QUANTUM SHORTS 2017: SHORTLISTED, YOUTH CATEGORY
“The world is disappearing”, I repeat the government announcement over and over in my mind. A talking head on the TV says that somehow everything is fading from conscious existence.
I sit in a sterile, brightly lit holding cell. No, sorry, not a prison, a creche, a government creche. To “keep us safe”, they say… though obviously there’s only so much that the authorities can do. They can’t always think of all of us. They have to think of themselves too, I suppose, or we’ll all disappear.
Arya’s bundled up in a bunch of blankets on the softly padded floor. Arya, my baby. I love her with all my heart. I keep repeating that thought as my drowsy eyelids droop lower and lower. Arya’s bottle begins to fade, becoming blurry and translucent. For a second I think that it’s just my imagination.
It isn’t. Arya begins to wail, her hand desperately grasping at the coloured nothingness, like a dying soap bubble. I sigh and force my eyes open, glaring resolutely at the fading bottle. “Appear! Entangle!” I whisper hoarsely and it regains tactility in Arya’s hand. Oh God. Good, she’s stopped crying.
Yes, like some sort of rotten joke on humanity, if you stop looking at or thinking about something for just one minute, it disappears from the universe forever. Although it’s not as if there are any other options for existence, there are only two possibilities: yes or no. Once you’re gone, you’re gone for good.
The point is, we need to think of our world right now. No, nothing really matters. It’s just me and Arya. I just have to keep thinking of the things we need to survive, to keep from fading. I need her. I can’t lose her. She’s all I have.
I don’t remember… how I got here. Am I in a creche or a prison? Wasn’t there a TV earlier? Arya. If I have a child... does that mean I used to have a husband? Can’t afford to think of him. Doesn’t matter. Only Arya.
My body slumps against the side of the wall. My back sticks with cold sweat to the porous concrete.
Bare back? Why am I naked? Arya- Arya’s… Oh. Clothes. I forgot our clothes. Do they matter? Only Arya matters.
I am… so tired. So, so very tired. Eyes so tired.
Arya’s eyes are… closed?
Hand - I raise.