Changing the Future, a Story
The next day, Vree and I sat inside her two-person tent behind her place on Myers Ridge. I peered outside and shivered from the unseasonal forty-degree weather despite a rich July sunshine that hurt my eyes as it glared off Vree’s house. I turned away and rested my gaze on her. She wore the same white sweatshirt she had worn the Halloween night a hellhound pushed me from Myers Ridge.
“Every test has showed positive,” she said. Her voice was hoarse from crying. “How? How can I be pregnant? You have to have sex with someone.” She wrung her hands. “What am I going to do?”
My thoughts still whirled with the absurdity of the situation. She was right. No one gets pregnant without having sex. Well, no one except Mary from the Bible … and for some unexplained reason, Vree.
“I’ll get an abortion,” she said matter-of-factly.
I shook my head. “You would have to have your parents’ consent.”
“They’re going to find out. I can’t hide pregnancy from them.”
“There has to be a mistake.”
She was quiet for a moment. Then a sob erupted from her. “What am I going to do? I’m too young to be a mom.” She shook. I scooted close and embraced her. She wept against my shoulder. I held her tight and stroked her hair. Strange warmth of love and sorrow for her cocooned me. I wanted to protect her, to find a way out of her predicament. But how?
“I love you, Vree,” I said.
“I need to think.” She pulled from me and crawled from the tent. I followed.
We stood outside beneath a sky filling with a low front of rainclouds coming from the east. They came fast as if they were alive and late for something important.
A yellow Sunbird had parked in the driveway while we were in the tent.
“Do you think it’s her car?” I asked.
“She must be telling my parents.”
“They won’t believe her.”
“She has the book.”
“Did you read it?”
“It shocked me.”
Vree frowned for a second. Then she looked at me wide-eyed, which changed to one close to accusing. “Do you believe time travel is real?” she asked, then laughed and called herself stupid. “Of course it is. The old woman is my daughter from an accident that sent me to the past.” She laughed again, louder, and paced in front of me. “I’m sorry. I haven’t gone to the past. It hasn’t happened yet. But it has. Nancy what’s-her-name told me it did. How is that possible?”
“She’s from another timeline.”
Vree stopped pacing. “How? Humor me. How can my so-called-daughter be here when she hasn’t been born yet?”
“She said you went back in time after you became pregnant. You went to the past to a time before you were born, gave birth and died, and here she is now, an old woman.”
“Which means what? That it really happened?”
“To her, but not to you. Not yet. She’s here to stop it from happening again.”
“But how does a person go back in time?” Vree paced again. “Has someone built a time machine? If so, it hasn’t been in the news. Just how does it happen that I go back in time?”
“Didn’t she tell you?”
“She said I fell into green light.” Vree stopped pacing. “What does that mean?”
Raindrops fell on us.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I wish I knew. I wish—”
The rain quickened. I bit my lower lip. I had no answer, no solution.
“I’m going in now.” Vree headed to the backdoor thirty yards away. A moment later, the ground vibrated. I stumbled backward against the tent, which kept me from falling. Vree had stopped walking. She held her arms out, like a surfer riding a wave. The ground trembled again, harder than before, and opened beneath her.
She scrambled to get out of the ground swallowing her.
I ran, lunged, landed on my stomach, and missed one of her outstretched hands by inches. The hole widened and threatened to take me too until I crawled backward.
Thunder boomed where storm clouds churned and rumbled.
Heat blanketed me as a bolt of lightning struck the center of the hole. There was an explosion in my skull as a plume of green light erupted from the hole. Electricity filled the air. My head throbbed; fire tore inside my lungs. Heavy rain fell and cooled the air. I fell to my hands and knees, scrambled to the edge of the sinkhole, and called Vree’s name.
I did not care if the hole widened and I fell in too.
Green light emanated inside, far at the bottom.
Vree had fallen into the green light. Was it the entry point to the past?
“We have her,” a deep voice said.
“What? Who are you?” I asked.
“She is not yours to have. She will forget you.”
“Why? What’s going on?”
The light faded. The hole went dark.
I called out to the voice, demanded it to answer me.
It did not.