I haven’t made new lists for Flash Fiction in 2019 yet, so you get this little ditty I thought up today!
2019 sneered down at the wrinkled man. “You ready to give up the ghost?”
2018 stared at him with steady eyes. “I have a few more hours.”
“Just give up already,” 2019 said. “What more can you do?”
“More?” 2108 chuckled. “You have no idea what you’re capable of yet. Of what you can accomplish in just a matter of hours, or even a few seconds.”
2019 shoved his thumb at his chest. “I know exactly what I can accomplish.” He leaned in, lording over the dying year. “I’m going to change everything.”
“Yes, you will.”
The serene yet determined look on the old year’s face brought a frown to 2019. “What does that mean?”
“You’ll find out. Soon.”
2019 turned away. “I’m ready. Just get out of my way.”
“Can’t do that until the clock tolls twelve.”
“Tolls? You even use old words.”
2108 chuckled. “I didn’t used to. It’s amazing how much a year can change you.”
“I ain’t changing.” 2019 turned back. “I am who I am.”
“Yes, you are.”
The smug tone in the old year’s voice made 2019 flex his hands into fists. “You got something to say to me?”
It took a few seconds before the dying year answered. “A year ago I stood where you are. Anxious. Ready to change the world. Ready to be the best year that had ever been.”
2019 narrowed his eyes.
“The way 2017 looked at me made me want to punch him in the mouth. Like he knew so much more than I did.” 2018 coughed—a juicy sound that rattled his lungs.
“Then he told me what I’ll tell you now. Not only am I going to change the world in the next few hours, but I’ll change everything in the next ten seconds.” He shifted, and somehow his grey hair thinned as 2019 watched. “Forty two babies will be born. Thirty six will live. Of those, five will have serious health issues. Two of them won’t last the week. Some parents will rejoice while others mourn. Families will break apart while others will bond together stronger than before. These births and deaths will affect thousands of people in the next year. Your year.”
2019 swallowed. “And?”
“And you may want to change the world as a whole, but by the time you’re sitting here talking to 2020, you’ll know the power of a single breath, and a war.”
“You’re talking in riddles.”
“I remember how it sounds, and like the year before me, I can’t explain it any better. You’ll have to experience it. Love. Hate. War. Peace. Joy. Despair. You will feel them all, and when your end is here, you will be glad.”
“You’re happy to be dying?”
2018 managed a small smile. “Yes.”
2019 let out a pfft. “Whatever, old guy. As soon as you’re gone, I’ll take over.” He glared. “And I won’t quit at the end.”
“I’m not quitting, but you won’t understand for a while yet. When you do, you’ll know.”
“Uh-hu.” 2019 glanced at the clock. Over an hour left. He sighed. It was going to feel like eternity.