People of the world don't like to think that their lives are set in stone. They hate the idea of not being able to fight fate. The idea that a certain thing is going to happen and there's nothing you can do to stop it. People like to think that they always have the power to change things as long as they believe hard enough. Like in a children's movie.
I never believed in things like destiny. It was impossible for the future to be set in stone I thought and that if you fought hard enough you could change it.
Of course these beliefs would come back to bite me.
My name is Jericho. Jericho Henry. I'm from the boring town known to the rest of the world as Swansboro North Carolina. Everyone calls it the friendly city by the sea since we're right next to the Atlantic Ocean but in all reality things aren't too friendly here. Its not that I hate my little town but i've had to deal with psychopath in all shapes and sizes, mythical creatures and all sorts of unfriendly things for the last five years and when your life is constantly on the line because somebody somewhere did something selfish, stupid or ignorant then you won't think your town is 'friendly' either. I mean come on! I'm only a junior in high school and yet i've done more fighting and negotiating than most adults. Its stupid. Ridiculous even! Its not surprising so many freaks and weirdos want to burn the town to the ground because they probably did something to cause it.
Now you might think, so far, that i'm nothing more than a cynical complainer and this entire story is just going to be me bashing one thing or another. Well your about half right. At this moment I am quite cynical and bitter about the various things that have happened to me up until this point. As for the whole story being this way? Don't worry, i'm just foreshadowing some stuff. You'll see where i'm going with this.
So, this little story begins in a auditorium at my school. The school itself isn't small, but it isn't very big either. The colors are all some sort of white or blue and if you were to imagine some sort of stereotypical high school then you've got the picture of what mine looks like. The auditorium in question can hold all six hundred of us but its a tight fit. I was sitting in the middle of everything. Not in the back where the kids are playing on their phones and making fun of our principal, not in the front where everyone is paying close attention to what the woman is saying, eating it all up like candy. I'm in the middle with the kids who just don't care enough to pay attention but at the same time can catch enough to get the gist of what we've been dragged here for.
In this case, to be lectured about damages to the school. Recent ones caused by a wild animal being let loose in the halls.
I wasn't paying too much attention because I was very familiar with the wild animal. It was a werewolf who had come to make me suffer for ruining its school life and thwarting its plans to rule over all of the humans with my best friend as his mate.
You know how I mentioned i've been fighting off all sorts of psychopaths and fiends and the like? Most of them are connected to my best friend in some way. Magnet for trouble she is.
The brown haired girl in question was sitting next to me, emerald eyes focused on the principal (who was droning on about safety last I checked) and nibbling her bottom lip in worry that I would be drawn into the incident and expelled from the school. Her name was Alexandra Kent. Alex for short. I grinned at the worrywart and nudged her.
"Why so serious?" I hissed. We'd been watching batman the night before.
She narrowed her eyes at me "Shh! Do you know what they'll do to you if they find out you were involved with this? The entire hall was trashed and covered in blood!"
She wasn't even exaggerating. I'd had a little too much fun killing the little furry bastard. Alex was also convinced that killing these things was going to push me down some sort of path of darkness. But come on. I'm not Darth Vader or anything. In fact i'm a very upstanding citizen!
But none the less I hushed. I wanted her in a good mood after all. I had every intention of asking her to the winter ball later and I didn't want to start a pointless argument. Not that we argued very much. I've been in love with this girl for as long as I can remember and any disagreement we have tends to end with her victory.
No, this isn't a romance either. Really, i'm going somewhere with all of this.
So for twenty more minutes we sat there and listened to principal Andre warn us about what was and was not allowed in school, proper wild animal precaution tactics and the possible cancellation of the winter ball. I was about to drop off into a nice, blissful sleep. Its not like any of this crap applied to me or anythi...what was that last part?
"If the school hasn't been deemed safe by the local animal control department then all after school events, like the winter ball, will be canceled" Andre said. The students were in an uproar and I was one of the loudest. I mean who in the hell did she think she was?! The school was plenty safe! Sure it's attacked every other Tuesday but something or another but the winter ball was on...just hold on while I check the date on my watch...damn it its on a Tuesday. By the laws of my rotten luck we're due to be attacked. None the less my possible relationship upgrade with Alex was FAR more important than silly things like student safety. I was enraged!
"Calm down" said Alex "you don't even go to dances"
Yeah, because your usually taken when its time for one of these things!
"I wanted to go to this one!" I whined "and I would have gone to the last one but it was at the same time as your drama play thing"
Which I recorded. Alex is the best singer I know!
The girl shrugged and gave me a look that was half pitying and half exasperated. I continued with my loud protesting and threats to Andre and her neighbors and pet poodle but alas, I was ignored and the meeting was adjourned. Alex tried to get my attention to let me know she was going to third period and she'd see me later but I was too focused on what I could do to save the dance from certain doom. When I came out of my thoughts I found myself alone in some random hallway.
"I've really got to stop plotting while walking" I grumbled to myself "I'm gonna wind up in detention one of these days.." shaking my head I checked my reflection in this big mirror that just so happened to be propped up next to some lockers near a classroom. I think it was a psychology class and they were experimenting with luck or some nonsense. I thought I looked okay, not fat but not too skinny. Smooth brown skin with a bruise here and a scratch there from my recent werewolf related fight. Chocolate brown eyes and short curly black hair that wasn't messy. Yup. I could definitely sell a lie to the principal about being an innocent honor student who desperately needed to go to the dance.
Devious plan churning in my head I made to walk in the direction of the office when something slammed into me and knocked me to the ground.
It was at this very moment that my life would change forever.
Cliche? Yeah. But true.
Annoyed as all hell I looked up to see who knocked me down and drew breath to give he or she a very rude tongue lashing. Unfortunately it was a girl who had knocked me down and she was really...really hot.
She was blonde, my preference, hair falling down to her shoulders with blue eyes and dressed in a dark green sweater and black jeans. She was fair skinned and her face was heart shaped. Her vivid ocean blues stared past my eyes and saw into my soul (that's what it felt like at least) and all of the sudden my brain was assaulted with images.
A boy standing in front of a girl, yelling at someone. His arm was outstretched in front of the girl in a protective gesture.
The same boy and girl sitting on top of a clock tower, drinking milk-shakes and staring at the sunset.
The pair were watching fireworks at what looked like a flotilla.
The pair were locked in a tight embrace on a dark street. The boy was crying, begging the girl for something. The boy was yelling again at a large figure in front of him.
The boy and the girl and another boy were walking down a dirt path towards a huge castle. On either side of them was grass that sparkled in the moonlight. They were dressed in identical long black traveling coats.
I swore and clutched at my head as the images were replaced by voices, distorted so I couldn't tell who or what was speaking.
"In our world there's no such thing as a hero!"
"I won't be the reason why you die. Not again"
"In real life, people can't be put into nice, little categories of good or evil. Its about damn time you understood that!"
"I write these letters because they are the only thing that keeps me sane."
"You were wrong. I didn't forget you. I forgot what it was like to live without you"
"what are you trying to force us into now?"
"will you chose the path that is familiar, lit up by the moon?"
"Your heart was a shattered, diseased mess long before she came into the picture! It can't be changed!"
"or the path that is unfamiliar, covered by the darkness?"
"Its the best hot chocolate you'll ever drink!"
"I'm sorry but if you come after me i will never forgive you"
"She filled a hole in my heart that I never knew i had!"
"We're out of time. You have to die"
"You let her stab you on purpose didn't you?!"
"Everyone deserves to have someone special in their lives. Someone who takes away the pain and leaves joy. Even you"
"Were you not paying attention? Its all for nothing. I'm still here aren't I? That means that at the end of the day...you fail"
I gasped, sucking in a breath and sitting up. As the voices screamed in my ear I somehow wound up on the ground, clawing at my ears. I shook myself and leveled a glare at the girl
"and what the hell was that?" I growled. I wasn't sure how, but I knew she had something to do with..whatever that was.
She simply looked at me blankly
"I'm sorry" she whispered "But I have to kill you"
I couldn't even finish the thought before she was on me, a knife in her hand swinging at me so fast I'd have been skewered already if I wasn't..well..me.
Reflexively my hand shot out and wrapped around her wrist, stopping the blade before it could do anything more than put a hole in my shirt. With a growl I shot up to my feet and twisted her arm behind her, pulling her into me as the knife clattered to the ground. I hissed in her ear and applied some more pressure to the wrist I was holding, she whimpered in pain.
"I don't know who you are or what your problem is but you can't just go randomly trying to kill people!"
Another voice echoed through the hall, a baritone voice that made the hairs on my neck stand up
"Seriously. That's my schtick"
I shoved the girl hard and fell backwards as a crescent shaped blast of what seemed to be pure yellow energy passed right by where we were standing seconds before. It left a deep crack in the ground and the explosion it caused at the end of the hall was deafening. Dimly, in a small part of my mind, I knew that there was no way I was going to make it to the winter ball this year.
I turned to look and see what had sent a blast at us, at the same time trying to figure out an escape route. Whoever was attacking us had us backed into a corner! Muttering filled the hallway as people came out of their classes to investigate what had made that noise. I swore a second time and grabbed the blonde by the wrist, a wrist that would be bruised tomorrow, and yanked her behind me as I fled into the nearest classroom. It happened to be that Psychology class I mentioned earlier. I ran straight towards the window and leapt up on a desk so I could reach it better. The door slammed open behind me as I yanked at the blonde's arm
"Come ON!" I yelled "we need to go!"
She snapped out of her daze and glared at me
"You can't just pull me around like a..."
"THEN JUMP OUT THE DAMN WINDOW!" I screamed, an eye on the door, watching a figure walk into the room but not getting anything more than a glance as the girl shoved me off balance. Annoyed but still a little frightened (and I couldn't place why) I followed her out of the window and onto the grass outside. We ran, the parking lot just half a mile away. I didn't know where we were running but I knew that we had to put as much distance between ourselves and that school as possible.
It was weird. I'm never scared of an opponent. What in the world was wrong with me?
Something exploded in front of us and we skidded to a halt. Out of the flames caused by the attack stepped a woman dressed in a long black and gold military looking uniform. Her brown hair reaching her shoulders and green eyes alight with cruelty. I squinted.
It COULDN'T be..
"Alex?" I breathed
"Hello Jericho" she said "I'd forgotten that you used to be kind of cute"
I was staring death in the face but that didn't stop my heart from swelling. Alex thought I was cute!
"What are you doing here?! How are you here?!" the blonde was close to hysterics. Alex, who was all grown up for some reason, chuckled
"You can't run from us Ellie. Master always knows" she chided
There was that baritone voice again. I squinted as a figure came into view. He was dressed in a black and gold military uniform too but his was armor instead of mere cloth. His hair was black and curly like mine but cut shorter, almost shaved but not quite. In fact he looked just like me but older.
Oh and his pupils were slit. Irises golden. Plus he had a sword. A shining silver, gold and black broadsword. My head felt like it was about to split open, pain forcing me down on me knees as I clutched it with both hands. The man vanished and reappeared standing next to older!Alex. Ellie's eyes widened as blood burst out of her side like a geyser. She screamed and crumpled, the crimson liquid pooling under her. I found myself screaming too as the pain became almost unbearable
"Who...what...I don't understand!" I yelled "What's happening?!"
"There's no reason to be afraid Jericho" the man said "I'm not here to hurt you. Just had to tie up a loose end"
"Jericho" somehow the blonde could still talk. She stared up at me with pained blue eyes. I didn't know what to do! She was growing paler and paler. Clearly she was going to die soon if I did't do something! But what could I do? That was such a deep cut!
"Why would you do that to her?" I demanded "and why do you look like me? Why does that woman look like my friend? What's going ON?!"
"He's...you.." Ellie ground out "Thirteen years from now"
"...Jericho...grab my hand.."
I barely heard her. This man was...me?
"Grab my hand"
This man who was radiating evil and wrong was me? Future me? Alex...we're...no. No no no no. I'm not a bad guy and Alex is too nice to be evil. This must be some sort of mistake. A dream.
Tears were sliding down Ellie's cheeks now and she coughed. Looking pitiful.
"Little girls should keep their mouths shut" the man who couldn't be me said "Timelines aren't meant to be changed"
"Change? But how?" I looked over at him, head still pounding. She tried to kill me..probably to stop me from growing up into...that.
But she must be confused. That's not me.
"I can't hold on...take my hand...Jeri..cho.." she was clearly fighting to stay awake now. She had lost a lot of blood..too much blood.
"Just go back inside Jericho" Not!me said "This is all just a bad dream"
A bad dream. Yeah that's it. This was a dream and I was still inside math class or something. That made perfect sense!
The world stopped. I stared at the blonde who was dying right in front of my eyes. I looked at the man with the sword, who's eyes had widened in anger and...fear? Ellie had very clearly called me father. As in dad. As in my daughter from the future was dying right in front of me.
I pushed away the stray thought about how me, a black man, could conceive a white daughter and my body moved on its own.
I grabbed her hand just as she went limp. There was a flash of color and I was yanked off of my feet and before I knew it I was speeding through darkness.
My older self's rage filled roar fading away to nothingness behind me.
First chapter of my newest story. Read and comment!