Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction
The PatternThe computer clicked in the dark. Jack looked at the display with sleepy eyes. ‘This research is killing me‘ he thought. No progress, none for days... no weeks. Nothing changed. One solution would create another problem. The analysis would fail or the system memory would be over run or the calculation would run into eternity.
What the hell is it doing now?! The screen was the only light in the cramped and cluttered computer lab.
“Maybe I’m using the wrong method?” He asked himself in the dark. “No. There’s got to be something else going wrong…What is taking so long?!”
Jack poured over technical manuals and other research papers illuminated by the soft-lit LCD monitor. Sitting at his desk he read and waited for it to finish. There was never any guarantee it ever would. Still he waited. Waited for years of work and hope to be worth something. To be justified. To show all those that told him it was impossible and a waste of time. It couldn’t be done. Maybe they were right.
Jack lowered his head to the desk for just a moment and slipped into an exhausted sleep. Several hours later the beeps woke him. Rubbing his eyes the screen came into view. He glanced at the clock. 3:11 AM…. He tried to sift through the fog in his mind to find that the program had finished. He looked again and blinked several times. It finished! His heart sped up and the fog cleared a bit. Looking over the results the data poured out on to the screen. His jaw dropped. It worked…It’s beautiful. He sat back in his chair in amazement staring at the monitor. Then he noticed something he didn’t expect.
“What?…That can’t be right,” he spoke to the darkness.
Flipping through the mass of data, a pattern emerged. He could see it plainly.
“No… this isn’t right.” He spoke trying to convince himself that what he saw was just a random error. But he knew it wasn’t and he became afraid. Because the pattern remained there, unearthed like a secret coffin.
“No…Oh God,” he whispered.
Jack did not hear their echoing footsteps through the shadowy hallways or even their approach to his door. He only heard the long creek of the lab door slowly opening.
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