• Glenn Whitlock

Out of Time

What would you do if you had more time?

I look outside and wonder what time it is. It’s still dark, and there is a faint glow on the horizon in the east. That could mean it’s either morning, or the fires are more intense in that direction. Time has meant little to me lately anyway, for obvious reasons. I’d much rather stay inside and lose myself in my work, instead of sleeping or going outside. I’m working on a new computer program to run the country’s energy grid. It’s supposed to revolutionize how electrical power is distributed.

Getting my computer to even work was challenging at first but finding a generator that no one was using did the trick. I laughed as I hauled it back to my place. I thought stealing a generator to work on a program to distribute electricity more efficiently was a little ironic.

After setting it up, I threw myself into my work completely. No visitors. No phone calls. No text messages. No distractions. They were always a little annoying, but I kind of miss them now. I wonder how many are left? Or am I the last hold out?

I take a swig from the whisky bottle next to my keyboard. I feel the amber liquid warming me as it makes its way down my throat. I set it back down next to the pistol I found a couple of days ago. It’s still a weird feeling to find something like just lying around. I guess it doesn’t matter much now. Not like anyone’s going to hurt themselves with it. A few more keystrokes, a few more lines of code, and it’s done.

I sit back and stare at it computer screen, admiring my work. The light outside is brighter now. Rays of light escape the confines of the horizon, outlining the new landscape in yellowish-orange light. I rub my eyes, wondering how long it’s been since I slept. A day? Two days? I don’t need any sleep, so it doesn’t matter. Not anymore anyway.

I drink the last of the whisky and fling the bottle towards the corner of my bedroom. The sound of it bouncing off the hardwood floor rings out, but the bottle miraculously doesn’t break. I look at the lines of code one more time, marveling at its beauty. It would have changed the world.

I pick up the pistol and pull out the magazine, making sure it’s loaded. I look out the window one more time. Everything’s in ruins. The fires from the explosions continue raging across the city. Across the country. Across the world. They’ll continue burning until there’s nothing left. Not like there’s anyone around to put them out these days. Funny how a few lines of code could have done this. It’s only a matter of time before the fire reaches my place. I’ll be long gone by then.

I place the barrel of the gun against my temple. The last thing that goes through my mind before I pull the trigger is that my program could have prevented this. It would have changed the world. But I ran out of time.


I wrote this story for a writing prompt exercise hosted by anne a p a r t. She also has a really cool website you should check out!

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