Timeless

The Afflicted

410 words for Wendy’s #WOW555 prompt this week:

* * *

Long ago, Quentin told me that time flow is relative to each person. Its speed doesn’t remain constant throughout a life. I never understood what he meant by that, but I started to when we were on assignment in Germany. He would use himself as the example when I asked him. He’d sometimes tell me that time slowed down drastically for him in the 80s, but sped up in the 90s.

This, he said, was because he lost his sense of purpose, only to find it not long before we were paired. I never asked him for the details, to ask would’ve gone against the most sacred rules a soldier must obey – not that anyone ever sat me down and told me this rule, I had to learn it the hard way. Besides, why would I ask about the past? Soldiers must live in the present, each day divided into minutes and seconds. Those thin slices of time are what we care about.

This particular second is just a piece of the greater minutes I’ve been staring through my scope, hidden from time eternal, waiting for my next tango. His words seem to haunt me. They were, like many of the things he told me, the absolute, undeniable truth. I find myself in one of those slow-times right now. Time has not only slowed, it seems to stop with me perched on a roof staring down an unmarked door in a nondescript building. This time dilation seems to leave me with too much time to reminisce on the past. I try to ignore it, after all, as a soldier, I must live in the now…

I’m not alone, trapped in timelessness. Looking through my scope, I see that it’s in a state of timeless meandering, just a tiny part of an unending and unchanging cycle. Wars are still fought with entire nations trapped in a cycle of poverty. The world constructed a cage long ago and has been trapped in it ever since. I’ve become trapped in the same cage. Barless, brickless, even timeless. Death is my only escape.

Since Quentin left, I’ve been called a lone wolf. I am a wolf. The most basic instincts rule over me: the urge to hunt and the urge to be independent. Each time I carry out the hunt, I eliminate my target with precision, but I still wait for the favor to be reciprocated.

To be freed from my cage…

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About Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner lives in northern Arizona with his wife, three children and a pair of spoiled dogs. Mark holds a degree in Computer Systems and Applications and is currently attending Northern Arizona University. View all posts by Mark Gardner

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