A story for Halloween for my readers. (I will correct found spelling errors later.) Enjoy.
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There was no time. That is the first thing to remember. I did not know what was about to happen. That is the second thing to remember.
Imagine a time line. Select a zero point. To one side is an infinity of tomorrow, starting with positive one. To the other is an infinity of yesterday, starting with negative one. But between the positive and the negative infinities, what is there? Less than nothing, less than half of nothing, a pinprick, a dot, a point, less time than it takes to decide to murder them all.
I look into the first moment of negative one: one second ago.
Imagine a frozen moment. The glass of the chapel doors is breaking. Men in tall white hoods carrying shotguns, pistols, hunting rifles are firing. The guests are screaming, falling to the floor. And you, my love, have thrown your tall, strong body over mine, selflessly, lovingly, without a moment to think, without a moment to decide. I am feeling your body shuddering, not with passion as you embrace me, as I yield to your embrace, as we are falling; you shudder with the impact of bullets and buckshot throwing your blood, your living blood, your warmth, in sprays like Rorschach blots across the dark expanse of the expensive tuxedo I picked out, the dark expanse of your warm skin, and across the white satin of my wedding dress, the dress my many mothers sewed.
I cannot see you as you die. You are in the way. But I see the flower girl, the preacher’s daughter, with her little pink pillow falling, her little face that will never grow any older, never see her own wedding day. She is falling, and the gold ring not on your finger is flying in the air, catching the beam of sunlight from the broken stained glass window, the one showing Christ turning water into blood-red wine.
My ring is on my finger, a perfect unmarred circle of gold. A ring is like eternity, like the eternal, infinite return of the cosmos from Big Bang to the Eschaton, from Creation to Big Crunch. It is supposed to be as eternal as a vow of love. It is shaped like a zero.
Imagine a zero moment. For all the seconds of the weeks and months before zero, the negative of time, I can see when we met on the bus, when we spoke, when I asked you why you sat in the back, when you smiled, when you touched my hand to help me down the steps at our bus stop in Atlanta and the driver scowled at you, a look of hatred. During all those seconds, my happiness was complete.
During all that time, during my exile from time, I did not know what was about to happen.
Next comes the zero moment itself: You have placed the white gold wedding band on my pale white finger, but I have not yet done the same to you. I have said the words, the two little words no bride can take back if she says them.
But the preacher it took us so long to find, to find someone willing to marry us, he has not turned and asked you yet.
So I am an uncertain bride. The probability wave has not collapsed. I am in the zero between fiancée and wife.
You are an uncertain bridegroom. I thought it was cute that you were nervous. Had I only known the reason for your fear! Why did I select this time for my exile?
Right next door to the chapel is the hall where the State Democrat Party is having its meeting. There is a big smiling poster of Bull Connor, their national committee chair, hanging over the front door. He is the commissioner for safety. The men in white hoods had come out of the meeting hall with their hunting rifles tucked under their arms. These are not elephant guns, but smaller caliber weapons, not something that could penetrate the hide of a rhino or a charging elephant. That is the third thing to remember. It was the reason why I do what I will do, here in the zero moment, here in eternity. Part of the reason.
All seconds after the zero is nothing but horror and pain and loss. The change is that sudden. Heaven is hell.