Tag: short story
By Grant Baciocco
“Don’t go in the field.” Timmy’s mother had told him before he and Maisy had left the house.
“I should have listened.” his brain now said to himself as he held onto the root for dear life. He had been chasing a rabbit with Maisy and had not seen the sinkhole that had recently appeared next to the giant oak that stood in the middle of the large field behind the farm where he lived with his family. Luckily, he had been able to get a good grip on a root as he’d fallen and it had stopped his fall. He hung on for dear life as he looked below him.
The drop was about twenty feet down. He realized if he did fall he’d probably hit the sides of the wall before the bottom so at least the drop wouldn’t kill him. It hadn’t killed the rabbit who was down at the bottom of the hole, now starting to hop around and sniff for a way out of the pit herself. He looked up and he could see the blue sky through the bare branches of the oak. He was about five feet from the lip of the hole. His eyes searched frantically for something he could climb up to the edge, as the root he now clung to would only raise him about a foot or two.
Below him, the rabbit started screaming. Startled, Timmy looked down and saw it was frantically trying to scramble up the slick walls of the sinkhole but kept tumbling back down. Looking closer he saw something move in the shadows below him. Seconds later, his mind snapped into focus that there was nothing in the shadows that was moving, the shadows themselves were moving. A buzzing grew louder in his ears. Squinting harder he saw at least twenty rattlesnakes squirming all over themselves to cross the expanse at the bottom to the terrified rabbit. There was a nest at the bottom of the hole. This is why his mother had warned him against playing in the field.
His grip on the root tightened even more. Sweat began to form all over his body. Again he looked up for some way to boost himself to the lip, but there was nothing but slick muddy walls. The frantic screaming below him grew louder as the snakes attacked the rabbit. Though he’d told himself not to, he looked down as the snake’s venom finally paralyzed the rabbit, silencing her cries, and they began fighting each other for the right to devour the poor creature. “At least Maisy didn’t fall in.” he found himself thinking.
“Maisy!” he said out loud, remembering his dog. “Maisy! Maisy!” he called loudly, partially to drown out the sounds of the disgusting feast happening below him. “Maisy!”
Seconds later the familiar, soft face of his golden retriever appeared over the edge. She sniffed the air and then caught his eye.
“Good girl Maisy!” Timmy breathed, his body weakening from the grip he was applying to the root above him. “Maisy, go home girl! G0 home and get mom!”
Maisy cocked her head as if trying to understand. Timmy repeated, “Go home girl. Get Mom! Bring her back! Hurry! Hurry girl! Go home!”
Maisy couldn’t understand most of the words her friend Timmy was now yelling up at her. She was a dog and, unlike dogs seen following a multitude of commands on television, she was not too bright. She leaned he head closer to Timmy to try and understand. As she did, the smell of a fresh kill filled her nostrils and, for the first time, she saw the carnage happening below Timmy.
“Maisy!” Timmy yelled again, regaining Maisy’s focus, “Go home and get mom!”
Maisy listened intently to him again.
“Go home?” she thought, letting the words circle around in her brain. She knew these words. She new where ‘home’ was. She knew what ‘go’ meant. “Go home.” She understood this. Even though Maisy was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, she was obedient. So, she went home.
An hour later, Maisy sat on the back porch of the farmhouse and looked out across the field waiting for her friend Timmy to emerge and praise her for being so good.
She had gone home.
The next thing Patrick knew he was vomiting over the side of the chair. He had no even real inclination that he was doing it. He’d been in the chair, there was a flash of light, and the contents of his stomach were spilling over the clean white floor of Dr. Levitt’s laboratory.
Dr. Levitt rush over to the opposite side of the chair and put a hand on Patrick’s shoulder. “Patrick! Patrick!”
Patrick heaved a few more times but his stomach had been vacated. He dropped back in the chair, breathing heavy, his shirt soaked with sweat that had seemingly come out of nowhere.
As he rasped for air, Dr. Levitt checked his pulse, then his pupils. All seemed fine. He hovered over Patrick until patrick waved him away.
“I’m…” Patrick finally spoke, “I’m fine. I am…okay.” Patrick breathed heavy for a few minutes, then wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt.
Dr. Levitt began to speak, softly at first, “I suppose I calculated the effects of sending the information to the brain in the past, but neglected to calculate the sudden onset of two year’s worth of new memories on the present brain.” He looked down at Patrick, his hand still on Patrick’s shoulder. “Like Deja Vu?”
Patrick nodded. “Yes…but no. I know that I’m here, I know that I’ve ben sitting in this chair for minutes, but it was like, all of a sudden, it was all completely new to me.”
Dr. Levitt was quite for a second and then he nodded. “Jamais vu.”
Patrick looked weakly up Dr. Levitt. “What?”
Dr. Levitt smiled, “Jamais vu. It’s sort of the opposite of Deja vu. Deja Vu is where you feel you’ve lived something before, even though you know you haven’t. Jamais vu is where your brain tells you you haven’t lived through something before even when you know you have. It would make sense. Your brain was suddenly flooded with two year’s worth of memories that, up until seconds ago, it hadn’t lived through. At least I think that’s what happened.” He looked at Patrick, “Dd, did it work?”
Patrick thought long and hard about this. Trying to sort through the 17520 hours of new memories that were rolling around in his head. “Yes. It did work. I was at home in my tiny one bedroom apartment, playing World of Warcraft when the future memories hit me. I,” he pointed at the mess on the ground, “this didn’t happen, but it was a lot. It was almost that my brain shut down it was so much information. I staggered to my bed and just lied there for days. Not sure how many. The next thing I was aware of was Mary. Mary shaking me awake. I don’t know how long I had been in that state for. She said it had been five days since we had last spoken and she’d gotten scared. We had only just started going out at that point.”
Dr. Levitt listened fascinated.
“But you talk about your Deja Vu, it didn’t happen that often because I was aware of what had happened. That I was undergoing this process. So my day to day life was changed.” Patrick sat quietly for a moment and thought. “But it was the big things. My Grandmother going into the hospital. I knew she wasn’t going to make it out again, because I’d lived through it. I was able to spend more time with her. The first time around I’d been too busy. Busy with nothing, goofing off, but I’d just assumed she’d pull through. After she passed I was racked with regret. I’d spent every summer with Grandmother when I was a kid and now she’d gone and I wasn’t there. But this time…this time, I knew she wouldn’t.”
“What did you do?”
“I made sure I was there. I was there when life left her. I was by her side. The regret was gone.”
Dr. Levitt nodded.
“That was just the start. Just the start of the changes I made.” Patrick sat quiet for a minute. Letting the knowledge of all the changes he had made in the past two years wash over him. He turned to Dr. Levitt with a smile. “Dr. Levitt, this works.” Patrick gestured wildly around the room, “This…this works! You’ve created away for people to abolish regret from their lives.”
“Not all regret, I assume.” Dr. Levitt asked, clasping his hands at his waist.
“Hmmm?” Patrick was puzzled.
“I assume that even though you were able to make changes, your Grandmother for instance, there are still other decisions you made, that you now regret.”
Patrick was silent for a second. He nodded. “Yes. Yes, there are. But it was the big ones, the big ones that I’d made in the past two years that I was able to fix. They’ve given me a whole new life. A better life. I have a job now. In fact, do you have the time?”
Dr. Levitt, looked at his watch, “12:30PM”
“I gotta go. I gotta get back to work.”
Dr. Levitt smiled. “Good. Okay, good. I, uh, I will need to schedule an interview with you. A videotaped interview that I can use to present to the board along with the footage of the experiment to hopefully get more funding towards this project.”
“Sure.” Patrick stood, carefully avoiding the mess he made. “You want me to clean that up?”
Dr. Levitt smiled, “No. I’ll get it.”
Patrick stood still, feeling like a stranger in a new body. He stretched out a hand to Dr. Levitt. “Thank you. Thank you for this.”
Dr. Levitt smiled. “This is just the beginning. Now go. I’ll be in touch.”
Patrick turned and began walking out.
Dr. Levitt watched him walk towards the door, slipping his hands into his lab coat and finding the envelope with the cashier’s check. “Patrick?”
Patrick stopped at the door and turned around. “Yeah?”
Dr. Levitt held up the envelope. “You want the $3000? Technically it’s yours.”
Patrick smiled and shook his head. “I don’t need it. I have everything I want.”
Dr. Levitt looked at the envelope and then back at Patrick, “And Mary?”
Patrick smiled the biggest smiled Dr. Levitt had seen on a man’s face before, “I have her too.”
Dr. Levitt nodded.
Patrick turned and walked out the door.
Another Wednesday, another 100 word story inspired by a Police Blotter item in my hometown.
By Grant Baciocco
They had been traveling for days, unable to rest. She’d done her very best to keep her spirits high in front of her kids, but she was nearing the very end of her rope. A friend had told her about a vacancy in a home covered in ivy and finally at about 9:50pm at night, she and her kids had arrived.
She had done her best to keep the kids quiet, but they were excited and their cries of joy roused the dogs in the yards on either side of them. They’d finally quieted down when the flashlights arrived.
1400 block of Bernal Avenue, 10 p.m. Tuesday Responding to a report of suspicious sounds on the side of a house, which alarmed the resident as well as dogs in the neighborhood, police located a mother raccoon and her little ones nestled in the ivy.