Thursday, March 14, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 11 - Out of Time

The prompt this week was to write a story about the change to Daylight Savings Time. What happens when time moves forward? Does anything actually change? My character decided to find out.

Out of Time

 “Time. The master of all, and we must abide by its commands. Once the siren sounds, you will all have a count of 120 to go to one of the public bay stations and apply the electrodes to your temples as usual. Once the count has ended, the time change will commence. On completion, you may go about your daily business until another change is announced. Today’s change will take us forward. May I remind you that in order for us to remain a productive civilization, these procedures are needed periodically to…”

“That same old speech – again and again. You know, Number 42, I’ve been giving this whole process a great deal of thought, and I wonder sometimes if Number 1 is telling us the truth.”

“Number 14, don’t talk like that. If one of the sentries hears you…”

“That’s why I brought you out here to talk. There’s no listening devices out this way. I checked the area. At least there are still some places where we can speak freely.”

“I hope you’re right; otherwise, we will both be in terrible danger.”

“I’m certain we’ll be okay. You know I would never put you in danger, Number 42. I love you, and that’s why I’m telling you all this.”

“I love you too, Number 14, but why would Number 1 lie?”

“Control. I understand there have to be laws to protect us, and we follow Number 1’s policies to maintain our food supply and keep our shelters safe from the elements. I accept all of that is necessary in order for us to survive since the great war. But time…I am finding it more and more difficult to accept that time is a living and tangible thing. Why do we have to periodically link ourselves up to the stations so time can move forward?”

“Number 1 says if we don’t protect ourselves by linking up, time will take memories from us during the change – ones we have yet to create.”

“Think about that for a minute. Does that make any sense to you at all? Even though I link up like I’m ordered to, I believe past memories are being removed. I can’t explain it; it’s just a sense that I have. I don’t believe that time itself wants us to do anything. I think time is just a sense of moments passing. It isn’t something that communicates with Number 1 or anyone.”

“Number 14, that is such blasphemy. You know I trust in you with all my being, but how can you say that time doesn’t exist?”

“I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, Number 42. I’m saying it’s simply the passage from one moment to another. It’s not someone or something that lives in Number 1’s quarters that he consults with now and then. Try to see the logic of what I’m saying. Can you really believe that time is like a person?”

“I don’t think Number 1 is trying to make us believe that time walks around telling him things. It’s like time is an essence that communicates with him in his mind.”

“Wow. I’m sorry, but that’s even more difficult to swallow. So, it floats around and sends thoughts his way?”

“Number 14, where is all this coming from? We have always lived this way. When we are told to, we link up so we don’t lose future memories when time decides to move forward, and when time decides to move backward, we link up so as not to lose past memories. It makes perfect sense to me.”

“Why, because Number 1 says so, and therefore, time is our enemy?”

“On certain occasions, yes. Number 1 can control it for the most part, but there are occasions when he cannot. Soon we will experience one of those occasions. You have to admit that when time moves us forward or backward, that the elements obey its commands too.”

“Obey its commands? Number 42, time doesn’t control the sun, the moon, the rain, or any element of nature. I believe it is coincidence if the day seems longer or shorter. Time doesn’t have anything to do with that.”

“Number 14, I don’t know what to think now. I do know that the siren will sound soon and we will need to link up or suffer the consequences.”

“What consequences?”

“That we’ll lose part of ourselves. There goes the siren, Number 14. We can try to figure all this out after the change. Please come with me and link up. We can find stations next to each other.”

“I’m not linking up this time. You’ll see. Nothing will happen to me. I’m going to find somewhere to hide, and after the so-called change, I’ll come find you. You’ll see that I am exactly the same.”

“I’m so afraid for you. Are you sure I can’t change your mind?”

“No. I will go through this change on my own. If you can, remember I will always love you. I can only hope they don’t steal that memory from you this time.”

“Time won’t steal from me if I link…”

“Go. Hurry and link up. I need to hide.”


“Hey, Number 42, you feeling okay? The change was really exhausting this time.”

“I know, Number 87. I don’t usually feel worn out after, but this one really took the wind out of me.”

“Where’s Number 14? Didn’t you two link up at adjoining stations like you always do?”

“Who? Number 14? Who’s that?”

“Your…I mean, I just always thought you and he were…never mind. Want to get something to eat?”

“Sure. Let’s go.”


“Put Number 14 in there. He’s clear now, and will be recycled like the others.”

“There’s always some that don’t link up. What makes them fight it? They know there’s consequences if they don’t comply.”

“The warning’s always given. It is creepy though how they just stare like that after being cleared.”

“Number 42’s memory of him was cleared too. Number 1 doesn’t like anyone thinking for themselves...”

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