Eight Minutes

Drew Zimmerman

It happened. Why did it have to happen?

In mere minutes, our world will lose all light and freeze under a cloak of failure. We didn't get murdered. We didn't get sick. We just ran out of time. There was a predetermination that left Earth without succession or future. Homo sapiens, for whatever reason, failed. They died in the blackness without judgment.

We earned no judgment, and without it, we are worthless. We are nothing. We are no different than the ants we burned as children or the deer we ran over as adults. There was no bypassing, delaying, or stopping this fate. It is beyond our ability to cure and heal. This astronomical disease was terminal.

I should deny it.

The light was shallow. Soon there would be no more light. Its flexed rays poured like rain upon the doomed and the damned. A hazy eclipse was all that could be seen in the fair sanctuary above. The warmth of light chilled the earth, leaving a grisly sensation. They all began to die. I watched in a phobic state of paralysis. All I could do was watch. All we could do was watch.

What remnants of a failed civilization the next superior race will dig up is unknown. Past cultures have been defined and marked by their greatest achievements that leave us in awe. They had the Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, and the Hanging Gardens to their name, but what will we have: i-Pods and soy burgers? That, boys and girls, is the price of an age of technology. The earliest forms of life were able to make the best out of nothing, but at this stalemate of progression, we make nothing out of the best. Maybe we should have been preserved in some way to help others understand. Then again, maybe we should just be left in the dirt. People can't stand failure, so there is no need to rub it in their faces. Worm food. It gives those with nothing a purpose. Our shells will rot to make room for the next breed that is destined to die for no apparent reason.

A person mentally develops in the first two years of their life then they will for the remainder of their life. This world has industrially developed more in the last two hundred years than it has since its birth. In both instances, we develop the weapons to destroy. We earn the hunger for truth and knowledge. We gain the ability to manipulate people to get what we want. We are flooded with power. We destroy ourselves in doing so.

Earth relies on masochism. They don't know what they would do without imperfection. People need to attempt to clean the earth, initiate peace, and cure disease knowing that these goals are just beyond an arm's length. There is pleasure in trying to make a difference, but the pain of accepting reality is unfathomable. We would have died by our own hand anyway, and that is the point. When we create industrialization, we wallow in our own filth and burn in our own cocoon, when we defy a country, we instigate war, and when we try to turn all of it around and show the undying effort to initiate change, we die like this.

I should be angry.

The meaning of life itself became a failure due to our greed. For obliterating our planet, we at least deserve the right to kill ourselves off based upon our own way of life. We earned it after many millennia of struggle. For multiplying like bacteria without any care or consequence, famine and disease should be our end. Malthus should be right. For not having the courage, confidence, and maturity to abandon all hatreds and grudges and welcome a time of tranquil detente, we should vaporize into a chalky shadow against this crumbling canvas. We should pay for our mistakes. Life now means next to nothing. Dying shouldn't.

I don't know if I am the last one. I could be. With all of the silence, I feel like I am, but there are many stronger than I that will suffer more. All of the discoveries, the knowledge, and the history will be swept away under the carpet of existence to make room for the newest set of physical rules and guidelines. All the problems that I have with everything don't matter. This hurts the most. There is no meaning.

I don't even want to think about an afterlife right now. I suppressed the negative, like all societies do. I am not an atheist, nor will I ever be. I just want the religious beliefs that I have to be mine to cherish. I believe in God because, let's face it, that's all any of us really get is our own beliefs.

I'm not going to break. I won't break because I always expected that wherever I went after I died was a byproduct of how I lived. Whether being burned by the searing flames of Tartarus or rejoicing in the splendor of Elysium, I would have been satisfied. I would have known that the way I lived my life was worth something; worth anything.

This is not an Apocalypse, for we never got a chance to prove ourselves. We were without the chilling gallop of wild horses nor were we corraled by the painful lullaby of the trumpets. Still, this end was something that could not have been thwarted. All could have been right in this world, and all it would have done was leave people more upset with themselves that they couldn't do enough to find savior.

I can't rely on savior at this point; the more I think about it, the more painful the idea becomes. I'm not a religious man. I can't take God as a reality, but there is too much doubt in this world to negate him. If the unexplained events of this world permit the existence of a god, then I will pray; I will pray to the ends of the Earth. I pray to the New Dawn that they will do better. I pray that they get the opportunity to show their worth. I will pray to whatever omnifarious force that guides coincidence and superstition. I will pray, hoping to be heard, but knowing that I won't. No one wants to hear the rants of prophecy. No one wants to hear the negative, although they live by it every single day. People can float on their balloons of expectation until they realize that it only moves them upward and not forward. Moving forward is too much effort for humans. I pray, just so I can hope that Dickinson will be right. I will pray so I will be able to drop each separate anguish that scalds me now, that scalds me now. I will pray like there's no tomorrow because there's no tomorrow.

I feel the deepest sorrow for my step-sister. She's just young enough for it to be over her head. She doesn't understand; she gets that freedom. My sister won't be able to learn. She won't be able to learn how people are born, and I won't be able to understand why all of them are taken away. She'll never like boys, and I'll never be there to drive them away. I won't be able to look at a six-year-old, not as a sister, but as a daughter. It sickens me that she will never grow. No one will. Then again, she will never be tormented by tantalizing death as I was and am. I pity the children. The children aren't the future.

I should be depressed.

To free my mind, I feel that it is also necessary to explain my laws of humanity. Everyone has some type of cliché or adage that they believe in. We all feel that our world can be summed up in a few simple words. As for me, I have a few theories about people. I feel that if someone believes in something with all of their might, both physical and mental, that anything can be possible. Psychologists have confirmed this anomaly with the placebo effect. Astrologists have confirmed this with horoscopes; if you read your horoscope, you will be expecting the vague prophecies to come true. The placebo effect is the best and easiest way I can describe it. If your mind is completely free of any other objection or denial regarding a story or a law, then you will have no other choice but to believe in it. For example, a bowler throws eleven strikes, and some beer soaked loudmouth yells that he is going to get a perfect game. The bowler's mind is now fixated on that anomaly. It veers his belief that he will throw another strike. It warps his mental strength. It places the ball in the gutter. The dreaded "jinx".

At a young age, if someone were to tell you that a man separated the sea and wandered the desert for forty years, you would have no choice but to believe it. You don't know any better. God is a prime example. God was such a pure and fresh thought in the minds of mortals that they didn't have the ability to believe anything else. Why would anyone deny something that is beyond the power of flesh and bone? Followers appraised this idea, for there had been none other like It, and they believed that if they were to have enough faith in It, then anything could be possible.

My second theory is that everyone in this world is a hypocrite. Everyone. I am no exception to the rule. Nobody solely believes in one ideal. All of us hold up one front so we can keep our jobs, calm our families, but most of all, avoid conflict. However, we all have the yin to our yang that contradicts what we believe in or what we are taught. Those altruistic moral compasses who break bread and generate equality are the same people who consider themselves to be above the unfortunate for doing such favorable deeds just so they can put themselves above others. Altruism is selfishness. There is an underlying reason for every good deed. Community service is performed by prisoners who want a second chance and students wanting to get into a good school. Anything else just looks good on your resume in Heaven.

We are all taking this nosedive together. We are dying as a selfish breed, but is there one person who can decipher between what is right and what is essential? If one more day would cost one life, would somebody pay the toll? Quick answer: No. If savior were possible, people would do what they always do: find the "right" answer rather than the necessary one. We fight and we bicker for ages just to come to a conclusion that doesn't harm anyone. We create religion and give it different names and characteristics just so everyone in the world has a separate but equal representation of what they have to look forward to. We burn money like gasoline so that everyone can have a fair chance of achieving their own roads paved in gold. The only way to extinguish the "right" answer is, and always has been, selfishness. We make our omelets by killing babies, so it's not like we are blind to sacrifice. Every human being on the planet does not amount to the same thing. There are people who are worth more, not under God's eyes, but under Salvation's eyes. It is selfishness and egocentrism that would've allowed us to live. It is not slaying. Slaying with a cause is called sacrifice; it is sacrifice that could have impacted our lives, and now that we were unable to, we are all sacrificed for something we don't understand or believe in. This day is our sacrifice.

Sometimes we all just need to cut our losses. I guess everyone is a vegetarian, because no is willing to break the eggs to make that omelet. We are all selfish at heart. Selfishness is the cause and cure of a true Apocalypse. Everyone is a hypocrite.

A child is not born with a soul, and certainly doesn't have one in the womb. Even the word spirit; derived from the Latin "spiro," meaning to breathe. If you don't have the capacity to comprehend the existence of God, then you can't comprehend having a soul. A soul is earned through trial and tribulation.

Hope is a lie. Hope is a curse. Hope gives us the expectation that something positive will happen without lifting a finger. The more people with hope, the less likely that someone will do what is necessary to initiate a world that doesn't need hope. Hope is bystander apathy. Hope is a sin.

I don't believe in change. I believe in development, but I don't believe in change. There is only one way to instigate change: death. 9/11, An Inconvenient Truth, and the Haitian earthquake are only a few examples. A student explains the dangers of texting while driving only after her best friend gets killed in a cell phone related car accident. Everybody wants to change, yet no one wants to commit.

It is true. No one really does want to die just to save the world. I hate this place, but I would die for it. I would die to rid myself of the misery and suspense of this horrible end that is devouring my brain. Descartes was wrong. I think, therefore I wither. I stand here dying, but had any other death come upon me throughout these last few years, I would have embraced it. I would have taken it, especially if it could have preserved this mire. Let me die so those retches can live. A life of ignorance and selfishness; I can die with that. I am a hypocrite.

I don't understand why, but that was life. If the "why" was revealed, what was the point of living? The very reason to live would be pointless. Now, the very reason to die has no meaning. I don't understand, and that mars me more than any pain. I want an answer, and I will never have one. In any case, I'm just a dog chasing a speeding car.

I should be bargaining.

I am sad, and I will not shed a tear. I am angry, and I will not shout. I am sorry, but so is everyone for reasons they can't justify. People can't feel sorrow for how they lived and how they are going to die, because there is no cause. All of the pain and all of the suffering in this world is irrelevant. There was no judge and no trial; just an execution. All of the murderers, rapists, terrorists, sociopaths, psychos, thieves, monsters; all are innocent. They are completely innocent to this act of destruction. There is no one to blame. Why? Why can't there be someone to blame?

Everyone needs to die with causation. Reason makes immortality a fantasy. If people didn't have a reason to die, they live. Sickness, age, murder, we need the causation. It puts mothers of murdered children to bed. An innocent kid gets murdered on the streets so that neighborhoods will make a better effort to a safer environment. A child with cancer dies and a hospital or a scholarship is born like a phoenix in its ashes. Accidents are the result and the cure of ignorance. People die. God doesn't pick and choose and certainly doesn't create a perfect specimen every time. The people who live needed to understand this.

I'm shivering, desperately trying to assimilate whatever body heat I can possibly muster. It's so cold that time will freeze. Forever. We will be driven away; cast out into the nexus separating us from the New Dawn of superior race and rule. It didn't hurt. I wanted it to hurt. I wanted causation. I wanted to grab a knife and slide it across my throat so that I would die by my doing, but I didn't have the will. No one has the will to grab the reins and make the impact, but it wouldn't have mattered if they did, which is the saddest thing of all.

I'm not sorry. There's no reason to be. Nobody has the right to be sorry, yet the shame and pity is inevitable. For the most devastating day in Earth's long history, someone must be to blame. I didn't expect to see one smiling face today. Tears must have fallen like rain today. I'm starting to tremble over the thought of loving families who have done nothing wrong bundling together to preserve the warmth of love. All of those families will ask each other what they did to deserve this. Nothing is the answer they seek. Nothing is an undeserving answer.

Life is gone and I wasted my own. I've spent my last years dreading this day, letting it manipulate my actions and decisions. I built the seclusion and the depression more and more every day. I became an outcast, destitute and disturbed. I'm physically healthy, but I've awaited this unjust death for years. It plagues me. It destroys me. Not a day went by where it didn't affect my take on this world. I'm infected with fear. As terrible as this is, I can't feel regret, for nothing will be intact come tomorrow. Tomorrow is dead; an eternity away. This day dissolved anything that anybody ever lived for. Emerson was wrong. There is no knowledge that is not poison.

So I stand here now, flaunting my empty heart for none to hear; even if they could, they wouldn't want to. No one wants to hear the negative. No one wants to hear the grim until it strikes with its cold, fierce hand. So I stand here now, taking in the last eight minutes of life being breathed into this fallen world, and if it were all up to me, I would establish the necessary change that this planet deserved, but I know it would be in vain. I'm just too stupid to understand it all. The new breed will never know that I lived in a realm where the superlative didn't suffice. I lived in a place where harsh reality was suppressed like a gut wrenching nightmare. I lived somewhere where everyday life and the decisions that mold society were obsolete at the end of all things.

I say this all so that I will feel better. I say all of this to show my selfishness.

I am not a nihilist. This world served a purpose. Our lives had meaning. We were meant to mate. We were meant to learn: the only two sure things in life. We were meant to figure out every mystery that this world lay hidden, but now, now that there is no future. There is no one to carry on this tale. There is no one to teach and there is no one to learn. A world without future; that is nihilism.

This isn't meant to depress. This isn't to warn, because one can't warn fate: cruel, cruel fate. I am proclamating to myself because I'm the only one who can understand how I have felt about this day. I lie upon the border of insanity whilst my life ends. Me. Someone who awaited this day since he was able to grasp the idea of a day of sacrifice. Me. Someone who picked this idea raw, like pressing on a bruise, knowing that it will hurt. Everything hurts. We love trying to cure the pain when it is not our ability to do so. We all love the pain until it is defined by a threshold. This is our threshold, defined by time, not choice, and it is unfair and unjust. There is no natural selection. There is no survival of the fittest. The only sure thing; the only thing left is "live for today, because tomorrow never comes."

This is what I believe, but how can my rants ever be right? I can't be right if I believe that some people's lives are worth more than others. I can't be right if I believe that some people need to die just to save the world. How can I be right if I believe in truth and logic more than I believe in hope and faith? How can cynicism be viewed in any other way besides insanity?

Nothing mattered and it absolutely sickens me. Effort and progress died with those blind to failure. What happens when everything that you have ever believed and everything that you have ever worked for simply diminishes? Your soul grows as cold and as dark as the flesh after every waking minute until you die.
I will never be in acceptance.

I promised myself that the last thing that I would ever say or think was that I loved my family and felt blessed to have them, and if I have that, then nothing else really does matter.

It happened. I can't believe it happened.


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