The woman spat her gum out the car
window. It landed in the street. A crow flew down to peck at it three hours later. A pickup truck
hit the crow, killing it.
The possum came out onto the road
that night to eat from the crow’s carcass. A blue Honda Accord’s headlights lit
up the possum’s reflective eyes just as the car was coming around a turn. The
driver swerved violently and lost control of his vehicle, striking a
The lights cut out in Sarah’s
apartment and the internet went down. Sarah waited an hour and a half and then left
to go to a coffee shop that had power and internet. She met a cute guy there named
James. They hit it off.
Sarah and James dated for a year
and then got married. They had a kid named Terry who was a high functioning autistic. He
graduated from Harvard at eighteen and went into the biological sciences with a focus on human senescence. Twenty
years later through genius and determination Terry isolated the genes which when correctly tweaked extended the
human lifespan by five hundred percent.
A wealthy serial killer named Kevin had
his genes altered by this method and virtually stopped aging that very same day. Many years later, and well into his third century, Kevin murdered a young activist named Ann (his five hundred and sixty-fourth
Ann had been leading the movement
for total denuclearization of the world and making great strides. Her sudden
departure left a void that was filled by a more moderate and less charismatic advocate
named George who in the end couldn't bring the world’s leaders together at the bargaining
table. George's failure was due at least in part to his chronic bad breath.
India invaded Pakistan a decade
later, as a direct result of the huge population boom that near immortality
had engendered and the impossible strain it put on world resources. When Pakistan was pushed into a
use-it-or-lose-it position regarding it nukes, it opted for use-it.
The worldwide thermonuclear war that
resulted destroyed most of the species on Earth though Homo sapiens did
Thirty years after that a salvation cult
arose around a man name Louis whose followers accepted him as the Christ returned. Louis’s armies conquered what remained of the world’s nations and
something like the ancient Pax Romana endured for over six hundred years. Eventually,
though, the Louisian Church’s rulers became cruel and corrupt. To prop up the politically empowering but factually challenged religious texts, science and free thought were suppressed.
A young priest named Arnaud rebelled against the autocratic theocracy and successfully launched a reform
movement that heralded a renaissance in the arts and sciences. The period’s
greatest artist, who called himself Turande, made only a few paintings, but they
were breathtaking in their genius.
A school teacher named Edward lingered over
one of Turande’s paintings three hundred years later in a museum. He missed his
intended bus as a result and took a later one.
On that later bus a mentally ill man named
Simon attacked a bank clerk named Eleanor with a steak knife. Edward intervened, saving her, and she went back home instead of continuing on to the bank.
When Eleanor arrived home early she
found her husband in bed with her sister Grace. It would have been the last
time they slept together, as they were breaking it off out of guilt and shame.
They told Eleanor all this, but she was unsure whether to believe them.
Eleanor went for a drive with her best friend Selene and asked her why this had happened. Eleanor maintained that she had been a good wife and didn’t deserve to be
betrayed. She would have rather not known. And that might even have been the case had she just not come home
early that day.
“Everything happens for a reason,”
Selene said, and then she spat her gum out the car window.