for Ashley’s as yet unnamed. Her baby was stuck in limbo, never to be born.
Months rolled by with the swelling of her belly never ceasing, never easing. The child still grew inside her, but only in size and never in mind. The fetus was a stagnant lump of lifeless flesh and bone, expanding, preparing to POP.
There was only one solution offered, and it bares little explanation. All those pregnant faced a choice. To be cut free from the sack of skin within them. Or to eventually rupture, unable to carry a package of such size.
With the ends of death and life alike there can a third, and more depressing, issue. There was an end to motivation. It might seem trivial, but to the world it was the worst of all problems it could face.
Workers no longer needed to perform (a fact Harold gladly accepted after realising that suicide alone was not the answer… it had failed, each and every time, no matter how tall the building). Why should a worker show focus when they have no need of money? They cannot die from starvation, food is no longer necessary, debts no longer needed paying, time would never end, there was no need to rush… anything.
Art died it’s own death when the artists realised there would be no future in their work. Those master pieces of an age gone by would remain the only of their kind, whilst works of new would remain uninspired. What painter, what writer, what musician, could hope to elicit the need to create when time itself could not stop them. Tomorrow. There was always tomorrow. And even if their works were to eventually see completion, well who would notice? Who would care?
And so the World divided itself, each person seeking solidarity in confinement with their thoughts. Conversation became tedious. The notion that the same day would forever go on, the same faces would forever be seen, it cultivated a certain sort of dread. A monotony in a timeless World.
They needed time.
But time no longer needed them.
Copyright © K R Perry 2019