I started replaying my file of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. I tapped the A button to get through the opening screens so I could play the damn thing, so I could look up and see the Moon. Link had three days to prevent it from crashing into the earth. Since Link was my character on the TV screen, that was me with three days before the people of Clock Town disintegrated. And before the Skull Kid cackled at the collapse of the universe. Three days before we lost everything.
The dorm was quiet with the exception of a drip from the faucet. Link stared at the sky. The moon was grinning furiously. It told Link it longed to consume everything. But now it was time to wait. Link walked around, free from the anxiety of needing to complete a certain task. He took out his ocarina from his satchel and began to play the Song of Time to warp back to the beginning of the three days, but then realized there was no reset. There wasn’t anything left to do. Time had become linear again.
Halfway through the last day the world began to boil, first at a simmer. Since it was dark, most of the non-player characters entered their homes and stayed there. I wondered if they knew what was going on, if Link wondered too. He jumped from rooftop to rooftop as the Clock Tower bell reverberated on schedule. Link talked to one of the guards at the exit and the guard said he didn’t know what was happening, that he just wanted to leave. It potentially wouldn’t do any good, but nothing was said about that.
At midnight, the ramp to the Clock Tower lowered. If Link waited until 6 A.M. it would be over. The cycle started and ended at 6:00, in-game. I considered just waiting for time to run out. I could have Link play the Song and return to the beginning, or I could let time decimate us. But I had once beaten the game. I knew how it ended – things eventually normalized.
I rubbed my sweaty palms on my jeans and looked at the calendar on the wall next to me. I glanced at the burning red circle around the 6th of May, then turned to the TV. I was slated to graduate in three days.
Rory Fleming is a writer and student living in North Carolina. He has recently been published in Bartleby Snopes and The Fiddleback.
Lead image: “Drops Falling” (via Flickr user Pascal)