The growing shadows across her wall indicated the days closure, and as she stood to close her curtains in preparation for the night she stared longingly into the darkness when her phone suddenly buzzed, flashing with a notification. Her heart sank into the pit of her stomach, and suddenly the room seemed to have gotten much darker. The pattern of her breath halted irregularly, and she began to hear the dull rush of blood in her ears as it drained from her face. She gingerly fished the device out of her pocket, a slight tremble taking over her wrist. The light of the screen illuminated her icy skin and she sighed in an uncertain relief. It was only a reminder to set the clocks forward. That was all. She had known this part would be the worst of it, the waiting, but now there was nothing she could do. Nothing in the world but wait. It was later that night when she finally retired to bed, a few minutes of stricken silence preluding her eventual uneasy slumber.
She jolted awake to the sound of her alarm, and was surprised to see the glow of a summers sun resting in a thin slice across her room. Her feet stung with a sharp cold as she clambered out of bed, and yet the restricting warmth of her duvet was equally as unappealing. She stood for a moment, staring accusingly out at the bright day laid ahead for her. It was January for Christs sake. The playful hues lit by the days luminosity seemed glaring and exposing. Yesterdays sorrowful cast had far better hidden the unease and panic she was feeling, and the sudden change in atmosphere seemed ironic, even purposeful. Maybe she had set the clocks to far ahead? It was a Sunday, and so it hardly should have mattered to her either way, but the need for grounding herself in reality reached out for her phone left forgotten on the windowsill and turned it on. It read; Tuesday, 7th of June, 2020.
The first few days were frantic. Confusion chased disbelief before running to daunting realisation. She had, in fact, woken up five months into the future. And she had no means to go back. It took her three days to completely settle, after hours upon hours of panicked calls and tears she finally seemed to have accepted that there was little to be done. Life seemed to have gone on typically enough, and after learning of the small changes and fractures that had occurred and calming the friends and family she had questioned, she was pleased enough to move on with hopes that such a thing would never happen again. It was on the fourth day that this newfound solace was disrupted, once again. And it all began with a text.
It was with determination and purpose that she left the following day. Each powerful step pushing the hysterical dread further and further into the back of her mind. She knew that there was no time for waterworks or pleading, only confidence and assurance could save her now. However she couldn’t prevent her thoughts from racing as she made her journey. What could she say? How could she convince him not to talk? It had been five months to be sure, but the painful understanding of the coincidental event that brought her here would not yet cross her conscious until it would be too late. All she could focus on now was talking to him. And assuring that it could all be over with.
She couldn’t think. She couldn’t breathe. As tears rolled slowly down her cheek all she could do was stare. Stare in horror. In abjection. In fury. Betrayal and hurt bound her where she stood, and it wasn’t until the realisation of what was to come hit her, that she began to flee. Again she moved with purpose, determination; but whereas before she stormed to march ahead from her problems, now she ran from them. She was across the street and through the corridor and to her room before the front door had that chance to close, and yet she was out the door again, bangs in hands, rhyme and reason left behind. Within an instant her car was up and running and she was on her way, to seal her fate.
It seemed as though her eyes hadn’t closed for even a second when the siren call of her alarm pulled her out of unconsciousness. This time she didn’t immediately jump up. Instead she froze, tightly bound in the warmth and familiarity of her home. She knew at once what had happened, unlike before, and yet the fear of the unknown held her fast, and it was another minute until she was able to turn and switch off her alarm. Wearily she looked over to her phone. She didn’t want to check, yet she knew she had to. The only comfort she could bring herself was that she had awoken in her room, and not behind bars. She tapped the screen; Sunday, January 7th, 2020. She cried.
Later that day she arrived back home. The nightmare was yet to end, and she stared blankly at her reflection in the mirror before turning the tap, watching the violent red wash away. If only she had awoken in the past, three days earlier was all she would have needed, but she had known it wouldn’t be that simple, she knew it wasn’t what was meant for her. So she moved, slowly, methodically, driven by none of her prior conviction, only fear. She worked through the night, washing, cleaning, doing all that she could in attempt to ease her mind. He was dead now too, and whilst the sight of him lifeless wracked her with nausea, she could only see his death as necessary; as it was for her to keep concealed, invisible to justice. It wasn’t till late next afternoon that she finally fell into the dead of sleep, self-convinced that she could finally rest in ease.