Wednesday 4 January 2023

One Minute Past.


There are three places in the southern Californian desert where time leaks across the fault line. The leaks are tiny and would probably be of no consequence if it wasn’t for Jake Thomson. 


And a bunch of bad guys known as the Zoners.


Jake and his friends Matt and Jenny were camping out in the southern desert at the end of the year; they intended to stay a couple of nights see in the new year and then return to their student lives on campus in Berkley. By the second of January Matt was dead and Jenny and Jake were running for their lives.


Jenny and Jake are in love which is another part of the story, unfortunately Jake was in love with Jenny but Jenny was in love with Matt. Since this had all come out in the southern California just before midnight there had been little time to process the information before time started leaking and the Zoners turned up.


Jake had tried to. After hearing the news, he had mumbled a sad Happy New year to his friends and chosen to sleep on his own in one of the three tents. He slept badly; waking falling asleep, waking again and vividly dreaming about a figure in an orange space suit spraying the house for bugs. The first thing he did when he finally decided to stop sleeping was look at his watch.


It told him it was one minute past midnight.


‘Not possible’, Jake concluded and put the watch to his ear. It was ticking.


Jake was old school. He embraced the analogue even though he was a student in advanced neuro- studies, a liberal arts option offered by the Philosophy department; he eschewed smart phones, had no computer and used pen and recycled paper to make notes in class. He preferred to travel by bike and train but had driven to the desert with his friends in Matt’s pickup.  


Jake unzipped the front of the tent and stepped out into the desert night, a billion stars greeted him and for a while he just stood and stared in marvel at their beauty. Then he heard Matt snoring from the next tent and looked again at his watch.


It told him it was 6:20 in the morning.


‘Weird’, Jake thought, and stepped behind his tent for a pee. He looked at his watch again; 6:21.


Then he went back inside his tent, zipped it closed and lay down on his sleeping bag; he checked his watch for a fourth time.


One minute past midnight.




No comments: