The Answer to Existence

Shortlisted for the 'More Than This' short story writing competition.

Marie has always been different.

To everyone else the world seems to be it; our life on Earth all there is, but Marie knows differently. Marie sees more.

Her classmates believe that what you see is what you get, and don't waste much time over pointless philosophical questions like: 'what is the meaning of life?'

But, as I said, Marie is an original. And, for some reason she can't explain, she has answers.

After so much time walled up in her own world can Marie knock down the block between her and the rest of society?

Can Marie really pass on her answers to a fellow teenager? And, can Marie hold a grasp on the answer before it consumes her?

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1. The Day The Answer Consumed Me

Another day, another dollar.

That's how the famous saying goes. It has to be repeated all over the world a million times a day, from a million different mouths, in a dozen different languages.

I once looked up its true meaning online. Google provided me with this:

'About 222,000,000 results '

Two hundred and twenty two million search results for 'another day, another dollar' seemed like an awfully large amount of internet references to me.

There are others who care.

I wrestled my mental voice back into its sound-proof box and locked it tight. Not now.

The point was that I found the perfect definition:

'1. Used to describe a plain, unexciting job that one must go to everyday to earn money.'

Yes, 'ClichéSite.com' did in fact confirm to me that I couldn't look in my bathroom mirror every weekday morning and reassure myself into sheer existence by repeating the overused saying until my speech fumbled.

Why? Well, I don't earn money and I don't have a job.

Unfortunately I go to high school.

Ah, the sweet, sweet high school years. As a junior at age sixteen I could legally have a job, but the point is I don't.

The point is it is 'The First Monday After It Happened'.

I really don't have the time to bore you with details but I am already quite off-track.

Saturday morning was... unusual to put it simply. I myself haven't quite caught up with what happened; I don't really know what happened. I experienced something of an epiphany. A realisation. An answer.

According to my schoolteachers I ask too many questions. Apparently these questions are too magnificently great for any mere human being to ever begin to understand. And I believed these schoolteachers - and my neglecting class'mates' - when they told me this. But now I have the answer.

 

***

 

I have never rushed to school, for every good reason.

I get bad grades due to the fact I can never concentrate on the unimportance of tests, and I'm tortured by the other school pupils.

I'm sort of infamous at my school. Kids as young as fourteen approach me in the corridors and torment me - pathetic, I know. They just don't see the bigger picture though.

So, you can understand my reluctance to profess my kind-of-revelation to another high-school junior. But the revelation told me to; to conclude the answer.

 

Today I found myself rushing.

I only stopped running when I arrived at the rusting, black painted, iron gates. The gates that thousands of people must have-

Stop!

Ok, I'm in control.

Truthfully, now I had arrived at my answer's destination I wasn't sure what to do.

So I closed my eyes and found the answer there in my head.

Locker 214; I shoved my bag in and exchanged it for my history books, before walking to first period.

People were giving me second looks. Probably because my jeans were stained and my t-shirt ripped. Or maybe it was my untamed hair, or my grimy, unwashed face. I didn't care though. I had the answer.

 

As soon as Timothy Hughes sauntered into my history class I knew he was 'The One'.

I knew ‘The One’ was a student at my school, The Answer had told me that much; but I was more than surprised that it was Timothy Hughes.

An undescribable emotion took hold of my body and urged me into grabbing Timothy's sweater sleeve, dragging him out of the classroom, and telling him the answer right there and then. But 'My Voice' battled it out with 'The Voice' for a say. My Voice won. At least I still had a bit of control.

But my concentration was shakier than normal, and I was glancing towards Timothy every two seconds - which he had noticed.

Meet him after soccer practice today at six. Tell him then.

The answer was now giving me more answers.

 

***

 

 

The day came and went and it was finally nearing the end of Timothy's after-school soccer practice.

I was going to confront him.

I didn't need to prepare; the answer would take over. I just had to let it happen.

I stood right outside of the boys changing rooms when they hustled in, and watched as each team member left after giving me weird looks.

Then Timothy stepped out.

Something within me sprung to the surface.

"Timothy, we need to talk."

"Um, well, I actually need to meet up with my older sister-"

"It won't take three minutes."

The words were rolling off my tongue in a dance. I was both fascinated and horrified by my sudden brain-to-mouth disconnect.

Reluctantly, Timothy followed me into a shadowy corridor.

"I have the answer."

"What?" He looked spooked.

Then the answer took hold, and, as I listened to my words, the 'Incident' made entire sense. I had the answer! I knew the answer! It wasn’t just a half-completed explanation anymore now I had shared it!

Timothy looked faint. "You're crazy. Completely crazy", he whispered.

"Just listen to the answer! You're 'The One'! You need to understand!"

Unbelievable. The Voice inside my head sighed. I had just confessed the wonders of life and Timothy Hughes didn't believe me.

"Just.. stay away from me, alright?!" He was shouting, freaking out.

So was I. The scalding feeling from Saturday was flaring up under my skin, warning me that I needed to get this right.

"Please.."

He was gone.

I sat in that corridor for awhile. Not doing anything: sitting.

But then something moved out of the corner of my eye. Something black, cold, dead.

It floated towards me as I just sat and watched. I knew the consequences.

Run!

No.

I let the answer consume me.

I understand now.

 

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