Thursday, October 17, 2019

Microstory 1214: Oskari Belker

Oskari Belker was an old man. He wasn’t always old, but almost always. On the planet of Durus, everyone was aware of time powers. The first of these on their world were the source mages. They were able to bequest abilities to others, which they selected using a series of challenges called the mage games. Those mages who survived the final days of the war with the time monsters were stripped of their powers, but not of their ability to procreate. This was against the law while the Mage Protectorate was standing, but after it fell, the policy was abandoned; or at least it was unenforceable by anyone who still believed in it. Amongst the descendants of mages, a random few of them were born with limited temporal powers, which earned them the name mage remnants. Due to reasons not fully understood—possibly involving environmental factors—some mage remnants weren’t born with time powers, but instead time afflictions. They experienced time beyond the normal linear way, and had no control over this, like salmon. Unlike salmon, however, their patterns weren’t being controlled by an intelligence. Their afflictions caused various problems for their lives, making it difficult for them to live productively, and interact with others. Oskari Belker was one of these people. Everything seemed perfectly fine when he was born, but about a year into his development, he started aging rapidly, and showing no signs of slowing down. Even worse, his family was of a lower class, so it took them weeks for them to find someone who could help stop this horror. The government finally gave them permission to go into what was normally illegal territory, to seek the retroverters. They were a politically neutral type of monster with a long history with the source mages, and the Protectorate. They attempted to reverse Oskari’s aging, but were unable to. The best they could do was halt it in his current condition. Had they tried it a couple weeks ago, he might have become ageless and undying, but perpetually being so close to death made his life unbearable at times. He was constantly fighting off age-related diseases, and was at risk of death with every passing minute. He used to say that he was on borrowed time.

Oskari continued with his life for thirty-years, trying to be as positive as possible, despite his shortcomings. Though he appeared elderly, he first had to develop and mature, just like any child. When it was time, his parents attempted to send him to school, but this proved hard for everyone. The children were not purposely mean. They understood what had happened to him, and accepted him for it. But what they didn’t understand was his perspective. He saw time, life, and the world in a unique way, and they just couldn’t relate to him. They never mocked or deliberately exclude him, but none of them made the level of effort required to be his friend. Many would grow up to regret their failure to try just a little bit harder. Still, Oskari persevered, and made it through. He found companionship with the proverters who once tried to help him, because aging was their specialty, and they knew how to make an effort. He graduated from school, and landed a job at the tax building. It was tedious and boring work, but it allowed him to sit at a desk all day, instead of being out and exerting himself. Like his friends, the retroverters, taxes were neutral, and didn’t require him to judge others, or to be judged. He spent his adult like cross-referencing data, and filling out paperwork, but it could not last forever. Unfortunately, it didn’t even last as long as it should have. Oskari never did find love, because people had trouble getting past how he looked, and he couldn’t be expected to be interested in potential mates who looked more his age. One of his former classmates, however, did contact him about six years before he was meant to die. They started getting to know each other better, and maybe with a little more time, the relationship could have transformed. Tragically, a temporal accident involving a library from another dimension took his life too soon in the middle of a picnic with his friend. A paramount—which was what mages were now called—determined when he would have died had this not occurred. This would have given him more time to live, but also more time to be in pain. His family would note that this might have been the best ending for Oskari Belker. It was quick and painless, and it could have happened to anyone; normal or not. History would remember him fondly, even by people who didn’t know him at all.

No comments :

Post a Comment