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The Last Name of Time

They called them hours, and by hours they ran their lives.

Story by Icarus Blake - Images by Muge Karamanci
Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Muge Karamanci

What is that noise, father?

It’s the bell tolling in the old tower. Three times for the middle of the day.

How do you know it’s the middle of the day?

The bellman, Augustine. The guy with the long red beard. He says he knows about these things. He was an astronomer before the meltdown. So, now, he lives in the tower and reminds us when it’s time to do things. He likes to do that, but not many listen.

How was it before?

We had numbers to organize time, and small instruments that would keep the time for us. But now, without power, all those are useless. We have to use the sun and the stars.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Why do we have to organize time?

That is a loaded question, son. I was a kid myself when the meltdown came. I don’t remember much. Just my father always looking at these instruments, he kept them in his pockets or on his desk. He would use them to talk to other people and write to them. There was a science called technology, all things and people ran based on it. I believe it was some sort of religion, but I am not sure. I just know it had a lot of power and it ruled people’s lives.

Is that like the prayer we make to the fire? I mean, it’s like a god to us, right?

Right. I don’t agree with that, but I guess it helps people understand. The fire is a beautiful wonder, and it helps us stay alive. But, we don’t know much about why and how fire happens, so it makes it easier to believe it’s a superior phenomenon, like a god. We have lost so much knowledge. It was all kept inside those instruments. We have lost thousands of years of knowledge. All we have left is some old bound scriptures from long ago, before technology, but we don’t understand the writings. It’s a different language from ours. Augustine wants us to travel outside the walls and find more people that survived and try to make sense of all this.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Is Augustine a king?

Who told you about kings?

Augustine.

Augustine told you he is our king?

No. He told me about kings.

There are no more kings or presidents. We share power at the council, and then, each one of us goes and makes the best of his own life. There is not enough of us to need a king.

Tell me more about time.

There is an old, broken mechanical instrument in the council building. It has numbers and lines on it. It used to measure time. It did Augustine’s job. He says the twelve numbers are portions of the day and the night. They called them hours, and by hours they ran their lives. It was a pretty stupid system if you ask me. There is no freedom in a machine telling you when to do everything. I think it’s better now. We don’t need time, and I am not quite sure it exists. It’s just a word. You know, we remember so many words, but we don’t know their meaning anymore.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Muge Karamanci

Remember the other day that endless discussion about motorized transport? Older people like me, vaguely remember these metal boxes running around, but I was only seven when they disappeared under the Big Waters. I don’t really know how they worked. It was dark for so long… and when I say: so long… that would have been measured by time, I think. But it would have made no difference to us. When the sun finally broke through the vapors… that is all we cared about. The trees got greener and grew bigger and we had more to eat than worms and insects. We were so happy; we didn’t need time to tell us to be happy.

Augustine says we need time to remember when people die.

Augustine rings the bells each time one of us dies, and then he gets all frustrated because he can’t say ‘when’ somebody dies. We don’t keep track of that any more. We don’t need to. We just come and go like the rest of things. No need to complicate our lives.

Photo © Icarus Blake

Photo © Muge Karamanci

One Response to “The Last Name of Time”

  1. Ebru says:

    Great story and great photos. Almost giving you goose bumps…thanks for sharing