Monday, October 04, 2010

Action and Consequence

Every action has a consequence.
Dr. Eric Kose had ample time to consider this truism in his present circumstances. He was kneeling on a vast and, apart from himself, vacant, beach. The sand was a warm golden colour, and the sea gently lapped the edge of the shore. The sea. Eric had long come to consider the sea to be an insidious enemy. His eyes drifted up to the sky, dyed in a crimson red hue. As he did he felt a slight irritation, a ghost of a headache.

His most vivid memory, one he relived constantly, was his trial. He had been brought before the judge to receive his sentence and had hidden his emotions beneath a mask of confidence that had been born from his brilliance. The judge's voice had thundered in his head:
"Eric Kose, the charges have been laid before you. Do you wish to say anything for yourself before judgement is passed?" Eric found himself unable to look at the judges face. "I was not the only one responsible", he stated calmly. "It is not your place to determine responsibility", the judge sneered. "That duty rests with us".

Dr. Eric Kose had graduated top of his class in Oxford, receiving doctorates in the fields of biology and chemistry. Upon graduation, he had been recruited by a top pharmaceutical company, and given a job in their research and development department. In the years to follow, he had worked in a variety of roles, before his superiors had given him a unique task - the creation of a virus.

"You alone are responsible for the actions in your life", the judge had intoned. "But be in no doubt that we now own your soul". The irritation in Eric's head was becoming harder to ignore. His hands clenched and dug into the sand below him. His mind remained on the past.

His company had been given a commission by the government to develop a biological weapon, and he was head of the project. His intelligence was far greater than that of his colleagues, and his personality not suited to working in a team. As a result of this, the virus that was produced was his brainchild, from inception to production.

"The terms of your imprisonment are these: One lifetime for every death you have caused, or until such time as you complete the task we shall sent you. Only then may you appeal for parole". The irritation was like a fly buzzing about inside his skull - very noticeable yet difficult to eradicate.

Soon after the virus was complete, it was sent to another laboratory. It was then that disaster struck. There had been an automobile accident, and the virus had become airborne. It spread with horrific speed, and killed all it came in contact with. Eric could only stand helplessly by and watch his handiwork wipe out mankind until he finally succumbed himself.

He had never been a religious man, a fact he now regretted, as his first conscious memory after death was standing before Lucifer on trial for the death of humanity.
"Your prison is to be a beach", he had been informed. "There you will remain until your sentence is complete, or you have counted every grain of sand on the beach. You will feel compelled to finish this task".

The irritation had grown enough to drive Eric frantic. He slapped his head in a vain attempt to remove in and then let out a long anguished scream when he was unable to do so. Giving in, he focused again on the sand before him, and began counting. The irritation subsided immediately.
He knew it would only be a matter of time before a wave broke from the sea and undo his work again, and he laughed bleakly. He did remember one quote from the bible.
"And a thousand years shall be as one day to the Lord"
The opposite was apparently true of his antithesis. One thousand years for every day, and six and a half billion lives to account for. He was vaguely aware that he had already been on the beach for several millennia.

And so he continued to count "Five hundred and twelve, five hundred and thirteen", one eye always on the sea before him.

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