"2070. 2071. 2072..."
Abe sighed, noting down the number and position so that he could start again later. He couldn't imagine starting again later, picking up the count, forcing himself to mouth the numbers, let the numbers run through his mind and out of his mouth.
But it would happen. Eventually. But at the moment, he could take a break, relax in a place where the numbers had no meaning.
Sometimes, he felt like the numbers he was counting were his own regrets and mistakes. 148, that he never asked out Jenny Mare three years ago, that he watched her walk out of his life. 769, the time he told his mother that he was sick of his life, and he wished he had never been born. 1017, that he was here, counting.
That last one took up quite a few of the numbers. Which was fine, the numbers were endless, the counting was endless, and there would always be more numbers, there would always be more regrets. He couldn't remember the time before the counting, couldn't imagine a time without the counting. He could walk out now, if he could find an exit or even a wall, but who would take up the counting? Who would continue in his place?
When he had started, they told him that the counting was vitally important. Abe had believed them, still believed them in some sense. If he didn't he would have walked out long ago, just dropped his counting materials and lit out for where he believed he had started. At least, that's what he told himself, but he wondered if that was true. He wondered if he could anymore, if there was anything to him other than counting.
He couldn't remember what it was he was doing, but he knew what it was always about. Counting, always counting.