Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Kenneth Buff would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Decoder

By Kenneth Buff All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Scifi

The Decoder

I’m standing in line watching the people swirl by me in a blur. I swirl by them too. Everyone’s using their time decoder in the store, just as they should, it’s only 10 a.m., and legally you don’t have the option to turn it off until noon. Most people leave it on until 4 p.m., the mandated time that the decoders must be switched off.

In what feels like seconds I’m at the front of the line, words pass through me to the cashier, and she hands me my prescription.  I make my way to a water fountain, leaving a trail of color behind me. I take my pill, Jeochlorino; it helps with the headaches the decoder gives me. I go to my car and leave.

I drive on the interstate with my car’s decoder on. The blur of cars passing me and the blur of cars that I’m passing make me feel a little nauseous. I take another Jeochlorino and close my eyes. I let the car take me home.

The car parks itself in the garage, and I go inside. I look at the clock on the wall; it’s now 10:06. I decide to mow the lawn, do the dishes, fold the laundry, dust the walls, vacuum the carpet, hang the new curtains, repaint the guest bedroom, and make the kids’ lunches for the week. When I’m done, I look up at the clock on the wall to see that it’s now 11:30.

I spend the next thirty minutes alphabetizing the canned goods, painting the doghouse, patching the fence, mopping the floor, and shingling the roof. I walk into the kitchen, and I turn the decoder off.

My head jolts forwards as it always does when I turn it off; for a moment I feel like I might be sick, but it passes. I go to the fridge, and I ask it to make a roast beef sandwich. It makes it, and I go downstairs to eat and to write.

I’m writing a story about a man who lives in a world where decoders slow time down. He uses it to soak up life by living longer.

The basement phone rings; it’s my wife. I can barely understand her since she’s still using her decoder. I think she tells me she’s running late, but will be home soon. I tell her I love her and hang up. I go back to writing my story.

Two minutes later my wife is home. She prepares dinner and dessert and calls me up in under seven minutes. I leave my story and go upstairs.

My wife has made lasagna, and she and the kids are almost through by the time I make it upstairs. 

“Hey,” I say.

Barbara says something, but the words are so slurred I don’t understand them.

I sit down at the table, and I begin to cut up the lasagna and eat it, even though I’m not hungry.

“How was your day?” I ask Barbara.

She mutters something then cleans off her plate, moving so fast I can barely see her. I think she kisses me before she heads upstairs.

I look across the table and see that the kids have already left. I clean the lasagna off my plate and go back downstairs.

I can’t decide if I want my hero to die or not. I think I’ve decided I want him to die, but I’m not sure how to kill him. Maybe having a heart attack with his decoder on, so he’ll experience the seconds as if they were hours.

Barbara calls from upstairs. She’s gone before I get there, but she’s left a note. She’s going jogging with Ted—she’ll be back before 4:00. I set the note down and decide to go outside for a walk.

My neighbors pass me with their decoders on, or really just people I assume are my neighbors, I can’t really tell. I pass the Samsons’ house, and they’re having sex with their decoders on and they’ve left their blinds open intentionally. I stare at their bodies bouncing up and down in static swirls of color. As I walk by, I wonder what it feels like.

I make it to the end of my street, and I decide to keep walking. The wind feels good, and I like the smell. I walk all the way to the lake. I see dozens of people jogging; some of them are doing it with their decoders off. I smile at an attractive young girl; she smiles back and keeps running. 

I sit down on a bench and look up at the sun. It feels like it should be setting, but it’s not. I check my watch: it says it’s 3:30.

I decide to sit there and watch the bright swirling colors of people passing me by. I know in twenty-nine minutes I’ll see a rush of them heading down my street before the automated timer in their decoders forces them to shut down. I watch as they use their decoders, the device meant to free us from work and chores to make room for hobbies, to rid themselves of hobbies and interest. I’m not sure how I feel.

A few minutes go by, I stop paying attention to the blurs. They still pass me, but now I don’t see them; all I see is the water and the sky. Both are shining brightly blue. Suddenly I feel sad. I’m thinking about tomorrow. I’ll wake up at 5:00 a.m. when my alarm clock goes off; I’ll shower and shave, and when I’m done I’ll put on my decoder and begin to work my way through Barbara’s list. I’ll finish it in two hours, and then I’ll mill about for a few minutes until I’ve thought of thirty more things to do. I’ll finish those things in fifty minutes. I’ll continue this for the rest of the day. Maybe when I’m done I’ll go on a walk until I reach the lake and then sit down on this bench. I know what the rest of my week looks like, the rest of my month, maybe the rest of my life. I shut my eyes.

I open them to the sound of fluttering paper.  I look down to see a sheet of paper blowing against the bench. I pick up the wrinkled page and read it. It’s a page from a comic book. It has a huge green glob on it. Its green tentacles are wrapped around the hero and his friends. There’s a dialogue bubble above the monster that says, I have you now, James Astonish. I stare at it, soaking in the colors. When I’m bored with it, I turn it over and look at the other side. It’s covered with ads—one of them is circled. It’s an ad for a decoder repairman named Stephen Stone. 

I know this ad isn’t legal; no one is allowed to tamper with decoders but federal employees, but I assume it hasn’t been flagged because no one reads comic books. I decide to find a phone booth and call the number.

Stephen’s secretary is nice. She assures me I can get in before 4:00. I tell her that after 4:00 is fine, and she tells me that that is very good.

I check my watch: it is now 3:50. I walk back to my bench, hoping that the repairman is real and he can do what his ad says, but if not, there is always the bridge. I stare out at the water and I wonder if I want my hero to die. The water shines brightly, and I smile. 



Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Kenneth Buff
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

ElusiveBadwolf: I loved this book so much! It's a shame that i already came to the end of this. I really enjoyed the story, and i liked it how everything became in the end. It was a great book and i can say that you are a great writer too. Keep it that way and i think you can make it in the writing business!

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...

emmaneal74: I loved this booked. Would definitely buy it when published and read it again. The story flowed in such a way I just couldn't put it down. I was never confused about the characters or their roles in the story which can happen sometimes with so many lead. I'd recommend this to anyone wanting to r...

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

PaulSenkel: A real page-turner. The main character takes getting used to which retrospectively is a good thing. Harry evolves quite a lot and the more you read the more you appreciate his intelligence.The setting is special to say the least. Imagine you have enough money so that everybody can have all they ...

re8622: The Last Exodus quickly grabbed my attention. Almost as soon as I started reading the story, I couldn't put it down. I found that the ideas the author put forth were very thought provoking given the turmoil we have seen gradually rise over the last several years. I felt that I could understand th...

More Recommendations

internathunal: I was held captive by your sense of style. I would love to see more from you. I enjoyed this immensely.

Dina Husseini: It was a great hook. I do not like reading scifi because they end up being like all the rest but this one kept me wanting more.

snowview03: This is the first book I have read on this app and I loved it! When I read the title I thought about the hunger games, but this novel is so much more. Some book have a comparison between other books that fallow like premises so i will do my own: Arena has the compellingly emotional stresses and t...

Dru83: This is perhaps my favorite part of the Olafson story just because it is here that were are introduced to his "gang". The characters are so diverse and complicated that each of them could just about spawn their own story. Eric's buddies are just so captivating and the plot just rolls along. Again...

Ding Fernando: very nice read.so realistic you can hardly put it down,i really like the character so human despite posessing immortality and eternal youth.though i would prefer a better ending..i still love this novel and i am recommending it to all sci fi fans to give it a try .you will love it too!!

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.