30-Day Flash Challenge, Day 24
June 1, 2021
It was a Tuesday, and I was running late. The subway broke, so it wasn’t really my fault, except that it was, and it had happened before. My manager and I agreed (more she than I) that I would allow for such happenings by showing up early.
My smartphone battery was low, so I looked around for something to read on the stuffy, stationary train.
That was when I found it.
I was after the paper, of course, but I could tell there was something underneath it. I was hoping for a novel.
“Please let it be a Joe Hill novel. Amen,” I said, whisking away the paper.
It was a leatherbound book, a sturdy journal.
Well, maybe someone left me some juicy details to read while we wait for the train to start moving again.
I sit down and begin to read.
When I open the journal, however, I am surprised to find only a single entry. That sole entry is for one week from now. What kind of diary was this?
The entry reads:
June 8, 2021 – Candy will be in a minor car accident. She will break her right foot.
What are the odds?
I have a friend named Candy. We don’t hang out as we used to, not since she had Billy, her boy. He’s four now and a great kid, but I resent him a bit – if I’m honest.
Is this a practical joke? I look around to see if she is watching me even now.
I flip through the rest of the pages, but they are all bank. Still, it’s a nice journal, so I toss it into my pack and promptly forget all about it.
June 8, 2021
My phone buzzes. A text message.
I pull it out of my pack.
It’s from Candy. That’s odd. Suddenly I feel I’ve forgotten something important. Then I remember the journal. I had thought about calling her and asking her if she was behind it. I was going to, as a joke, tell her to be careful, but I decided I didn’t want to plant the suggestion. So I wrote it off as a stupid coincidence.
“Bri, hey, sorry I’ve not messaged you recently. I need to ask you a favor. I’ll owe you. Can you please pick Billy up from his daycare? I was in an accident. If not, hit me back. I’ll find someone else.”
I text her back.
“Happy to pick him up. You sure you’re okay?”
Two seconds later.
“I’m okay, but my foot is broke. They’re going to cast it. Just waiting for the doctor now.”
She didn’t say it, but I bet it was her right foot.
I put my phone back in my pack. Then I remember I still have the journal.
I pull it out and open it.
Weird. Now there’s only an entry for June 15.
June 15, 2021 – Brian Reginald will die.
What the fuck.
This is no longer funny. I slap it shut and toss it back in my pack. I have to go pick up Billy; I don’t have time for this now.
Later I will wish I’d taken a picture of the journal entry. I’m already freaking out about next Tuesday.
By the time I remember the entry, it’s after midnight.
I’m thinking Cinderella and magic and silly thoughts of doom.
I pull the journal out. Sure enough, the entry has already updated to June 16. Karen’s daughter will win a scholarship, good for her.
Did I actually read that entry about me dying? Maybe I was only freaking out about the coincidence with Candy?
I tell myself that that was probably it, but not believing it.
June 15, 2021
I hang up my call with my boss, Sherry. I could tell she was disappointed, but there’s no way I’m leaving home today.
Yeah, I’m am being superstitious. And most likely, Lexie will have to take loans for her college education, but I guess we’ll have to wait till tomorrow to see about that.
I spend the day binge-watching OZARK season 3. Eventually, I flip it off and decide I can probably sleep now.
When I wake, my apartment building is rumbling and shaking. Pictures are falling off the mantel. My wooden floors are tilted at a twenty-degree angle already.
I want to find that infernal journal and hurl it out my seventh-story window, but it’s too late for that. When I glance outside, I see the ground is already approaching; my building is collapsing, like some questionable amusement park ride. My stomach floats upward as a wide girder pokes through the ceiling, piercing through my wooden dresser like soft butter. I guess you can’t outrun fate.