Chapter XLIV

The concept of time has long been a subject of study in many areas of philosophy, religion, and science. The Greek philosophers were concerned with understanding the concept of eternity, while Christian theologians considered time to be linear and directional, beginning with God’s act of creation and ending with the “end time”, while physicists around the world agree that time was one of the strangest properties of the universe.

Time itself is a paradox, an illusionary human construct. It is a structure of measure that human beings experience in a linear fashion though its nature is fluid without any true boundaries. The separation of past, present, and future is imaginary as all events occur simultaneously though at different vibrational frequencies. It is only the shifting of an individual’s perspective that creates the linear timeline, the boundary between what occurred, what’s occurring, and what will occur. It is only the individual’s thought that creates time itself and the moment in which that individual ceases thought; time also stops.

It is due to the natural fluidity of time that allows individuals to slip from one point in linear time to another; from present to past or from present to future. This traveling happens spontaneously when the individual blanks their mind at the precise moment they touch something that holds the echo of a past memory. It is important to note that there are some individuals more inclined to experience these time slips than others and that there are places on the planet that possess the precise conditions and setting to trigger the appearance of a vortex or doorway to another time and place.

The perceived barriers that have kept humankind locked into their reality are more easily broken than one might imagine, it just takes one individual to recognize the ease in which the boundaries can be removed, and to embrace the ability to do so that will grant them a power the rest of humanity can only fantasize about.

As I opened my eyes the light from outside filtered in through the window sending playful rays of sunlight dancing across the carpet. I kicked the bedcovers off and sat up. Lifting my head off the pillow took effort and as I sat upright in bed the room seemed to tilt and spin so I allowed myself to fall back onto the bed. What time was it? By the light spilling in from outside I surmised that it was morning; a glimpse at the digital clock on my bedside table confirmed it: 8:10. I closed my eyes and lay motionless on my bed. I felt groggy and my thoughts were jumbled. I couldn’t recollect what had happened the night before. I searched my mind for the last memory that was skulking in the recesses of my brain. After a few moments an image of Chloe leaning over me, her eyes white and completely absent of an iris or pupil, along with the sensation of her hands gripping mine flashed through me. Above us, where the ceiling should have been, swirled a funnel of energy and sound; the voice of the Ancestors’ chanting in an ancient language and just moments from reaching the crescendo of their spell echoed within my head.

I shivered as I reopened my eyes and swung my legs over the side of the bed. Glancing down at myself I noticed that I was wearing my favorite black “Ew, people” tee shirt and flannel pajama bottoms, but when had I changed? How had I gotten into bed? I couldn’t remember; it was as if someone had wiped my memory, but although I was at a loss as to what had happened, I had an overwhelming feeling of dread. I knew something terrible had occurred. I knew I had experienced something awful, something I never wanted to experience, but something I was incapable of stopping. The memory was there … a wisp of a thought, like the memory of a dream hours after awakening. Well, perhaps it was just a dream. Could it be that I was just searching for something that was illusionary and not an experience in reality? Was that at all possible?

I gingerly placed my bare feet on the carpet, but made no move to stand. I was missing something. Whatever happened was significant and it was essential that I remembered. Okay Angie, think. What do you remember?

Chloe! Yes, Chloe! I remember that Chloe was over the house and we were hanging out and talking. We were sharing secrets about our abilities. Yes, right. And then we ate pizza. But it wasn’t just her and I, we were with someone else … who was there with us? Someone … oh, right Dan. Yes, yes, I remember! Daniel came home because he was expelled from school. Good. Okay, this is good. I’m getting somewhere with this … okay so then he went upstairs and Chloe went home and I was looking for something … no, not something … someone. Right. I was walking through the foyer and into the morning parlor looking for … Fuck!

I jumped up from my bed, yanked opened my bedroom door, and escaped the confines of my bedroom. My mind was whirling with distressing images and thoughts as I scampered through the upstairs hallway passing Mother’s numerous antique curio cabinets. The thumps of my inpatient foot falls shook the glassware and delicate figurines that were set on the shelves inside the cabinets, but fortunately nothing tumbled over and broke because if anything had I would have never heard the end of it from Mother. As I passed my brother’s room I glanced through the opened doorway attempting to validate the memory I had of his return home, but the room was vacant. Had it been a false memory, a hallucination?  I held my breath as I stepped over the threshold and peered around the room searching for any indication that he was actively staying there. The bed was neatly made, appearing as if no one had slept in it, and there was the absence of dirty clothing on the floor; no shoes near the bed. The dresser stood as it had since Daniel left for school lacking any personal items, but tucked underneath the straight back chair near the window was the cardboard box I recalled him carrying upstairs, and sitting on the chair was his neatly folded duffle bag. Though the items confirmed my memory they threw me into a deeper panic. If the memory of Daniel being home was a truth and not a dream then was what I feared about my aunt true as well?

I raced down the stairs forcing myself to take only one step at a time, knowing that in my frantic state it would be easy for me to miscalculate a step and stumble down the staircase, possibly breaking a bone or two. I was reluctant to visit any hospital at the moment in fear that I would be admitted against my will. It was possible that I had completely lost my grip on reality … again. I cleared my mind and focused on my breathing, allowing the caress of the banister against the palm of my hand and the sensation of the carpet against the soles of my feet to calm me. By the bottom of the steps I was feeling less hysterical, but still unsettled. I walked through the foyer with the expectation of discovering some ghastly indications that an unspeakable event had occurred, but found that nothing was out of place. I walked by the open door way to the morning parlor. The room was vacant; there was no one sitting on the Queen Anne sofa. I felt my eyes water.

“Aunt Rachel?” I whispered into the silent room. There was no response.

A lump formed in my throat as I attempted to hold back my tears. Fear gripped my insides and twisted. I knew that I wouldn’t find Aunt Rachel in the parlor, but I couldn’t remember how I knew. Something was not right, but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was that was so wrong, but there was something. I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t remember what had happened the night before, but the feelings associated with the lost memories lingered within me. My head was cloudy and the fact that I couldn’t recall events scared the shit out of me even more. Was it possible I blanked it out because it was so traumatic?

I turned away from the parlor and walked towards the sound of the voices I heard coming from the kitchen. Someone was having breakfast, perhaps it was Daniel. Hopefully he knew what had transpired and could tell me what it was I didn’t recollect. I pushed open the swinging door and walked through. I felt a sense of relief as I saw my brother sitting at the counter with a bowl of cereal and glass of orange juice in front of him. He loudly chewed a mouthful of shredded wheat and looked up at me as I entered the kitchen. Our eyes met and for a brief moment I saw something there … anguish perhaps?

“Dan,” I said as I approached the counter eager to interrogate him.

“Good morning, Sweetheart.”

My brother wasn’t alone in the kitchen.

“How are you feeling?” his kitchen companion asked me.

“I’m …” I began, but the words that followed caught in my throat.

What was she doing here? I didn’t understand. I looked over to my brother hoping for some indication that I was a hallucinating her or that I was trapped in a lucid dream, but he didn’t look at me, his focus was on the contents of the ceramic bowl in front of him. His spoon loudly tapped the bottom as he scooped up the cereal and shoved it into his opened mouth. I pinched my arm hoping to regain consciousness, but everything in the room remained unchanged.

“Angie?” she asked with apprehension.

“I’m groggy,” I admitted.

I didn’t have to lie. It was true. I strained to make sense of her appearance in our kitchen, but my brain was having difficulty in rectifying her identity with her presence as it attempted to fit together the pieces of some absurd puzzle that I had been given by the universe to figure out. What was she doing here?

“Rachel warned us that you might sleep later than usual,” she explained before sipping from the blue ceramic mug she held in her hands. “But it’s a nice surprise to see you up and about before noon.”

I was overwhelmed with relief at the mention of my aunt’s name.

“Aunt Rachel. You saw her?” I asked. “Where is she?”

I walked towards the archway leading to the dining room hoping to find her sitting at the table having breakfast. I had so many questions for her and I knew that she’d be able to help me sort through this morning’s craziness. She had been there with me and Daniel and Chloe yesterday so I assumed that she would be able to clarify what had transpired in the evening, which would easily fill in the gaps of my memory.

“Well, I imagine she’s home by now,” explained my Mother as she set her mug on the counter and retrieved a clean glass from the cabinet. “She left a few hours after your father and I arrived home.”

“Oh.”

Shit! I was disappointed that I was unable to speak with her, but decided that I would call her later in the day. I walked over to the counter and slid myself onto an empty stool as my Mother filled the glass with orange juice and placed it before me on the counter.

“When did you get in?” I asked, before taking a gulp of the tangy juice.

My parents had left Friday for a week vacation in the Bahamas so I was curious as to why they were home so early. Two days was not nearly enough time for them to work on and resuscitate their dying marriage. They had a lot shit to work through: Dad’s feelings of inadequacy, Mother’s affair with Mr. Morrell, her lack of compassion about my Dad’s burden as sole financial support, and the stress I brought to their marriage. I had my doubts that even a full week would have been enough time to set everything right between them.

“They came in last night,” Daniel mumbled through a mouthful of cereal.

Last night? Really? They were only gone for two days? That hardly seemed right. In fact it seemed like a colossal waste of time. The flight from T.F. Green to Freeport must have taken close to six hours, which really didn’t leave much time for them to spend in the Bahamas if they were already home. Something must have happened between them.

“Our flight from Charlotte was delayed otherwise we would’ve been home earlier,” she explained as she brought her mug to the sink and rinsed it out.

“Where’s Dad?” I questioned, curious as to his demeanor and hoping he wasn’t too angry. I wondered if this was truly the end of my parents’ marriage, and if it was, what would that mean for me? I really wished Aunt Rachel was still at the house. I glanced over at my brother who was staring back at me in the most peculiar way. What was his problem?

“He’s upstairs sleeping in,” explained my Mother. She gestured to Daniel’s bowl. “Would you like some cereal?”

There was no way I could eat anything, my stomach was churning and the orange juice wasn’t settling well. I shook my head, “No.”

Daniel stood from his stool and brought his empty bowl and glass to the kitchen sink. I studied him as rinsed off his dishes under running water and loaded them along with Mother’s mug into the dish washer. I wondered if he had spoken with our parents about his expulsion from school, but realized that he might not have had an opportunity. As I observed the interaction between them I could almost guarantee that he had yet to disclose the damning information.

“So, why did you and Dad come home so early?” I asked.

It was an honest question and I wanted to be able to prepare myself for any unpleasantness that might be lingering on the horizon. I didn’t adjust well to changes in my routine. I find solace in structure and the unknown makes me extremely anxious. I already could foresee unconformability and stress once Daniel informed our parents of his expulsion and I wanted some understanding of what I would be dealing with if my parents were estranged and their marriage was inevitably ending with divorce.

Mother crossed her arms and glared at me. “How many doses of Klonopin have you skipped?”

“Why?” I demanded. “What does that have to do with you cutting your vacation short?”

“Angie!” she slammed her palms down onto the granite counter top. Her multiple rings clicked against the stone. “I don’t have the patience to go through this again with you again. You cannot skip any doses of your medications. Do you understand me, Angie?”

Daniel looked at me from his position by the sink. Our eyes met and as he held my gaze I saw the same look in his eyes that I had seen when I first entered the kitchen. I realized that I was missing some important piece of information that I should possess.

“What day is it?” I questioned ignoring my Mother’s demand for a response about my medication.

“It’s Saturday,” she stated. “Now go upstairs and take your medication.”

Saturday? But how could that be? How could I have no memory of the last five days?

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