by A.M. Fontana
He falls asleep in front of the television set as an old ghost story plays in black and white. There’s a bump in night in the form of a car alarm and, startled, he bolts upright; turns off the set; sits back down on his bed; and rubs his eyes in the dark. He does not picture old rocking chairs, tucked away in attics, that begin moving on their own during lightning storms, however, or old gray ladies cackling about local legends of the dead come back to haunt the living. Instead, he recalls a clip he watched on his computer screen at work about the millions and millions of eons it took to form the universe, and how it would take one, traveling the speed of light, 13 billion years to reach the edge. Humans, the video noted, arrived rather late in the game; only very recently birthed such terrestrially historical stalwarts as Socrates, Shakespeare and Albert Einstein; and, despite this, may still go the way of the dinosaur if the overwhelming self-destructive behavior continues. An ineffable terror suddenly grips him, causing a single desolate tear to run down his cheek, as he realizes that his life and death will mean next to nothing in the vast expanses of space and time; that nothing he or anyone else has done or will do will ever know the immortality known by God’s true children - the planets, the stars, the cosmos; and that maybe there’s no use in even bothering to try...
A.M. Fontana lives and writes in Los Angeles. As a devout agnostic with heaping handfuls of existential angst, he tends to believe that both the religious and the atheistic, alike, have taken leaps of faith.