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The Edge

by Sarah Bruce 3 months ago in science fiction

Somewhere, or perhaps sometime, in some distant land or alternate plane, there exists a world that is not round.

Somewhere, or perhaps sometime, in some distant land or alternate plane, there exists a world that is not round. Not round at all, but indeed very flat and very limited. Its inhabitants are accustomed to its shape. In fact, they have built their lives in straight lines, clean angles, sharp corners; hardly ever a man-made circle in sight. To them, time marches on in one linear path they all must follow. One is born, one lives, and one dies. That is the natural order of things.

However; in a land with such strict parameters, there exists one indefinite, enigmatic hiccup in the system. The Edge. For if the world is not round, what exists beyond? The inhabitants do not often speak of The Edge. Most of them have spent their lives trying to forget it exists at all. Early explorers knew that boats would fall straight off if they grew too close. People on land had merely to peer down at the great, dark depths below and knew that death would come to anyone who dared to take the plunge. For the dejected and desperate few, The Edge became the key to ending their problems. No one who jumped into its unknown abyss was ever seen again. The only logical, absolute conclusion was death – the end of the line.

But somewhere a man sits with his square coffee cup and his rectangular book and he glances out the window of his favorite little café, his almond-shaped eyes flitting to The Edge before finding the pages of his book again. Flit, book, flit, book. He believes The Edge exists to remind him of his mortality. The woman sitting alone at the next table over pulls out a fat rectangular pipe and lights the end, staring blurrily at The Edge that sits only a few hundred feet from the café. She could still see her sister waving goodbye before she fell backwards off the end of the world. The end of her world. A tear trickles down the woman’s face but still her gaze lingers on The Edge.

Many, many lines away, a group of teenagers sit with their legs dangling over The Edge. They take turns shouting and cursing and complaining about the injustices of the world, all the while their limbs ready to save them from falling over. The quietest of the bunch sits the closest, her hips flirting with danger as they inch her nearer to nothingness with every visit she makes to The Edge. At night, she dreams not of flying, but of sailing down, down, down into its lovingly dark embrace. She often wonders how nice it must be not to know what comes next. Not to know anything at all.

At the southwestern corner of the world, a ninety-three-year-old man creeps out of his pristine, square nursing home and makes his way to the docks. His old fishing boat, named after his dear departed wife, waits for him to take it for a final spin. The water laps at its sides, forever in perfect waves, until the man knows he has gone further than ever before. He sails on past the blinking buoys that warn him of what lies ahead. He sails on and on until the tide changes and the boat is drawn to The Edge as though a great magnet reaches out to him. The man is not afraid of what lies ahead. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and –

science fiction
Sarah Bruce
Sarah Bruce
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Sarah Bruce

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