I’d been through this before. Definitely. The certainty of it clamped around my gut and agitated it in flits of tension. It was like that expression about butterflies, only it felt like a whole nest had spawned in there. I clutched at my abdomen through the flimsy t-shirt I wore, poking into the yielding gut. Distracted. The drive from work was normally hurried but today I had to drive slow, steady – patiently. It was all part of the plan you see. Whose plan? I don’t know, maybe God? What do I know? I just had to follow the script. And this was where it would all begin, with me looking up from my protruding gut up past my steering wheel, ahead of me at the empty road ahead. I had to be watching the bright green glow of the traffic light, anticipating the change of light from green, to orange…to off. A red car would appear from over the rise, a hatch back, followed by a white sedan blasting music that would make my windows rattle in their frame; a young man, slick black hair, mocha brown skin, large dark sunglasses. By the time I get to the traffic light they’ll be pulling off. I also then have to pull off – have to – and as I drive past, I must turn to look at the individual in the other car, see him nod at me…and then… and then this is the part where reality becomes…skewed, distorted. There is definite darkness, I can’t see what’s happening but consciousness keeps me rooted to reality through my throbbing chest, riddled with a deep anguishing pain and there’s a sound that grates against my teeth – a loud scraping of metal against metal and a ceaseless tinkle of glass. I pry my eyes open, fighting the swimming darkness and I see…me. My mind does not want to comprehend what I’m seeing but its as clear as daylight even against the world that slowly dissipates into a fog of grey. Hallucinations, that’s what it must be. Darkness consumes me.
Mrs McDermitt. She’s my worst nightmare. What’s worse? I haven’t done her homework yet, oh man today isn’t going so well. First, mom is on my case for not waking up early, or making the bed, or washing my dishes after eating or walking around on my socks etc etc etc. Gosh she can be soooo annoying. And then my brother? Gah he is a nuisance, pouring cold water down my back as a joke, meaning I have to change into a new set of clothes – ironed or not I wasn’t going to care! So now I’m late. And now this truck is blocking my way, if I’m late I won’t be able to get to school in time to attempt some of that homework – wait, is this truck playing house music? The back of my teeth feel like they will rattle out of my mouth its so loud. Maybe its someone at the intersection ahead. Who cares, I just need to get to school, and quick.
You know that whole “with great power comes great responsibility” quote? Yeah, its been my motto for a long while now, well since that fateful day when that young professor suddenly showed up at my door and said “You are the one. Its yours. Fix it all!” and dropped dead at my feet. I of course shut the door against his slumped form, rushing back into the house and grabbing the first thing I could find- which turned out to be a rather useless broom stick – and returned to the door, ready to…well I don’t know but I was ready – maybe zombie movies have influenced me negatively. Returning to the door I’d found him still slumped face down on the floor, cold and stiff as a rock. In his hand he’d held a device of sorts, with a clock on it and as I’d pried it out of his hardened fingers, I’d had noticed the yellow etchings engraved within the lines on his palm – the same etchings that were now engraved on my palms and each one occurring after I’d gone back, back to fix my mistakes. There was one last one to fix, and it was coming towards me from below the rise. The red hatch back I drove was borrowed indefinitely and that was okay because this was my last trip. I heard before I saw the white sedan coming up behind me, my windows rattling with the sound of the bass. Luckily my windows were tinted otherwise the subsequent event might have played out differently, especially as I watched the traffic light die out – I knew that a truck would be coming around a bend soon at a relatively fast speed, followed by a young boy on a bicycle. This was it. I clutched at my abdomen through the flimsy t-shirt I wore, poking into the yielding gut – butterflies.
When the young scientist stepped out of his car, his cold body shivering from intense cold, he knew this was his last errand. The last wrong to fix in an endless loop that made his head buzz with uncertainty; his mind could not comprehend the concepts of immortality and eternity – and the truth of their existence. However, the gadget in his hand corroborated this truth as the words “…those whom He foreknew, He also predestined…” reverberated through his thoughts. How could it be, that ten years ago, he was but a boy on a bicycle rushing to school to finish the homework of some horrid, torturous teacher that dished out detention mercilessly. That on that fateful day, as the truck he rode beside careened around the bend, slow to notice the two cars taking off at the intersection, that he would be unable to brake fast enough, and he’d be hurtling down towards the moving vehicles ahead. And when the truck’s wheels squealed in agony, burning from the friction of brakes being applied suddenly, only one thought crossed his mind. Death. It was a complete moment of shock. Never once had his mortality been questioned as intensely as this and as the prospect of death clutched at his young mind, he zoned out – where will I go if I die now!? What awaits me at the end!? As death encroached, a second car appeared, a red hatch back and from it, a man leaped out of the moving vehicle, landing on the concrete floor with a crunching thud. Somehow the man managed to rise to his feet quick enough to pull him off his bicycle as he watched the man’s car barrel into the side of the truck so hard the truck veered sideways. The man, whoever he was kept shoving some small device into his hand hand, a clock-like thing while he kept shouting at the boy in his shocked state “You are the one. Its yours. Fix it!” and disappeared.
Now the scientist stood outside the door of the man who had saved him that day and in his cold dying hands, the device that would see him here again. The problem, he realized, was that fixing it never changed anything, nothing drastic anyway and he’d find himself here all over again, the same amount of etchings on his palm – the life line detailing all his mistakes; there were too many even with all the time in the world. As he knocked on the door, fighting to keep his body alive, he realized how it could change and as the man pulled the door open he spoke,
“You can’t fix it – only faith can save.”