Content: Short Story
Author: Ralphael Prepetit http://www.Hemfilms1999@Yahoo.com
By any definition of rational disposition, I shouldn’t be telling this story, because for all intents of realistic purpose, I should be dead. The culprit, was a 1/4 ton steel construction beam descending at maximum gravitational speed towards my upper torso. It had gone completely unnoticed. One moment I was fixated on ‘Bullie’ (my blue nosed pit-bull) as he defecated near his favorite drop zone, and the next I was to be fatally injured in the most horrific of fashions. An unfortunate victim of accidental, arguably criminal reckless behavior resulting in my untimely, and immediate dissolution. As you might imagine, like most people, I didn’t want to die, at least not on that particular day. Unlike most people however, I was in a unique position to do something about it.
I had no way of knowing that the revelations on the morning of my 18th birthday were going to change my life forever, but that’s exactly what happened. That was the morning I received the three locks of Enoch. A small set of slightly discolored brass locks with intricate designs forged around their combination faces. My uncle Jerry was notorious in our family, often described as an ‘odd duck’. What my family didn’t know was that Jerry was a dark arts practitioner and member of a highly secretive sect called ‘The People’. That morning Jerry picked me up for what was supposed to be a birthday lunch at Cattleman’s Ranch. We never made it there. Instead he took me to a dilapidated apartment on Soto Avenue, that he had been using over time for one nefarious activity or another. It was there that uncle Jerry enlightened me about the true mystical power of the locks, and gifted them to me. My life was about to be changed, forever.
The rules were simple, using the power of the locks I would be able to go back to a specific point and place in time, to make changes and/or corrections pertaining to future outcomes in my life. I had three locks, of which I could use this ability, only one time for each. Jerry performed a ceremony with me, which included fire, blood, and meditation. Following that ceremony, I was forever linked to them. I was then asked to place a key into each lock. From that moment on I could mentally command the turning of each of the keys, thereby unlocking the ability to stop time and reverse it back to a specific moment of my choosing. The steel construction beam didn’t kill me instantly, and as a result I was able with my last conscious thought to turn the key on lock number one, which was placed with the other two locks in a set, on the top shelf of my bedroom closet.
I suddenly found myself back on the sidewalk, walking Bullie just moments before the eventual descent of the renegade steel construction beam with my name on it. I stopped walking and watched as the beam crushed the empty stretch of sidewalk where I would’ve been walking. My nerves were frayed like disintegrated old rope, I couldn’t move a muscle, and had to make a conscious decision to breathe. It was only Bullie’s aggressive pulling on his leash that snapped me back into reality. The early evening air swirled around my head as I walked back to my loft. It was heavy with moisture, and emitted a strange albeit comforting odor of decadent baked goods. I was anxious to get home and confirm that one of my locks had indeed left my life for infinity. Bullie was acting strangely, often stopping to gaze at me. It was if his eyes harbored the burden of my secret, and he wasn’t sure what to make of it.
I stood in front of my closet for what seemed an eternity. My nerves, never fully settled in the hour since the event, were again beginning to unravel. The stiffness of my muscles was difficult to ignore, and analogous to the rigidity of my skeletal make-up in that moment. My eyes were the only part of my body that seemed to be functioning, they were darting back and forth between the floor and the brown mahogany case that held my locks. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a ray of light coming from inside the box, and it was then that I moved to secure it with both of my hands. The box was warm to the touch as I pulled it down. Taking a deep breath I lifted the cover and found that one of the locks had in fact, disappeared. The indentation on the spot where it had been resting, the only indication that it was ever there at all.
It was almost 10 years to the day before I found myself standing in front of the box about to confirm the absence of the second lock. I found myself thinking that there was something sinister about October that seemed to require the use of the locks. In this instance I had to go back and convince my kid brother Rodney, that he needed to skip his planned flight to Panama without revealing the truth about the runway shootout between a militant guerrilla faction and the Panamanian national guard. A conflict in which the collateral damage would include the death of all 38 passengers, including my brother, aboard the highjacked jet. Rodney was only 27 years old, however even if he were twice that age, I was going to do whatever I could do to save his life as a matter of principle. Of course this left me with one last lock at my disposal. One last time I would be able to cheat fate, one last time I could play the role of superhuman.
Three years later was when I found myself in a position to use the final lock. Unfortunately, this time there would be a heart wrenching decision in which there was no way to avoid personal suffering. In the intervening years, I had relocated to a quiet suburban town just south of the city. My neighbors, Greg and Linda Leibowitz, were a nice upper middle class family with two beautiful girls, Abigail age 8, and Cindy age 6. A normal family with Norman Rockwell sensibilities. So I thought. I would later find out that Greg was a mercurial link in the Russian mob daisy chain. A fact that made the events of April 19th possible, and my choices virtually impossible.
At 7:19pm my mother who was visiting me from Orlando, suddenly collapsed to the kitchen floor holding her chest. A heart attack. At that exact moment the sounds of machine gun fire, emanating from the Leibowitz’s shattered the serenity of the evening. I’m holding my mother’s head in my hands as I look through the window as three masked men are bolting away from the Leibowitz house, carrying black duffel bags. I can’t remember if I called the ambulance for my mother or for my neighbors, but I called them before I instinctively ran next door to see what I feared would be human carnage. As it turns out, I was right. Immediately upon entering the house I slipped and fell on a lake of warm blood. There was an eerie stillness. Not a sound except for the sirens approaching from a distance.
Could I fix this? Should I fix this? What about my mother? Could I save everybody at the same time? I had to think quickly, but my mind was suffering some kind of acute paralysis. I finally managed to combine two coherent thoughts together, and figured I could go back and warn the Leibowitz’s of the impending danger so they could clear out of the house, but what about my mother? Time travel has no dominion in matters of cardiac arrest. Maybe I could warn the Leibowitz’s and take my mother to the hospital before the attack. I couldn’t be sure if that would make any difference for my mother, but it would certainly save the family, if only for the time being. I made my choice, I had to act for the last time.
Mr. Leibowitz’s facade crumbled when I informed him of the pending danger, and what that danger was. He knew exactly what I was talking about, although he had no idea of the severe violence earmarked for his family. He had no reason to believe me, and every reason to trust me. He gathered his family and cleared out. Upon my return to my house, and mother, talking her into the car required some manipulation of the truth. She became an unwitting passenger in my mad dash towards Mercy Hospital. As I pulled up to the emergency entrance, she went down clutching her chest.
Uncle Jerry had aged gracefully, although he was barely able to walk without the aide of a cane, his 77 years had served him well. He pulled me aside immediately after the internment ceremony and simply whispered in my ear, “Some things in life are inevitable.” I looked at him blankly. “Did you use the power to save lives?” he queried. I nodded my head in the affirmative. “Then…” He said. “You did what we’ve all done, God bless you, son.” “I don’t think God had anything to do with this” I replied. Jerry took a long hard look at me before replying. “God isn’t who you think he is.” With that Uncle Jerry walked off into the wooded area behind the cemetery. I never saw him again.