Virtues Impasse

3rd in the 'Horizon of Dreams 2018' competition

Waking to a foreign face looking back through the reflection wasn’t new to her. A constant reminder of the lives her conscience has inhabited her soul jumping from body to body as their lives reached its conclusion and a new one is born. The occurrence that would be considered normal to her, would be unsettling to others. A violation of one’s personal inner privacy, their inner thoughts. Her original form – the face she was born with – remained hazy, distorted as though a hand broke the surface of still water and the ripples contorted the image to make it unrecognisable.
Having a great number of different names and faces over the years, the decades, or centuries she didn’t know, she had long since forgotten her own name and face being mixed with the many she had tried to commit to memory in the past, jumbled and mismatched. Inhabiting the back of people’s minds. Lingering like a ghost, a kindred spirit. From generation to generation, from birth till death. Her soul moved on. The conscience of her being, the only sense of life she had. Watching their lives through their eyes. She stayed silent – a spectator, a guest – in the psyche of others.
As time continued and people moved on. One life to another. The good, the bad. From great leaders to obnoxious fools. She noticed a constant pattern through the moral choices in the lives of the mortal. Growing closer to the end of the line, getting older, frail and tired, more prone to disease and injury. They often pray, wishing for a miracle still left unanswered. All seem to pray for the same miracle, the same pending question. Left still, hanging in the air. Wishing for more hours in their days, more days in their years, or more years in their lives.
As if they had all that extra time, they could fix any mistake, change any outcome, and reshape any fate. Wishing to change past mistakes, spend more time with their families. More time with their friends, their pets. Just more time to live their lives. As though time was gods greatest mistake, humanities greatest killer, the clocks great imposing flaw.
Time was infinite, never made a sound, never made a move, just an instrument to divide night and day, making up the days, the months, the years, the minutes and hours. She recognized time as the world’s biggest unpunished killer as so many she had seen fall before it’s wrath through wars and epidemic’s. Time stayed vigilant, a constant in the variables of life. She began to realise the ghost in everyone’s mind the great flaw of humanity with the short lives that they lead. If they didn’t or refused to make the most of every given moment – the small joys and sorrows in their lives – they didn’t deserve a single extra second.

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