One of those Unsolvable..

Posted on June 5, 2013

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When he asked, she replied, much to his chagrin, “I’m sorry, but I just want us to be friends.”

It was an answer that hardly surprised him. He looked away from the computer screen and at the blank wall beyond. It wasn’t so much that he didn’t believe he had had a chance with her specifically, it’s just…what? Luck? That seemed to be the case. Never once had he been granted the magical, “Yes, I feel the same..” Or even that ‘click’ that so many people described. A bing! came from his laptop. He looked at the time in the bottom right corner of the screen, and the time she had sent her last message. Ten minutes had passed. 

“Hello?” The message barely registered with him. He stared at the beautifully vibrant, smiling face in the small square next to her message. Another bing! brought him out of his trance. He looked at the time again. Now fifteen minutes had passed. The tightening in his chest only got tighter, and the sickening feeling in his stomach made him want to throw up. Tears streamed down his face, as he looked side to side, seemingly unaware of where he was. He rocked back and forth in his chair. Then he looked at the message.

“Are you okay?”

Of course not, he wanted to say. I’ve only been doomed by Natural Selection. But why? Who knows? It was just one of those things that were unsolvable…

He got up from his chair and walked over to his bed. He stuck his hand underneath his mattress and felt around for a moment. Finally he found it. The three fifty-seven magnum he got only yesterday. He sat down at his desk again and typed one final message:

“Would you understand?”

He put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

“Well done, well done,” the old man said, clapping. “I didn’t think you had it in you, Carlton.” Carlton stared at him, confused. The old man seemed familiar, in an eerie sort of way. “Why,” he said, resting his arms on either side of him, the black leather of his chair squeaking as he crossed one leg. “You don’t recognize me, my boy?” He stared up at Carlton expectantly. The bald head, the long white beard…he couldn’t pinpoint where he had seen this man before.

“Let me give you a hint. ‘We may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.'”

Carlton couldn’t believe it. He stared at the old man with wide eyes and mouth slightly agape. “It couldn’t..how..”

The old man chuckled. Then he spoke, but the aged voice was replaced with a more youthful, and condescending, one. “How couldn’t it? You offed yourself after all. What’s not possible after death, and how would you know?” He snapped his fingers, and he changed into an almost spitting image of Carlton. He had dark circles under his bloodshot eyes, and his hair was messy, all is if he hadn’t slept in days. Carlton shivered under his dark, menacing gaze.

His counterpart stood from his chair. When he spoke, only inches from his face, Carlton noticed something odd about his breath. It smelled…burnt. “Good job with being one of the millions, millions, that reaffirm that old prick’s theories! It is GOD!” The counterpart shoved him down. “That decides who lives and who dies! It is UNNATRUAL SELECTION!

Carlton got back on his feet, his fists clenched so hard they were shaking. His face burned with rage. “Then your God doomed me to a miserable existence! To hell with His selection!”

A loud smack! echoed in the emptiness. Carlton rubbed his cheek tenderly. This time the counterpart’s tone was ice. “He’s everyone’s God. Make sure you understand that. And His selection is divine. It’s,” he lost his calm. “PERFECT!” He backhanded Carlton on the other cheek. Carlton spat blood, and looked at the counterpart with fire in his eyes.

“You mother-” The counterpart caught his fist before it got anywhere near his face. He held it firmly, his grip getting tighter and tighter..

“Please,” Carlton begged, trying to pull away. Then there was a satisfying crack. Carlton screamed. “Let go!” He dropped to one knee. Another crack brought him down on both knees. “Please..” he whimpered. Crraack. “Fuck!”

“You!” The counterpart brought his boot down on Carlton’s chest. Still gripping his fist, he began to push down with his foot until he heard a pop from Carlton’s shoulder. With Carlton screaming and whimpering, he continued to pull at his arm.

Next thing Carlton knew, he was laying in a pool of blood, looking at his detached arm laying next to him. “If you knew,” the counterpart said casually, sitting back down, blood splattered on his face. “That this is what awaited you if you killed yourself, would you rather have gone on living your miserable, yet precious life?”

After a moment of silence passed, Carlton said, weakly, “If I had died when He wanted me to, would I have gotten seventy-two virgins?”

“Aha!” The counterpart slapped the arm of his chair. “Certainly not. At least not for pleasurable purposes. Though you would have met a lot more than seventy-two.”

“Then what’s the incentive?”

“You like being here with me?”

“It’s more entertaining than the idea of sitting on clouds and staring at Him for all eternity.”

The counterpart was silent. After a considerable amount of silence passed, he said, with a hint of compassion, “Would you want a second chance?”

Without hesitation, Carlton said, “Yes.”

“So you want to stare at Him for the rest of eternity after all?”

“No, but I’ll make the most of my miserable life before I have to. Even if I’m all alone.”

The counterpart looked down on him solemnly. “I wish you didn’t have to be.” He snapped his fingers.

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Posted in: Stories