Dark Screen

Merrill started his day by staring at a blank screen. No programs running, nothing to indicate life. Just dark nothingness.

It wasn’t that he wanted to see this void. He would have liked to see bright colours, happy new ideas running past his eyes. But he did not turn on the screen.

The day before, Merrill’s coworkers watched as he left the office early, concern on his face. Now, as they came in to see him staring at the blank screen, lost in thought, they, each of them, opted not to say anything. To leave him with his thoughts.

Merrill continued to stare into the void.

Merrill’s leaving early was not terribly concerning. He had felt slightly off; too much coffee, maybe the onset of an illness. He slept long, restfully. When he woke, he was refreshed, back to normal. So he prepared himself, and came in to work early. And he stared at the blank screen for two hours and twenty-three minutes, unable to bring himself to turn it on. To move. To do anything. He merely sat.

When the work day began, everyone wondered why Merrill continued to sit there, doing nothing. By lunch time, he still hadn’t moved, other than to deepen the crease between his eyebrows ever so slightly.

At two o’clock, he stood and left the office. He wasn’t sure if he would return, but he didn’t think it would matter either way. His coworkers glanced up as he left, then back to their screens.

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