J.M. Blackman’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: The Rabbit Hole--Part 2: Trust the Esper
With the vodka bottle safely within reach (and my phone right next to that, though who I could possibly call, I couldn’t fathom), I picked the letter--seemingly from me--back up.
I had a really hard time deciding how to address this to myself. Should I use my name? A nickname? I figured I’d just use “me,” since that’s what we call ourselves in our head. I also figure that once we start calling ourselves Aniyah instead of me, we have even more troubles than what’s ahead of us now.
I stopped reading for a swig of courage. It probably made more queasy than it did brave, but I needed a distraction. Because if I, or whoever the hell this was, kept calling me and them “us,” I was going to lose my shit.
Tired of hearing “us” yet? I think this is about where I started feeling nauseous. But I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet. We’re going to do this in two stages. First, I’m going to convince you that I am who I say I am. Second, I’m going to tell you about the danger you’re soon to be in, and how to avoid getting killed when the time comes.
Step 1: There is a scar on the side of your right knee. You got it trying to get down your Matt’s dad’s Playboys when you were 14. You fell in their closet and hit your knee on the edge of a trunk. And you couldn’t ever tell anyone because you couldn’t admit how stupid it was to try and get those just because Matt said it was a good idea. Then, you never spoke to Matt again. He still emails now and then to see if you’ll explain why you won’t talk to him anymore.
I didn’t put the letter down, though that was my first instinct. No one knew this. Matt knew it, but this wasn’t his handwriting. He didn’t know where I lived now. And he certainly didn’t know that I’d stopped talking to him over the Playboys. I mean, I’d gotten over it in a couple years, but then I felt so stupid about not talking to him that I couldn’t strike up a conversation. Once he contacted me, I didn’t have the courage to admit how stupid the whole thing had been and that sometimes, I still missed hanging out with him.
Step 2: This next part is harder than the first. It’s the most unbelievable part of this. Yes, even more unbelievable than the fact that you’re reading a letter a letter from yourself. It’s the whole reason this whole thing is even possible.
In two days, there’s going to be tear in space, or time, or matter, or something, that makes it possible for all of the creepy crawlies we’d ever imagined to come true, or rather to join our plane. I don’t understand the science behind it. I’m not sure if it’s science at all. It seems to go beyond anything we’ve ever been able to explain. I would call it magic if I believed in such a thing. Then, again, magic does exist now. So I suppose that almost answers that question. Or does it?
Whatever. Things are going to get ugly. First, the world is going to try to act like it’s not happening. They’re going to try to explain the deaths and accidents and disappearances with the everyday evil around us. But the truth is some of it is real evil. And still some of it is tragically a result of misunderstanding. But either way, this first part of our new world is dangerous. Not only because of all the new players, but because if you try and get help, you will be put away.
In fear, we will quiet our own people to keep the elephant in the room out of the public eye for as long as possible. You cannot go the police. No matter what happens. But you are going to need help.
There is someone to help you. His name is Sam. He is an Esper. He has many skills, but one is teleportation. He can move through space and time. Literally. He brought me back to leave you this message. It’s kind of a form of cheating the universal rule of no tampering with the past--that’s a real thing, by the way. I am changing your knowledge of the future, but you were going to make these next few decisions all by yourself. I’m just trying to make it as easy as possible. Maybe save a few lives.
I know that’s a lot. That’s why I wanted to give you a warning. You can handle this, though. You will.
Trust the Esper. Trust Sam. And for God’s sake, just jump.
I tried to take it all into stride. Really I did. But after ten minutes of sitting there, clutching the letter, I sprung up from the couch, buried the letter in my winter clothes’ drawer and fell into bed. I barely kicked off my shoes before I passed out. I’d never felt so drained in my life.
When my alarm went off in the morning, I had forgotten about the strangeness until I saw the vodka and ziplock baggie on my coffee table. I didn’t know what to do about the letter. There really wasn’t anything to do about it, anyway. Anyone I could possibly tell would think I was pulling a terrible prank. My explanation as to how it so was not a prank would only make me look crazy.
Instead of attempting to do any such thing, I went to work. By 5, I’d almost managed to feel normal. I figured I’d better soak all the normal up I could get, because if any bit of that letter was true, I wouldn’t get much of it in a little over 24 hours.
I stopped by BJ’s on the way home, as usual, but this time, Ahmed greeted me. He never said anything to me except “thanks for your business.”
“How’d you do that?” he demanded, leaning out of the window amongst the newspapers, magazines and books. I stopped short of walking into the store behind him.
“Do what?” I asked.
“Get back over here so quickly? And I told you, that was the last Sparkle Jerry Cherry. You’ll have to wait until next Wednesday for more. Did you change clothes?”
“You didn’t...this is my first time here today,” I said slowly.
“What joke are you playing at?” he demanded, clearly not amused.
“None. I...” I wiped my hand over my face. “Sorry, a little crazy today. I did just come by, didn’t I? I had to double back for something I left at work. And...and I just stopped out of habit, as usual. I’ll keep that in mind this time. No more Sparkle Jerry Cherry until next Wednesday. See you then.” I walked off quickly before he could answer. Once I hit the corner, I ran.
Either I was going to catch myself, or another note. Or I was going crazy.
Easily any one of those three.
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J.M. Blackman is a Language Arts teacheri and a feminist. She endeavors to review nearly everything she reads and is a happy wife. She's a SFF enthusiast, loves dark humor, and has an unhealthy need to protect the image of Batman.