Thermochromic table by Jay Watson
imagine banging someone on that table
imagine being home alone and seeing imprints on that table
Imagine having a friend sit at that table for a long while, but when they get up there’s no imprints at all.
What if you got up after trying to console a crying friend, and found that you had no imprints… and they were crying because they missed you?
aaaah it was a cool table now it’s a horror/drama story
American Horror Story 4 : The Table
“If a clock could count down to the moment you meet your soul mate, would you want to know?”
One minute, 37 seconds.
My legs are shaking. Holy cow, there is no way I can do this. None.
One minute, 29 secods.
I glance around at the faces surrounding the room. Of course my Meeting would take place in the gross, overcrowded cafeteria.
One minute, six seconds.
Somewhere within these four walls, someone has the exact same countdown on their wrist. They’re going through the exact same pressure as me.
Mom said I should be excited, not nervous. Yet I still find myself wiping my sweaty palms on my dress. I can’t believe she talked me into wearing a dress. I mean, shouldn’t my Soul Mate meet me as I normally am? All plain jeans, blah shirts, and wild brown curls?
Something deep within me tells me to stand up. I do, drawing the attention of my tablemates. They all know too. They smile encouragingly up at me. I chew my lip nervously.
That same feeling pulls me towards the center of the room. My stomach drops away from me as I take a step in that direction.
I continue in that direction. With each step the tempo of my heart picks up.
17. More rapid.
16. It’s racing.
Oh my god this is it. The moment my life changes forever.
My eyes search frantically around the cafeteria, searching for someone who looks as nervous as me. For someone who’s heading towards their future with no sense of direction like me.
The feeling directs me slightly to the left. I turn to accomodate.
5. My heart has given up entirely.
4. I stop walking.
3. Just waiting left.
2. Everything is about to change.
1. Deep breath.
0000 d 00 h 00 m 00 s
Someone bumps my shoulder. I twirl around and my gray eyes meet blue, blue ones.
“Hello there, love. It appears as though we’re Soul Mates then, eh?”
As my words fail me, the only thing I can think is “I’m so glad I shaved this morning.”
I’m sitting outside a cafe when it happens, sipping some cheap drink, pretending to enjoy the sunshine. The counter runs to zero, and there is an audible click, the tab deactivates, falls off. The clink of polyurethane to cobblestone floor is echoed a few feet ahead of me. I shake a proffed hand, look up at a disdainful face.
“This is all I get?”
It’s just a couple more weeks, now. I’ve been watching closely as the numbers tick steadily down. Just a couple more weeks, I keep telling myself. Out of my group of friends, I’m on what they like to call the “fast track,” people whose numbers start much lower than others.
Two weeks, six days, fifteen hours. The clock keeps ticking. Two weeks, one day, four hours.
The days are getting so close now I’m pretty sure my uncontrollable excitement is starting to seriously annoy everyone around me. My friends tease me incessantly about who they imagine my soul mate will be. Tall, short, fat, dimples, nail biter, foot tapper.
At one week, three days, and seven hours, the clock stops.
Instead of a soul mate I get condolences, a therapist, and a broken clock.
I hurry down the clinic hallway as I slip on my button-down shirt. They just installed it- how could it have been just two minutes?
Two minutes, thirteen seconds to be exact, and I was nowhere near ready! My hair was a mess, and I felt something in my teeth. I had to look good for my soulmate. A perfectionist through and through.
A sign hanging from the ceiling pointed to a restroom to the right. I checked the time again. A minute and thirty-three seconds? Fuck! I picked up the pace and almost slipped on the time floor.
Time was almost up and my heart was racing. Finally, I dashed into the bathroom to fix myself up. The door shut, and as I looked into the mirror, I heard a click.
I checked the time. Zero.
What? This doesn’t make any…
I looked back at the mirror. Then back at the timer. Back at the mirror. Back at the timer.
Can this please become the new machine of death??? I want a whole book of little stories like this!!
Forgetfulness and loneliness could be such a deadly combination, especially in this case. Or perhaps it was just a lack of noticing how long I really had. The last time I looked down at my wrist was God knows when. Maybe yesterday, maybe last week. Possibly longer. And living in such a busy city should have really made me more aware of when I was going to meet my soulmate.
It was one morning when I was drinking my coffee when I realized already that it was already at 000 days.
And 00 seconds.
My heart drops. I could have passed my soulmate by in the crowd of people crossing the street. It could have been that woman who gave me directions to the bookstore or maybe the waiter who let me have a free cup of coffee. It could have even been that man who almost mugged me a few nights ago, knowing how strange fate can be.
But I never knew who that one person for me was. I’m going to have to go through my whole life without another chance to meet them again. I wonder how they feel about all this…
Not a half hour after installation, my clock went off. A doctor (very handsome, although clockless) was working on my bedside, assisting my nurse. Well then, we both must have thought, why not?
Early on, things went smoothly. But when your clock goes off, it usually does. There’s no not-knowing. You’re insured. It’s safe.
He and I were comfortable.
And I was bored (to tears).
This man was not what I had envisioned. He was safe, and easy and cut and dry.
He didn’t understand, and though he was happy (content) with me, I wan’t with him. I left.
Busted clock, I thought. A scam? Maybe it’s just not for me.
But what bothers me most, is that when I think back,
my nurse was clockless too.
And I’m not sure what that means.
‘Seventeen’ my mother said, like it meant something. She squeezed my hand when the put the clock in, as if it was a guardasil shot, some sort of painful, preventative measure against something that could hurt me.
I’ve heard the way she talks to the preacher when I’m not there- in her mind, it probably is.
On the drive over to the game months later, she tries bait my enthusiasm as my clock winds down; 0d, 1h, 29m 38, 37, 36s- She says; ‘what if it’s the football captain?’
And I joke; ‘what if it’s my band teacher?’
And her face turns white and cold, mouth hard over a smile that’s clenched into a grimace.
I take my place in the stands with the rest of the marching band, fellow flutists looking at my clock with varied expressions. Envy, hope, congratulations, curiosity. A few rows behind me, the percussionists start taking bets.
I play through almost mechanically, stomach churning with nerves as the game winds on and the clock counts down. Down on the field, the home team is crushing the visitors, which is bad news, since it means that for the next few weeks things will be tense back home as the team tries to recapture their honor after having lost so badly.
The game comes to halftime eventually, and the players file off as the home cheerleaders take the field once more, center stage while the boys regroup.
One girl with hair bright enough to see from the stands is lifted into the air by her teammates until she’s level-eyed with me, and my heart stops when the clock on my wrist does.
The beeping is all the way down in my lap but I can hear inside my skull. From the look my mother sends me from a few rows over, I can tell she either heard it too, or she’s been counting along as well. She follows the tracks of my eyes, and her face goes just as white as mine does when she catches sight of the cheerleader staring almost blankly at me.
I’m frozen. My mother stands.
Down, down to the field, leaving the flute behind, leaping the fence. I have to see her, get to her- Or at least, the was the plan.
My mother’s hand catches me sharply on the shoulder, pointed nails digging deep into my skin through my uniform before I’m even halfway out of my seat. Down on the field, the cheerleader is crying.
‘No daughter of mine’- she hisses and the next thing I know I’m in the car, crying quiet as she drives me to the camp from the brochure the preacher gave her two months ago.
‘There are people who can help’ my mother says through a clenched jaw, the muscles in her face twitching with rage and effort as her knuckles turn white around the steering wheel. They’re specialists in this sort of repair. Your clock is just broken, that’s all. You’ll be spending some time with them so they can fix this-
‘You mean fix me’ I say, and my mother nods shortly.
‘Yes. Fix you.’
“Congratulations!” I call, as a new couple kiss to cheers from the crowded street. It was magical to watch - the beeping going off simultaneously, the two locking eyes, running towards each other… Magical.
I look down at my clock and sigh. Twenty seconds. Though it’s been twenty seconds for years. I still remember horror on my friend’s faces when we realised what had happened. I’d dressed up. Nothing too fancy, just nice jeans and a girly top, but I’d had my hair done. My nails, too. I’d even got my friend to do my make-up for me, though she kept trying to persuade me that I should have a natural face when meeting my-
It took over a year to come to terms with. I used to have to stay inside, for fear that I’d see a couple like the one in the street and break down. I would hate how their clocks could work so perfectly, while mine was so pointless. I’m better now, though. Doctors offered to remove it for me, but I asked them if I could keep it. Maybe I’m sentimental, maybe I’m just used to it now.
I get up to order a hot chocolate, then sit back down again. The new couple are sitting a few tables along from me; the woman’s crying, the man can’t stop smiling. It must be nice. But I’m content.
I stir my hot chocolate, and look around absent-mindedly. My eye catches the barista’s, and I smile before I really notice the way he’s looking at me. Then down at his wrist. Then up at me.
But… It can’t. I can’t be-
I look down at my wrist.
0000d 00h 00m 00s.