A Thousand Threads Outside of Eternity
Author: Sarinom

Chapter 5
A Mirror Through Time

I remember once when she was thirteen, in 1907, Benjamin had moved the girls to New York City so he could begin his career as Chief Editor for the local newspaper. Benjamin had to work late that night, so he told the girls they would have to walk home by themselves. She and Molly were walking along the crowded sidewalk; I saw it coming long ago, but things were unclear this time, I could not separate past from future from present, it was like looking at a mirror through a mirror. Sometimes it was Cindy; sometimes it was Molly, sometimes neither or both, but someone is going to die today. I couldn’t just appear anywhere, there were just too many people. Walking through them was equally out of the question. It would probably kill them, like forcing something through a filter; I would separate their molecules as mine passed though them, rendering them a bloody mist. I had to push my way past the people before it was too late.

A wealthy bank owner lit a cigar as he cruised down the road towards the bustling intersection in his new Ford Model-T. He whistled his usual tune as he drove merrily down the road. Before he came to a complete stop, a window of opportunity presented itself in the form of a gap of people walking across the road. He shrugged and stepped on the throttle.

“Ahh, to hell with it, this line of people always gets me. You only live once. Honey, I’m comin’ home early today!” He accelerated to around thirty miles per hour, gripping his cigar with his teeth.

At the same time, Cindy and Molly arrive at the intersection. They didn’t keep walking though, for some reason they stop. If they stop, then why did I see them keep walking in the future? Things weren’t adding up, in every future I saw, they kept walking. I look back up to the intersection, there was the man in the dark overcoat; He just appeared out of nowhere.  He was standing in the gap, reading a newspaper, the man in the car was too close to stop; he swerved to the right, in the direction of Molly and Cindy. People began to scatter, seeing the man barreling towards them in the car.  The girls were trapped in the stampede and in the confusion of the moment, separated. Something had to be done, but I was still too far away and I couldn’t find a closer place to appear without arousing suspicion. I saw the man, now out of the path of danger, turn towards me and for the first time reveal his face to me. He was looking directly at me, with a smile. This was too much but I couldn’t leave, I figured people were so frenzied, they wouldn’t notice me.

To you, time would seem as though it has stopped, but really, I just chose this particular moment to stay in. I was behind the man now, in what used to be the gap. He was as still as the rest of the world.

“Who are you?”  I said aloud as I walked around his static figure. His dark coat had rain spots on it, but it was a perfectly sunny day. “Who are you?” I said again louder, as if he would answer. I looked down to the newspaper in his hand, it read: Japan Surrenders. “Who are you!?” I shouted as I reached for the newspaper, but to my surprise, he was gripping it. I looked at his face, searching for answers; it has been so long since I have felt confusion like this.

 He blinked.

“You should try using your inside voice, especially being that close to my ear.”

“Who are you?”

“Oh, come on, you shouldn’t have to ask that.”

“What? Who are you?”

“Really, you’re going to ask me that after I specifically said that it was a pointless question? Instead you should ask what I am not. That, my friend I can answer.” His deep voice crackled as he snatched the newspaper from my frozen grip.

“Answer it then.”

“No, I don’t like your attitude.” He pointed at the car, sideways skidding towards the crowd on two wheels. I followed as he slowly moved his aim towards the group of pedestrians. Even as statues, you could almost feel the terror. His finger stopped on Cindy; there she was, trapped between a man’s briefcase and a woman’s leg. “Get Cindy.”

“But then…”

“Shut up— get Cindy.”

I didn’t have time to respond, things were back in motion again and I heard the car skidding towards the people again; they only had seconds. I hear Cindy scream and her eyes met mine. She smiled as the car made contact with a body making a muted thud and sending blood spraying over the crowd. I was stuck in her gaze as another two bodies met the side-panel of the car. It was Cindy’s turn next but I couldn’t allow myself to save her. I blinked but when I opened my eyes she wasn’t there, she was in my arms. The car blew through the crowd sending people flying and leaving behind a set of bloody tire marks, but Cindy was safe in my arms.

“Daddy” she whispered. It sounded more like a question to me.

I shook my head as I pushed her back. “No, you must be confused.”

Cindy stepped back reluctantly. “You’re my guardian angel?”

“No, no angels. Run along little girl.”

“Did you save Molly too?” she smiled turning to see if Molly was alright. She wasn’t, she was dead; her neck had been broken. “Oh no, Molly!” She rushed over and scooped up Molly’s mangled and lifeless body.

Molly had found safety, but then went back to get Cindy when she realized that they had been separated. They both would have died.

“Daddy you can save her” Cindy’s desperate cry was distorted by her tears and the screams of others.

I couldn’t let her see me again, I turned around but the man wasn’t there, his newspaper fluttered in the breeze. I picked it up and decided to go see Tanaka-san.

           

As usual, Tanaka-San wasn’t paying attention. He was busy studying his watch.

“Excuse me sir, may I have the time?” I said approaching slowly.

He jumped at the sound of my voice but quickly calmed himself, “You kind of startled me for a moment. But sure, it is seven forty-eight.” He looked up at me with a kind smile and went back to fidgeting with his things. He seemed less anxious this time; he was also wearing a red tie instead of his customary black one.

“Well, it looks like we’re both waiting for the bank to open…It’s a nice day isn’t it?”

 

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