Wednesday, September 24, 2014


The Zero Second
By Paul Edward Costa

With my eyes I viewed horrors that others never noticed. With my perception I experienced nightmares that they happily accepted. These visions drove me to my violent actions. These actions led me to exile from my home city. I walked along northern highways, into the forests, and along dirt roads past the trees.

Now I stand at the end of the longest hallway I’ve ever known. I’m waiting for the second when the door in front of me will open. The door shimmers platinum. A small 0 sits in the dead center of the door. The 0 has a diagonal slash through it like in an architect’s blueprints. Legend has it that when the door opens you are briefly no longer confined to viewing life through the subjective optical physics of human eyes. I can’t remember if I’d ever asked anyone to externally verify the way I saw the world. Or had I? The past and the world before the entrance to this hallway seem so far away, beyond the reach of my memory. I don’t feel sure of anything before this moment. What did the entrance look like? How did I find it? I can only just remember passing certain scenes on the way here. I saw a line of business men and other professionals outside a large bus shelter, without umbrellas, waiting for transport in an onslaught of pouring rain. Later I passed a massive crowd of students in gray uniforms filtering into one doorway of a school with thirteen entrances.

I stare at the door in front of me. My eyes look it over. I feel my hands sweating at my sides. Each click ringing out from the door represents another passing atomic second. When I first got here those clicks represented small snapshots of time going by steadily. By now the clicks all morph into a wall of noise washing down the hall. I wonder if my senses have dulled or if time moves more slowly. The roar of seconds rushes through my ears.

Legend states that at the zero second one sees the world through the objective unbiased eyes of the earth’s creator. That vision must be very old.

Finally the zero second comes with no fan-fare, no change in the atmosphere, and no indication that it is in any way different from a trillion other seconds. The door vanishes for one scientifically calculable moment.

Very briefly, I see a dryad in four dimensions, a person made of wood with vines for hair and an emerald aura. It sits atop a glass unicycle bolted to the ground. It pedals furiously. The unicycle wheel moves a belt attached to a machine holding a light-bulb. The faster it pedals the brighter the light-bulb burns, sending endless energy to the dryad through the process of photosynthesis.

The shimmering platinum door appears again. In its dead center sits the technical zero. It looks like the official lettering on the door of a professional’s office.

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Paul Edward Costa has previously published in "MacMedia," "The Flying Walrus," "Timber," "Yesteryear Fiction," and "Entropy," as well as in Diaspora Dialogue's Webzine "Shorthand." He has work forthcoming in "Thrice Fiction." He teaches High School in Ontario, Canada.


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