by Jordyn Young
How much will a second cost, somewhere between a prose poem and a story.
| It was either too loud or too quiet for our hearing to detect. The sound that came in the night, the whispering of the silence that struck us motionless with fear. An abstract abnormality that defied all control, all resistance to the washing waves of cold hands. It passed in a second, barely noticeable to most people. People typing or washing their hands, people singing or laughing or drinking, to them a second didn’t matter.
To others it couldn’t have mattered more, a second at a crossing is an eternity to some, the last thing they see the headlights across their face as their bodies betray them and refuse to move out of the way, as their smiles stay etched across their faces as their bodies refuse to show their fear. A second to them was the last of their eternity. It was a lifetime and a last breath into lungs that refused to expand.
Planes did not fall out of the sky, people did not explode and no atom bombs were dropped in the rain of that cold night. People still slept, their lights off until the morning when the news tried to comprehend the number of disasters overnight. Everyone that could spare a second was gone, the country lost thousands to accidents and crashes, to heart attack victims where a second cost the ambulance a turn. The exact death toll will never be known, thousands died. Lost in that cold night as waves of paralysis washed over them.
That was the start of the cull, the start of the weekly paralysis, the start of the end. People were scared to drive to work or cross roads, knowing that for one random second every week they would not be able to move. The economy collapsed within a month, the hospitals closed. The surgeons refused to operate knowing they might have to watch, helpless as a patient dies in front of them. The world won’t ever recover enough for anyone to explain how much a single second can cost. But I hope someone finds this, some future species. I hope this can help explain to them that we created a concept of time, and then we let it destroy us.