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Old 10-31-2010, 06:52 AM   #1
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The Fourth of July - Chapter 4

This is shortish too, so the next one may follow in a couple of days.

Disclaimer: None of this is true, so don't sue me. I has no money.

Also, things are getting a bit dark towards the end of this chapter...



-----
Chapter 4
-----


One thing that Natasha found possibly even more frustrating than having to put up with the same conversations each day, was the fact that she started in the exact same time and place and condition as she had the first time. Nothing she did carried over – she couldn't write notes for herself; they were gone in the morning as if they'd never existed. Which they hadn't, of course.

It was all getting a bit metaphysical.

She'd tried staying awake all night, and when she finally managed to keep her eyes open until 5.59am, she stared at the clock, willing it to click over and let the fifth of July continue. But the next moment she was in bed, waking up again to the news on the fourth of July.

Writing that article had been fun, and watching John's reaction even more so. She'd done it a few more times, but it was tedious having to start over each time, and after a while his reaction ceased to be entertaining, as it never altered.

Then Tasha had announced to the office at large that Bono was going to die just after 4pm that day, and gave them some results of the lotto and horse races and various other events as a bonus. That had been fun too, but in the end, the reaction of the others was more or less the same as John's, just multiplied. And there wasn't much point in making a bet on horses she knew would win – even if she got the money straight away, she'd have a few hours to enjoy it, and then everything would go back to the start again.

Taking a leaf out of Bill Murray's book, Natasha had spent several weeks (subjectively) learning the life stories of everyone in the office, and amused herself for a while by freaking everyone out with her knowledge. She stopped short of learning French poetry, however.

She even seduced one of the copy boys, more than once. Any hopes that time would resume if she got the guy were dashed after the first time she fell asleep in his flat, only to wake up in her own at 6am on the fourth of July. But it had been fun so she did it again.

There was no way to keep count of how many times the day had repeated. Natasha lost track after about 23, and then decided there was no point in counting. As much as she tried to keep herself sane by messing with everyone's heads, she could feel it getting to her. Yes, there were benefits, she supposed... she would never put on weight, or age, or run out of money. If this continued forever, so would she... But what would happen after she'd done everything she could do to keep herself sane? So many people complained that their lives were pointless, going nowhere... even the most pointless life had more point than hers, now. She was going nowhere in the most literal way.

The next time her clock radio woke her up, Natasha didn't get up, didn't so much as move. She lay in bed and listened to the news, and pictured with perfect clarity the day that was taking place without her. Then she realised that she would never know how John would react to her absence, and laughed until she cried.

---

The woman beside Bono gasped as a rending shudder jolted the plane, the noise of the engines changing to a tortured scream, before one fell frighteningly silent. Smoke billowed from the starboard wing, and Bono was frozen in place.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the co-pilot began over the speakers, but then cut short as the plane's nose dropped, and the altitude they'd gained was lost again.

"Assume the brace position!" The flight attendant shouted, as the plane juddered and plunged. One or two people tried to comply, but it was nearly impossible to stay in one position. Gravity had turned backwards, even as it pulled them down.

A vision of his wife and children hit Bono with a palpable force, as the woman next to him clutched his arm in panic.

"It's all right," he found himself saying to her, shouting over the sound of the plane and passengers screaming. "Just hold on to me..."

The last thing he heard was the impact, and the roar of death exploding from the fuel tanks.

---

Natasha was still laying in bed when the news of the plane crash came through, and she sighed. It didn't matter where she was or what she did, things would continue the way they always had. She hadn't moved from her bed all day, except for once as a necessity. She hadn't eaten anything, which only exacerbated her black mood. It was so futile. Why was this happening, and why to her? Was it just some existential lesson about the futility of life? Tasha knew she was a driven person, she had goals and ambitions and she meant to achieve them. Did her life only have meaning as long as she had goals? Now that she had been robbed of her future, was her present now worthless?

*****

The fourth of July came and went and came again eight more times, and Natasha barely budged from her bed. She ate her magically re-generating bread, and then decided there wasn't much point in even doing that much. It wasn't as if she'd starve for lack of food for a day. Her thoughts spiralled down into despair, sunk deeply into futility and frustration. She listened numbly to the news day after day until it was all a jumble of meaningless syllables; everything except that plane crash. That cause a fresh stab of grief and depression every time, pushing her ever closer to... what? Madness? How long would it take before she lost her mind, and would she even know? Why bother wasting time trying to occupy herself when insanity was inevitable?

Even when she changed the radio station away from the news network, the news of the crash intruded onto every other station. She turned the radio off once, only to discover that one of her neighbours had their own radio or television on, and still the news forced its way into her ears. How far away could she go in ten hours that the news wouldn't reach her?

Day after day, it was the same. The radio woke her up. "America is still sweltering as the record-breaking heat-wave gripping the mid-western states continues unabated ..." Tasha lay there, unable and unwilling to do anything. "Twelve people lost their lives in an explosion in a marketplace in the Afghan city of ..." That news failed to stir any emotions any more. Why was the crash different? Was it just because of Bono? Just because she'd once called herself a U2 fan?

The hours dragged themselves by on their well-worn circuit.

---

The woman beside Bono gasped as a rending shudder jolted the plane, the noise of the engines changing to a tortured scream, before one fell frighteningly silent. Smoke billowed from the starboard wing, and Bono was frozen in place.

"Ladies and gentlemen," the co-pilot began over the speakers, but then cut short as the plane's nose dropped, and the altitude they'd gained was lost again.

A chilling certainty gripped Bono's heart. He was about to die, and too soon. This was the final encore, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. The words of a song sprang to his lips.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me..."

"Assume the brace position!" The flight attendant shouted, as the plane juddered and plunged. One or two people tried to comply, but it was nearly impossible to stay in one position. Gravity had turned backwards, even as it pulled them down.

Bono squeezed his eyes shut, and sang the song that he'd wanted to be their last performance.

"I once was lost, but now am found..."

A vision of his wife and children hit Bono with a palpable force, as the woman next to him clutched his arm in panic.

"Was blind, but now, I see..." Bono forced his eyes open.

The last thing he saw was the impact, and heard the roar of death exploding from the fuel tanks.

---

The hours seemed to drag even more slowly as the moment approached.

"I've just been handed a report..."

Suddenly Natasha moved. She didn't think, she just moved. She stumbled out of bed and into the bathroom, and looked at the mirror. Then she went into the kitchen and pulled a knife from the block. Numbly, she sliced into one wrist with the blade, and then the other. Red came out, pain soared up her arms, and she dropped the knife.

She stood there for a moment, wondering. She'd never done this before.

Wait.

Natasha went to the cupboard. She found a block of chocolate. It was good chocolate; Belgian, dark. Blood covered her hands, but she took the chocolate, and was on her way to the bathroom before she gave a hollow laugh. Why did she care if she bled on the carpet? She curled up in her armchair and ate some chocolate with weakening hands, before the black closed in and smothered her.


*****

"America is still sweltering as the record-breaking heat-wave gripping the mid-western states continues unabated ..."

Natasha opened her eyes, and stared at the bedroom ceiling.

She screamed, and screamed, and screamed.

---
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Old 10-31-2010, 07:50 AM   #2
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Aaah I love this! It's getting creepier and more exciting because EVERYTHING is repeating..! I really like your writing-style.
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Old 10-31-2010, 09:00 AM   #3
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Wow, this is awesome! Keep it up
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Old 10-31-2010, 04:25 PM   #4
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This is really weird but so addictive. Where is it going to lead??

Keep going
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Old 10-31-2010, 11:41 PM   #5
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i'm totally digging this!!!!!! omg this is so good!
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Old 11-01-2010, 02:47 AM   #6
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Again, this story is just fantastic. Love it!
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Old 11-04-2010, 01:34 PM   #7
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Woops I forgot to catch up. Wow, I can't imagine how hard it must be for the girl, that you can't even kill yourself!
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Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 09-01-2012, 10:28 PM   #8
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I didn´t expect the knife scene
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