Lost in an honest conversation with himself, he realized how much he liked to be alone, how much he liked to be himself. He didn’t realize that he had been wandering until one foot stepped in front of the other and landed him in the backyard of an abandoned church—his favorite hideout. It was a cold winter evening, and as snow collected on the ground at a steady pace, a non-linear sound surrounded him. It was the sound of his thoughts. Thoughts of his father, who had disappeared five years ago. A young boy like Jake could only be furious about what his mother and sister went through. The beating of his heart only told him one thing- to find the velocity to escape all this. He kept running into the woods and snow until they culminated into oblivion. Little did he know he would reach where destiny was determined to take him.
19 March 1973
The scorching sun blazed down on him as he realized the change in his hometown. Jake wandered down the same street. Everyone wore funny clothes, pretty girls rode bicycles and talked on tiny radios, boys played stickball, and there were new boxlike homes everywhere. He had no idea how to explain it—time travel? He strolled in shock until the police confirmed the year to be ’73 and helped him go to an orphanage.
Ten years had passed in the blink of an eye. Jake moved out of the orphanage and often tried to find his then-alive father, but he would never have succeeded. It only seemed logical that he had not been born yet. There were times he would find himself in the woods behind the old church, trying to find a way back, but he could not go further because he didn’t know what his fate would be. He didn’t know whether he had lived different lives, or if he was just a figment of his imagination.
It was a rainy night when he visited the orphanage after a long time. A tall man wearing a long black cloak, as if it were his disguise, stood at its gate armed with a crying baby. Jake’s eyes flew wide open. As soon as their eyes met, the man left the baby on the steps and fled. Before Jake took the baby inside, the man disappeared into the dark alley. Jake realized he had to trail him. For every turn the stranger made, Jake followed like it was the most natural thing in the world, like it was the best on-foot chase sequence in a movie where he raced after the bad guy and saved the day. But everything went blur once he realized that the man had led him to the woods behind the church.
21 October 2043
Every day felt like the end was near. Her story, one of many, was rewritten only to disprove natural selection. Order was established due to the scarcity of resources, and everyone was a slave to it. After a long day of labor, Nova couldn’t wait to come home to her husband and her newborn baby. Life was not easy for her after the death of her mother, the only family she had. When Nova came home, her husband opened the door with a puzzled face. She couldn’t perceive the joy in his eyes when she saw her missing brother, who had found his way back home. She knew beyond doubt that she was not dreaming. Her life felt restored to normalcy. It was Jake.
When Jake saw Nova’s baby girl, she seemed familiar and he immediately knew what was coming for them. He couldn’t tell them the truth because he didn’t know how Nova’s reality would change. He could only claim that he had disappeared to avenge their father’s death.
Jake soon learned about his mother’s death and felt betrayed and powerless. He lost one thing while fighting for something else. Jake knew he couldn’t lose Nova too, so he stayed to protect them.
A few days passed by and a seed of desire grew in him—a desire to search for the bond between existence and non-existence, but he always had a feeling that he was being misled. One night, Nova and her husband had to work late, so Jake was watching the baby. He was about to go to bed, but he woke up to the sound of rustling. A shudder coursed through him and he nearly dropped the baby. He took his dagger and went to investigate. He glanced at the door from time to time, but it stood there in the fall of light from the desk lamp. He was suddenly paralyzed by a hand on his shoulder. As the hand approached the baby, he immediately drew his dagger and stabbed the intruder who fell. Jake removed his mask and his frantic heart hammered when he realized that the intruder was his father. With each beat, his vision blurred. He heard a voice saying, ‘My son,’ He whispered into Jake’s ears, which made him swallow the tears that were building up as he shook his head in denial. He took his dying father and the baby and ran to the woods.
3 February 2017
Her name was Agnes. Even though she barely knew about her parents, today she was a mother of two beautiful kids. Her husband, a man of science, always comforted her, saying that she would find her past in the future. It had been 10 hours since her husband went missing, and it was not the future she was looking for. But the loop had to continue. To validate existence, to validate time flow. Time was life. Time was death. It created something, but it passed away every second.
Inspired by the series Dark (2017)