11.59 by Aaron Becker

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

“At the third stroke, the time sponsored by Accurist will be 11:59 and 10 seconds”. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Less than a minute to go. Still time.

Callum felt a strange compound of dejection and trepidation as he gazed out of the window at the dusty streets below. All around was marauding, carousing, whooping, screeching, bellowing; it was New Year’s Eve, after all.

All kinds of thoughts were running through his mind, vying for his utmost attention. Would someone finally send him a message before midnight and validate his existence? And if not, will he…should he?

“…11:59 and 30 seconds”. Beep. Beep. Beep. Surely it isn’t a lost cause?

Attention. All it would take to end the interminable discussion with himself about whether he meant anything to anyone, a puerile preoccupation and depressing distraction throughout his nineteen disappointing years of existence. On this night, of all nights.

“…11:59 and 50 seconds”. Beep. Beep. Beep. It’s all over now, he concluded.

It didn’t take a vast leap of imagination to envisage a place where his insatiable desire to be loved could be met. The afterlife. Callum pulled the trigger and entered that world. As he did so, his phone beeped.

Aaron Becker has been coming up with ideas on the south coast of England since 1999. His work has been published by a Science-based journal in 2009, screened at a theatre festival in 2019 and published on a literary website this year. He has also written seven short stories and flash fiction pieces in the last two years, and is currently working on a novella.

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