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Prompt- Start with the phrase “the last time I saw my mother (or father) was”
The last time I saw my father was two days from now. His eyes welled with tears as he watched my mother fall to her knees over my body. Another mistake- and it was all my fault. I begin to flip though my composition book. It’s outer cover appears worn and fragile, however, inside I have a well organized plan. No. A recipe. The voltage of my last trip was too strong. Tomorrow’s mistake is inevitable. If I could just find a way to fix the aftermath before it happens then maybe, just maybe, I can save my life. Below me, my mother calls up for lunch. I check my watch. It’s still stuck on 8am from tomorrow. Ignoring her calls, I riffle through the pages of my notebook some more till… There! Highlighted in blue I find the coordinates. I plug them into my sitator and stare back at my image in the mirror. I don’t remember the last time I had so many cuts and bruises. I touch the scaley surface of my scraped knee and recall a time in fourth grade when all the older kids called me “cool” for my injuries. That was the last time they ever used that word when referring to me. I take one last deep breath before watching my fingertips meet themselves in the glass reflection.
The smell of dirt fills my nostrils as I lift my head from the ground. I’m in the park behind the post office just as I should be. I look at my watch. Seven forty. Dusting myself off I look for any onlookers. Besides the lady across the lake jogging with her dog, I’m alone. Grabbing my phone I immediately dial 9-1-1.
“Ambulance to the intersection of 68th and Bradford. Two injured in a motor vehicle accident,” I hang up.
I jog up to the post office and find a mail carrier backing up their truck to leave. At the intersection I see my best friend, Cal. She laughs behind the steering wheel of her quarter million dollar car. In the passenger seat next to her, I see myself. Ruff! The pitbull flies past me, darting towards the intersection. I watch myself as I run out of her car and sprint after the dog. I look both ways and grab it by the collar, dragging it back to my friend. Quickly I pull myself and the dog in the side and settle in. Cal reaches over and pets him, letting him hop in her lap. I can’t see her anymore as she is completely blocked by the mutt. My heartbeat quickens, knowing what’s about to happen. The palms of my hands are sweaty and I have to bend my knees to stop myself from running to her. The dog slips a bit in her lap and the car lurches forward, barreling right into the post officers truck. The truck spins out, finding itself smashed into the light pole. The smell of burnt rubber fills the air as a green car screeches to a stop. It fails to avoid the mess sending my body through my window and out onto the asphalt.
One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three Mississippi.. Where were they?! The postal worker is out of his truck opening the door of the green vehicle. Seven Mississippi. Eight Mississippi. A man stumbles out of the car in the arms of the worker. His hand is pressed against his forehead, covered in blood. Twelve Mississippi. Thirtee- WAIT! Finally I hear them. I let out a sigh of relief. The wails of sirens grow closer and I let myself relax a bit. I can’t see myself well from this angle, only my head and my left shoulder and hand. Cal, however, is noticeably shaking in her seat. She cracks her door and the dog bolts out, getting lost from my view in the chaos. I can see the postal worker pointing in the direction of my body to a paramedic while two more pull out a stretcher from the back. Another team of paramedics unload and place a shock blanket around Cal and help her out of her seat. She struggles to stand on her left leg. It’s broken, but they don’t know that yet. Behind me I hear running and turn to find myself. Not me. But another one of me. The third me. Well, technically the first, but the bad me.
“Stop, you need to duck!” I shout, placing my hand on their chest to keep them from running.
They stare at me in shock, and then worry. “What did I do? What did we do?! I was just trying to save a dog!
“Yah well “Us 2.0” wanted to save the dog too, just in a different place and in a different time,” I reply. They look over my shoulder and I watch as my face turns pale.
“I almost had him! But he was too quick and got out of my grip!” 1.0 drops a leash between us in defeat. “Am I okay?” I shake my head. I turn to look at the accident and can see us being wheeled to the ambulance, the dog jumping on the heels of the medics.
“I was able to call the ambulance in time and we might have a chance. Cal is okay. She warned me about this. But you and I need to lay low. There are too many of us now.” The ambulance takes off and I grab my hand. “Everything is going to be okay. It has to be. The medics arrived less than thirty seconds after the crash.” They sigh, putting their hands over their eyes.
“Why can’t I do anything right?! Mom and Dad are going to kill me! They’re going to kill us!” they groan.
“That reminds me!” I shout. Grabbing my phone I punch in Mom’s number. “Hi there, this is… Nurse Avery… from East Bridge Hospital, we need you to come down to the hospital as soon as you can, please,” I hang up, not letting her reply. “All we can do now is wait. If I’m right, the ambulance came quick enough to save my life. Our life…”
They reach out for my hand in comfort. I grip their hand tightly and for the first time I know what it feels like to hold hands with myself. I hear a rustle in the bush and peek over. The dog comes spilling between us. The dog licks my face and nuzzles my chin excitedly. He looks over at 1.0 confused, and then licks them with the same enthusiasm.
“Hey! Your arm!” 1.0 shouts. When I lift my arm to see what’s wrong I find a haze of particles in it’s place. I look across to 1.0 and watch as their mouth fades away with their legs. A warm wave comes over my body, pulling me into darkness as my vision blurs together. Then…silence.
I open my eyes to a harsh light and immediately begin to choke on something in my mouth. Rubber gloves pull out a rigid plastic tube from my throat as I cough and sputter. When I’m able to catch my breath I see that I’m surrounded by people. Mostly strangers, but some familiar faces.
“Do you know where you are, sweetie” my mother asks. Her face is swollen and pink from crying. The clock behind her reads six at night. Weakly, I try to smile.
“Yes, I know exactly where I am,” I mumble. “And I’m going to be just fine.” The nurses laugh and roll over a table with water. My mom kisses my forward and she squeezes me tight. I relax back into the warm hospital bed and tilt my head. Between the nurses I can see out the room. Behind the glass door I see myself waving and then fall apart into nothingness.
That was the last time I was going to see myself. My time bending days were over.
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