Slash Forward

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Watch the Sky Media - Mystery, Crime & Horror

Quinn Sheffield is having a very strange day...

  Hi. Let me start by saying I don’t know why this happened and I don’t know how this happened, and you’re probably going to think I’m crazy. And that’s fine... I thought I was crazy for the longest time, but , well... 

  Sigh.

  My name is Quinn Sheffield, age seventeen. Maybe eighteen. I’m not even sure anymore.

  Six months ago, April fourth to be exact... Typical day, nothing out of the ordinary. I was in the locker room after tennis practice, talking with a few friends. One of them was Willa Sallow. 

  You know her. Or you will. It’s hard to say. Anyway, she was yammering on and on about college, and all the schools she got accepted to, and here I am, a senior barely passing pre-algebra. She asked which colleges I got accepted to, which really pissed me off because she knew damn well the answer was none. I didn’t even bother taking the SATs. 

  She’s my best friend, but sometimes she could be a real bitch, especially if we were around other girls, which we were that day. So they kept going on about their futures and how great everything will be, and once again, here I am, a shitty, ninety-eight-pound tennis player with absolutely nothing on the horizon. I’d probably end up dirt poor, living in some crappy apartment with an abusive husband, or worse, being forty and still living with my parents. I used to think about that a lot. So yeah, I wasn’t in the greatest of moods when I finished getting dressed and took off. I didn’t even say bye.

  I thought I must have gotten up too fast because I got a sharp pain in my head and was a little wobbly on my feet when I left the gym and stepped out into the daylight, but I composed myself and shook it off and continued my walk home. Walking was faster than taking the late bus, so I did it more often than not.

  I didn’t notice it at first, but the longer I walked, the more strange things looked to me. There was this crappy cell phone store that I passed every day, but that day it was gone. Like, gone gone. The signs were taken down, the store empty. And I swore it was there the day before. This was something I walked by every goddamn day. A few other things were weird too, like the grass in front of Mr. Bloomquist’s house that was dead that morning but was now bright green. 

  Shit, did you hear that?

  Sorry. It’s just... I’m expecting somebody. That’s why I’m down here in the basement of my parent’s house. They still live here since I haven’t done anything wrong yet. Not technically. 

  I’m not hiding, that would be pointless. Nobody can hide from him. I just... needed a few minutes to myself. 

  Anyway, after seeing the grass, I took my phone out to take a picture; I wanted to ask my mom about it. I already had this feeling of unease and seeing the grass just made it worse. But when I unlocked my phone, guess what - no service. The camera app wouldn’t even open. Nothing would open. When I got home, my house was abandoned. Overgrown grass, weeds everywhere, and my parents were nowhere to be found. So yeah, by now the creepiness factor had set in and without many other options, I ran back to school. The library stays open until 5 so I had some time. First thing I did was call my mom from the land-line but the number had been disconnected. I tried her work and was told she hadn’t worked there in several months. From the other side of the room, the librarian was giving me a very strange look, and I knew, just knew, that I didn’t have much time. No idea why, just instinct. I dialed Willa’s number. Out of service, too. Unsettling to say the least. In a much bigger hurry now, I ran to the line of computers on the wall and signed on. My login and password still worked. 

  That’s when I saw it. It was April fourth still, but when I opened the calendar, it was 2019. At first, I thought it was a glitch, but the more I dug, the more I figured out that it wasn’t. It was 2019. When I left school it was 2018 but now... 

  Shit.

  It explained the closed store, the green grass, the missing parents. Where they went, I still had no idea, but something told me I needed to keep moving. That librarian was on her phone and glaring at me. I had to go, but for some reason, I decided to google Willa. She’s never farther than arm’s reach from her phone, so to have it be disconnected.... Weird. I typed her name in the search and... 

  The results almost knocked the wind out of me. BELOVED HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT BRUTALLY MURDERED BY BEST FRIEND.

  Deep breath, right?

  Stay calm, Quinn.

  I wanted to throw up. I forgot all about the librarian and kept scrolling and scrolling. According to everything I found, I murdered Willa on Halloween night, 2018. I stabbed her multiple times in the chest, and before she even fell, I slit her throat. I staggered out of the Halloween party covered in her blood. I was picked up walking down the middle of the street, the knife still tight in my fist. The reports said I was currently awaiting trial in Kern Valley Prison for Women.

  I grabbed the sweatshirt out of my backpack and pulled it on, having the hood cover as much of my face as possible, and took off. The librarian’s gaze followed me the whole way. Once outside, I got a very weird feeling again. It was almost like I figured out this was a dream and that I would wake up soon, and it made me worry a little less. But that feeling didn’t last long. It was replaced by a splitting headache. My mind flashed back to a year ago, me walking out of the gym, headed home. I had that same woozy feeling I had that day and that’s when I knew I would be going back to 2018 soon. This... whatever it was... was temporary. I was getting a glimpse of something I probably wasn’t supposed to see. And I had no idea why.

  I made my way to the shopping center near my house and bought a newspaper from the grocery store. I just needed something from 2019 to hold on to. Some sort of proof. I rolled it up and stuck it in my back pocket.

  I had to call Kern Valley Prison, but my phone wasn’t working, so I walked back into the store and asked an employee if I could use theirs. The guy just nodded and led me to the service desk where he handed me the phone. I asked for a phone book, which they surprisingly had. On hold with the prison, my mind started to wander. There was a movie from a million years ago where some guy travels to the future and gets all the sports scores for upcoming events. When he goes back, he wins everything. No crappy apartment and dead-end future for me. Not now, at least. 

  I had the newspaper already, but I needed to get access to more information. I needed an Internet connection. If you think that makes me a bad person, that maybe my priorities were a little out of whack, then just wait, I get worse.

  When the lady at the prison picked back up, I posed as my mother and said I needed to speak to my daughter... 

  Me.

  Since Future Me hadn’t had her trial yet, I was able to set up a videoconference for later in the day. The lady gave me the details and I hung up. I spent the last of my money on an old-fashioned taxicab to the public library. I pulled my sweatshirt up again and tried to hide the best I could, but nobody cared. Nobody noticed. I got a computer and tore a piece of paper from my notebook and started scribbling down all the sports scores I could, starting from that day and working my way back. I had every major sporting score from April 2019 back to November, 2018, before it was time for my appointment with Future Me. I was hoping to get more afterwards, but, well, that didn't really pan out.

  So, here’s where it gets really weird, and maybe you can prove it’s true, and maybe you can’t. But when I got on the video call with myself, things went very, very wrong. There I was, staring at myself. Myself staring back at me. I tried to explain, but the other me just sat there, breathing so heavily she was almost panting like a dog, and staring at me until she jumped up and started smashing her head against the corner of the table, over and over, blood flying everywhere with each thrust until she dropped. Guards came and got her but she was... dead. 

  I felt it. 

  My body temperature dropped and I began shivering like I had just plunged myself into an ice-cold lake. That’s when I saw him. A hovering cloaked figure floating in front of me. Death himself. I couldn’t move. Nobody else seemed to notice, but there he was. His face shrouded in darkness, the edge of his cloak moving like vapor. He knew. He knew something was wrong. He came to collect me. But there I was, sitting right in front of him, alive and well, while another version of me was being rushed to the infirmary. 

  Death reached out his bony hand, extended one chalk-white finger, and pressed it gently to my forehead. My vision went splotchy, my head felt like it was going to explode. Then...

  There I was, at school, just outside the gym locker room. Willa standing over me, relieved I was awake, but still managing to make a joke at my expense. A few other girls were gathered around. Apparently, I had fainted. But I knew that was bullshit. The newspaper was still in my back pocket. I could feel it. I got to my feet and took off as fast as I could. The cell phone store was still there, open for business as usual, but their days were numbered. I checked the newspaper. Plain as day. April 4th, 2019. The sports scores were still scribbled in my pocket. And Death. Death was still looming, like my shadow in the late-afternoon sun, while I ran home from tennis practice. He’s been with me ever since. I can lose him for a while if I really try, like now, but he always shows up. He’ll be here soon. That much is certain. It’s Halloween Night, 2018.

  Shit.

  Can you hear that?

  Told ya. 

  That’s him now. He knows I have a job to do and he’s here to make sure I do it right. He says this is sort of like a trial run. I know what I’m getting into this time. I’ll be more careful. I’m the girl that survived Death’s Touch. I’m an asset to him now. And, honestly, I’d rather be an errand girl for Death than die in a women’s prison. So we’ll see how this all plays out.

  Can you tell that I’m shivering?

  The temperature must have just dropped in here a good thirty degrees.

  Anyway...

  Tonight I am going to kill Willa Sallow. I’m not even exactly sure why, but I know it has to be done. If I get away with it, then hopefully Death and I can work out a deal and I’ll get more jobs and avoid my fate. One thing’s for sure, I’ll definitely do better this time. No walking down the street in a daze for me. Nope. Not this time. This time I’m prepared.

  Like my mask?

  It is Halloween, after all.

  Sigh.

  I’m thinking of my future self, the one who died on the video call and trying to figure out what she was thinking. I think I worked it out. I think... In some strange way, I feel like she was saving my life by taking hers. A new chance for both of us. 

  Shit, you hear that? Hold on.

  I’m coming! Goddamn.

  So, that’s why I’m recording this. 

  Maybe I’ll get caught, maybe I won’t. But I need this record. I need proof. I’ve worked hard for 6 months, saving every dime I've made, so when I finish with tonight, I can start making my money - I’ve got every winner for the next six months. 

  If you’re watching this, that means something happened to me. That I wasn’t clever enough to pull this off and I failed. Hell, I might even be dead. Or maybe it’s a hundred years from now and I did get away with it. Or maybe I’m just being overly cautious and 'll just delete this when I get back home. 

  Either way, we’ll find out tonight, I suppose. I’ve got a good feeling about it, though. And if by chance you’re watching this close to the recording date, put all your money on the New England Patriots and a little horse named We Ride At Dawn. 

  He’s in the room. I don’t suppose you can see him, but he’s here.

  I have to go. Wish me luck.

 


Submitted: November 13, 2020

© Copyright 2020 Grant Fieldgrove. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Sharief Hendricks

Ahhh Grant, its good to have you back !!!

Excellent story, so mysterious and tense as can be, not knowing what is going on nor what will happen next or what is around the corner...death ?

Loved it !

Mon, November 16th, 2020 1:38pm

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