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The Day That Time Ran Out
There used to be a certainty which promised to always be true on Earth. There were 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute. One year had 365 of those days. At least, that’s what Tia was told.
She remembers her teacher saying that the Earth slowly began spinning faster and faster, the days growing shorter by seconds, minutes, hours. Of course, there’s no time for school anymore. There’s no time for anything.
Yesterday the day was two minutes. Today is down to one minute. According to the lifeless voice of the scientist on the radio, today is the day that time runs out. And what happens after that, no one knows.
Tia is tired, but there’s no time to sleep. She is hungry, but there’s no time to eat.
51 seconds. “What to do with 51 seconds,” Tia wonders aloud.
47 seconds. “I’ve got to do something other than sit and do nothing.”
Those words sounded familiar. She remembered something.
38 seconds. She ran outside. Despite the fear it brought, Tia always loved watching the sun sail across the sky faster and faster every day. She would watch the sun rise from one horizon and move quickly across the sky and set on the opposite horizon from where it rose. But she didn’t have time to remember that.
32 seconds. She is standing in the front yard. The sun is moving awfully fast. Faster than Tia ever saw.
At 26 seconds, Tia hears someone call her name. She turned around and saw a boy, her neighbor, but she didn’t have time to remember his name. She only recognized him to be her age, but she didn’t have time to remember how old she was. And when years were measured in hours, did it really matter? Tia didn’t think so, and lost count a long time ago.
The boy grinned at her. “Took a long time for you to wake up, Sleeping Beauty.”
19 seconds. Memories flooded through Tia’s head. She used to be best friends with this boy. They spent all their time together, playing and talking and dreaming for hours on end. But when a day became shorter than an hour, Tia stopped doing anything at all, not moving, only thinking how much faster the world was spinning, how much time was left. She wasn’t aware of it, but the whole world went into the same shock, waiting for time to run out.
Not this boy, though. This boy was different. Tia remembered the countless times he tried to snap her out of her zombie-like mind.
It’s the only thing she remembers from her life now. His anxious face. Him saying, “Stop worrying, Tia! Let’s go do something fun, exciting! Have an adventure! There’s only so much time that we have left, so let’s not waste it.”
Tia’s monotone response matched the tone of the reporter on t.v. as she sat stiffly in her seat and stared unseeing ahead.
“Yesterday was 40 minutes. Today will be 35 minutes and 15 seconds.”
He was so frustrated. “Listen to yourself! You sound like a robot. You’ve got to do something other than sit and do nothing!”
“12 minutes and 51 seconds left today.”
But he didn’t give up on her. He made her a promise, even though she didn’t remember it now.
15 seconds. Tia remembers the boy’s name. Drew. She remembers that he misses him, and runs to throw herself into his arms.
“Can I tell you something, Tia? Something I always wanted to tell you?”
“What, Drew? What is it?”
“I only wish I told you sooner.”
And Tia never found out what he wanted to say.
Time ran out.