Chapter I: An Encounter to Change Everything

It was a stormy day. The kind of eerie night that hints at the fact that something was wrong, or rather that something would go wrong. Nonetheless, it was the first Saturday of spring break, and one of the biggest parties of the year. It was my senior year of high school and there wasn't any way I was going to miss it. I was running out of time for making memories with my high school friends. Most of them were going to attend college in different cities and some were even going to different states. I knew it was inevitable that I was going to grow apart from most of my friends, who have majorly impacted my life for several years. I was incredibly excited to go to this party, and kick it with my friends for one of the last times. If I'd only known what was going to happen, If I'd only known what I was going to do, I would have stayed home.

Today is a bright and vibrant April day, the kind of day that shows after several stormy days, the kind of day that teases the idea of summer but will soon turn back to gray. There was a slight, refreshing breeze, sending hushed whispers through the trees. My neighborhood sounded as it usually did, with an occasional zipping of a car and bark of a dog. I drowned all of this out with my earbuds, playing emotional rap music, helping me escape from the world inside my own thoughts. I began on my normal walking path around my neighborhood. I tend to listen to music and go for a walk whenever I want time to think to myself. I've been doing it a lot lately. The walk seemed to be normal, the way it always goes. My mind turns, replaying moments I regret and what I would do differently if I could go back to those times. It seems I'm always looking to my past, wanting a reset on everything more than anything. I come to 5th street, a usually busy road that leads to an elementary school and a park. I stand to the side of the street, waiting for car to pass. Suddenly, the car comes to an abrupt stop before passing me. It seemed weird, the speed limit on this street was 25 mph, and the car stopped instantly, without any squeak that could be heard through my earphones. I waited a few seconds, but the car stayed in place, as if it hit an invisible wall. I unplug my earphones and walk towards the car. As I grew closer, I stopped, realizing the dead silence all around me. I haven't felt any wind for awhile either. The car wasn't the only thing that stopped. Everything did. I was struck with amazement and fear at the same time. I froze, looking around me to see any motion. I jumped when I heard a distant voice.

"Hello, Jackson."

The voice sounded friendly, yet superior and amused.

"Hello..?"

My greeting was more a wavering question.

"It comes to my attention that you have a wish." He says.

I disregard his statement, my mind full of questions. "Who are you? What are you?"

He responds in a dismissal manor, "Eh, names aren't important. I guess you could say I'm an angel of sorts. That kind of just depends on what you believe, I guess. But I'm not here to talk about myself. I know of your past, Jackson. I know you want to go back to fix what happened."

I was speechless. I've never told anyone about what happened. How could he possibly know? I gathered courage to respond, "What are you talking about?" My words formed a question, but my voice sounded weak like a whimper.

The voice laughed for several seconds before responding

"Oh come on, Jackson. I've told you already, I'm an angel, you know one of those all-powerful beings? I know your thoughts, I know who you are and what you've done ever since your conception. There's no point in hiding anything from me. I know what happened, and I know you want to change that. I'm here to give you a chance."

I was dumbfounded.

"What do you mean?" I asked.

His voice was full of amusement.

"I mean I'm here to let you rewrite your past. Sheesh, I didn't think I made it too hard to understand. I'll make your dream come true, but first you have to make a deal. I'll give you what you want, if and only if you can complete a list of tasks I have from the higher ups. I have to warn you, it won't be easy. There will be many times you will be faced with death. You can decline and I'll erase your memory of all of this. You will continue your walk without remembering any of this happened. The decision is yours to make."

I stood there for several seconds contemplating what was happening. Eventually, I gathered myself to ask the voice a question.

"I can go back? I can fix things?"

He answered, "Yes, but only if you have the willpower to succeed in all of your tasks. So, what do you say?"

I find resolve in myself. No matter what is in front of me, even if it kills me, that death would be welcomed, if it meant I didn't have to life every day with this regret.

"I'll do it."

Suddenly, a man appears in front of me, between the time of a blink. The man, or rather teenager, has shaggy black hair and dark eyes, full of intelligence and a sort of cocky excitement, as if everything that has happened was exactly as he planned. He was dressed like a normal teenager, blue jeans with a black jacket.

He extends his arm out to me, looking for a handshake. "We have a deal then?"

I put my hands in his. I don't care what happens, as long as I have a chance to change everything.

"Deal."