What is X?

By Tim Nwabilo

Numbers. Patterns. Lines. Everything connected and he loved how he picked out the connections, plotted the dots, how he just knew. He doubted very few were like him.

The date: 15th January 2051. Or better still 15-1-51. He just loved numbers. They called out to him. He just couldn’t escape. They seemed to be almost begging him, imploring him to send their message across. Nobody else seemed to be getting it. In the ultra high definition movies he saw at the movies his types were termed recluses, sociopaths; but that was not what he thought. He thought he was a genius. He _knew_ he was a genius. A _sociopathic genius._ That’s why for 10 years he had waited for this day. 10! 1 & 0, the perfect numbers for equilibrium. He saw the message 10 years ago and knew that 10 years in the future he’d be handed the opportunity to restore equilibrium to the one-sided piece of what he once called his family.

It was the same bed. He had stood behind the same door as he watched his father plunge the 5-inch sharpened steel into the woman he once called mother. His father didn’t see him. He was 5. He didn’t shed a single tear. He wasn’t pained. Instead he just tried to make sense of it all. Why did his father kill her? It didn’t take long for him to start realising he was right at the centre of a big puzzle. His family now had a husband but no wife and that wasn’t right, that wasn’t fair. There had to be a cancelling out. His father had to die too to zero out his mother’s death. Then he would be the only one left—the only 1 left. Perfect equilibrium. 0 & 1. His mother died on 14th January 2041. Or better still 14-1-41.

So he stood behind the same door he had stood behind 10 years ago. He knew the time it would happen. His father had used a 5-inch steel. This time he would use a 15-inch steel to make up for the 10 years. His father was asleep in the same bed like his mother had been. He smiled to himself as he readied the 15-inch metal. At exactly 5:15 he opened the door and walked to the bed…

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