Short Story: Unchanging Past

Genre: fantasy

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

The best thing about the past is that it’s reliably unchanging. The worst thing about the past is that it’s tragically unchanging.

Growing up, I watched my neighbourhood like episodes in a long running drama series. I watched birthdays, movie nights, backyard games, and bed time stories.

I also watched breakups, angry silences, bullying behind doors, and final goodbyes.

I have watched the lifetime of strangers, good and bad. I have watched decisions stacked upon decisions and their spiralling consequences push people down the inevitable path. I have watched enemies become friends and family become strangers.

The lives I always end up returning to belong to a pair of cheerful fraternal twins who lived in the house across mine many years ago. The two siblings began life like one soul in two bodies, only to slowly drift apart over the years due to a multitude of misunderstood intentions, thoughtless actions, and nursed hurts. They both ended up moving as far away as possible from each other to live identically bitter lives until they both passed away from the same disease.

How tragic, I muse as I watch the familiar scene once more. My next thought is a familiar continuation, If only.

If only they had talked things out that night.

If only they would swallow their pride and apologize.

If only they had turned left instead of right.

No matter how many ‘if only’s cross my mind, nothing changes, because the past is the past. Irreversibly unchangeable. I can only take the lessons I’ve learnt watching the past to shape my present.

~End~

Short Story: Search Party

Genre: fantasy

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

Some people think that means I know everything from the past. They’re both right and wrong.

Ever walk into a situation and be completely lost due to lack of context? That’s me. All the time.

I have a lot of practice digging around to find out more, but certainly not enough to stake someone else’s life on it. There is a world of difference between finding a missing person and pinning a murder on someone.

“No,” Uncle James says.

“She can save lives,” the homicide detective says.

“Eli already is saving lives.”

“She can save more by helping us.”

“And what will you say at the court hearing? Going to tell them all your evidence comes from one ‘psychic’? You want to let all your hard work go to waste because of technicalities?”

“I’m not picky with where I get my leads. Especially not when innocent lives are on the line. She only needs one day to do what a whole team needs weeks for.”

“You think she doesn’t need to work hard to do what she does?”

A sudden weight on my shoulder startles me.

“Who let papa bear James out this time?” Officer Farah asks.

“The homicide division wants my help,” I say.

“HahahaNO. You’re barely in secondary school. No murder mysteries for you until you’re at least allowed to drink. Come on. Let’s go.”

I happily follow Officer Farah into our office. Finding people is much better than talking to angry adults.

Today’s first task is to find a hiker who was accidentally separated from the rest of the group and is now lost in the mountain.

“Any reference point?” I ask.

“I was there last month. First Saturday,” Officer Dennis says.

look at him.

He grabbed his keys off the table. His watch showed yesterday’s date.

look back.

The car pulled into the parking lot. On the dashboard flashed the right date. The family of four followed the footpath to the cafe at the beginning of the hiking trail.

look at the mountain and look forward as close to the present as possible.

A group of young adults waited around the cafe. Two talked with the local rangers.

I look backwards and track the group’s progress until I find the point where the missing person separated from the group.

look at him.

Trees stretched as far as the eye could see with no path in sight.

“Found him,” I say as I look back to retrace his steps. “Can’t see any unique landmarks but I can guide someone to him.”

“I have a staff on the phone.”

Switching in between the past and almost present, I lead the search party to the missing person. Only after the rangers undeniably finds the missing person do I pull back and close my eyes with a sigh.

“Well done.” Someone claps me on the shoulder.

“Thanks.”

I look up and freeze at the sight of the homicide detective by the door. He tips his head to me and leaves without a word.

“What did he say?” I ask Uncle James.

“Don’t worry about him. He decided his team could handle their own case after all,” Uncle James says with a smile.

As expected of Uncle James. He can solve any problem.

“Ok!”

~End~

Short Story: An Employee’s Worth

Genre: fantasy
Related to Different Views and Magic Trick.

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

Looking at the past is different from looking at the present. There is only one present, and just like everyone else, my brown eye sees only what is in front of me.

The past, on the other hand, is so much more vast than the present. The same patch of land has been walked by so many people and creatures at different times. How do I know if the dog licking the hot dog off the ground was there two years ago or just two hours past?

I can only see the past. I can’t hear anything, nor does the past come with convenient time stamps. Despite what other people may think, I do need to do a lot of searching and detective work to zoom in on exactly what I’m supposed to look for. If what I do appears to be effortless, it’s because I’ve had a lot of practice.

“Regardless, my pay should not be dependant on the amount of effort it takes me to do the job, but the fruits of my work. In fact, my pay should increase, since I can and often carry out the work of a whole team by myself,” I say as I carefully read the speech Uncle James prepared for me earlier.

“We will take your feedback under consideration,” the HR manager says before dismissing me. Uncle James joins me outside the room soon after.

“How did I do?” I ask. Instead of ruffling my hair as usual, Uncle James pulls me to his side in a one-armed hug.

“You did great. Now it’s up to them to decide if they want to keep you or not, because I know a lot of other branches who will pay double or triple what you’re getting now for what you do. You can go anywhere. Don’t stay just because of me.”

“I’m not staying just for you,” I say.

A smile cracks through his solemn frown. “You know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean, but I like it here.”

“Well, you’re still young, so money doesn’t mean the same thing to you as it does to us. And that’s perfectly fine. You’re already way ahead of your peers in terms of finances. Just keep doing what you’re doing. I’ll make sure you don’t get bullied.”

“Thanks, Uncle James.”

Looking at the past isn’t as easy as people think, but it’s still easier than what everyone else needs to do to achieve the same results, so really, whatever decision the HR team makes, I can’t complain.

But if Uncle James thinks otherwise, who am I to stop him? I’m sure I’ll appreciate the extra cash one day.

~End~

 

Short Story: Present Danger

Genre: fantasy
Related to Different View and Magic Trick.

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

It’s not as exciting as seeing the future, but it’s not as dangerous as seeing the present. In the past, everything is set in stone. No matter how dangerous it looks, the past cannot hurt me. In the present, danger is everywhere, and I can’t just watch, I have to react. It wouldn’t be a problem, if I don’t have trouble distinguishing the past from the present.

A hand grabs my arm and yanks me back. A car honks as it narrowly misses me.

“Watch where you’re going,” my saviour says.

His hands shook as he read the ransom note for his brother. The phone on the table set the scene as two hours ago.

“Miss?”

In an ordinary house on an ordinary street, a group of people ate while one man sat blindfolded and bound at the corner.

“I know where your brother is.” The words tumble out of my mouth.

The man who saved me from the car pales. His fingers tighten around my arm so hard it hurts.

“Who are you?” he asks.

“Not your enemy.”

The man loosens his death grip on my arm but does not let go. His gaze is fearfully suspicious with a touch of fragile hope.

“Continue what you were doing. I’ll get help,” I say.

After we part ways, I pull out my phone to call a familiar number.

“Uncle James, I found someone.”

“Speak. We’re listening.”

watch the rescue mission as I wander through the mall. I can only see the past, but something that happened just a second ago is already in the past, and if I am quick I can still warm them before they step into any traps.

By late afternoon, the kidnappers have been subdued and the victim returned to his family. My feet are sore from all the walking but there is a bounce in my steps. It always always good when a mission ends without anyone getting hurt.

I bump into a lady I thought was in the past.

“Sorry!”

It’s so much easier to navigate the past than the present.

~End~

Short Story: Magic Trick

Genre: fantasy, family

 

I was born with one brown eye and one black one. The brown eye sees things as they are, and although the black one does not always see the things in front of me, it can see much more.

It sees the past.

It doesn’t sound as awesome as seeing the future, but it’s still cool. Cool enough to do magic cool.

“Red. Black. Red. Red,” I say as my sister reveals one poker card at a time from a deck to our audience.

Our friends ooh and ahh as I call the right colour, one after another, with my eyes blindfolded. My relatives laugh and keep the secret to the magic trick to themselves.

“Anyone else want to try?” My sister offers the deck around.

Some choose a specific card for me to name. Uncle James tries to trick me by changing the card as I name it but my black eye sees all.

After the show, Uncle James pulls me aside.

“Eli, how well can you see with your eye?”

look at him.

He grabbed the keys off the hook and put it in his pocket.

“Hey! That’s our keys!”

Uncle James grins and pulls out the same key I saw.

“Hey, Eli, want to help me with my work? I’ll hire you as my consultant and pay you good money.”

Help my uncle with his cool police work?

“Yes!”

“Did I just hear you hire my eight-year-old daughter?”

If Dad lets me.

~End~

 

Like this? You can also check out the related story Different Views.