Pi stumbled in holding his neck. Blood leaked through his fingers. As he fainted, he whispered, “It’s Mum’s behaviour, Bell, not her blood.”
“Please, Pi, try to focus. What did you mean it’s Mum’s behaviour? What is it she does that’s so different?”
He shrugged, “Who cares?”
Still not EMO. My poor brother. . . Dad bit humanity’s best hope of recovery.
Wait a sec. . . AM I EMO? That was practically poetry! Oh no!
Today’s visitor is Christopher James.
WAITING FOR LACHESIS
The waiting room of the Lachesis Centre was a sterile and impersonal place, and there was little distraction offered for the occupants except that which they could find in the other people waiting.
It was the young man that started them talking. Duncan was his name, Dunc to his mates. It was a bit of a funny thing the three of them were waiting for here, wasn’t it? Really, a bit morbid. Not that he was nervous or anything, after all, he was young and healthy now wasn’t he? He didn’t have to worry about it, he’d go in, have the test done, and then they’d give him his reading. His mates had bet him that he wouldn’t go through with it, but hey, it was no big thing, he wasn’t scared, it was just some number.
With the ice broken, the young lady, Helen, slowly began to open up. Well, it was really her fiancé’s idea. Yes, she was getting married, it was still a few months away but Andy said it was best if they started planning for their lives ahead now. Children and careers, retirement, everything could be much more neatly organised when they knew the results of her Lachesis test. He’d already had his done years ago. No, he couldn’t come down to the centre with her, he’d had a meeting, and he hadn’t wanted to pull out of it over such a little thing. After all, it was just test.
The last to speak, drawn out by the other two, was Henry. He’d just turned fifty and his employment contract was up for renewal, you see, and it was the policy in his department that everyone of his age had to provide the results of their Lachesis to ensure that they’d be able to fulfil their duties. Just an admin detail really. He’d always done his best, his manager would certainly have to take that into account, but… fifty wasn’t really that old, was it? It wasn’t as though he had any real health problems, nothing that could cause him to… fail in his duties.
They were called from their seats by a nurse who showed them each to separate scanning rooms. As the technicians attached wires and nodes, a pre-recorded voice droned on, using phrases like ‘bio-temporal signature’ and ‘quasi-chronal flux’, but none of them really listened. The science was beyond them, but they all knew what they were there for.
The wait for their results was filled with tense silence. As each one of them was called to the receptionist’s desk, they were handed a plain sealed envelope. Dunc weighed it up for a moment, then decisively ripped it open. He flipped through legal disclaimers and pamphlets on counselling until he finally came to the important information. And there it was, in simple type: The Lachesis Centre had determined that he, Duncan Edwards, would, through means natural or otherwise, die at the age of ninety-one. Ninety-one. An intoxicated grin spread across his face. Ninety-one, that was forever! He was immortal! A laugh worked its way up out of his throat, he had to tell his mates this, they’d be bloody jealous. He dashed outside and, like a salmon leaping up the rapids, he bounded through the pedestrian crowds and across the road. Then, like the paw of some great grizzly bear, the speeding truck swatted him out of the air. He bounced once, and then rolled, and his world cut to blackness. Much later, the sound of voices entered his ears, though he was not conscious to hear them. They were sorry, they really were, but there was no way to know when the poor boy would wake up. They’d just have to wait and see.
Helen took her envelope home unopened and waited until Andy arrived. He teased her lightly about her being scared of a letter, but he sat down with her as she broke the seal and read the conclusion. Sixty-four. That wasn’t too bad was it? It wasn’t as long as she’d hoped, but they could still build a life together, couldn’t they? Andy got up and started pacing the room. No, it could be worse, but he’d really… well, he was measured as living till he was eighty-eight. That was a whole twenty years more, he’d really expected their marriage to last, but if she was going to leave him when he still had so long to go… He really had to get some air, he’d be back in a bit. Grabbing his jacket, he swept out the door and left his dearly beloved to wait.
Henry had stared at his envelope for a while before he opened it. With his luck he’d probably be just short of whatever the number were that the department had set. It always did go like that with him. With a sigh he pulled out the results… and swallowed hard. He knew that date, he’d written it into his planner when he’d booked the appointment, it was that day. Frantically he looked around. It was coming for him. He frantically dashed out the doors. It could be anything, a car, a plane, a gun, a bomb. Wildly he weaved through the crowd, stumbling away from every possible threat. His breath was ragged, his chest felt like it was in a vice and it was too much, it was just too much, and with a shudder he grasped at his heart, and .. then… left all his worries behind.
As a new day dawned, the Lachesis Centre again opened for business and a new group of people came in and sat down to wait.