[Short Story] Alternation

[Writing Prompt] A powerful entity attempts to stop your suicide by showing you what the world would be like if you had never been born.

Author Note: The last line of that prompt was needlessly bleak so I opted to ignore it. Enjoy. 

The thread connecting me to this realm would soon sever. The gas would fill the garage soon and my lungs will stop working against me. This would soon free people of the social infection that is me. They have no need of me and they are much better off without me.

“But that’s where you’re wrong Connor.” A woman dressed in a goofy T-shirt and paper-shredded jeans spoke from the back of my car.

“This is what I get for going off my medication…. A hallucination…” I laugh. The woman shakes her head. She teleports into the passenger seat and turns off the car. I raise my arm to try to stop her, but she pins me to the chair with her other hand.

“You took your medication this morning Connor. I’m not a hallucination.” She places her legs on lap, resting her head outside the window. “I’m your guardian angel, higher ups think I’ve done a poor job.”

I start laughing. She grimaces. “Leave me alone.” I say.

“No.” She lifts her head up to stick her tongue out at me.

We sit in silence for a few moments, unsure of what to say or do. I reach for the car ignition but she kicks my hand away. “Don’t.”

“Why not?” I almost carve my lower lip with my teeth.

“You haven’t achieved your purpose yet.” She fumbles around in her pockets

“Purpose?” I ask. She takes out a cigarette to start smoking. I cough. “ Can you not?”

“Not telling and no. I need the stress relief for what’s about to come.” She takes a long drag and blows square smoke rings at me. “Tell you what, it’ll be easier on both of us if you just not throw your life away and I can go back to my games. Sound good?”

“No one would miss me.” She sighs at what I said. A heavy one. She facepalms at me.

“Looks like we’re doing this the hard way. Alright. Come with me you little shit.” She’s not wrong… Raising her hand, everything in sight distorts and the light of the world collapses into a single focal point. I see a younger man that looks like my dad on his knee proposing to a woman who suspiciously looks like my mom. The environment is all in sepia tone.

If I were to describe what being teleported to the past was like, it’d be like playing basketball with your own head. Cool in theory, painful in practice.

“Let’s change the event. She didn’t accept and they parted ways.” Mom shakes her head and apologizes to Dad. With a flick of the Angel’s wrist, time fast forwards to 1998, when I should’ve been born. Dad’s running a multi-million business. Mom’s a doctor.

Fast forward to 2003, when I should be five. Hey that’s Lee! He’s my best friend. Man, Lee was the coolest guy. All the girls wanted him by the time we were teens. Mr Star Quarterback still hanging out with pathetic, weird, socially inept Connor.

Wait, why’re the kids picking on him? This is wrong… Those are supposed to be his friends!

Fast forward to 2006, Lee is socially awkward. He talks with a stutter. Everyone hates him.

2009: His dad lost his job. Taking up drinking. Oh no…

2012: Lee should join the football team by now. He doesn’t. All the things that happened to me are happening to him.

2013: He’s fifteen and going out with Laura. That’s a bad idea. She’ll gut you like a fish Lee! Why can’t you see that!

2016: He’s proposed to Laura.

2018: They divorced. Lee’s taken up drinking. Just like I did.

“Stop.” I beg.

“Do you see now? Your death will only push the events that will happen regardless to someone else.” She lowers her hand. Time remains frozen.

“But I’m not asking to not be born. I’m just asking to stop ruining people’s lives…”

“Boss… why do you give the hard ones…” She mutters under her breath. She rubs her temple. “Connor. Let me show you what happens if you succeed in your endeavor to kill yourself. I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.” She waves her right arm in a half-circle arc from left to right. The sepia tone changes to a red tint and we’re observing me filling garage with car exhaust. A headache starts to grow within me.

2023: Funeral for me. Mom’s crying. Dad’s on the verge of a mental break. Jessica is consoling Lee. Laura is there. Why is she there? I thought she was done with me.

2025: Dad’s business is failing. Mom’s been sued for malpractice.

2027: Lee and Jessica divorce. Something about how he can’t look at her without seeing me. Hey, don’t break my sister’s heart asshole!

2029: My short films are discovered by Mom. Hah! Laugh it up Mom, your son was a shit director. She smiles at my worst film. She grabs Dad and they watch it together. They enjoy it. They pop in another after another.

2030: They sent them to Hollywood…

The Angel freezes time once more. “Spoilers.”

“Is that my purpose? To make shit films for a living? It’s impossible to make it in Hollywood.”

“Notice their smiles when they watched it Connor. Notice their warmth. You gave them that. You.”

“….” I breathe out. Tears run down my face one at a time.

“Let’s go back. You have a life ahead of you to live. Don’t waste it.”


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