I thought to myself, I don’t feel any different. Is it supposed to hurt? Is the breath supposed to catch in my throat? Am I supposed to just not be anymore?
I opened my eyes and looked at the vista in front of me. I was lucky that my Time happened to coincide with the dawn, and that I’d get to spend my final moments watching the sun come up and warm my face. A mild breeze ruffled my hair, tickling my ears. Birds were greeting the new day with their musical chatter and quiet sobs could be heard behind me. Tears were drying on my cheeks, leaving salty paths in their wake. Looking down I saw my husband still clutching my hand and smiled to myself, knowing I was lucky to have him. My gaze moved to my left hand for a glimpse at the Watch which, without a pulse to power it, would be blank. A felt a frown forming on my face and my pulse began to quicken.
My Watch must have malfunctioned. It must have been a minute slow or fast or… something? Surely it was just broken, right? I was dead. It had said all my life that today, at 3:59am, I would die. Yet here it was, a minute past my Time and still working. I shook my wrist to see if it would make the Watch work again and realised what I had just done. I had moved. Dead people can’t move. I felt my husbands hand stiffen in mine and turned my head towards him. Our eyes met and we stared at each other. As one, we lunged forward and embraced. I inhaled his smell and caressed his hair. I thought I’d never do this again. I thought we’d never share another moment together. What was happening? Was I given another chance to spend time with my loved ones? He pulled away and kissed my tear stained cheeks and wrinkled eyelids. I stroked his silvered hair and stared at all of the lines on his face, each telling its own chapter of our story together.
The rapid footfall of people running towards us got louder and louder and my children and grandchildren rounded the huge tree we were sat against. As they saw their grandparents break their grasp, they all sobbed with relief and started laughing and hugging each other, the grandchildren piling on for cuddles and kisses. I looked at my eldest child and beamed a smile at them, which they returned tenfold. My eyes were drawn down to a red glow at their wrist and I cocked my head for a better look at their Watch.
I blink and refocus my eyes again.
My heart drops and I beckon my youngest child forward. My pupils constrict as I watch their Time reduced by another day. I grab the wrist of one of my grandchildren and see that their Time too, is drawing closer.
I tentatively move my eyes to my husbands Watch and see the ominous red glow.
This post was inspired by a Reddit writing prompt: “Everyone has a watch counting down to their exact time of death. In all of history, they have never been wrong or broken. Your death is one minute past due”. You can read the rest of the thread here. The playlist I listened to while writing it can be found here.