Brave For A Day

Board, Slate, Blackboard, Font, Courageous, Brave

 

‘Are you ready, Nora?’ the doctor’s voice in my headset asks.

I nod even though I’m so nervous I could pass out. I bit my lip, taste blood and lick it away. I hear the machine whirling into life around me and flashing white lights across my visor. I hold my breath till I can’t anymore and my lungs have started burning. A panicked scream almost forces its’ way out of my mouth, but I swallow it back down and shake my head.

‘Are you in pain, Nora? Do you need us to stop?’ the doctor’s calming though rushed voice echoes in my ears.

‘No, no,’ I gasp.

‘It’s just the claustrophobia,’ another doctor whispers, ‘carry on.’

I squeeze my eyes shut and took a few deep breaths. I picture my happy place and find myself in a green field full of multi-coloured flowers. I breathe the heavily scented air and touch which I image is warm grass.

A buzzing shatters the illusion and my body jerks awake. I snatch a deep breath and don’t draw anything in. I try again and again as my eyes spiral around the ribbed roof of the machine above me. Voices are shouting in the headset but I can’t hear them over the bleeping in my ears.

I claw at the roof and scream. Dimly, I’m aware of my legs banging around and my heels hitting the foam surface. Bright lights blind me and I feel hands holding me down. Someone takes off the headset and visor. Needles prickle my arm then I’m falling.

‘Nora? Can you hear me? Everything’s alright.’

I moan and turn my head towards the voice.

‘Did it work? Is she…is she going to walk again?’ The familiar voice of my mother comes to me.

I open my eyes, blinking away tears and look upwards. The room is a whitewash of cleanness and standing over me is my doctor and mother. Both are wearing white coats, masks and hats. I part my lips and try to call out for her, but only another low moan escapes me. I hold out my limb hand and feel my mother’s warm skin against mine.

‘Nora?’

‘Yes?’ I croak.

‘How do you feel?’

I press my head back and think. I wiggle my toes. ‘I can feel my feet and I’m not in any pain,’ I respond.

Mother lets out a joyous cry and throws her arms around me. I pull a face and turn away from her kisses.

‘How about sitting up? Do you want to try that?’

‘Okay.’

With help, I easy myself up and swing my legs down from the machine’s bed. I pause and look down. Did my legs just move by themselves?

‘Oh! Nora, you did!’

‘The chip seems to functioning normally,’ the voice of the second doctor coming from the doorway causes us all to look up, ‘the program is just fine and so are all her vitals.’

‘Do you want to try and stand up?’ my mother presses.

I look down at the floor which feels so far away.

‘Take your time, Nora. There’s no need to rush. Remember we don’t know if this is actually going to work or not,’ my doctor cuts in.

Nodding, I grip the edge of the table and slide myself off. My bare feet hit the cold floor and I feel it going right through me. I wiggle my toes then take my first ever step. I wobble, but hold. I take another, then another. My heavy breathing and my mother’s cries mingle in my ears along with my slapping feet.

‘Do you feel anything?’ the doctors ask together.

‘The floor!’ I shout out.

‘Pain? Problems? We need to know, Nora.’

‘There’s no pain,’ I answer happily.

‘We must take you to observations now. Wheelchair please,’ the second doctor calls into his ear piece.

I go back to the machine which looks like the belly of a whale and lean against. My doctor comes to my side and whispers, ‘it’s just for twenty-fours. We couldn’t give you any more time. I’m sorry.’

A deep shaky breath leaves me and my fingers dig into soft plastic.

‘It’s okay. Thank you. For the first time in my life I’m walking and free from pain.’

He nods and pats my arm.

‘And I’m helping others too,’ I utter.

‘Yes, of course. Now, the experiment has been a complete success, we can give this gift to others. You’ve been so brave, Nora. You should be proud of yourself.’

‘Here’s the chair, let me help you get in,’ the other doctor cuts in.

I turn, a bubble in my throat, ‘afterwards,’ cracks in my throat, I swallow and try again, ‘afterwards, can I please go outside?’

‘Sure, Nora, whatever you want.’

I nodded and lower myself into the chair.

Lurking

Underground, Train Station, Train, Subway

 

Cole hated waiting for the train in the Underground. There was just something sinister and not quite right down here. He side stepped closer to a business man reading a newspaper. There was safety in numbers right? His eyes drifted to the tube tunnel and the dark areas surrounding it. Was that a flicker of a shadow? He stared hard at the spot, but saw nothing further.

He looked at the man’s newspaper and saw that raptor attacks had gone up by twenty-five percent over the last three months. A grainy black and white photo of a raptor was under the headline. He turned away, swallowing loudly. The man ruffled the newspaper and Cole felt eyes drifting to him. He turned, looking back into the shadows.

He wondered how true all the myths were and if monsters did now lurk in the darkness of the Underground. A train rattled in, stopping at break neck sped in front of them. The doors opened with a hiss, but as Cole got on he swore he saw a long tail flickering back into the shadows.

 

 

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Lost In Thought

He wondered what it was like to be God looking down on everyone from the multi-coloured galaxy. He looked at the tall candle pillars on the deep church window sills and saw the flames flicking in a draft. Was God even interesting in what was going on down here? He thought, did he listen to the prayers of the world or did he just let the angels deal with those?

He tried to hear what the vicar was saying as they all bowed their heads together, but he just couldn’t concentrate. He believed that could be true, so was God creating other Earths then? And what if some of those new Earths were the same as this one? And right now, what if there was a man just like himself sit in a church pertaining to be praying when really he was wondering about the possible existence of other earths and humans?

Postcard #16

postcard16

Office Window Part 3

The van had stopped. I came fully to realising this. I had slide down and so had to pull myself upright. Listening hard, I tried to figure out where I was and what was happening. The van doors opened before I time to run through a list. Mr. Ryes stared at me then moved away leaving the door open.

A strong smell of damp and mould drifted in. I shuffled along the bench and peered out the door. We were in an underground carpark. I stood up, my knees shaking and side stepped to the middle. I had to sit down again and push myself towards the edge, before getting out the van. The ground felt good under me and I took a few steps forward.

Looking around, I couldn’t see much due to the dimness. The outlines of a few cars to the right of me and a light stairwell seemed to be behind them. I moved further out and saw Mr Rye and friends sharing a smoke next to the front bumper.

‘Where are we?’ I shouted to them.

Mr Ryes dropped the cig and stomped on it. He came over, swung around behind me and grabbed my cuffs. Without saying a word, he half dragged me across the carpark and towards the stairs. His friends followed us in the same silence. We waddled up the stairs and at the top went through some red double doors. We entered a hospital like hallway and walked down it to another set of doors.

We made it through them and entered an airport security like room. There were two guards sitting in a booth, looking bored. A number of long tables and tall chairs were lined down the room. There was also a fully body scanner and an x-ray machine against the far wall. I felt myself go numb as I was led to one of the chairs.

Ryes left me there and went to the booth where the guards were all ready moving. They talked in low voices and I missed everything they said. Fear was gripping me hard. Finally, Ryes and one of the guards came over to me. I was forced to stand and the guard patted me down. I came up clean and with a shove, Ryes pushed me towards another door and we went through into an interview room. Here, there was only a table, two chairs opposite and voice recorder. Ryes sat me down then took the other chair.  He started the recorder then with a deep sigh asked me to state my personal information.

Feeling trapped, I spoke in a voice I didn’t recognizes as my own and stated my name, age, address, job title, place of work and my mother’s full name, as standard.

Ryes grunted then leaning back in his chair asked, ‘do you deny staring at a drone earlier on today?’

‘I looked at it, yes.’

‘Were you staring at it?’ he spit.

‘No. At least, not really,’ I answered.

‘Are you trying to be funny, Coy? Answer the damn question!’

‘Then, no!’ I shot back, ‘I wasn’t staring at the drone.’

‘Are you a spy? Are you against this government?’ Ryes asked as he pressed a hand to his forehead and rubbed it.

‘Of course not! Do I look like a spy to you? And I actually like the government right now, they’re doing a good job,’ the words came too smugly from my lips.

‘Who was the woman we saw you talking to?’ Ryes asked, seemly ignoring my tone of voice.

‘Woman?’

‘At the office. The blonde. You followed the drone to her desk and we saw you talking.’

‘Oh her! Nope. I don’t know her. I needed something, so I went to see if she had one,’ I replied quickly, the story spilling from me.

‘What was it?’

‘A..erm…staples. Yes, I need staples.’

‘And you couldn’t go to the supply cupboard?’ Ryes drawled.

‘No. It’s company policy. Everyone gets the correct amount of supplies every month. We have to fill in a form to request more and prove usage. Doesn’t that happened here too?’

‘Look…let’s just get through this okay. Now, tell me the truth, what do you know about that drone? What were you doing?’

I shook my head, ‘nothing. I was going about my job. I saw it out the corner of my eye and it startled me. Then I just got back to work.’

Ryes sighed and grabbed the desk tightly in both hands. He seemed to be weighing up his next words carefully. ‘You swear upon this?’

‘Yes. It’s the truth. And there’s still no law against looking at government drones, is there?’ I asked a question for a change.

‘Ha, how do you know it was a gov drone?’ Ryes banged a fist on the table.

‘Well, if it wasn’t why did you bring me in here? Of course at the time I didn’t know that. All drones look alike, especially the white ones. Don’t they?’

Ryes swore and stood up, he stomped out of the room and the door banged shut behind him. I stared after him then settled back in the chair. It was a good few minutes before he came back. Silently, he released me from my cuffs. I rubbed my wrists and thanked him.

‘So, what happens now?’ I asked gently.

‘You’re free to go,’ Ryes snorted, ‘turns out you are a nobody. Leave.’ He waved me away.

‘Just like that?’

‘Yeah, sure. Turns out you’re the wrong person. Luckily old you.’

I frowned and looked around the room hoping to see that this had all been some kind of joke.

‘You are free to go. There’s the door,’ Ryes pointed out.

I stood up and went to it. I reached out for the door handle, hoping he didn’t see my hand shaking and turned it. Stepping out, I felt cold air rush around me. Whatever I was expecting –people jumping out, sirens going off etc.- didn’t happen. I walked back through the security area and saw the guards back in their booth. They didn’t even move as I walked through the doors and into the hallway.

I walked down the corridor through the other doors and into the underground parking. Still no one stopped me. I walked over to the van I had come in and saw a door opposite marked street exit. I went over and easily opened the door and stepped out. I walked up some stairs and found myself back in the middle of the city.

The air seemed so clean and welcoming, I took in a few deep breaths before heading home. My mind tumbled through what had happened and Ryes’ wrong person line. A smile lit up my face and thought how unsuspecting being a ‘nobody’ was.

Office Window Part 2

I can’t answer the door. I stood frozen, cooling water dripping off me. The knocking continued, a heavy fist banging away. My towel began to slip from my hips, my fingers scrabbled to hold on to it and I hitched the towel up. Scrubbing myself down, sweat broke out across my skin. I could easily not answer the door. Whoever it was would go away, right?

I threw the towel on the heating rack and went to my bedroom. The knocking followed me, demanding me to answer it with every step I took. I went to the chest of drawers, pulled out and put on some boxers. Pausing, I wondered what to wear. If I answered the door, I need to be presentable and prepared. If I didn’t answer the door? Comfy clothes.

Shrugging, I went for an in-between and put on jog pants and a t-shirt. I grabbed some socks and put my running shoes on- just in case. I went to the door, the knocking was louder than ever. I unlocked the door and called out, ‘who is it?’

‘Open up,’ a booming male voice yelled back.

‘Who is it?’ I repeated.

‘Police. We need to talk.’

I opened the door and had to look up at the three people now standing before me. They were all dressed in the same dark blue suit uniform, with black shirts and dark grey ties. Their faces all looked the same as they all had the same hair style and short beards.

‘Mr Coy?’ the first one spoke.

I nodded.

‘We need to talk. Can we come in?’

‘What’s this about?’ I asked and jammed myself between the door and frame.

‘Please. Just let us in, Mr Coy. We don’t want to cause a scene, do we?’

‘All right,’ I said and opened the door.

They stepped in and I stumbled backwards. I and the door hit the wall at the same time and I felt a little breathless. The men walked in and looked for somewhere to sit in my almost empty living room. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that they looked like an elephant in a doll’s house.

I didn’t bother to invite them to sit down, there were only two armchairs and I didn’t have another other chairs. I closed the door and stood against it. Arms crossed, trying to make it look like I meant business too.

‘What’s this about?’ I started up.

‘You were caught staring at a drone today, Mr Coy,’ the first answered. He was busy staring around, trying not to let the look of disgust leak across his face.

The other two were trying to fit themselves into the corners of the room, backs against the walls. However, they just couldn’t do it and so they tried to act casual, but that wasn’t working either.

‘What?’ I blurted.

The first man tugged out a notebook and flipped through it, ‘at around two twenty-five this afternoon, at your office. You looked out your window and stared at a drone. Why did you do that?’

‘I…Well, I didn’t know what it was. It startled me,’ I answered slowly and carefully.

He frowned and his expression made it clear he didn’t believe me.

‘Who are you again?’ I asked instead.

‘Mr Ryes,’ he said and flashed me a badge I didn’t see. ‘So, the drone startled you and then what?’

‘Well, I didn’t understand what it was doing there and it districted me.’

‘But you kept looking at it,’ Mr Ryes pressed.

‘Yeah, well….look what’s this all about? There’s nothing wrong with looking at a drone.’

‘But it isn’t right, Mr Coy. It raises eyebrows and then we come and ask questions. Are you a spy, Mr Coy? Were you born in this country?’

‘What? No and yes. What do you want? This is ridicules!’ I half shouted. I launched myself off the door and into his face without fully thinking it through.

The seconds flashed, Mr Ryes grabbed me and so did his two friends. I struggled against them, but they wrestled me to the floor. Metal cuffs bit into my wrists then they dragged me out. I kicked and screamed like a mad man as the dragged me out of the building and into a black van. They forced me onto a bench and finally I settled. My arms and hands hurt whilst my legs and breathing were shaky.

They got into the front of the van and were a rumble of the engine drove off. I bounced around in the back. My shoulders and back of my legs hitting everything repeatedly. My head spun, what had I done? What did they want? Where were we going? What was going to happen to me?

I felt like screaming, but I held it back. My feet scrapped across the metal floor and the sound was terrible. I took deep breaths and tried to remain calm. I shut my eyes and relaxed. I cleared my head and kept believing that everything would be sorted out and that this was all a mistake. The government didn’t just arrest people for looking and wondering about a drone. God, those things were everywhere now, doing all kinds of things and belonging to a whole range of people.

The van suddenly stopped and I slapped sideways into the bench. Pain shot through my shoulder, I cried out and tasted blood on my tongue. The van engine rumbled beneath me then started off again. I licked my lips and discovered I had bitten my lip and tongue. Sucking away the blood, I tried to push myself back up, but couldn’t do it. I thought about rolling off and laying on the floor, but then decided that it looked harder than the bench.

I struggled upwards, the van’s sides scratching my hands. I felt for something to cling too, but it was smooth metal. I got comfy again and went back to my breathing and believing. The van rushed on under me, but I ignored it and so lost all sense of time and place. My eyes started shutting and I kept snapping them open. Finally, though I give in and kept them closed.

To Be Continued… .

Office Window Part 1

I grabbed my mug as I abandoned my headset on my desk. Around me, the office flowed with voices, phones ringing and the taping of keys. It was mid-afternoon, time for my second cup of coffee and my first sneaky break. Getting up, I stretched and heard something cracking in my back. I sort the slight pain with my free hand and rubbed the spot.

Something flickered in the corner of my eyes and I looked across at the window. The city’s tallest buildings stared blindly back at me. Behind their glazed windows, people like myself were busy at work. I placed my mug down, lent over my desk and looked harder outside.

I could only see a touch of the skyline because the rest was blocked by buildings. A few birds circled passed then I saw it, a white drone. It was hovering a few windows down from mine, it’s four propellers a wild blur. There was black camera attached to the top of it. I looked down, but of course couldn’t see anything.

Grabbing my mug again, I walked away from my desk and counted the windows as I went down. At the fourth I stopped. Peering into the cubical, I saw the blonde head of a woman. She was talking on her headset, but was almost slummed down on her desk. The drone was outside the window and she seemed not to have noticed it.

‘Hey,’ I whispered, ‘hi.’

She didn’t respond.

‘Hello? Sorry, excuse me?’ I said louder.

With a deep sigh, she moved and looked up at me. Her hair was a mess and her face was strangely blotchy. Her makeup was all in place, but it didn’t hide the tiredness etched into her skin. With a single movement, she ended the phone call and turned to me fully. She was wearing a black suit and a white blouse.

‘Sorry. There’s a drone outside,’ I stated when it seemed like she wasn’t going to speak.

‘Oh? There are drones everywhere. Is that all?’ she threw back at me.

‘It seems interested in you.’

She shrugged and turned back to the computer screen. On it was the normal list of numbers and names we had to connect. She selected another number and called it up.

I looked at the drone, trying to see if there were any markings on it. I felt her eyes on me and instinctively, I left.

I went back to my desk then suddenly remembered my coffee and hurried to the kitchen. No one else seemed to have noticed anything and were hard at work cold calling the latest company deals. I made my coffee and went back to my desk. As I went to sit down, I noticed the drone hovering outside. I took my chair, put on my headset and ignoring everything, selected a new number to dial.

Whatever was going on, I didn’t want to know. I listened to the dial tone in my ear and quickly scanned through my lines in my head. Nobody answered the phone. I hung up and went for the next one, my eyes slide to the side and I saw the drone. It was still there, hovering and with the camera still staring at me.

The dial tone rung in my ears, but no one answered. I hung up and took the headset off. I picked up my coffee and walked back into the kitchen. I drink my coffee, acting like I was taking a break. A few people came in and out. I kept my back to the window, not daring to look. My mind whirled, who owned that drone? What did it want? Was it actually tracking me?

I shook my head, called myself crazy and got back to my desk. The drone was gone. Feeling relived, I got back to work. Throughout the rest of the afternoon, my eyes kept glancing to the window. Of course nothing was there, but I couldn’t help it, something was watching me. I knew it. The end of the shift came and I didn’t want to leave. What if something was waiting for me?

I went to the kitchen and tried to delay leaving as much as possible. Someone else had all ready cleaned up and the rest was normally the cleaners’ responsibility. I rubbed my hands and felt sweaty and agitated. I couldn’t leave, I just couldn’t do it. The rumours always spoke about the spying drones before people disappeared. Didn’t they? But weren’t they seen for a lot longer than just an afternoon?

I stopped and noticed I had been pacing. I had to leave. I got my stuff and headed downstairs. My bag banged against my hip and my clothes were stuck to me. I hurried down, passing three other floors before getting to the front doors. The receptionists and security guards didn’t even look up. I walked out, glanced around then rushed for the coming tram.

I expected to hear the drone overhead and people yelling for me to stop, but there wasn’t anything. I got to the station and boarded the tram. It was packed with rush-hour travellers. I hung on and waited for my stop. I hardly remind calm and when I got to my apartment, I fell up the stairs twice before getting to my rooms.

Everything looked the same. Nothing was out of place and no odd smell hung in the air. I firmly locked the door and went into the bathroom. Locking that door, I dropped my stuff and took my clothes off. I ran the shower and waited for the water to warm. Stepping in, I let the water relax me. I felt myself un-tense and began to enjoy the cascading waters.

A buzzing at the front door burst my bubble. I froze and listened hard over the shower. It was nothing, nothing. I turned back and washed my hair. The buzzer sounded again. Ignoring it, I half drowned myself. I got out a good few minutes later and was drying off when there was a knocking on my door.

To Be Continued…

Empty Staircases

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There was something that fascinated him about abandoned staircases. He raised his heavy eyes from the camera’s primary screen and looked up the long twisting steps which connected all four floors of the house. He peered up into the crevice gap between each flight of stairs, but couldn’t see the fourth floor.

Slowly, he put a foot on the first step then began the climb upwards. Only his sounds broke the shrouded of silence that covered the house and the surrounding city. He came to the first floor, but carried up towards the second. There was a floor to ceiling window ahead of him that was letting in toxic light. He went to the window and took a photo through the glass panels.

The south side of the city, which was mostly urban sprawl, was spread out opposite him. Abandoned house, much like the one he was standing in now, rose up from the dust as if still trying to dignify their existence. Beyond, he could see the metal skyscrapers and other tall buildings sat at the city centre’s edge.

Dimly, he was aware of his companions moving through some of the other houses. He had turned down the radio in his mask as he had entered, blocking out the voices coming into his ears. A shadow figure appeared and disappeared in the window of the opposite house. He turned away and carried on up.

Why was he so haunted by staircases? Maybe, it was because they belong to The Before and The After, whilst The Now had none. That thought spiralled with him as he reached the top. He took a few photos, then a final one which looked down all of the connecting stairs. The image displayed on the screen, he looked at it and decided that the true answer must be the lack of human life.

The Ocean Floor

As the sand settle, I could finally see the giant silhouette in front of me. It looked like the statue of a woolly mammoth, though I could’ve been wrong. My feet hit the sand and I felt the heavy vibrations all the way through the metal boots, my too big suit and my iron diving helmet. My harsh breathing echoed in my ears and I took a moment to establish myself.

Around me the other six divers, who were kitted out just like myself, were also landing on the sand floor. Puffy clouds spread out and rose from their grey boots and the ocean current carried them away. Small dull fish swim above our heads, searching through the disturbed sand partials. I watched two of the large fish swallowing something green down and shooting it out again.

‘Liberty? Can you hear me? I am I coming in clear?’ a voice in my head asked.

Startled, I twisted around and almost fell over. A strong hand caught my shoulder holding me straight. Through the diving helmet, I could make out my father’s concerned face. I calmed my breathing and replied via my helmet mic, ‘Yes. I can hear you fine, Da.’

‘Good. You can get a little closer, but remember to stay out of the way.’

I nodded, before quickly replying, ‘Understood.’

I saw him patting my shoulder, but I didn’t feel it. Then he was walking away and joining the other men as they went passed the mammoth statue and to the collapsing building. Looking passed it and to the sides, I could see more buildings, some of which had once been skyscrapers. The pressure of the ocean had got to most of the weaker structures, creating gapping doorways of twisted metal and fallen bricks. I couldn’t see that clearly through the glass porthole in front of me, but I got the sense that there was something huge off to the side of the mammoth.

I walked forward, struggling through the fast current and the drag my air hose. My boots kicked up more sand, broken shells and small debris. My too big suit was also adding to this as the water tugged the loose folds backwards. I came under the statue and had to look up in awe. It was so tall and seemed to be reaching right out of the ocean. I wondered how someone had built it, let alone come up with the idea for it.

I reached out a thick gloved hand and touched some of the luminous sea moss that had grown on the front leg. My fingers disturbed some of the spores and they drifted away. I wished I could really feel it. I sighed and heard a crackling over the transmitter.

‘Liberty, stay away from the shipwreck,’ my Da’s voice hissed into my head.

‘What? I’m at the statue,’ I responded back.

A crackling and buzzing answered me back.

I let my fingers drop from the statue and plodded around it. I couldn’t really see anyone, but their air hoses were still there. They hung down through the dark bluey-green water like spider’s web lines, only they were a lot thicker. I walked on and thought I saw a diver’s boot sticking out from an actually doorway. I stopped, my transmitter cleared up.

The men’s voices filled my ears and I listened to them finding things and deciding what to take back to the surfaces. I took a few deep breaths then turned to the looming shape to my right. Directly behind the mammoth statue were the red iron reminds of a shipwreck. My breath stuck in my throat and fear quaked my knees.

The warship was three times the size of the statue and more menacing. A rusting tank lay on its side, gun turret pointing right at me. Broken metal speared the sand and a fish popped its head out of a hole in the tank’s corner. There were no other words to describe it other than hauntingly eerie. I imaged that once it would have roamed the oceans sending fear into anyone that saw it.

‘Liberty? Where are you?’ my Da’s voice came though once more.

‘Just passed the statue, I’m coming now,’ I called back and began walking.

As I got closer, I could see the large nets and floatable plastic boxes, that had been sent down from the boat. The men were gathering around them and placing things they had found inside. I saw what looked like a wooden box, a silver candle stick and a collection of china tea cups. My dad was standing near the closest one.

Stomping over, I came to join him and looked down at the pearl necklace in his gloved hands. I cupped my own hands together and held them out as he dropped the treasure to me. The pearls were dull, but milky white.

‘Keep them safe,’ Da’s voice whispered to me, ‘a memento of your first deep sea dive.’

‘Thank you,’ I replied back softly.

‘Everyone ready to move out?’ came a loud voice followed by everyone muttering replies.

We attached ourselves to the nets or lines of the floating boxes and were pulled up alongside them. I looked down and watched the sea closing over the lost old world.

The Last 24 Hours

The numbers were displayed wrong, yet my brain told me they were right. I hummed, pulled a face and shook the clock. It was in the shape of a tennis ball, but made of hard plastic with some blue oily liquid inside. The clock mechanism and display were in another ball which floated freely in the blue oil sphere. The numbers spun around then settled in front of me again; 11:11.

‘No!’ I said too loudly that my cat shot me an evil look.

I stuck my tongue out at Misty and watched her curl back to sleep in her hammock. I settled back in my beanbag bed and shook the ball clock again. The numbers spun around, blurring before becoming stable. The same numbers flashed by.

‘It’s broken,’ I uttered and placed it back on my bedside table, ‘How could I have lost twenty-four hours?’

Misty made a small snorting sound.

I looked at her and decided there was no point trying to talk to her. Instead, I searched though my blankets and dug out my screen. Waking it up, I watched the home menu and spotted the clock at the top of the list. The clock was 11:12. Scrolling on to the interactive network, I waited for the pages to load and looked at the latest newsfeed.

To my shock most of the headlines read: World Lost 24 Hours. I skimmed down, not really reading further then the top line. Finally at the end was an advert. I fingers automatically began sliding back up. God. Everyone seemed to be talking about and my doubts about my time problems begin to feel bigger.

Maybe it was all just an adverting stunt, like Cola’s We’ve Officially Discovered Aliens. I shook my head and decided to see what my friends made of this. Looking through ConnectX, I saw that a few had comment saying they believed. A few others claimed it was a lie. My shoulders sagged and I flexed my fingers.

We’d probably never know. The government was so tight lipped about everything and everyone knew it was going to collapse soon. Maybe they’d fixed this stunt? I rested the screen against my knees and looked at Misty. She was sleeping and didn’t seem effected. Animals couldn’t really tell the passage of hours though.

I got up and went to the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, I tried to notice anything different about my eighteen year old male body. Nothing looked different, though my hair needed cutting. I ran my fingers through it and tried to flatten it down. I got some hair gel and did it that way instead. There really was nothing different.

I went back to bed and arranged the blankets and pillows. Was it really so bad? I wondered. What did twenty-four hours matter in a life time? Granted a lot could happen, but the loss of it? How does that work? I leant back and looked at the ceiling. I guess we wouldn’t know until it happened.