Back From the Future

Day 7 of 16 – Writer’s Digest Writing Prompt Bootcamp

A knock at the door catches you off guard. Upon answering it, you’re greeted by a man who says he’s from the future—and he can prove it. More important, he says he has information that will save your life. 

This is not a good day.  It’s not even close to a good day.  It’s the kind of day you wish you could start over and plan every moment yourself.  It started with a strange dream last night.  It was one of those dreams that seemed so real that you had to think long and hard to determine if it really happened or not.  This dream not only felt real, but scared the living hell out of me.

Although it was Wednesday and I should be working, I decided to call in sick.  I can’t put my finger on it, maybe it was my dream but I just don’t feel right.  Besides the weather outside is practically monsoon-style.  I’m not really in the mood to be on the road with all the other idiots (me included) who slam their brakes if it so much as sprinkles.

Then I get a phone call that was on the other side of weird.  Actually, I received a couple of phone calls.  The first one was just a hang up.  No big deal, it happens.  Then when the phone rang again a few minutes later, there was a man on the other end looking for me.  I don’t know if the call was from the same guy or not, but if it was, he hung up again after he received acknowledgement that he had the right person.

Now I am, as my 14 year old niece would say, “legit freaked out.”  I pour myself a cup of coffee and sit at the dinette in my small kitchen and try to concentrate on reading the newspaper.  When I unfold it, the headline reads, “MISSING WOMAN FOUND DEAD.”  Next to the article, there is a photo of me.  I don’t read the article, mainly because I am officially on the verge of a breakdown.  I fold the paper back up and start to pace.

I can feel the panic rise up from my toes all the way to the follicles in my head.  My entire body starts to shake uncontrollably.  I run to the hall mirror to take a look at myself.  Besides being as white as a new sheet of paper, I am here.  I pinch myself for clarification and I am most definitely here.  What the hell is going on?  I am feeling a combination of dread, disbelief and utter confusion.  I run back to the paper to look again, except that the headline I read two minutes ago has disappeared and has been replaced with, “TROPICAL STORM BETTY HEADING OUR WAY.”

Have I completely lost my mind?  I can’t seem to control the thoughts in my head.  I start to bite my nails, which is strange because I am not a nail biter.  I am so scared and suddenly exhausted so I lie down on the couch and pull the blanket over me.  I am just going to close my eyes for a minute.

I don’t know how long I slept, but I am suddenly jolted awake by a loud knock on the door.  When I answer it, I am greeted by a man dressed in a black trench coat and matching fedora.  There was something kind and trusting about his face.  I went against everything my mother ever told me about strangers and let this man into the foyer to get him out of the storm.

When he spoke my name, I realized it was the same man who had called me on the phone a couple of hours ago.  “I’m sorry, do I know you?”  “I am from your future and I’ve come to deliver a message,” he replied.  Oh God, here we go.  “Excuse me?  I don’t understand what you mean.  I don’t think you have the right house.  You should leave before I call the police.”  He said, “Please, you must believe me.  I can prove to it to you.”

He proceedes to describe the strange dream I had last night in vivid detail.  I ask him about the newspaper article.  He said, “the article and your dream are one in the same.”  He followed it up by telling me that it was going to come true if I didn’t listen to him and change the chain of events that would lead to my death.

Who is this guy?  Is he like a Nostradamus or something?  I look around for cameras.  Am I on some Candid Camera type of show?  Am I being “Punked.”  But what is happening to me right now is more like The Twilight Zone.  I’m expecting Rod Serling to step out of the shadows any minute.

I start to shake and suddenly feel the urge to vomit.  He leads me to the couch.  I am surprisingly not afraid of this man.  There is this inexplicable feeling of overwhelming trust, in lieu of everything that has happened this morning, I also get the feeling that I don’t have much of a choice.

I am on a train, one of those commuter trains that takes you to and from the city.  I look around and notice that I seem to be the only person here.  Even though I am wearing my earbuds, there is no sound coming out.  All I hear is the “clack clack clack” of the train running down the tracks.  It’s daytime but the lights inside the car keep blinking on and off, almost strobe-like.  Suddenly, I hear the heavy door between the cars ahead of me open and close and a woman comes running down the aisle, her arms outstretched.  She is screaming and begs me to help her.  As she gets closer, I notice that this woman is me.  And there is blood streaming down her face.  I look down and notice that there are pools of blood in the palms of my hands.  I open my mouth and try to scream, but no sound escapes me.

I hear a phone ringing again, except this time it’s my cell.  It’s my new boyfriend, Alex.  I am so relieved to see his name pop up across the screen that I excuse myself from my man of the future and answer quickly with a breathy “hello.”  “Hi babe, it’s me.  I have a great plan for the weekend.  Pack your bags.  I’m taking you into the city, we’ll take the train.”  When I look across the room for my man from the future, he is gone.

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