Their Days Are Numbered is a new year-long project authored by the collective Entropy community. It is a collaborative online novel written by the Entropy community on a weekly basis. A different author will write the next “chapter” each week, to be posted every Tuesday, following the previous post from the previous week, and following a very limited set of guidelines (that each author has one week to write the next piece after the previous week’s installment goes up, that installments should range between 150-1500 words, and that pieces should somehow incorporate a real-life occurrence, current event, news item, or other happening from that week).
Follow the entire “novel” here: Their Days Are Numbered.
The fourteenth installment is presented this week by Keith McCleary.
She walks from the tub to the door through the kitchen, through the hallway, through the front door which hangs in its frame. There is no house but just this shell in a rambling, crabgrass dust shelf.
She crosses property, land that got gave up, to the spot where two trees intertwine, marriage trees next to a trembling circuit breaker half-tipped in the ground, glittering green lights and murmuring “wait.”
Across land, property she sees tiny dust trails, a figure out there, maybe two. She stands and then sits at the edge of her property. She has with her this rifle. You can buy this rifle, but right now she has it with her and she can take all the parts out and polish them and put it back together.
She considers at the edge of her property by marriage trees and a circuit breaker mumbling “wait.” She looks for sky where trails cross over, smells the drifting exhaust from every launch. They say the sky is next, because the year the water drained was also when we found water frozen and spinning in space. They say the sky is next, they say we launch rockets first and then homes and cities, they say we die before we make it to another planet, but they say nothing about rockets that could bring us back the water. They say nothing of rotating free in space.
In her heart she knows this is a dream. She is a writer in a small apartment covered in crosses, she is in a hospital room where it is snowing writing notes of bereavement, she is sitting in a cube on headphones trying to follow up, she is competing fourteen times. She is a dust basin made of memes. She is a futuretext attempting to narrativize contain and stave off the future. She is card games reassembled like a rival, she is a cardboard box of property.
She sees she is not alone. She sees a mirror-self at the opposite edge of her land. The self stands and holds a spear and not a rifle. It sees her as a foreign presence.
She watches through its eyes as it looks over a marriage tree, one half dead and mournful. She sees its view of a glittering circuit-breaker like a tiny apartment, sitting in a cube, buried in sand, covered with crosses, muttering “wait.”