It screamed out to me. Like the burning embers of a dying star. Its voice rang out in the inky sky. Demanding my attention, pleading for existence, before fading into the night.
“Why this? And why now?” My compatriot Barton commented.
“It seems like the only time anything ever happens.” I replied
“I would prefer everything to happen yesterday. That way, it would have already been taken care of.”
I stood from my resting place solemnly. Day after day, night after night, we patiently tracked the screaming time.
We could show no mercy to its existence. There was a moment where life had been different than this. I had been awash in a grand sea, drowning, drowning down in the vacuous expanse of plenty. I brushed myself off, and began towards the wooded area the screams were coming from.
“So it begins anew.” Barton muttered, hesitantly following.
I rummaged through my bag. My hands worked frantically, as I searched through my collection of implements.
“So many days, an endless task.” He murmured to me.
I settled on a large scalpel, and slung my bag onto my shoulder.
“If we want to last forever, then we have to meet the task.”
“Eternity,” He replied tersely, “Something I used to crave.”
I hopped down a small ridge, creeping into a wooden valley.
“And now?” I asked.
“I am Eternity. What has become of the person, the will that sought it? I don’t know.”
We climb down the rest of the way without speaking much. The ache of the hike sets in, we focused on our breath and keeping pace. The dawn would be here soon. The naked eye of time could not see the dawn without much destruction.
An endless and eternal beast, its perceptions would set the world on fire.
Why, I asked myself, just as endlessly. Why? Why?
Why did this world not deserve the judgment of time? Why were things better by existing than not?
My fingernails had grown jagged and long, I looked at them with human disgust. In their own sickening way they too were a part of me. I balanced the scalpel in my fingers, moving it through my hand. It flowed across my fingers, bumping up against the unkempt nails.
The scalpel too felt like a part of me. It was fascinating, the delusion of the mind, any object, living, or non, brought sufficiently close to you, became a part of you. Take it away, and you miss it sorely. A blank is left in its stead, the absence of a lover.
“Do you hear it now?” Barton whispered.
I stopped in my tracks, trying to catch the tone.
The soft discordant shrieks of time bounced around the trees. It’s hapless and infinite symphony, its struggle to overcome itself, to exist outside itself.
We moved towards it. Such an odd cacophony can be hard to follow, but the nuances and inflections had become second nature to us. A soundtrack to our daily lives. It expressed something alien and human at the same time. An painful struggle for complexity, and harmony.
“Do you know what the real struggle to all of this is Moore?”
“Now’s not the time.” I replied, “It can probably already smell us, no need to give it any more warning.”
“It cannot delay its fate anymore than a newborn could.” He spat, “The real struggle isn’t the challenge, the challenge is the fake struggle, it is the bait.”
“Funny, you could have fooled me.” I hissed.
“The real challenge is afterwards, when there are no more challenges, after you have conquered the last struggle, you are left with the nothing to struggle with.”
“And that’s bad?”
“It’s an unwinnable fight to say the least.” Barton replied
“It seems like we have a pretty good track record so far.”
Barton stopped suddenly, “Do you feel that way? Is this still your challenge?”
I stopped a few paces ahead of him and sighed, “It’s not complete, until it’s gone right? It’s still a challenge until that point.”
Barton shook his head, “I don’t feel that way, we’re merely doing a task now, the shell of a conquered challenge.”
“What’s the difference!?” I yelled angrily.
“There is no more meaning in existence, if it’s a replication of what’s happened before!” He shouted
“Meaning can only take place within existence, if you wish to cease living, then do so, but do not bring time into this. Do not blame existence for being empty, when everything is empty, when you are empty!” I yelled.
Barton sprinted towards the undulations of time, with a revived ferocity. I gave chase, fearing the worse.
I came to the clearing in the woods, seeing Barton rushing towards the great creature. It had a hundreds writhing tentacles, burrowing into the earth, wrapping around all the nearby trees. It screeched from its beaked mouth, gazing into nothingness with its one sealed eye.
He embraced it, the tendrils coiled around him.
“Time must never see dawn, should it judge all of existence as unworthy!” I yelled walking into the grove.
Barton was sobbing. His voice intertwined with the unearthly cries of the beast. The sun was beginning to rise over the horizon.
It was now or never, I had to act. I brandished the scalpel and ran in.
“It’s inevitable, we can never conquer it, because we are not worthy, that’s the point Moore.”
Barton put his back to the creatures face, shielding it.
I slowed to a stalking pace as I drew nearer, creeping in slowly.
“It is not for you to decide.” I said, “All of the people you affect with this decision is too much power for one person.”
“Am I even one man in this world?” Barton shrieked, “This world and its existence are like chains on the soul, tearing us apart. All life is atomized and imprisoned into solitary cells, and even those are then torn and rendered into pieces.”
“You’ve lost your mind Barton, keeping things whole is exactly what we’re here to do.”
“No, only time can relieve us of the endless isolation of individual existence.”
“So be it.” I said.
I plunged the scalpel into his heart, he grabbed weakly at my wrist, far too late.
“I release you.” I murmured, pulling the blade from his chest.
Barton collapsed, leaving only Time’s eye, half opened, splashed in his blood.
My hand was shaking from it all, I stared into the waking Time, its first sight was my image, that of death.
“So it must continue!” I screamed.
The scalpel cut into the soft tissue with ease. The eye gushed blood, as it cried out a violent desperate plea.
Time died its hollow death. There was much to do before the next Time that must be hunted. Food must be eaten, sleep must be had, and Barton’s family had to be taken care of.
I lay down into the awful gore. The sun shined its bright light into me. I closed my eyes and let it take me into the new world. The path must be traveled to where the next world awaited. Exactly like the old, drowning in blood, a desperate dream.