View RSS Feed

The Irish Tales

The Year We Ran Out of Fridays.(13)

Rate this Entry
Later on the morning of March 11th.

Present : The Head Physician, April, December, Tuesday, Chronobitch nurses.

Venue : The Neuro-Chronological Institute

"You can go now," I said curtly to the various Chronobitch nurses who stood whispering to each other in a huddle by the window.

They looked a little affronted, until the Head Physician nodded to them, after which they bowed their heads and scurried away with nary a backward glance.

I sat in a chair next to April's bed and looked at what was left of him. It was not a pretty sight. Everything possible had been done to make him comfortable, but it was pitifully little, in all truth.

His hands, legs and head had been strapped to the bed, more for the staff's safety than for his, I felt.

His skin had erupted in dozens of places and was still doing so, spilling out numbers, millions of them, which briefly glowed and spat, then vanished like the bubbles from a child's soap pipe.

His face was a horror show of impossible numerical permutations, his eyes flashed like a steroid-driven calculator, his teeth were an ever-changing array of arithmetically derived possibilities.

And then he relaxed and spoke thus :8+5+3+3+6=25, fuck 2+5=7."

I started at sound of his voice, but was baffled by what I heard and my heart sank.
He was going, would soon be gone and nobody any the wiser as to what had happened to him in the Pond , nor what had happened to Cal, nor why the leakage of Time had apparently ceased.

The Head Physician leant over and wiped April's pulsing brow with something cooling, took his pulse, then sighed and shook his head.

April lay quietly now, numbers still emerging from his shattered body, but with much less force and the thrashing limbs had given up the unequal fight. He lay there, eyes closed, dying.

"Gematria," said Tuesday quietly. I looked quizzically at her.
" The ancient Jewish tradition of assigning mystical meaning to words based on their numerical values."
A pause. "He said "hello"."

My mind raced.
"Can you speak to him in this ....Gematrian ?"

She half-smiled, then shook her head. "Too complicated for me, the maths are ....well, too complicated."

"FUCK IT!" I yelled and smashed my fist into the wall, breaking the plaster and two knuckles in the process.
I bit my lip with pain, even as the damaged bones and tissue began to heal. Yup, told you we had some rather cool powers. They also include-

"Calm down, dear," said April and he opened his eyes.
I forgot about my injured hand and pulled my chair closer to him.

"It is I..." A faint smile.

"Can you tell me what happened in the Pond ?"
"Yes. But you must stay silent and not interrupt. I... don't know how much longer I can hold on."

I stood up, looking at him. Earlier, I had described him to you as a tall man, powerfully built, exceptionally handsome, with an entrancing smile when he chose.

What lay before me now was a mockery of a man.
He had lost six inches in height and roughly 50% of his body mass.
His skin was torn and blistered, laying bare the bones beneath, which twitched quietly with digital disturbance. He radiated waves of intense heat.
I turned to Tuesday.

"Get rid of the quack. Then summon the Chief ChronoDog."

She hesitated, then did what I so rudely ordered, leaving me alone with April.

"Speak," I said. And so he did.

(What follows is not a verbatim transcript and makes no allowance for his faltering, thin voice, nor the long pauses between sentences. It is though, as faithful as my memory allows.)

" At first, I couldn't see anything. Just a maelstrom of numbers. I lost all sense of direction....couldn't tell up from down, left from right. And although I could breathe, it felt as if, with every breath, I was ingesting something quite alien, quite hostile. And then I touched bottom and began to look around.

"The Pond appears to be made of some kind of volcanic lava, tough but very brittle and much broader than it appears from the surface. For the first five minutes or so, I wandered around aimlessly, looking for anything which seemed wrong. Then -"

At this point, April was consumed by a fit of coughing, which brought forth a sudden spate of numbers from his ruptured body.

I waited patiently. Eventually, he carried on.

"Then I found what seemed to be a wall and so I followed it, using only touch to guide me. I was starting to have difficulty breathing when I found Cal...."

Here he paused, sucking in air, before continuing.

"At first, all I could make out was a vague cruciform figure, black against white. As I got closer, I realised it was a man. And finally, I saw it was Cal. Or what was left of him.

"Dec, it was frightful, quite horrific. He was quite dead, of course, but worse was what was happening to his body. It was being slowly absorbed and turned into rock,....and in so doing, sealing the hole through which Time was escaping.
From the degree of intensity of the hardening and the way it radiated outwards from his chest, I would guess that the hole was no more than roughly a foot wide and maybe six inches tall. His extremities were still....recognisable, just. Especially his face. His anguished, agonised face."

Tears streamed from April's eyes and next to me Tuesday sobbed quietly.

I hadn't heard her enter, so mesmerised was I by April's account.
I was vaguely aware that January and the Chief ChronoDog had also entered the room, but my attention was solely on April.

"I wasted precious minutes, trying to wrest his body from the rock until it sank in, until I realised the futility of my actions. His clock was utterly stopped and even should I succeed in obtaining his corpse, I would merely open up the hole, which he had given up his life to block."

His voice was now little more than a whisper and of a sudden, there was a vicious eruption of numbers out of every orifice, causing his shattered body to spasm and buck in what was clearly the most agonising pain.

Eventually it subsided and he turned his face toward me.
"Forgive me....Dec....for all my actions in my Time. Please..........?"

I shook my head.
"There is nothing to forgive, April. You are ...the bravest month."

He smiled - or at least, attempted to.
"A favour, then...?"
"Name it," I answered.

A beautiful, fully formed, old April smile fleetingly mended that ruined face.

"A last glass of that excellent brandy of yours?"
I grinned back at him, then turned to Tuesday but she was already leaving the room.

The Chief Dog muttered something about March and January opened his mouth, but I held up my hand to silence them.

April was still grinning at me and fixing my eyes with his own, so piercing, so blue, so peaceful now, when she returned and wordlessly handed me a large glass, half full.

I took it, sighed deeply, then drank it down in one gulp.
April's clock had stopped some 60 seconds before.


Submit "The Year We Ran Out of Fridays.(13)" to Digg Submit "The Year We Ran Out of Fridays.(13)" to StumbleUpon Submit "The Year We Ran Out of Fridays.(13)" to Google Submit "The Year We Ran Out of Fridays.(13)" to Facebook

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags