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The Future’s Past

time concept, selective focus point, special toned photo f/xI’ve been an a crazy slump as you can see from the NaNo calendar tracking my (lack) of progress. I am still in the competition on Watt Pad, and I wrote just over 4K words today. It’s a pretty decent story, but it’s not my Novel.

As of now, I have to write over 2.5 K words each day to win NaNo. My current plan is to start on one of the prequel stories, since it’s lore that has me all blocked up. Or maybe I’ll just sit down and write up some lore. We will see. That is what I will be reporting to the computer at 9 AM sharp to spend at least one hour doing. Hopefully, I won’t have to reschedule due to unforeseeable life stuff.

Anyway, that’s my sorry excuse for being so far behind on NaNo writing. Here’s the story I wrote for the Watt Pad competition. I had three must include things:

  1. Vomit
  2. Time Travel
  3. Mermaids

I think I got it all in. You tell me what you think in the comments.

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The Future’s Past

It was a strange life. Being a nerd always is. I grew up loving science fiction, believing in life beyond earth and beyond death, and without any particular religion.

This is almost unheard of in my small southern Virginia town. I was an outcast to say the least.

Then high school started. I got taller, but stayed slim. Tall, skinny, geeky girls are only good for one thing. Study partners…or homework to copy off of. No one paid much attention to me otherwise.

Imagine my surprise when the second line quarterback asked me out. He was tall, built like a tank, blue eyes to die for and popular.

We were outside our first period class getting things out of our respective lockers.

“Hey, Michelle. What’re ya doing this weekend?” Stephen asked.

“The usual…wild parties, orgies, drugs and alcohol” was my flippant reply. I figured he was looking to give me a hard time like his buddies usually do.

“I’m serious,” Stephan said. “You got any plans Saturday?”

I looked at him as if he’d grown an extra eye or few.

“Nothing much. Why?”

“There’s a midnight showing of Rocky Horror, and I wondered if you wanted to come along?”

YOU want to go to a showing of Rocky Horror Pitcher Show? The one with Meatloaf and Tim Curry?” I asked incredulously.

“Yup,” Stephen answered. “It’s one of my favorite cult classics, and I figure you’re just about the only one in this entire building under the age of 30 who would have a clue what I was talking about.”

“You’re probably right about that,” I laughed. “Sounds like fun, where’s the show”

“The old Rocky Theater. The new owner said he couldn’t resist, the Rocky Theater hosting the Rocky Horror Picture Show”

“That is kind of cool in a strange way. Okay, I’ll see you there about 15 minutes before midnight?”

“Sounds great. Oh, and I mean it starts on Saturday so we will be meeting technically Friday night.”

“No game this week?”

“I’m second string. They will be okay without me,” Stephan grinned and walked into class.

I went on with the rest of my week as if nothing was different. Stephan and I didn’t speak, which was normal. Everything was same ol’ same ol’ except for me tearing through my closet at home every night. I was looking for something to wear Friday night. I was pulling a typical female I-have-nothing-to-wear fit and hated myself for it.

By Friday morning, I had decided on jeans, a cute sweater my much hipper cousin had given me a few Christmases back, some decent tennis shoes and my usual jean jacket. Hopefully Stephan wouldn’t regret having asked me out.

Friday Classes

Stephan asked me if I was still up for Rocky Horror that night. Of course I told him I was definitely gonna be there, with or without him!

Classes drug by that day. I kept being called on without knowing the answer to the question. It’s hard to know the answer when you didn’t even hear the question. I was drifting off wondering why Stephan asked me to go. Did he just want company or was he interested in me? Was I going to end up being the butt of some outrageous and humiliating joke, as usual?

Finally, the end of day bell rang and everyone runs to start their weekend. I get on the bus, and again lament my lack of a car as I deal with the ribbing by the one or two popular kids who weren’t well off enough to have a car either.

“Michelle will be at home all weekend with her nose in her homework,” mouthed one random kid who was actually still in middle school. “Even I have more of a life than that”

“I know,” chimed in Lisa-Anne, the newest member of the basketball cheerleading squad. “She wouldn’t know what to do on a date if she was given a cheat sheet”

I don’t know why I let them goad me into it but I opened up my mouth and let go.

“Shows what you asshats know. I’m going out with Stephan Reeve tonight. We’re meeting at the Rocky Theater tonight.”

“You lie,” crowed Lisa-Anne.

“Be there at 11:45 and see if I lie.”

With that, we were at my stop. I was suddenly grateful to live so close to the school. I got to the bottom step and heard Lisa-Anne say, “You know she’s lying. I’ll be there. Who else wants to call out the lying witch?”

The doors closed before I could hear the replies.

Friday Night

Between getting off the bus and leaving for the theater must have been the longest 7 hours of my life. Between answering my parent’s inquisition about where I was going and trying to figure out how to use this make up crap my older sister was insisting I had to wear, I hardly had time to breathe without someone pestering me.

Finally, the parental units went to bed after many admonishments to take enough money for cab fare home and how to take care of myself. My sister had already gone out with her boyfriend.

Peace. And. Quiet.

Except now, I had about an hour to get a shower and get ready to meet Stephan. So I rushed through my shower in order to have time to dry my waist-length, straight as an arrow dark brown hair.

Once my hair was dry, I started tearing apart my underwear drawer. I’d never give a thought to what I wore under my clothes. Truth be told, I rarely thought much about my outer clothes. I don’t know why I was acting so crazy, it’s not as if Stephan was gonna try to seduce mousey old me anyway. I finally settled on black panties and an almost matching black bra. Not that I really needed a bra. My sister got the tatas when the genes were handed out.

I finished getting dressed.  Now to try this crap my sister gave me. A little foundation and powder I can do. Eye shadow and all that other crap I can do without! However, since my sister said it was important, I gave in a little and added some brown eyeliner to my lower lids and mascara. If it wasn’t good enough for whom ever I was trying to impress, that was there problem. Right?

At the Theater

I got to the theater door right at 11:30 and leaned against the wall near the entrance to watch for Stephan. I was pretty sure he had been joking, but I didn’t want to be rude if he did actually show up.

Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, Stephen walked up. He smelled like heaven and was sexier than ever in his jeans and tee. He looked like he’d just gotten out of the shower!

“I was afraid you wouldn’t come,” Stephen said.

“I told you I’d be here, with or without you.”

“Yeah. I was sure you’d think I was trying to be an ass like some of the others at school”

“The thought crossed my mind”

Stephen laughed. “Glad you gave me a chance. Ready to go in?”

“Yup”

We went in and found awesome seats. Third row up from the screen, center aisle. Couldn’t be any better. The place was pretty deserted. Not many Rocky Horror fans in BFE, Virginia I guess.

Stephan and I had a blast. We sang along with the songs, quoted most of the lines and generally laughed ourselves to pieces.

After the show, we headed out. We were discussing if there was anywhere open to grab a bite to eat as we came out the door.

“Look-it-here” sing-songed a familiar voice.

Stephen and I looked towards the voice. There stood Lisa-Anne and about half the various cheerleading squads from school. I groaned inside.

“Hey, Lisa-Anne” Stephen said. “I didn’t see ya’ll inside”

“We wouldn’t be caught dead here. We just came to see if Michelle was lying about you asking her out.”

“Why would she lie about that?”

“Because she is such a looooo-ser!”

I wanted to drop into the nearest hole.

“Shut up Lisa-Anne.” I seethed.

“Oh, I will for now. But you two had better believe the entire school will know just how retarded you two are. I bet Stephen even gets kicked off the team for being seen with a looser like you, Michelle.”

The cheerleaders walked off laughing and catcalling.

“I’m sorry” I said to Stephen “I don’t know why I even told that witch I was coming here tonight”

“It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t have asked you to come if I cared one bit about what other people say.”

“I don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse”

“It didn’t come out right. Nothing I say ever does.”

“I know that feeling.”

“Still want to go grab a bite to eat?”

“Sure”

We headed to Stephan’s car and went to the local all night greasy spoon for something to eat. We spent a couple of hours chatting over fries and burgers. I’d have never believed I would have so much in common with anyone from the in-crowd.

Stephan gave me a ride back to my house.

“Hope you don’t get too much grief over this,” I said as I got out of the car.

“I don’t much care. I had a great time tonight, and that’s what matters.”

“Agreed”

“You busy tomorrow?”

“Nothing too pressing.”

“I’ll call you in the morning, see if there’s anything worth doing around this town tomorrow, okay?”

“Sounds great,” I said.

“Talk soon.”

With that, Stephan was gone.

Saturday and Sunday

I awoke Saturday morning feeling like a million dollars. Stephan said he’d had a good time and asked if he could call me today. That went so much better than I could have ever thought… or that’s what I told myself up until about noon,

I spent Saturday and Sunday waiting for Stephan’s call. I figured he was probably dealing with fallout from the cheerleaders meddling and would call me once he set them straight. I passed time by working on homework and writing a bit.

Finally, just before bed Sunday night, I admitted to myself that maybe I had been made a fool. I laid down dreading school the next day.

Monday Morning

I got on the bus that day with dread heavy in the pit of my stomach. Lucky for me I am one of the first on, so I chose the single seater in the very back of the bus. As we went on, I noticed that none of the cheerleaders that normally ride the bus got on today. Must be my very lucky day, I thought.

Stephan wasn’t at his locker that morning. He didn’t show up to first period either. This guy never missed a day. I hoped he was okay and decided to call his house at lunch.

As I waited for lunch, I started noticing many of the popular kids were missing today. Must have all gotten vacation to the beach-itis or some such rich kid illness, I thought spitefully. Probably where Stephan was but I’d still call and check to be sure.

When the lunch bell finally rang, I went to my locker and got out my cell phone. I even follow that rule. No wonder everyone gives me grief about being too much of a goody-two shoes.

I grab my student directory—can’t believe our school is still that old fashioned but it worked for me at this moment—and found Stephan’s home number. It was disconnected when I dialed. Out of morbid curiosity, I called Lisa-Anne’s number. Disconnected. That was odd…very odd. I then called about three other numbers of kids I’d noticed out today. Everyone was disconnected…

For the first time in my life, I decided to duck out of school early. Something funny was going on. There was no way that many of our popular students had changed home numbers or moved. Especially improbably considering they were all missing school as well.

Looking for the missing

I talked my sister into loaning me her car after explaining what I had found. My sister thought I was crazy. She told me I had been out with my boyfriend Friday night. Some guy named Robert. I don’t know a Robert.

I rode by all the address of the students I had noted were out of school. Everyone was an empty lot! Even Stephan’s house! That house had stood for more than 50 years.

I finally decide I have to tell someone who can do something about all this. I go to the principle. She tells me that the student directory I have is not for that school. Or even that school year. She then proceeds to tell me these people never existed. She asked if I wanted to speak to the counselor. I declined and left the school hastily.

I drove down by the lake made by the hydro-plant’s dam. There’s this peaceful spot about a mile down an unmarked trail. It’s not on any map, but it’s always been there. The trail ends at a small pool of water just big enough for five or six people to swim in. The water is always warm, even in the dead of Virginia winter.

I go there to think. Or to just get away. I parked my car in the lot closest to the trail’s start and head to my peaceful spot. I half expected the trail to be gone. I was relieved beyond words when it was still right where it was supposed to be.

I walked slowly turning over my thoughts. I knew I had gone to the Rocky Theater with Stephan that night. I know the cheerleaders had shown up and given us grief. I know that the directory I had was the correct one for that year. And for my school! I couldn’t figure out how any of this had suddenly changed or disappeared.

The Swimming Hole

I got to the swimming hole in decent time. I still had about 4 hours before dark would descend. I decided to swim for a bit. Swimming always helps me figure out the tough problems. I didn’t have my suit, but I was alone and had never seen anyone else out here. I got undressed and quickly dove in.

The warm water caressed my skin like the most amazing massage ever. I swam a few laps then treaded water while still pondering the disappearing people and houses.

As I watched, the water suddenly got lighter and greener. The water warmed up slowly until it felt like the water does in the dead heat of summer. I started swimming towards the opposite shore where my clothes were hanging on a tree.

Before I could reach the shoreline, someone popped up out the water. I stopped and stared. There had been no one else here when I arrived, and I’d neither seen nor heard anyone approach.

Deciding that acting was better than thinking I called out “Who the hell are you?”

The other person turned around slowly and started swimming towards me.

“Don’t get any closer” I yelled “My boyfriend will be here any minute.”

The person laughed. I thought it was a laugh anyway. It sounded almost musical.

“You don’t have a boyfriend.”

But no one had spoken. That statement popped into my head, but in someone else’s voice.

Oh, Lordy, I thought. I am losing my mind.

“No you’re not”

Again, in my mind but not my voice. I jumped out of the water and started running for my clothes.

“You must not run. You will never find your answers or your missing friends if you do.”

“They are not my friends,” I yelled while pulling on my clothes in a hurry.

“Stephan was.”

“How the hell do you know that? What the hell are you? And how the hell are you putting thoughts or whatever in my damned mind?” I screamed

“I know that because I am you. From about 2 days in the future. We are both mermaids. We are each other. You know my thoughts because I am you and you are me.”

“What utter bullshit” I cry.

“You have a scar on your left butt cheek from the time you decided to try to climb the barbed wire fence around your uncle’s ranch. You half hoped Stephan would try to get you in bed Friday night. And you wished the cheerleaders dead when they embarrassed you outside Rocky Theater that night”

I sat down very hard. There is no way anyone but me knew the last two. No one would have guessed that I wanted Stephan to come on that strongly… Okay, maybe this…thing was me? I still don’t understand what the hell is going on.

“I’ve come back to tell you what happened. I can’t go back further than this, but this pool is our gateway into other times and dimensions. You haven’t always lived here. We are able to travel in ways you’ve decided to forget for a while. But you need to remember. You have to save the town. Save Stephan”

“Does that mean I have to save the snot-nosed cheerleaders, too?” I asked petulantly.

“Yes. You must use this pool to go back and leave yourself a message. You must not tell Lisa-Anne about your date with Stephan. Then she won’t show up. You won’t wish anyone dead. This world’s fabric won’t start tearing apart.”

“And how do a few dead cheerleaders tear the word apart”

“Normally it wouldn’t. But one of them will invent cures to diseases this world hasn’t even identified yet. More importantly, Stephan becomes leader of the free world and stops inter-galactic war more times than you would believe.”

“How do you know all this?”

“We know all this because our species can exist in many times, many places, and many time lines at once. That is how I was able to send part of me back here to warn you. We have made a deal with the ancient ones that limits our ability to travel backwards. In order to keep the timelines we choose to live in pure. However, we can sometimes work around this limitation in dire circumstances. The ancients agree this is one of those times. You must go back and warn yourself. You must go now before too much time has passed. The ancients have granted you just enough time to fix this if you leave now. Don’t think about it. You know how to travel. Just jump in and swim to the bottom and believe”

And poof she…I…it was gone.

Decisions

I was astounded to say the least. I always thought there was more than just what I could see and touch. I believed in higher forms of life. But still. This was too much, even for me. How could my wish cause all these people to disappear.

“When you travel, you will get all your memories back. GO! NOW!”

That voice in my head again.

What did I have to lose? I have always been a good swimmer. So if nothing happened, I just swam back up to the top and went on as if nothing happened.

If it worked… I’d deal with that bridge when I crossed it.

Remembering Myself

I jumped back in the water and swam straight towards the bottom. It seemed as if I swam forever. Finally, things started changing. The temperature went up. The water became translucent. I could see to the bottom.

It appeared miles away. There was some sort of whirlpool going on down there. I was scared, but if I couldn’t trust myself… So I kept swimming as fast as I could. The whirlpool came at me quickly. It reached me faster than should have been possible. I was suddenly caught up in it and helpless. I was scared. I passed out.

When I came to, I was on the edge of the water. And dry. I was dressed still, so that was a plus. I tried to stand but the whole world seemed to shift and spin. I sat down roughly and lost my lunch.

My stomach finally settled and I stood up. I had to hold on to the tree beside me, but I managed to stay off my ass this time.

Boy did my head hurt. It felt ten times bigger than it did when I went in the water. I figured everything must have been a dream and started toward when my sister’s car was so I could head home and figure out this crazy day.

I get to the parking lot and my sister’s car is not there. I reach in my pockets and find the keys. After all the strange happenings today, I decide to just roll with it.

The other me said I would travel backwards in time if I did what she said. She also said we were mermaids, but what the hell. I walked over to the board where the previous day’s lake measurements were posted with the date for the measurements.

The date was the day before Stephan asked me out. What the hell! Someone is playing a hell of a joke at my expense.

I checked my pockets and found the money my parents had given me for cab fare home the night I went out with Stephan. I decided to use it to get a ride home. If I was quick, I’d be there before anyone got in. That way, if I was being pranked I could find out. If not, I could leave myself some kind of message and hope it worked.

On the ride home, I kept drifting in and out. I kept getting snatches of what seemed like a dreams. Or another life. I fell asleep and dreamed of a life as a mermaid. Talk about the power of suggestion!

The driver woke me when we got to my house. I paid him and hopped out. I ran inside and grabbed the newspaper on the table where dad leaves it every morning. It had the same date as the lake measurements.

I went to the phone and dialed the ancient weather line. I listened as the tinny machine voice told me the time and date. I didn’t wait for the weather or current conditions. The voice confirmed that I was back to the day before Stephan asked me to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

I had about 30 minutes before I got home. Yeah, that was a strange thought but I kept on rolling with the flow. I sat down and tried to figure out where I could leave myself a message and what message I would believe when I read it. Man, this time travel stuff so makes it hard to figure out what you’re thinking about!

Anyway. I knew I would grab my journal since I would be running late heading out for school. I grabbed the journal and put in the code that unlocked it. I wrote in large letters “Do not tell anyone outside the family about your date with Stephan. You could cause serious problems if you do. Trust me…Only one person can get into this. Only you know the combination. Only you know about your crush on Stephan. Only you know just how far your fantasizing this night will go…you slut puppy. Accept the date, show up. You’ll have a great time. Just don’t let Lisa-Anne goad you on Friday. Telling her will ruin lives.”

I closed the book and put the locking mechanism in place. I then called the taxi and met it on the next street over. I didn’t feel like answering any questions. I went back to the pond, jumped back in and swam toward the whirlpool. I knew just how to make it take me back to my right time.

I woke up on the shore again dry as usual. I went to the parking lot and got in my sister’s car. I drove by Stephan’s house. It was there. I guess the message must have worked.

I don’t remember Stephan and I going out on Saturday, but apparently we did. Then entry is in the same journal as my warning to myself. I still remember how to pool-travel as I call it. I am a mermaid who has been blessed with land legs for a while. I am still dating Stephan and he is proud to be with me. I don’t know where this life is going but I am going to enjoy it. Just like all the other lives I’ve lived.

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