Alex’s grandmother was an interesting character to say the least. Her house was furnished with strangely patterned furniture. She would always wear gigantic jewelry: large hoop earrings, chunky rings, low hanging necklaces, and wide bracelets. It wasn’t a surprise, then, when she found a bracelet with strange writings on it. Alex, over the years, had gained a respect and love for her grandma, and as such began to like her accessory choices. The bracelet itself was a dark shade of forest green with the writing etched in gold. Her parents told her she could keep one thing from the house, and Alex decided to choose that. To remember her grandmother’s eclectic style and nature.
Alex went home with her parents, puffy-eyed and with hunched shoulders. She took the bracelet to her room and researched the language on the piece. For thirty minutes she was laying in bed with her tablet. She found that the language was that of an ancient race of people. After translating all she could, she saw that the writing translated to: Future is Fleeting, So One Moment Could Teach for Years.
FIVE YEARS LATER
“Alex, would you make me the happiest man in the world, and become Mrs. Alex McGrand?” Alex looked down at her boyfriend, down on one knee, holding up a ring she’s seen in the window of Katy’s Jewelry. It couldn’t be more than 15 dollars. Katy’s was known for having cheap and knock-off jewelry. Although Pattrick sounded like he had emotion in his voice, she knew him too well. His eyes weren’t in it. He didn’t believe that this could work. He just wanted to stop beating around the bush and get it over with. Alex didn’t want to become his wife, but some primal voice in her said: If you don’t say yes now, you’ll never find another. You won’t be happy, but you won’t live an uncomfortable life. Say “Yes!”
Pattrick looked up from his own thoughts, and a fake smile began to creep across his face. He shot up from his kneeling position and hugged her with no emotion or tenderness. Tears leaked from Alex’s eyes, but not of happiness. The tears were her giving up on a life without him. She put the cheap ring on her finger and the two not-so lovebirds drove to their parent’s houses separately. Alex’s parents didn’t believe her but didn’t question it all the same. She went up to her childhood room and laid on her bed.
Once she tried to imagine living with her fiancé, but couldn’t. She couldn’t call off the weeding now, though. She gazed around her room and locked in on a green bracelet with gold writings. Alex stood up slowly and walked over to it in a trance. As her hand traced the strange letters, she remember the message she had decoded all those years before. At a loss for all that is logical, she whispered softly, “What help were you. You were supposed to teach me about my future. You were supposed to help!” Alex’s voice raised to a speaking tone, “One moment, then? Just one moment? I want to know if I’ll be happy! Is that too much to ask?!” For fear of alerting to her parents, she lowers her voice back to a whisper, “I want to know if I’ll be happy. Grandma, if you even care about my anymore, just tell me that.”
Alex sunk to a hunched position. Her knees to her face, and her hands on her knees. What happened next Alex didn’t tell anyone in her lifetime. A voice, similar to that of the one that told her to accept the proposal, began to speak: You have invoked the spirit of Amoratection. He will tell you what you need. You must first go through the trials of want, first. You will find direction in your life. Find me, and I will tell.
Alex shot to her feet, and looked around the room. No windows or doors were open, but there was a chill in the air. One that hadn’t been here before the voice- before Amoratection spoke. She staggered out of her room and down the stairs. Mumbling a goodbye to her parents before she stumbled out of the house. Once in her car, she took a deep breath. She glanced at her phone, which had stayed silent the whole time in the house. The notification was for a haunted tour of Columbus, her town. It advertised a bike tour of the cemeteries and in the evening a ride through the forest at the edge of town. It was getting close to Halloween, and advertisements like these were common.
Although common, it became strange when within one minute, over 100 of the same notifications came through her phone. By the time she got to her house, Alex was frustrated and sad. Laying on the couch, waiting for Pattrick, she remember what the voice said: You will find direction in your life. Find me, and I will tell. Maybe, in the tiniest chance, she wasn’t hallucinating, and she needed to go to the haunted tour. Once she resolved herself to go, the notifications stopped immediately. It left her phone overloaded and overheated with over 900 notifications. With her tour booked for the following Saturday and without the constant dings from her phone, she fell fast asleep on the sofa.
She woke well rested in her bed, Pattrick must have carried her there. She glanced around the room, and he was asleep on the chair in their bedroom. A quick look at the clock told her it was 6AM. She rolled out of bed, quick to make sure she didn’t wake her fiancé. One cup of coffee later, she reviewed the events of the previous day. The proposal, the ride to her parents house, the bracelet, the voice, the notifications, and the end of the notifications. All that had happened could not be a coincidence.
The next few days in Alex’s life passed with little consequence. A family meal there, an engagement party here, a night out with her friends one evening. Finally Saturday night arrived. Throughout the day, the went around her own town and learned the ghost stories she heard as a child. Nothing new was taught by the over-enthusiastic tour guide… at least until the forest came.
As a child, Alex was warned never to go near the forest. There were rumors of wild animals, and her parents took every precaution to keep her safe. As Alex grew older, she began to dismiss all the warnings of the wild animals, but still didn’t go near the forest. She only went in there once as a dare in high school after that. Because of all of this, she never really went near the forest in adulthood. This was the first time and she was nervous. Some logical part of her brain told her that there was nothing to fear, but another reminded her that she was going to visit a supernatural being.
The first part of the ride went on without problem. She heard ghost stories she hadn’t heard since middle school and crimes that happened when her parents were young. They rode past a cabin that was said to be the home of a serial killer, and to a lake that was the inspiration of Jason Voorhees and Friday the 13th when a child drowned.
When the tour guide told the group that they’d be going to a site of a ‘recent’ ghost story, Alex didn’t believe her. There was no such thing as a recent ghost story. They all happened long ago, or just got popular recently. Nothing happened recently. The tour guide started the story in a low voice, but throughout the tone got louder. “Now, now. Some of you might have heard the story of Amoratection,”Alex took a break from rolling her eyes when she heard this. “Amoratection is a great deity with infinite knowledge of the future. It is said that those who gain his favor are granted with the same knowledge. This knowledge has only come to light recently, but the place where his presence is the strongest this right here in this very forest.” Alex slowed her pedaling, this was all she needed to hear.
As she let the tour go on without her, she slowed to a stop. She set down her rented bike and walked off trail just a bit and looked up. “Hey! I followed your stupid clues! I’m here now! Where are you?!”
As she screamed into the dark woods, she felt a cold presence coming up behind her. Nevertheless, she continued yelling to the trees. When finally she looked behind back, she fell to the ground.
Standing before her was a dark, shadowy figure. It had limbs like smoke and a body like the wall of smog that comes out of dark, stone factories. Instead of hands or fingers, it had wisps of steam curling out and around it’s body. It reached out in tendrils like tentacles of an octopus exploring it’s habitat. It didn’t have a face, instead it had a tornado of dark fumes darkening as it went inward. It terrified everyone who had the displeasure of seeing it, and that included Alex.
Alex laid on the ground, shaking with fear. She looked up into the the vortex of the being’s face as it spoke with a voice that shook her bones like thunder: “Do not be afraid, child. I am here now. You may state your query.”
Alex thought back to when she went to church and heard the story of angels appearing and telling the people to ‘not be afraid.’ She learned later what the angels supposedly looked like and understood why the angels had to say that. She though back to this and compared it to what she was experiencing. Could this be an angel in disguise? One here to rescue her from her life?
“Child. I have things to do. State your query now or I will leave.”
Alex realized this was her only attempt at knowing her future, what this journey was all about. “I wan- I want to know if I’ll be happ- if I’ll be happy or even just content with my marriage to Pattrick.”
“Child, it with an unimaginably heavy heart that I tell you this. You asked to know, though, so I must tell. Alexandra Anne Greene, you will never be happy. You will never be content. However, you will not be unhappy. You will live an incredibly normal life. Abnormally normal, in fact. Extra ordinary. You cannot change this now, as it is spoken. Even if you don’t marry your fiancé, you will live out this future. You cannot change what is destined for you.”
THE WEDDING DAY
Dressed in white, walking down an isle, flowers in her hand and in her hair. Alex did not get married to Pattrick, but instead to another, Matthew Brown. She kept her last name of Greene and has a smile on her face while walking down the isle to Matt. She’d thought about Amoratection’s prophecy, but couldn’t care less. They’d be happy for a while, but then fade into normality and ordinariness.
And that is what they’ll do.