Author : Jacinta A. Meyers

A man lay limp in my arms. The body of a little boy was sprawled a few feet away from us, his young face motionless against the blood-stained earth.

“I will stay with you through this.” I said, stroking the man’s face very gently. “I won’t leave you.”

He coughed a little, grit his teeth.

This was my least favorite part. I had only seen an unmaking twice before this. It’s different from death. In an unmaking, the body disintegrates before your very eyes. The DNA in every cell actually unwinds, each reverting to a more primitive state until they cannot hold a recognizable form, cannot continue to function as a complex whole organism. It’s a relatively quick process compared to the amount of time it takes a human being to develop over the course of a lifetime. The rate of change is comparable to the development of a fetus, only in reverse. I watched the wrinkles fading from his face.Very soon this man would be nothing more than a puddle of inert, inorganic matter.

His eyes roved slowly over to the boy still lying in the grass. “Why?” He managed.

“Because I had to.”

He sputtered a bit. “I only came back to tell myself I had a future to be hopeful for. I can remember being so… so despondent then…”

“I had to kill you. That is our job. The past must be protected at all costs.” I said it as I had been trained to. “Through it, we are protecting our future.” He would understand, if he still could.

He was shrinking in my arms. Growing lighter, growing limper. A small trail of saliva ran down his chin. He shuddered. But something in his eyes hardened. “You…are wrong. There is… no way you can be sure.” He was fighting it. “You… may have damaged the future worse… than I might have. Worse… than you could ever know.”

But I was smiling. I held his diminishing body close. “There will still be a future for us to be hopeful for.” I said. “Shhh, it will be over soon.”

“You… you broke the rules… you and your kind…”

“Perhaps we did.” I whispered gently to what was left of his ear. “But you broke them first.”

The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows