Author: Kymik PM
One shot. My best attempt to creep myself out. Succeeded, I suppose. It's about a guy who's faced with the decision of whether to murder every single person on the plant, basically.Rated: Fiction T - English - Suspense - Words: 2,053 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Published: 01-31-05 - id: 1822717
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Jason was driving home, as he usually does, late on a Friday night from his small town job, to his apartment in the big city.
Sometimes Jason hated driving in the dark, especially in the dead of winter, when gusts of loose snow would sweep across the highway, swirling in front of his yellow headlights like confetti caught up in a gust of wind.
Darkness pressed in on his tiny car from all sides. He hated it, and although he knew the road well, and could picture the gravel roads and farms if he tried, driving in a dark void could be depressing.
He had cranked the radio this night, and even though the local Top 40 station had discovered a certain penchant for urban and hip-hop, he kept it on. The bleeped out swears and bad grammar had a certain calming effect, in that he could drown them out without letting his mind wander.
Fifteen minutes into his drive to Jason grew concerned. The view, though as black as it usually was, had become devoid. He had not seen any of the usual reflective signs along the road. Maybe he just had failed to notice them; it wasn't like he really needed to know it was
eight kilometres to Nisku.
He concentrated, but no signs came. Jason slowed the car and peered out of his side windows, but was unable to see anything beyond the snowy ditch. He checked his rearview mirror, but his gaze was only met with a thick black nothing. No headlights behind him, no taillights in front.
Where was he?
Jason kept an eye out for a gravel road leading off the highway; a place where he could pull over and collect himself. It wouldn't be the first time he had fallen asleep behind the wheel.
He eased off the accelerator again. The exit ramp should be just ahead, but Jason could only see more dark. More black. More nothing. His mind flashed back to a cable movie he had recently seen, one of those stereotypical alien abduction flicks where the hero's driving down a deserted highway and is suddenly beamed into a flying saucer. Jason checked the clock on his dashboard: no time loss. He peered up through his windshield but couldn't see any suspicious lights; in fact he couldn't see any lights; no stars, no moon.
Jason signalled and slowed to a stop, pulling over on the narrow shoulder of the highway. Maybe he was having a stroke.
Jason was only 23 but he'd heard of guys younger than him dropping dead of a brain aneurysm. Maybe he was asleep, or dying in a ditch. It could happen.
Jason killed the engine. There was no hum of a distant highway. He lifted his wristwatch to his ear just to make sure he hadn't gone deaf and was slightly comforted when the careful tick-tick met his starved eardrums.
Releasing his seatbelt he opened his door, expecting a cold rush of air to gush in through the opening. But along with the absence of sound and light, there was a loss of temperature, not a deep-freeze, but a completely neutral vacuum. Jason took a deep breath just to make sure there was oxygen.
He stepped out of the car and onto a smooth surface.
Jason took a few exploratory steps. No echo. One step more and he could sense a large mass in front of him. He reached out and his hand hit a wall. It was solid, like a slab of marble. Jason began to shake.
"What the hell."
He turned back to his car, but it was gone.
"HELP!" he screamed. It was like the words were sucked from his mouth into a black hole, they were going nowhere. No one would hear him.
Backing into the wall, Jason started inching along, hoping there would be an end or a door, something that could lead him back onto the highway or his car. He only came to a corner, and following that wall stretching out 90 degrees, he came to another. He was in a box.
"HELP!" he screamed again, on the verge of a total meltdown. This was not possible, physically. How couldn't have driven into a box right in the middle of a frozen Canadian highway?
"Where am I?" he whispered, his breaths coming in short and quick. He was starting to hyperventilate.
"Where's my car? Where am I? Oh, God, what's happening to me?"
Suddenly the room filled with a deep tone, which seemed to start at the floor and rise. Jason froze as the noise became louder, floating higher until it filled the entire room, which couldn't have been bigger than his tiny bathroom at home.
"Silence is golden," boomed a voice, and the noise abruptly stopped.
Jason felt his stomach turn.
"Who is that? Where are you?" he whimpered.
"I am here," said the voice. It was a man's, hardly authoritative, yet with a smooth cadence to it that put Jason at some ease.
"What's happening?" said Jason, searching the dark room. He was alone, as far as he could see.
"I have removed you."
Jason felt his head. No fever. "What? From what?"
"From everything," said the voice.
"Wait. Are you God? Am I dead?"
The voice only chuckled.
"So you are. I'm talking to God?"
"No," said the voice.
Jason did not reply and only fought to catch his breath. He almost wished it was God, then at least he'd know what he was dealing with.
"I have a job for you, Jason," said the voice.
"What?" Jason tried to search for the origin of the voice, a speaker, a hole in the wall. Nothing.
"Only I suppose it's more of a choice. You have a very important choice to make," the voice continued.
Jason stopped. This didn't sound good at all. He crossed his arms and stared up at the ceiling, though the voice was coming from every direction. Surround sound for God, or a god, or whatever.
"I have removed you because it is the most important choice anyone in all of time will ever have to make."
This really didn't sound good, and Jason felt sick again.
"Do you want to know what it is?" asked the voice.
"No? I want out. Can I be – unremoved?" said Jason.
The voice chuckled again. "Look behind you."
Jason turned. In what seemed to be the middle of the room, a pedestal had appeared. It was black and square like the rest of the room; Jason could only see it because of a large red button resting on the top.
"What is that?" he asked.
"It's your choice," said the voice.
"What will happen if I push it?"
"The world will come to an end."
Now he was sure this was a dream. "What?"
"This is the choice I am giving you, Jason. I am giving you the power to destroy all of existence, if you like."
Jason laughed, "That's ridiculous."
The pedestal remained and nothing happened for several minutes. This guy was serious.
"It's rather simple, Jason. Push it or don't," the voice finally said.
"Well I choose not to," Jason gave another nervous laugh.
"This isn't something you can take lightly. It's very serious," said the voice.
"Well I am serious. First of all, I think this isn't real. You're bluffing – or something. Secondly, why would anyone wipe out the planet just because?"
"Tell me why you think it would be bad if everything was suddenly gone," said the voice.
Jason couldn't help but laugh. He tried to think of something to say, but was unable to think of anything. "It just would be . . . there are tons of reasons, probably."
"But who would be around to miss it?" said the voice.
"Where would everybody go?" asked Jason. He knew from high school physics that matter couldn't just simply disappear; it had to turn into something.
"They would dissolve. Scatter and become stars, dissipate into another atmosphere."
This sounded slightly appealing.
"Would it hurt?"
The voice was quiet for a moment. "It would be like turning off a television."
Flashing lights, pretty pictures, then nothing.
"So you want me to push the button?" asked Jason, inching toward the pedestal.
"I want you to think about it. I've determined that there is an equal chance of you going either way and I'm interested to see what that will be. There are a lot of people who would press it. Miserable people who might consider destroying the world and act of mercy."
Jason frowned. He wasn't unhappy by any means, but even he had days where he wished the world would just go away. How selfish of him to think that the majority of people would opt to continue their lives if given the choice. What about the poor? The starving? The homeless? If save the children infomercials were true, then he was in the minority. Would he be doing everyone a favour by pushing the button?
Human conflict versus harmony with the universe. All of a sudden the decision didn't seem so clear.
"This is too hard," said Jason. "Let someone else choose."
"No," said the voice.
Jason looked at the button out of the corner of his eye. It was gleaming from some unseen light source. It beckoned to be pushed.
"Does it really matter?" asked Jason.
"To you? Not really," said the voice.
Jason crossed his arms. "What do you mean? If I push it, I die. Everyone dies! How can that not matter?"
"Think about it. You push the button, the world is gone in less than a second. There will be no time to notice what is happening. No one left to miss it. Think about it like this, if your life – the one I removed you from – was only a reality because someone had written it in a novel, for example, and they erased you, what would happen?"
"That's stupid," said Jason.
The voice didn't answer and Jason realized he had very little choice in the matter. He wasn't going anywhere until he made his decision, and he wasn't very good at those. Well, if all was lost either way, he'd play by his own rules. See what this voice thought of that.
"If it doesn't make a difference, then I guess I'll flip a coin," he said, digging a quarter out of his pocket. He glanced up at the ceiling to see if there were any objections. Nothing.
"Heads I push it, tails I don't," he said.
"Go ahead," said the voice.
Jason rolled his eyes. No sensible being, omnipotent or not, would ever allow such a decision to be taken so flippantly. This only proved that the entire set up was a farce. Nothing would happen if he pushed the button. Jason played along and then flicked the coin. It turned a few times in the air before he caught it, and in one quick motion flipped it on to the back of his hand.
"It's heads," said Jason. So the world was going to end.
"There you go, then," said the voice.
Jason walked toward the pedestal. This could be his funeral, he mused. This could be everyone's funeral, and they didn't even know it.
He arrived at the button and looked up again. "Why me?" he asked.
"Why not?" said the voice.
Jason's hand hovered and then he pressed the button.