A Mark from a Past Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
i was hit with a moment of intrigue and decided to write a short story about it.

Submitted: November 01, 2016

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Submitted: November 01, 2016

A A A

A A A


 

 

A Mark from a Past Life

By Devin Page

 

A birthmark, shaped like a twinkling star, sits where my heart is. I remember asking my parents about why we have birthmarks. My mother, being the spiritual type, claimed that they are scars from past lives and it is how you might have died. My eyes widened and I was fascinated. What if I could remember past lives? An infinite amount of wisdom that could be tapped into by simply closing my eyes. I no longer wished for a million dollars, or jet-racer, a common wish for a boy my age; but instead wished I could remember my past lives.

For many years I dreamt of endless ways that would result in a birth mark like mine. I would find myself running across the roof of a moving train, jumping from cart to cart, fighting villains along the way. The next night I am parachuting into the rainforest where I end up shutting down a poaching operation hunting tigers. I remember one night where I was the captain of a sailing vessel hunting the mythological Kraken. Every dream was filled with a new epic adventure. Every dream I was the hero; trying to save a young lady from distress or from a group of hunters who are about to cause a species to go extinct.

As I grew older, into my early twenties, I slowly began to lose that childish imagination. A sense of wonder that had slowly been beaten out of me by lessons learned and the occasional thug. Now, my mind was fixed on achieving good grades and making my parents proud.

 I was visiting home from college and was lying in the same bed staring out into the endless universe. In my years of education, I know that shooting stars are moving meteors burning up in Earth’s atmosphere but on this night; I saw a truly unique shooting star. The meteor was purple, blue, and massive. It looked as if a quarter of the moon had broken off and was plummeting towards Earth’s surface. It was followed by a trail of dust that was red, yellow, orange, and stretched across the sky. A sensation of sentimentalism came over me and I closed my eyes and wished. I wished the same wish I have since I was a little kid.

The star disappeared into the horizon and I continued to lie there, cursing my life, until I fell asleep. I knew wishing upon a shooting star was something straight out of fairy tales. I drifted into my subconscious, dreaming of the girl next door and standing in front of the class with just my underwear on. These dreams lacked a boyhood wonder. I would wake every morning, lying on my large pillow bed, uninspired and empty.

The next morning, I awoke to the wind blowing through the trees. I could feel the bitter chill as it swept across my back. My blankets were damp from morning dew and I was sleeping on the cold ground next to a smoldering fire pit. It was very clear that I was no longer in the same home, or even the same time, as I was when I fell asleep. My clothing was made out layers of animal hides and tailored clothes. My boots were heavy and made out of leather and my hat was made out of beaver fur. I had a double barrel shotgun and multiple knives in all sizes and shapes. I looked at my reflection in the side of one of the blades. I appear to be myself but maybe thirty years older and with more hair on my face than skin. I thought to myself ‘I am one grizzly man’ but yet, I still feel like the same person as I did before. I begin to wonder if my wish really did come true. That I am currently fulfilling the destiny of one of my former past lives. It makes sense, I have always felt connected with the woods and I don’t feel scared, as a matter of fact, I feel as if I lived here my whole life.

I begin to pack up my camp and prepare to move. I found a piece of paper in my jacket pocket that appeared to be a bounty poster. Five-hundred dollars for the head of a man named Jonathan Wadleigh for murdering townsfolk and robbing anything he could throughout the new America. The poster shows what appeared to be a clean-shaven man with a broad chin and a mean look on his face. I wasn’t able to make out many features. The sketch was mostly smudged from the dense moisture in the air. I didn’t think much of the man. I assumed that I must be hunting this guy and that’s why I am alone and deep into a very dense forest.

Jonathan Wadleigh must be hiding out here somewhere and I am on his trail. I continued to move north through the woods. I don’t know why, but my instinct was telling me to do so. It was peaceful out here. A light snow dusting covers the evergreens and pines. The only sound is that of branches swaying in the wind and the occasional vertebrate that crosses my path. I walked for miles until I approached a river.

The water is clear and appeared to have an abundance of fish. I assumed, of which, were salmon from their rainbow color that radiated from their bodies. I crossed the river hopping from scattered boulders that stretched across. I reached the other side and sensed that it is time to make camp again. I had been walking for several hours and I needed to eat. Tomorrow, I will head up the river and look for clues to where Wadleigh could be heading.

It doesn’t take long before I find a trace of human activity. Next to a fallen log I see two footprints in the mud. It appeared that this is where he might have rested after crossing the river. I stopped and remained still for a moment in silence to hear distant noise that might resemble movement through trees. I heard nothing and decided to enter the opening in the trees and follow the trail. The woods are dark and it’s hard to see far into the distance. Overhanging branches and thick ferns block any clear path. I wondered that this might be a trap and now, I am the one being hunted. I held my shotgun under my arm with my hand placed upon one of the larger knives sheathed to my waist. I moved silently with caution.  I continued to move through the forest until it began to open again. It is instinct for me to find a place where I can watch my surroundings and perhaps pick up a trace of the dreaded Jonathan Wadleigh before making camp for another night.

I was preparing to make camp for the night when I stumbled upon a clearing in the trees ahead. I walked up to the clearing and I found myself standing on the edge of a cliff that overlooked a valley. Not too far away, I could see the billowing of smoke from a fire. ‘That must be him’ I thought to myself. This was my chance to catch the infamous Jonathan Wadleigh. This was my chance to be there hero I had always dreamed of being. I cautiously scaled the cliff to the bottom and walked a compass bearing towards the origin of the smoke.

I could smell the smoke as I moved closer and closer. I could hear the rustling of branches being stepped on and the chopping of wood for fire kindle. I was close enough where I could see a man, his clothing, and face. I sat quietly, out of sight, and watched the man prepare his camp for the night. His face was broad but did not appear to be cleanly shaven. I assumed he probably grew it out so someone, like myself, wouldn’t recognize him. Of course, this is the first man I’ve seen in a long time.

I walked out of where I was hiding and approached the man. The man looked at me with a crooked grin, as if, he knew I was going to come out of hiding. The man didn’t look like the sketch, but then again, the sketch was not of too much use due to the water smudge across the face. My eyes were locked on the man as he yelled “Now!” and without hesitation; arrows came flying out of the dark. I was hit and on my back before I even could lift my gun to firing position. It was a trap. A well thought-out trap. The man that I had just locked eyes with is now standing over me when he says…

“We’ve been huntin’ you for quite some time Mr. Wadleigh”

I pull the arrow out of my chest, leaving behind a star-shaped hole where my heart is, and lie on my back staring into the endless night. The stars’ shine and dance across the sky until everything fades into nothing.

 

 


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