Keywords: decisions; karma
He keeps 7.7 billion wheels spinning at once. They are of different sizes, as are their results, but each one will grow with time. The room around him is striped in light and shade and sometimes grey because not everything is simple. He has been here longer than he knows but inherently he understands his purpose – which is more than he can say for the owner of each wheel and for this he feels a deep gratitude. Although there are times when he wishes he could make the same mistakes as they do, live the same lives, love the same…
Whenever an act is realised, somewhere in this space there is a small series of ticks: one, two, three, before the wheel resumes its track. There are times when finding the ticking wheel is easy, times, in fact, when he’s been standing alongside one at exactly the right time to see Susan lose the £5 note she “borrowed” from her husband’s wallet; in time to see John spill coffee down himself, after cutting in a queue to get it; in time to see Joanne get the promotion she wanted, even though she wrote the letter of recommendation that put her colleague forward for it. But there are times when the ticks sound and cease too soon for him to find, and he has to be content in the knowledge that decisions have been made and the wheel has been fortuitous – to someone, in a fashion – and that must be enough for him.
If he concentrates, he can hear the owners of the wheels speak to each other. It is the longest time since he had someone to talk to – so long he can’t remember when, or even if. But there are times when the wheels make such severe turns that he will hear the humans exclaim:
You’ve got some good karma there, kid.
What did I ever do to deserve this?
What a stroke of good/bad luck that was.
And his favourite one of all:
What goes around comes around.
He laughs whenever he hears this one, and thinks how funny it is, that the humans don’t know how right they were.
C. S. Barnes is an author, poet and academic from Worcestershire. Her debut novel, Intention, was published in January 2019, with her sophomore novel, Copycat, following this in June 2019. Barnes’ third novel, Play, will be released in April 2020. She also writes poetry under the name of Charley Barnes.