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"Where Time is a Place"

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Reality

I looked down at the grass beneath me, and the world changed again. My surroundings were eerily white, their brilliance blinding me momentarily as I tried covering my eyes to shield them. You're dead, you idiot. This isn't seeing, you can't cover yourself. "Then why can't I...whatever it is I'm doing?" I could feel him smirking, it was odd. For dramatic effect.

My vision slowly came back, the brightness of my world dulling until I realized the white walls were inside a hospital. Bodies in front of me screamed and told each other numerous expressions I couldn't single out. What do you think this is? I looked to myself and back at the crowd, trying to see what they were doing. "I can't move closer." Of course not. "So, I'm not actually physically here, or, anywhere?" You're dead. I rolled my eyes, and looked back to the crowd only to find myself in front of them all, looking down at the face of doctors and nurses hunched over a man and woman.

"Wait..." He smirked. Seeing it now? I looked back to find myself staring at myself being born, the whole room inaudible now. "I feel dirty now." I laughed. Don't worry, you didn't see anything you wouldn't have wanted to. None of us want that. I looked around, and the world was gone: an immense feeling of dread came over me as we stood in the depths of space, stars near and far off in the distance with various bodies of rock flying about. I felt fear for the first time since I woke.

It's a big place. I shuddered a bit. No, seriously, the universe is unimaginably vast. He motioned in a direction, and we began walking in it. Enough theatrics though, I actually think I may have wasted a bit too much time with that. My face twisted slightly, "...meaning?" We stopped in front of what I could only guess was a planet, massive in front of us yet so tiny among the bodies surrounding us. Meaning...you're not exactly dead just yet.

I felt my eyes widen. Jack...you, and I, and the boy you just watched be born are all essentially the same person. I tilted my head almost instinctively. "What?" In this vast universe we call our home, there exists only one of us. I turned around to see Earth rotating beside me, the galaxy flush with motion as orbits and months passed by in a flash before my eyes. But, there isn't only one universe. The Earth in front of me began to be accompanied by other Earths, all overlapping one another in place.

So, it follows that...We were now on Earth, again staring at myself as a newborn, except this time there was what must've been millions of overlapping mes. There isn't exactly only one of us. My chest felt like it sunk into my stomach. Some of us were born in the same time you were. Some of us earlier. Some of us later. Some of us haven't even been born yet, whatever that really means. I turned to him. "What...?" He laughed, and motioned me again, this time to a railing overlooking an ocean: my college town.

You see, I'm you. And the you of the past. And the yous of the present. And the you of the future. I stared lost into the ocean. Am I the first us? I don't know. Will I be the last us that exists? I don't know. I know as little about this as you as you do, except for the fact that I know much more about this than you do as well. I could feel my jaw hanging open, my breath slow and controlled.

I go to us whenever we die, and I collect us. I turned back to him, my eyes closing slightly as I focused my stare. Some of us died naturally, some of us... He turned and looked me in the eyes. Not so much. I almost fell forward when the scenery changed again, we were back at my tombstone, a mild autumn breeze blowing leaves and rubbish about the ground. I saw a body crouched over my grave, placing items I couldn't make out from this distance. I told you earlier that you weren't dead yet. And that's true.

I looked onward toward the bright orange horizon mixed with tinges of purple, the sunset casting the shadow of the figure on my grave toward us. Time doesn't exactly move the same here as when we were alive. In fact, time doesn't really move at all. I looked up to notice that it was Sophia who was at my grave, beautifully dressed placing my favorite snacks and drinks and toys: I felt my heart crumble.

There is no time here, because it has come and gone and still is. Across a limitless number of universes exists a not so limitless number of us: not every universe was lucky enough to breed life, after all. And I go around and collect us when we die at every universe that I appear in. I am not in control of it, I do not know where I am. But, somehow, I still know it all. If I knew how, I'd explain.

We were still at my tomb, this time the figure was my brother, his voice shakily whispering something muted by the winter air. Again, the overlapping, different people in different worlds doing the same gesture. He smiled. Some things don't change, as you can see. I looked back at my tomb, this time a past friend laid down flowers and a book I had always been meaning to read. "Sarah?" I felt a hand placed on my shoulder. In this universe, you two actually fell madly in love when she moved to your hometown.

We were back at my room. Well? The walls, the drab lighting, the lifeless body hanging amidst an empty-seeming life. "Well? Well, what?" I looked to see him once again toying with the noose wrapped around my neck, his head slightly tilting, his eyes moving about. He's thinking.

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