continued from previous
“What if the dawn never comes?” – John thought to himself as he sat in the twilight, right at the center of the three-seater couch that the previous tenants had abandoned when they left in a hurry. It was a fear that he had as a child, every time he went to bed: if the Earth goes through all this trouble to close the curtains every night, where does it find the strength to pull them back open in the morning? What if it skipped a day? What if it skipped a whole month? What if it just never bothered, or even forgot what light was? What if it forgot what it was like to dawn again?
It was a recurring nightmare that he soon grew out of when he eventually contemplated the opposite scenario: what if the Earth never slept? What if it just overheated from the 24-hour sun, the endless commotion of all the living things walking, flying, eating, shitting, destroying? For an introvert like John, desolation did not feature high on his list of top fears. He was in fact almost pleased to face the emptiness of his unfurnished apartment (bar the luxury couch), and the thick, pitch-black sky that was almost beginning to ooze through the fittings of the large floor-to-ceiling windows. He welcomed all of this. This is how introverts “recharge their batteries”: by removing themselves from the rollercoaster of life whenever they can. Were they just introverts, or did they have the “superpower” of not being afraid of the dark?
But tonight was different. The neighborhood was more quiet than usual. And the sky didn’t feel like a sky. It felt heavy and thick, like an oil slick that had come out of nowhere and submerged the entire city. If John opened the window, the black liquid may just rush in and engulf everything. “Is this what loneliness feels like?” – John thought for a second. He felt suffocated, but it wasn’t loneliness. It was the existential fear that life was beginning to lose its meaning, just like this apartment had lost its furniture, one by one.
from the upcoming novel A New Earth
to read from the beginning, go here
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books