Forty-five days had passed since the accident. Forty-five days of suffering, with 3 less friends to help him through it. It had been 45 days since all the innocent lives had been lost, except one. One life was saved, and Ryan was wondering why it was his life. Why not Jen's or Zach's? Why not the 5 year-old boy's sitting in front of him? These questions were buzzing in Ryan's head, and he was having a difficult time going to sleep, but he was used to it. For the past 45 nights he couldn't sleep. Ryan did not sleep that night, and when the alarm went off at 7:00, he was not to enthusiastic about getting up. Forty-five days ago he might have been happier.
When he got into the shower he felt freezing, but when he looked at the faucet it was on hot. The shower had felt the same way every morning to him, for the past 45 mornings. He got out of the shower and saw a lousy image staring back at him, instead of what the girls called "the hottest guy in the eight-grade." The lousy image staring at him had long blonde hair, a few freckles, and a fairly muscular body. The normal energetic, happy face he carried with him was now a sad, gloomy face, and he blamed it all on the accident, and not an ounce of it was his fault, or so he thought.
At school everyone was bustling around. It was the typical morning, shouting, pushing, and the occasional curse word. As he walked through the hallway people gave him "waz-up", and routinely he said nothing. People always told him how great he was, but to himself he was nothing to look up to. Yes, he was popular, and had tons of "friends", but lately he just wished he was normal and he that he was no longer obsessed with fitting in. For once he just wanted to be average.
"Hey, how's it going?" Jake, his friend, asked as he entered science. Jake was a fairly tall fellow, with short brown hair, that looked out of place if you stared at it too long. Ryan was so angry that people acted like the accident never happened. The accident had ruined his life, and he had been miserable for over a month. If you were going to talk to him you might as well acknowledge that the accident happened. Stuffing his thoughts back inside his mind, he responded, as usual, with and O.K.
Ryan walked over to Lauren and Peter, two new friends he had made. They were not popular, and honestly Ryan really enjoyed their company. He liked them more than all of the "populars" put together. When he was around his two new buddies, he could relax, and he knew that they knew that he was sad. Even though Ryan had only known them for several weeks, he could tell them everything. He always told them stories about Jen and Zach, and even Lindsey, who 45 days ago meant nothing to him. Ryan liked Lauren and Peter because they knew how to listen.
At 10:00 Ryan was called out of class to the counselor. His mom had signed him up, and he hated it. All they ever said was, "And how do you feel about that?" To him it was completely pointless. Once again he sat through and idiotic hour in the guidance counselor's office.
When Ryan was dismissed to the busses he was so happy. Lately his grades were slipping, and he had just gotten lectured by his math teacher, Mrs. Shapokowski, his least favorite teacher.
That night when Ryan was getting ready for bed, he realized that at midnight it would be 46 days since the accident. It killed him inside that he was the only one... the only survivor. He would give his life to save all the lives and prevent the accident.
He said his prayer, and for the 46th night he asked that this was all just a really bad dream, and he pleaded that he would wake up. He slowly dosed asleep thinking about Maggie, someone who was a little more than a friend to Ryan. This was the fist night that he had fallen into a deep sleep, in now, 46 nights.
He began to dream about a parking lot. He did not know this, but it had just stricken midnight. Suddenly the lot burst into life. He had a suitcase, and Maggie was standing next to him, pretty as ever. She had her natural long blonde hair hanging loose, and it was blowing in the wind. Her soft features soothed Ryan, both past and present.
He now knew was dreaming about his church trip to the mountains. He tried to talk to Maggie, but there was no response. There was a tap on Ryan's shoulder and he turned to see Chris, a dorky kid in his youth group.
"This is the beginning, and there is only one rule, and that is you can NOT prevent the past," Chris said. "Oh, and there is no way for you to communicate with any of the kids. It's like this is a movie of your past, and we are the audience. I am your guide."
"What is going on?" Ryan asked. Ryan watched as his past self walked up to Maggie and the both walked over to the bus. Suddenly he saw Lindsey with Chris. They were putting their luggage in the bottom of the bus. He saw Lindsey put a very well drawn picture of a heart with a note attached under her suitcase, trying not to let Chris see. Then she put a picture of what Ryan thought was her family, on top of her suitcase. The past Ryan was focused on Maggie, and did not notice what was going on.
"This is my favorite picture, I take it everywhere with me. That way I can have a piece of my family everywhere I go. If anything happened to it I would be crushed," she said to Chris. Chris seemed concerned, and he also seemed like he cared. Ryan knew that if anyone had ever told him that he would have probably dismissed the comment and started talking about himself again. After Lindsey looked right at the real Ryan and completely ignored him, Ryan concluded that no one could see him, and that he was here for the show.
Next he saw himself throw his suitcase on top of Lindsey's. To his terror he watched as Lindsey's family picture was destroyed completely. It was torn and was full of crinkles. The picture was soiled, and Ryan didn't think it was fixable. "I am such an idiot," Ryan thought.
"Look at what you did!" Maggie said. Her tone was silly, but the present Ryan noticed her eyes. They were cold and unforgiving. He never realized how much his attitude bothered her before. He knew he had heard rumors that she liked him, but at the moment Ryan couldn't come up with anything to like, besides his looks, which was pushing it, and I mean really pushing it.
"She'll get over it, she's a dork anyways! Ha!"
"Can you please try to be nicer, you're awesome and all but your attitude can really make you a mean person," Maggie said in a friendly tone.
"Fine," Ryan replied in an un-serious tone.
The "real" Ryan felt terrible. He turned to the "real" Chris.
"Why are you showing me this, I know I screwed up, but all your doing is making me feel worse. If you are trying to help you are doing a horrible job!"
Simply Chris said, "It's time for you to go."
© Copyright 2016 Grey Sanders. All rights reserved.
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