A Thousand Threads Outside of Eternity
Author: Sarinom

Chapter 8

I let two hundred years pass without speaking, sleeping, or even blinking; I’ve read what was left of library of congress, memorized the position of stars, visited every corner of the earth twice over… it seems this solitude is turning into loneliness. But I can’t go back. Sometimes I wish there was someone to share these lonely centuries with, Sitting across from me watching the months go by. I suppose it was not meant to be. The Mediterranean was very quiet, but then again the whole world was quiet, that was, until I heard something.

Footsteps that sounded eerily human approached softly from behind me.

“What are you doing here?” I didn’t have to guess who it was.

“I should be asking you the same, but I already know the answer.” The dark voice crackled.

“Why can’t you leave me alone?” I turned to face him. Surprisingly, he was not wearing his signature raincoat and hat. His eyes were mahogany red, his skin a perfect orange-tinted blend of every color of humanity. The sun reflected off of his bald head as his spidery hand reached out to me.

“I don’t mean any harm this time. I’m sorry, I did not think it would bother you that much.” His hand still extended, remained unmet by mine. “Oh, don’t be like that.” He offered his hand once more, and sighed in disappointment when it once again was left unclenched.

“Who are you and what do you want with me?”

“Are you that ignorant?” he spat.

“Are you that arrogant? I don’t have time for this, leave me alone.” I returned.

“I see it has gotten to you too.” He chuckled

“What has gotten to me?”

“Friend, I’m sure you remember the time we first met outside of that bar. Before that, almost at this exact spot, I spent six thousand years by myself, completely alone. Like you, I didn’t want to harm anyone either. I had a family, a wife and three children, all of which I had to leave behind. Their lives seemed so contrived; I just couldn’t look at them the same, so I left. It did not stop there; I wandered the globe for years trying to make sense of it all. Einstein, Dirac, even Livingston in the twenty-fifth century, could not explain Me.” He sat on a rock, looking down at his bare feet, wringing his hands. “I remember I killed a young boy, the first life I’ve ever taken. I did it out of mercy because he would spend the following year fighting a painful and ultimately fruitless fight with cancer. I saved him, but no one could see that, so I came here. After all of those years, I couldn’t bear the silence. And so, I made you.”

“You did what!” I felt as though I had been hit in the chest with a sledgehammer.

“Don’t overreact. You know you can’t see what would have happened if you hadn’t have sat in that chair. It’s impossible.”  He was right; it was another blind spot, like looking into a black hole.

“Okay, so what was my future if I had not met you?”

“You would have been killed on the way home from the bar. A man very desperate for money would have mugged you— held you at gunpoint and mugged you. He killed you after he found that you had no money, he was afraid you were going to call the police.” The man shrugged.

“So instead of ‘saving’ me, you did this to me?” I could feel some anger stir deep inside of me. But it was ultimately pointless, I am here now, and nothing will change it.

“Precisely, please try to understand…”

“No, you don’t have to explain. Selfish as it was, I understand.” I extended my hand, which he immediately met with his.

“I don’t remember my name, but the Sumerians called me something along the lines of X, I suppose that is my name.”

“I’m Q; Come to think of it, I don’t remember my given name either. I figure we aren’t fans of long names.” We shared a brief but hearty chuckle. I suppose that’s all I needed. Companionship. As imperfect as this newfound bond may be, X is as close to a friend as I will ever have, at least one that doesn’t die at the end of each conversation.


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