Posts from the ‘Fantasy’ Category

Ignorance is Bliss

Sometimes I wonder why I’m here. What am I truly doing here, in this world all at once full of mystery and magic and malice? Why am I a part of it? Then I remember that I’m here because I have a gift. I have a gift that no one else does; one that will control my destiny and other’s. My gift is confusing for other people, or at least, it would be, if ever told anyone about it. But I haven’t told anyone. Not even my boyfriend. The pretend scenarios in my head with me coming out about my gift never end well. Who would believe me anyways, if I said that I can smell emotion?

I am homicide detective Ellie Hollins. I’m like the opposite of the fictional Shawn Spencer from Psych. Shawn pretends to be a psychic detective while working for the police department, but he relies not on psychic powers but on his own observational skills. At my police department, I work under the guise that I am keenly observant, but no one knows that I rely on my sense of smell. I suppose in some sense we’re both liars. Still, I always say there is a gray area when it comes to lies.

Emotion also leaves a lingering smell in the air, even after the person has left. Thus, by searching the suspect’s apartment or even finding a trace footprint will leave a strong enough whiff to hint to his or her state of mind. My co-worker’s suspect t killer struck out of jealously? His fruity smelling apartment, the odor of contentment, says otherwise. Happy people don’t kill their wives for revenge. My boss once ruled a death a suicide. But at the crime scene, I didn’t smell despair and loneliness as I would have expected. I smelled fear and pain.  I dug deeper and found that some crime scene details matched a string of murders done by a serial killer. The victim had been tortured by the killer, thus the lingering fear in the air.

So I am able to change people’s destiny, in a way. I can protect the dignity of an innocent person, and stop a murderer’s killing spree.

One thing I can’t seem to do is hold on to a steady relationship.

Tyler picked me up from work today. My boyfriend of six months, he’s the longest running relationship I’ve ever had. Usually I catch them in a lie before now. The smell of a lie is too distinct and too painful for me to ignore.

“So I was thinking,” I say as I climb into his car, “that instead of going to our usual place for dinner, we switch it up. Go to something more elaborate. We should celebrate.”

“Celebrate what?” He says, pulling out of the police department parking lot. I can smell anticipation emanating from him.

“Six months,” I say. He knows my tumultuous past about length of relationships. He should understand how big of a deal this is.

But now I smell hesitation in the car. “Six months, huh?”

I watch him squirm, but wait, knowing that there’s more he isn’t saying.

“You know, babe,” he starts, “that’s something we ought to talk about.”

“What’s that?”

“Six months. I just think it’s time to, you know…”

The words “move on” hang in the air. The car reeks of his restlessness and fear. Fear? “You’re scared of where this is going, of commitment, aren’t you?”

He stares at me. “What? How did you know that? I didn’t say that.”

“You didn’t need to.” I shake my head. I knew this was coming.  “You can let me off at the corner. It reeks in here.”


“Just let me off here.”

“I still want to be friends…”

I get out of the car and think of all the couples I see everyday.  A woman hanging on a man’s arm, giggling at something he said. Does she know that he smells of insincerity and lies? Does he know that the stench of disloyalty clings to her very clothing? I realize now that I don’t want that. I’ll never know if ignorance is truly bliss; and I want it that way.

The Winterkind

My history, the origin of my people, was what had shaped me. My people have existed since the beginning of time. We – the Winterkind – are a species akin to humans, the same size, the same sort of mind, I’m told, but with different blood. As the Winterkind have grown, we’ve split off into small clans. We’re forever nomads, following snowflakes around the globe, staying within the weather that permits us to live. Though we encounter humans, we are told to ignore them. Some Winterkind have been devious – playing pranks and throwing snow balls at humans. Pranks are easy to pull, since the humans can’t see us. We’ve never been seen.

Izar, my clan’s queen, says, “We are Winterkind: born to follow the flakes, destined to be different.” Izar always said this with a kind glimmer in her eyes. She was meaning to sound kind, and I knew she was also just trying to put a positive spin on the Winterkind’s plight. We were different – she tried to tell us we were different as in unique – but I believed we were different as in limited. We must follow the snow because if we get too warm, the blood in our veins boils and we baked. To say that the only purpose to a Winderkind’s life is to stay alive… it just doesn’t make any sense. I believed we should focus not on delaying death but on living.

The elders said us young ones must memorize the history because we needed to develop a sense of respect for our forefathers. Yet I memorized it with a different motivation. My history was captivating to me only because it angered me. I did not want to continue to do what my forefathers did – I did not want to be a Winterkind.

Thinking of my history made me sick, but it fueled my passion to do something. I could not do this for the entirety of my life – following my clan to snowy city parks across the country. My clan seemed alright with this plan, for what other choice did we have? I believed that if we talked to the humans, they could change our destiny. They were intelligent, they knew their science, and they had access to technology that we did not. They could turn our blood into human blood, and we would no longer be bound by what’s inside of us. We would be the same as the humans, and have all the opportunities they have. First I had to get the attention of a human.

Remember when I mentioned those devious Winterkind that throw snowballs? Well, that’s me. I am the only deviant. Everyone else in my clan are the kindest, most content creatures – and then there’s me. The rebel. It may seem very rude to throw things at strangers, but believe me – if you knew your destiny depended on it, you’d do it, too. And so every afternoon I threw snowballs at humans. I’ve tried other things to get their attention, but I’ve found it’s the most effective method.

I sat in a tree one afternoon, my stash of ammunition sitting on the branch beside me. I had perfect aim, since I’d been doing this for most of my life. Watching an unsuspecting human get hit in the back with a bursting snow clump, time and time again, never got old. Well, it almost never did. I was getting bored of the humans that turned to see who had attacked them, frowned, and then walked on. I just wanted one of them to turn towards my tree, and say, “Who are you?” Then I’d known that I was seen and on my way to becoming one of them.

Hours passed. I threw a snowball at a kid’s orange backpack. He whirled around, frowning.

“Hey, up here,” I said, as I always did. I just needed confirmation that I was invisible to him, too, and then I’d move on to the next human.

He turned and frowned up at me, locks of brown hair falling in his eyes. “Who are you?”

My jaw fell open. I dropped gracefully from the tree, so I could be on his level. “I’m Twila. Who are you?”

He just stared, which I thought was rude. “What are you?” He asked.

“I’m a Winterkind. You – you can see me?”

“Yeah. I have eyes, don’t I?” He poked the corners of his eyes, giggling.

“Well, yes.” He was a bit rough around the edges, maybe, but that was alright. Soon he would have sympathy and help me, and that was all that mattered. “As I said, I’m a Winterkind. I’ve been meaning to talk to someone about that. Do you know any scientists? Oh, please tell me you do.”

“A scientist? Yeah, I know like a hundred.” He guffawed, smirking childishly at me. It took me a moment to realize he was lying. “Why do you look so gross?”

“What did you say?” I gasped. Winterkind highly valued politeness, so the lack of it horrified me.

He pointed to my bear arms. “I can see, like, blood under your skin.”

I glanced at my arms. “That’s what I always look like.” The veins and arteries shown blue through my clear skin, and it was the most normal Winterkind skin I ever saw.

“Well, it’s kind of dis-cust-ing.” Then he grinned proudly. “I just learned that word at school. I should bring you in for show and tell. My friends will think you’re gross, and they all think gross things are fun.” He ran after a group of school boys farther down the sidewalk.

My mouth was left open in shock, but then I ran deep into the park so he could not find me. Oddly, my disappointment dissipated quickly. Instead I thought of Izar’s famous words.

She never meant that we were different as in bad different. She meant we were different because the world needed us to be different. “I am a Winterkind,” I murmured to myself, striding away. “Born to follow the flakes, destined to be different.”

For the first time, I did not cringe when I said ‘different.’

Come Away

Come Away

The year is 2053, and all past has been forgotten.

It was tempting. When Rosalyn first saw the ad for the electro shock treatment, it couldn’t have come at a better time. She had gone to the grocery store, like any other day. She planned on surprising Aaron by making him homemade spaghetti. Her boyfriend loved his Italian. It was when she came out of the store that she saw him. He was leaning against a lamp post, and another girl was leaning against him.

“So? What about her?” Aaron was saying.

“You said you’d break up with her already.” The girl said.

“I know, I just – I have to find the right time.”

Rosalyn watched in disbelief. The other girl sighed. “It’s like pulling of a Band-Aid. Just do it quick and get it over with. What’s the problem, anyways? Do you really love her?” She teased.

Aaron’s eyes were glued to the mystery girl. “You know it’s only and always you that I’ve loved.”

Rosalyn dropped the grocery bag, the jar of tomato paste shattering on the sidewalk. Aaron turned and saw her, but Rosalyn’s fight or flight instinct kicked in and she ran. After six blocks of running, her flip-flop ripped, tripping her and sending her into a face plant on the sidewalk. Lying in the empty street, she replayed Aaron’s words. He’d never loved her. Two years together, somehow it’d been a lie. She picked herself up off the sidewalk. Her knee was bleeding, but it was not the cause of her tears. That’s when she saw it. A fluorescent yellow sign on the side of a medical clinic. “Electro shock treatment. All negative memories erased. Government funded, completely free, come in and receive your fresh start today.”

The sign was calling her, saying, Come away. Come away from the darkness, into a forgetful bliss. She stared at it a long moment, contemplating. Then a car zoomed down the block. She picked herself off the street before she either was run over or simply labeled a lunatic for laying on the pavement. She told herself to forget about the silly sign and went home.

That was months ago and Rosalyn saw things for what they really were.

First, she realized something about herself. Now that Aaron was gone, she could make her own life for herself. He was on his way inventing a software that would rock the technology world. It was bigger than the rise of Microsoft and the Apple put together, or so he’d said. He liked her because she supported him. Once his product came out, he’d be in the limelight, and so would she – but only as the pretty girl hanging on his arm. When they were together she had believed they truly loved each other. Love is blind and she hadn’t realized how large his shadow had grown. Now was her chance to step out from under it.

She also caught on to the government agenda. The government was trying to protect itself with this new procedure. If the citizens forgot all that pained them, they would no doubt act happier. Happy people worry less and spend more money, fueling the economy and directly filling the pockets of the bureaucrats. Happy citizens also didn’t start riots against the government, for these happy people now could not remember they had anything to protest. No one would remember how the government had changed, how their leaders were now paranoid brain-washers. But Rosalyn knew.

That was why she begged Sage not to go through the shock procedure. Sage was her sister, younger by two years, but still old enough to understand the weight her decision held.

“Why shouldn’t I?” Sage cried. “Everyone says I’ll forget. That’s what I want.”

“It’s high school. Everyone forgets about it after graduation, anyways,” Rosalyn countered.

“But when Emily betrayed me, when Levi broke up with me at prom – I knew I needed a fresh start. And I need it now.”

“It’s not a game, Sage, the procedure is dangerous.”

“If it’s so dangerous how come the government is requiring it now?”

“They want you to be happy, and be happy with how the government is run.”

Sage sniffed. “It hasn’t been that bad.”

The sky-high taxes? The law forbidding anyone to leave the country? “Unbelievable. It’s already working,” Rosalyn muttered. She knew how this went – once a person’s mind was set like concrete, there’s no changing it. She’d had similar debates with every one of her friends, and she’d lost every debate. Some of her friends didn’t remember her anymore. Now her voice was gentle. “I hope you remember how much I care about you.”

Sage blinked and nodded. “But what will you do?”

A plan was unfolding in Rosalyn’s mind. “I took acting classes in high school.”

“What does that even mean?”

“That means I’m going to fix this.”

When the time came for her to have her treatment, Rosalyn would swear she had nothing to forget. All those acting classes in high school would come in handy. She would act as though she already had forgotten – forgotten her break-up, forgotten the about the federal corruption. If they government thought she was just another brain-washing subject, she’d already be under the radar. It was the perfect disguise for being the rat to reveal the system.

She chuckled to herself, despite the dark situation. A year ago, she was a sweet girl who thought the best of everyone. She was content to sit back and watch others bask in their own glory. She never would’ve thought she’d be this girl – the girl who faked shock treatment in order to bring social justice. That was why could never forget Aaron. Without her past, she would regress to the girl she used to be. Without the memories, she would lose the lessons that came with it.

Dreams Come True


I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want this. I stared at the dead mouse at the foot of my bed. I’d been staring at it all morning, hoping it was only my imagination, but I was beginning to believe that it was real.

A knock sounded on my door, and it opened to reveal my best friend’s face. “Cammie, you’re not even out of bed. Aren’t we going to the mall today?”

“I just…” I couldn’t give a relevant answer.

“What’s wrong?” Miranda entered and sat on the edge of my bed. Her dark hair framed her confused face.

“I had a dream a few nights ago,” I started. “a dream that a mouse died in my room and I had to set traps.”

“Your house has never had mice.”

“You’re missing the point. I never remember my dreams.”

“I forgot about that.”

I pointed at the end of my bed, she leaned to see and then shrieked. “Then that appeared this morning.”

“Why didn’t you start with that?” She looked as though she was about to scream again when she must have seen my pale face. “Why has this worried you so much? You could have slept walked, and seen the mouse in your sleep and only believed it was a dream.”

I shook my head. “I know what I saw. This is the third time this has happened.” At her worried frown, I explained. “Last week was the first dream. I thought I dreamt that Ma was busy with laundry and burnt her chili. The next evening, I came home and the whole house reeked like burned chili. She claimed she was distracted by the laundry.”

Miranda shrugged slowly. “So… you have future telling dreams. Maybe you can make yourself dream of wonderful things, and then they’ll happen to you.”

“I don’t think it works that way anyway.” I flopped backwards on my bed. I did not ask for this. Suddenly the phone rang. “Mom’s out. I better get that.” Eager for the distraction from the dreams and the dead mouse, I bounded downstairs to the landline phone.


After a quick and mutual introduction, the voice on the other end of the line explained himself. “I’m calling concerning the application you filed for our company, Express Shipping.”

I held my breath. I’d applied for that job a few weeks ago, and right now I could go for some extra cash. Renting my own apartment would be a good use of any paycheck I could get.

“If you’re still interested, we’d love to offer you a job as a customer service attendant.”

He explained that my job would be to help people in line to deliver packages. I would weigh packages, attach postage, and ring up the order. I managed to breath and answer that yes, I was definitely interested, and I would indeed like to start tomorrow. I hung up the phone and rushed back upstairs to tell Miranda.

That was the end of the beginning.

                                                                 Two Weeks Later

Seven-thirty always rolled around earlier than I expected, but I was beginning not to mind. Pulling into the Express parking lot every morning gave me a sense of independence I’d never felt before. My dreams were becoming more frequent – one almost every night now, but the job served as a wonderful distraction.

At my lunch break that afternoon, my boss Seymour came to sit at my table in the break room.

Though quite burly with his large beard and mustache, Seymour was the type of man who appeared to be ominous but was a teddy bear at heart. He’d done wonders in trying to make me feel part of the team. After some brief small talk, Seymour said, “I had this dream last night that I could fly. Aren’t dreams just the craziest things?”

If only you knew. But I only replied, “They never make any sense.”

“What do you dream about?”

I swallowed the bite of my ham sandwich. “Well, last night I dreamt that a bad storm hit.” Thunder rumbled, and I glanced upwards.

Seymour leaned back in his chair and nodded nonchalantly. “Does that happen often?”

“Thunder? Happens all the time.”

“The dreams that turn out to be true, does that happen a lot?”

I frowned, feeling slightly guarded now. “It’s happened a few times before.”

“Do me a favor will you? Tell me next time you have a dream. Doesn’t matter what it is, but it might help us.” I stared at him. “For example, if you’d known it was going to rain today, I could have called earlier about that leaky roof.” He stood up and turned towards the door. “Just remember to tell me, whatever it’s about.” He grinned at me, like his request was completely normal; as if everyone told their employers what they dreamed of every night. No further explanation came, and he walked out. I finished my ham sandwich in a confused silence.

That night, I had yet another dream. A middle-aged man was walking down the sidewalk. He was wearing plaid, and he looked furtively before he crossed the street.  The adjacent street sign read 10th Ave. and Wildwood Street. A church bell rang in the distance, and I counted 12 chimes. Why did I dream of a man in plaid?

I walked in to work that morning and I already had a customer in line. Seymour was in his office, and I was the only other employee who had come in yet.

“What can I help you with?” I asked.

He couldn’t have been much older than me. I expected that he simply wanted to ship a package.

“You need to quit this job.”

“Excuse me?”

“Look, I know things. It’s not safe for you here.”

I stared. “Maybe you’re right. I can call security.”

He put his hands up in the air, acting innocent. “It’s not what you might think. I’m Adam, and I’m supposed to be your mentor. Every dreamer gets one. Usually I get more time to develop trust with the dreamer, but this situation is escalating faster than I expected.”

“A dreamer?”

Adam nodded solemnly. “That’s right. I know about your gift.”

“Um… my gift?” I didn’t know if I’d call it that.

He sighed. “Don’t believe me? Your first ever dream was that your mom burned soup, and it turned out to be true. You dreamt about little every day stuff like that for a bit, but last night’s is the first of the more important ones. Last night it was the guy in plaid taking a walk at noon, right?”

I had told no one of that. “I need you to leave now,” I said coldy.

“I’ll  be back later in case you have a change of heart. Whatever happens, don’t ever tell Seymour about your dreams.”

I decided to humor him. “And why not?”

“A life is in the balance.” A pause. “The business here is shady,” he continued in a low voice. “It’s not what anyone thinks. I’ll explain more next time.”

Seymour was making his way towards my counter, and Adam disappeared out the door as quickly as he’d come in.

A few hours later, my grey-haired co-worker Leonard waltzed in.

“You look chipper this morning,” I said with a smile as I filled some paperwork at the front counter.

“Special delivery day is always a great day,” he said with glittering eyes.

“Oh? I didn’t know we had one today. When do you leave?”

“Don’t know. Boss hasn’t told me the details yet. Odd,” he commented, squinting. “He usually knows those things by now.” He shrugged. “But it’s bound to be a good one.”

“Know what you’re delivering?” I asked out of curiousity.

“Oh, you know – “ His face fell when he realized I didn’t know. “I forgot you’re the new kid. Ask Seymour.”

I sighed. Why such a complicated morning? I’d rather forget about the dreams and the secrets and get on with apartment searching. That’s all I wanted. My own place away from odd distractions.

The morning was so busy I hadn’t even thought of telling Seymour about my dream. My lunch break came, but this time I decided to eat outside. I hadn’t decided what to do if Seymour asked me more questions.

I stepped outside and sat down at the park bench outside the store window. I had no sooner unwrapped my sandwich when a figure appeared and Adam was sitting next to me.

“I see you didn’t tell Seymour about the plaid guy.”

“You were waiting for me?” Oddly, he didn’t scare me that much now. If he’d wanted to cause me harm, he’d have done it already. “How do you know I didn’t tell him?”

“The guy in plaid is still alive, that’s how I know.”

I set my sandwich down, suddenly not hungry. “I don’t even know what that means.”

“You saved his life, Cammie.” He stopped talking as a customer walked past us and into the store. “Most of the things they ship at Express is legit. There may be only a tiny bit of illegal activity, but it’s very dark stuff. Every week, Express is available for the hire of one special package.”

“What’s in it?”

“Doesn’t matter what’s in it. It’s the deliverer who’s lethal.”

I stared. “You mean…”

He nodded. “They’re hit men.”

My mind was spinning:  the special delivery, Leonard, the general secrecy, and my dreams. “And the man in plaid?”

“He embezzled money from his construction company for years. His boss just found out and ordered a hit. He was today’s target. He’s going to get picked up today for his embezzlement. He’ll go to jail, but he’ll be alive.”

I sat for a long time.

“What’re you thinking?”

“This is crazy.”

“You have an alternative. You could work for me.”

I cocked my head. “And that’s not crazy? I don’t even know you.”

“Look, I’m part of detective team. We work on cases to find and catch serial killers, working with police forces worldwide. My people are working to shut down this dark place right now.” He motioned towards the Express building behind us. “Someone with your skills could be a real asset to our cases.”

I struggled to process. “So you don’t have… the gift?”

He shook his head. “I’m only in connection with someone else who does. That’s how I know so much about you and your dreams.”

“How would I be an asset?”

“Dreamers dream about whatever their confident needs to see. You were going to tell Seymour about your dreams, and thus you found out things that would only be helpful to him and his company. The same sort of thing would happen if you worked for me.”

The store door opened and Seymour stuck his head outside. “Sorry to cut your break short. I’m swamped; I need you in here, Cammie.”

I turned quickly to Adam, and mouthed, “Wait.” I followed Seymour back inside. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about something,” I said. “I don’t think this – ”

“I’m sure it can wait,” Seymour interrupted. “Oh, I’d like to know if it’s going to storm anytime soon. Have any dreams last night?” He winked at me I followed him to the counters.

“Nope.” I paused. “And Seymour? This isn’t going to work out for me. I quit.”

I walked out, leaving Seymour staring, but I returned to Adam, where a new job awaited me.

I didn’t ask for this. It didn’t mean I couldn’t make something great out of it.

The Visionary


It’s a normal day. It’s a normal day. It’s a normal day, Josh chanted to himself as he strode from the parking lot into the enormous 3M building.

“Hey newbie!” One of his co-workers called out as Josh got closer to the door. Josh nearly jumped out of his skin. His co-worker had been calling Josh “newbie” all three months that Josh had been employed.

“What’s up, senior?” Josh said, silently telling himself, everything will go back to normal.

“Just another day,” his co-worker replied as they went their separate ways. “Talk to you later, newbie!”

Josh continued to file through the building to his office, nearly running. A few people said, “Hi Josh!” and he replied with a weak-sounding, “morning.” He got a few funny looks because he usually said hi to everyone, always the chipper I-love-my-job type of person. Josh didn’t notice.

It was all a dream, it won’t happen! Josh thought to himself as he turned the final corner to his office. As part of the Research and Development team at 3M, his office was in the far back of the building.

Grady was there, sitting in his usual high-tech swivel chair.

Josh gulped, “Morning, Grady.” Josh didn’t know the employees last name. They never talked about Grady, only ever talked about projects and Josh. I should have known he was a freak show! Josh thought, willing the bad feeling in his gut to go away.

“Hold on a minute! I’m working!” Grady said gruffly with a hand held up, as if to ward off Josh’s words.

Josh sat down at his desk and shuffled his post-it notes around and moved his pens from the little penholder to next to the post-its and back again. Grady has his hand in at least 16 of the new innovations here and he wouldn’t just leave! He is their main visionary, Josh thought.

“Just a few more things to finish up!” Grady said, turning away from the computer with a smile before adding, “How are you doing on this fine, eventful, curious day?”

“Good,” Josh croaked. Grady grinned even more. Josh looked down at his desk. “Are these files for me?”

“Yes, they are projects you’ve had a hand in and know the material for. One’s I don’t need to finish such as the small computer chips and revitalized food safety devices. I’m going to show you a few things on these new thermal clothes and the Band-Aid possibilities today!” Grady said and then started talking and pointing at the computer to aid his explanation.

Josh just listened and processed. He barely had to ask any questions about the innovations because they made sense to him. It all clicked in his brain and he was constantly thinking of improvements and envisioning other ways to do things.

Grady finished explaining and then hopped out of his chair, “Lunch time! Have a good lunch!”

Josh watched him go dazedly. There had been no time to ask questions. With no one else there to distract him, Josh’s mind took him back to the day before…

“You are going to be the next visionary!” Grady told Josh while they were waiting for a new program to load on their computers.

“I hope to create many new inventions, but I don’t know that I’ll be ‘the next one,’” Josh replied humbly.

“You misunderstand me. You are the next one and I am training you to take my place,” Grady informed him in a cheerful voice.

“But you still have many years ahead of you!”

“Oh, but I have so many years behind me,” Grady said. A harried and weary expression crossed his face as he looked away for a moment.

Grady then snapped his head back, “You see, I am immortal. Well, I am until the selection process is complete! I have worked at 250 companies in all over the world and have been the leading hand behind so many innovations. I was the one who created Band-Aids in the first place. I have to switch names, every so often, so no one knows that I basically made their life as easy as it is.”

Josh was dumbfounded because Grady had never shared that much information about his past before, even if it was a bunch of lies.

“But, once I’m gone for good, you will find the file soon after. It explains how to change identities and it lists what to look for in your next selection. Although that won’t be for a very long time,” Grady said his last line almost maliciously.

“I don’t want to be immortal! I live every day like it could be my last, it’s what makes me happy!”

“Not anymore. Now you are happy when you get to envision new novelties. Being the selection for the next visionary is an honor,” Grady said imperiously and there was nothing Josh could say because Josh knew that tone. Grady used it when he was done with a conversation.

Josh snapped back into present time when Timothy stopped by, “I heard you are the new R and T top guy! Can’t believe Grady would just quit at a lunch break! Want to get lunch somewhere nice and celebrate? It’s on me!”

Josh stared at Timothy.

“Wait, did you know that yet? I’m sorry if I let the news split! I can ask Allie and Amber if they want to come, to make it up to you!” Timothy said, offering to invite the only hot girls that worked in their department at 3M.

“No, I knew it was coming. Yeah, lets go get lunch,” Josh replied. Grady will come back, Josh decided. It’s all a big misunderstanding. He went to lunch and when he came back, Grady wasn’t there. Grady didn’t answer his phone, either.

When Josh went looking for Grady’s stuff, there was nothing.

Until he got to the bottom drawer. Oh no, Josh thought, getting panicked.

There’s nothing in it. There’s nothing in it. There’s nothing in it, Josh repeated to himself. The folder was untitled and so Josh opened it.

Inside it said, “Visionary.” Josh flipped through the sections. Beginning. Innovations. Previous visionaries. Changing identities. Partial immortality. Selections.

Josh started to chant to himself again, I’m a normal person. I’m a normal person. I’m a normal person.

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