The Calendar

Submitted into Contest #118 in response to: Set your story during a sudden change of season.... view prompt

4 comments

Fantasy Fiction Horror

Leaves blew down the sidewalk on the chilly fall day. Devin shoved his hands in his coat pockets to help them warm up a bit. He cursed himself for not wearing a thicker jacket, being that it was much colder than he anticipated.

Yet even the cold wouldn’t completely ruin Devin’s mood. He needed this breath of fresh air before the big presentation he’d be giving later that day. Just thinking about it gave him anxiety, but he stopped that train of thought quickly by looking at his surroundings.

Not too far down the city block was a little antique store squished between two larger buildings. It looked out of place with its dirty red bricks and worn-down sign that read “Mary’s Antique Shop.” The windows were slightly tinted, though it looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in years.

Compared to the tall buildings next to the little shop that were large white brick, one with elegant architecture that people paid close attention to. They were corporate owned businesses with the money for flair.

How the little antique shop was still in business after all these years was beyond Devin’s understanding. Especially given its state, it was a wonder if anyone ever visited such a store. And with that in mind, Devin decided to enter the shop, thinking it would give him the distraction he needed while also answering his curiosity.

The door dinged as it creaked open, slamming shut behind Devin causing him to jump. He wasn’t expecting the door to swing back so forcefully, but upon observing the place, it fit with the rest of the items in there.

Knick knacks were strewn about, hung off the ceiling and attached to the walls. Wooden shelving units held a random assortment of items from toys to books, having no organization whatsoever. Near the back were larger items such as an old piano that looked like it was on its last years at best, a wooden table holding other miscellaneous items, and a television that was from the 1970s.

Devin wondered around the store amazed by what he saw, feeling like he stepped back in time. Walking the aisles, he held up various items to check condition, seeing whether or not they were in anyway purchasable. For most items, sadly not. Whoever ran the store didn’t keep anything in good condition, the building included.

He made his way to the back of the store, observing the larger items up close. The piano had keys missing and several strings were cut. The table was badly splintered with more items in worthless condition. And the television didn’t even have a back half to it that gave it any functionality. Devin didn’t understand if this was a store or a trash heap.

“Hello?” Devin called out, realizing he didn’t see any employees manning the store. No one answered him, even after a couple more attempts. Whoever worked here was either deaf or not in, which confused Devin as to why the store was open then.

Devin wandered to the back of the store, towards the only door there. He cracked it open, immediately bombarded by a rotten smell that was mixed with sulfur. The room was dark but upon flicking the light on, which flickered randomly, Devin saw a small empty office. It looked like it hadn’t been used in a long time. The only thing to note was the weird symbol painted in red on the wall right above the desk. Devin didn’t recognize it as anything in particular but still felt off by its presence.

Not able to stand the smell anymore, Devin closed the door and walked back through the store towards the front door. He had had enough of the place, still unsure what the point of it was doing here. It was clear the building was an old antique store, but it didn’t look in business anymore, nor did it look like it belonged in this year.

Nearing the front door, Devin noticed a calendar in his peripheral vision. Though it looked old and the pages slightly torn, the date showed the current year, including the current month of November. Devin walked over to it, looking at the images of shadow people staring back at him on the page above the month. The was in a forest under a purple sky. Devin didn’t recognize the picture from anything but was intrigued by it, if not frightened.

He flipped to the next month, December, seeing a similar picture of the shadow people on a simple background. That was when Devin noticed the same strange symbol from the office on the page, in the upper right corner of the picture.

Devin flipped again to January, seeing a similar picture and the same symbol. The room felt colder now than before, and Devin looked outside instinctively to gawk at the snowfall. It was still autumn in his mind, still November, and though it was possible for snowfall in November where he lived, it was usually near the end of the month, not the beginning.

Furthermore, the snowfall was heavy, covering at least a foot. How Devin didn’t take note of this sooner, nor how it fell so quickly baffled him. In fact, Devin could have sworn that before he was about to leave, before seeing the calendar, there was no snow on the ground. It didn’t make sense.

Devin looked back at the calendar, having a ridiculous thought about it. He flipped to February, then March, looking outside as he did so. The snow melted rapidly before his eyes while rain took its place. People strolled by, faster that humanly possible while cars looked to be flying. Then everything slowed too normal.

Devin stood there, jaw as low as it could go, staring outside at the absurdity of what he was witnessing. He cracked the front door, peering outside to verify the world really was in March, not November. He wondered whether the windows were a trick, but they were not.

Backing inside, Devin went to the calendar and flipped a few more pages to make it to June. The rain stopped and heat soaked the area, causing Devin to feel warm in his light jacket. People walked in typical summer clothing as they went about their days like nothing was wrong. Devin just stared.

He stared for a long while, contemplating over his discovery. He wondered if he were simply crazy. Nothing made sense to him anymore. Time itself just changed the way it worked, or it always worked this way and Devin just discovered it.

He didn’t know what to do with the information he had. Telling people might make them accuse him of being ridiculous, but something like this couldn’t be passed up. He had to try. Taking the calendar with him, Devin rushed out of the store, leaving the world in June as he planned his next move.

It took time but eventually Devin found himself an audience with a company that specialized in technological innovation. He didn’t know where else to turn, if his discovery is science or fantasy come to life. Anything at this point felt worth it so he turned to the first group that would grant him an audience.

“Hello,” Devin said, “My name is Devin Lock. I have discovered something truly remarkable.”

“Hello Devin,” one of the board members said, “Please, tell us what you found.”

Devin revealed the calendar.

“A calendar?” another man asked, looking puzzled.

“Not just any calendar,” Devin began, “This one can move us forward and potentially back in time.”

“That is how calendars work,” the same man said.

Devin realized the explanation wasn’t enough, “No, what I mean it is literally can teleport us ahead in time. It was just November for me, and I flipped through this calendar to June and now it’s June.”

The group looked at each other, still completely confused by Devin’s claims. He knew they didn’t believe him, and he was prepared for that.

“Here, watch,” Devin said. Once everyone was looking, Devin started on June, the current month now, and flipped several pages to September, when fall would start.

At first nothing happened, which worried Devin. He looked outside to see if leaves were falling, but they weren’t. Devin flipped a few more pages to December. The outside still showed beautiful sunshine without snow in sight. Devin checked his phone which read it was 75 degrees outside, and that the month was still in fact June.

“Any day now Devin,” said a woman behind him.

Devin didn’t look back, he just stared outside for what felt like an eternity. He didn’t even object when security eventually came in and escorted him out. His expression never changed. Confusion.

Days went by after Devin’s humiliation. He didn’t know what to do with himself. Time forwarded for him. He missed his presentation by months. The company he worked for fired him. He had nothing but his apartment that was long overdue and about to evict him.

This calendar was his focus, his obsession. He thought he had something.

“You’re going back,” he said to the calendar, as if it would understand him. “We’re going back. I have to make this right.”

Devin took the calendar and marched back to the antique store. It looked as run down as it did when he first laid eyes on it. Devin walked in, calling out for the owner to see if they were around, but to no avail.

He placed the calendar back on the wall where it originally was. Then…he flipped the dates back, all the way to November when he first discovered this filthy place. Once there, Devin looked outside as he took out his phone. The outside looked right. There were leaves on the ground. And for confirmation, his phone read the correct date.

Relieved, Devin pushed on the front door to head out, but it didn’t budge. He pushed harder with no give to the door, as if it was glued in place. Devin called out to the people walking past, smacking on the door for their attention. No one looked over.

 He turned around in frustration, determined to use the items in the store to break the windows if he had to. He had enough of the place for a lifetime.

Devin stopped abruptly when he saw the shadow people standing all around him. They didn’t have any expressions to their black voided faces, but two white eyes staring back at him. They floated a half a foot off the ground. There was also a sudden ice-cold chill to the room.

Devin tried to take a step back but couldn’t as his body pressed up again the front door. He remained speechless, unable to form words.

“Devin,” one of the shadows said, though the voice echoed all around him, so it was impossible to tell who said it. Instead, Devin kept looking between them all.

“You have broken the rules Devin,” said the same echo.

“Wha- what rules?” Devin said, his voice shaking.

“You may go forward,” the voice replied, “But you can never go back.”

“What?”

“Time cannot be changed once it has happened. You will face judgement now for your foolishness.”

Before Devin could say anymore to defend himself, the shadows covered the distance between them and Devin in less than a second. He felt a spike of ice shoot though his body and the last thing he heard was a scream off in the distance. 

November 05, 2021 17:25

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4 comments

Liz Stoeber
20:48 Nov 11, 2021

Great concept!! Enjoyed the read.

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Zachary Seda
00:39 Nov 12, 2021

Thank you Liz, I'm happy you enjoyed reading it!

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Raul Munoz
03:02 Nov 11, 2021

that was great

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Zachary Seda
18:25 Nov 11, 2021

Thank you Raul! I'm glad you liked it!

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