The Pen

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Science Fiction
Vignette inspired by Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman.

Submitted: July 17, 2016

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Submitted: July 17, 2016

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The time is 4:05:27 pm, the sun shines in through a clouded window which only provides a faded semblance of corrupted light. Coated in this oppressive radiation a man watches a pen fall from his desk and contemplates time.

In this world the pace of time is oscillatory like a snake maneuvering among the dazzling red tomatoes, the radiant roses, and the refulgent sunflowers of the celestial terrace that is Earth. As the serpent of time moves to a crescendo and the wave is at its zenith the pace of time is relentlessly swift; however, as this great snake bows its head to its lowest point the flow of time sluggishly pushes forward. Although, the most curious feature of this world is that the perception of time for mankind remains fixed at an immutably state which lies between the maximum and minimum. Therefore at the maximums mankind notices time zooming by whereas at the minimums the whole of mankind must consciously observe time gently drift by.

While all people in the entire world know the laws of time in this reality it does not stop them from resenting their own helplessness before the cruel swaying march of time. For as the speed of time gradually increases to its peak mankind feverously attempts to keep up with time. As such workers quickly complete tasks at blinding speeds, mothers full on sprint through the grocery store attempting to make it home before sunset, and even children know to clumsily pickup their toys with urgency as night seems only a moment from dawn. When time moves this quickly regard for life is eroded as every individual endeavors to live their life with great seriousness. People chase down time with maddening speed like spotted hyenas salivating at the mouth, and as such it is not uncommon to see those individuals that cannot keep up trampled, bruised, and bloody in the street. These poor souls that lose precious moments recovering from their injuries are not the victim of a mugging or altercation but instead they merely could not keep up with the desperate scramble of mankind. Yet these casualties don’t curse their assailants as they themselves would have behaved similarly to chase time. Few in this world are empathetic enough to step over these mangled forms as most simply continue moving regardless so that they may get the most out of their days.  

Perhaps even more frustrating is the danger which comes with everyday activities when time moves at its swiftest. For example, on the fastest day of the year not a single soul dare leave their home.  On this day, everyone must be careful to avoid sunny areas as in the blink of eye the entire day may pass burning the skin and overheating the body.  If one is caught outside in a heavy hail storm on the fastest day they may be battered in no time. On this day hungry develops so fast that food must be within immediate reach lest they fall into malnutrition. Passionate lovers if not prepared for the speed of time on this day by may have to go without each other’s embrace on this day. The fastest day is to be despised for a multitude of reasons.

Although the fast pace of time reveals a curious fragment of human nature in this world the deceleration of time demonstrates an equally interesting effect on mankind. As time slows each man, woman, and child becomes more introspective with all of time before them. Children may stand among falling rain drops inspecting each one within a cubic meter before any of them hits the ground. Each rain drop a perfect tear suspend in the air each refracting a small rainbow so vivid and magnificent that it may bring tears of joy to these children’s eyes. A man or woman may sit down and contemplate the meaning of existence as many do when time is so abundant and in reach. They mediate upon such subjects for so long that their minds become weary. Some individuals are broken by such inquiries as with so much time for thought they may reach their answer and be horrified by the conclusion and possibly even seek self-destruction. Others still merely wander in the palace of thought which is grant by this abundance of time and are mildly content. As time slows mankind develops apathy towards itself and the intense fight for life of the fastest days of the year finds its contrapositive.  Each person becomes their own psychological prisoner as time slows the oversaturation of time allows for such self-absorption.

Indeed on the slowest day, time sluggishly moves forward and most finds themselves trudge through a thick mental amalgam of cerebral dilemmas for what seems like an eternity. Some come to the conclusion that life is cruel and unyielding and submit while others fight this with all of their being defiant before the expanse of the seemingly limitlessness of time. Passionate lovers if not prepared for the speed of time on this day by may become sick at the sight of one other after this day. The slowest day is to be despised for a multitude of reasons.

There is a single day in this world which all of mankind celebrates most among all others, and on this day the wave of time intersects the way in which mankind perceives time. On this day, lovers embrace with great affection, parents play with their children, and all of mankind is reminded of its humanity. No one on this day is unconcerned with the suffering of their neighbor or too perplexed by their thoughts to mind others. For on this day mankind does not rush to keep up with time nor does mankind lazily await the passage of time. On this day mankind feels one with the universe.

The time is 4:05:28 pm, the sun shines in through a clouded window which only provides a faded semblance of corrupted light. Coated in this oppressive radiation a man watches a pen hit the ground and contemplates time. 


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