Passing Thoughts

Faiaz Alam


Well, what on Earth do I do now? I need to fill in this small amount of free time I have. I can’t let it just go to waste, doing nothing.

                Ha ha. Funny that. I never thought this would be the first thought to spring to mind in any scenario let alone one such as this. I’m usually quite content doing nothing. Just sort sitting and pondering. Just generally existing really.

                But of course, you wouldn’t know that, would you? Well, not many people would. I suppose my best friends wouldn’t. Things I get up to in my spare time, or thoughts that pass through my head or perhaps secrets I have that I haven’t told anyone. Even the people who know me best wouldn’t know those.

                 No matter how close you are to someone it’s impossible to really know anybody.

                Here I am complaining how nobody knows me and I probably don’t know my friends either. I don’t even know even know my own mother that well. I wasn’t exactly present for the first thirty years of her life for, ahem, obvious reasons. I suppose that’s how we all die. Without anybody knowing who we are.

                Oh great, just killed thirty seconds, thinking the most distressing thoughts. Oh, not thirty seconds, they wouldn’t have waited that long. Must have been a few milliseconds if that. That’s the worst thing about this predicament; not being able to tell the time. I suppose I could be counting, one elephant, two elephants, three elephants… But then that arguably awkward gap before the last stage in the process would be entirely filled with me counting elephants and that’s not really what I’d want to be doing, especially right now. I’d much rather think about other things that are more enjoyable than counting down to the unpleasant event that is awaiting me.

                I’m thirsty right now. Really quite thirsty. I need water. This thirst needs to be quenched. What a weird word “quenched”.

                Anyway, I haven’t got any access to water right now which is a bit of a bummer. It suddenly started to taste so good. I began to appreciate it. I never did before. It never occurred to me to appreciate the little things. You don’t truly until you’re told you’re going to die.

                It’s quite odd though, to imagine that a large proportion of many people’s lives are to do with their death. It’s something that one doesn’t really realise. A patient with cancer is constantly living with the thought that they’re going to die. They might go years, possibly even a decade with the thought of their inevitable death plaguing every decision that they make. Or perhaps, someone who may be convicted of a murder. In certain places that can warrant an execution. Having to live with the thought of death changes people’s perspective.

                I wonder whether animals are capable of that sort of thought. Do they understand that sort of a concept? Can they even imagine the complexities of life? I’ll be honest, I often do believe that certain animals may just be capable of such thought. Take dolphins for example, they’re brilliant creatures, and more to the point, they’re very intelligent too. Dolphins are one of very few species capable of recognising themselves in a mirror, they can identify others of their species from miles away using their voices (which isn’t as common as you’d imagine) and are can very easily judge which animals would pose threat to them and which wouldn’t, even if they had never seen that species before. After all the calculations that have to go through a brain to make these judgements surely they’d be able to go a little further and understand the difference between life and death.

                If we were to go a bit further back and take a look at velociraptors. A specific species of dinosaurs that could actually talk to each other! They are believed to have had a fully-fledged language just as we do. If anything, they could surely go into deeper philosophical thoughts.

                But then I look at some other animals, such as dogs, and my hope for an animal being capable of such things immediately collapses. The only thing my dog ever did was follow me around and endlessly yap, but it was pretty cute so who am I to complain?

                It has been a long time. I wonder what’s taking them so long. I shouldn’t have been waiting for this amount of time surely. There must have been some kind of delay. With any luck they’ll come back and tell me the procedure has been postponed. No, that would never happen. That would be far too much to expect, especially from a day like this.

                It doesn’t help that I’m blindfolded. Having a tangible concept of time when you’re unable to see is considerably difficult. I could always count; but I believe we’ve already touched on that.

                Oh, what’s that? That sound isn’t very promising. Oh dear. It sounds like some kind of machinery whirring in the background. Suddenly I’m filled with a dread that I can’t quite describe. I will miss my family. I suppose that’s expected of me. Or actually, I don’t think I’ll be missing them as much as they’ll miss me if you gather my meaning. Oh dear, I seem to have wasted these last few moments thinking about animals’ complexity of thought and how well we know people.

                I suppose when the point of how well we know each other comes into question everybody seems to have misjudged me quite severely. There’s nothing to be done about that now. At least I know that I was right.

                This chair isn’t as uncomfortable as I’d imagined it to be, in all honesty. I figured that it would be a lot worse. The straps are what really make it a downer. Well, it would certainly be worse with about two thousand volts travelling through your vital organs.

                Oh, it’s begun. The procedure is a lot more painful than I’d anticipated. They told me the procedure would be relatively painless. I seem to be screaming. I’m trying to move, my muscles are undergoing spasms but I am strapped to this chair. I cannot move. I see a small light. It fades. My eyes burn. There is a liquid running down my face. My eyes feel like they have melted. That can’t be right. That doesn’t usually doesn’t happen. How interesting. I’m going insane. But that won’t last long. It will be over soon. I don’t understand. A sense of euphoria. Now pain. Now confusion. Why is all this happening? I was certain half a second ago. Now I remember. Now I forget. What is my name? What is my mother’s name? Do I have a mother? I forget. I remember.

Image from Pixabay.

Image from Pixabay.

Previously published in the UKCCWS Illustrated Anthology Vol. 3 (2016) with the accompanying illustration.

Faiaz Alam has self published two short stories in two different anthologies. One of those said pieces, he now regrets having ever written. He enjoys photography and binge watching Doctor Who. He studies physics at university and takes a keen interest in politics, even though, like most who take a keen interest in politics, he rarely has any idea what’s going on. After having embarked on a few short holidays and reading Marco Polo’s travels, he thinks himself to be an explorer.