Cubed Day 4

Even with the unknown landscape passing outside the window it was the pale line of skin on his finger which drew his attention. Three months ago they had sat on opposite sides of small back room in the local courthouse. He remembered thinking that the room looked more like a facsimile of a court room than the stages he had seen in old TV programs. Two plain gray tables with a pair of office chairs faced a raised platform where the judge sat. It took less than half of the scheduled hour.

He wasn’t sure if it had actually sunk in yet. It was over. Ten years of his life had just been tossed away. All he had to show for it was about thirty thousand in debts that weren’t really his and a suitcase full of clothes. He let her have the car, the furniture, and all the other crap that had accumulated in their time together. His name was off the lease, their bank account became her sole property, and he started to understand the depths of the word ‘prepaid’.

Dating didn’t really interest him, even though it was his only experience he knew that sex wasn’t good but his insecurities made him wonder who was to blame for that. He had adapted into a stony-eyed loner the past few years, just waiting one of them to die or get the nerve to move on. Learning how to socialize again was going to be hard. A kind smile or interested gaze in his direction was responded to with a cold stare, one not exactly hostile but by no means friendly.

“I like to pretend I’m from the future and I’m here to rescue my fellow passengers from a disaster,” a calm voice whispered from somewhere in front of him.

Philip blinked then forced himself to look up at the source. A young man who looked maybe sixteen was sitting in the seat across from him. The bespectacled youth was staring out the window with a soft smile on his face. Absently right hand tucked a wisp of his brown curly hair behind his ear.

“Those are the days I forget my headphones,” the young man smiled at him. “It happens a lot.”

“I,” Philip cleared his throat, it was rather dry. “I like to be alone.”

“Really?” The kid raised an eyebrow. “Then why am I here?”

“What?”

“Why am I here?”

“Because,” Philip spoke haltingly. “You’re going to San Diego?”

“Am I?” The kid leaned forward conspiratorially.  “Or am I a figment of your imagination?”

Philip sighed, “maybe you’re an escaped mental patient.”

“Maybe I’m you from the past.”

“Maybe you’re a bored suburbanite who doesn’t have a license yet.”

“Maybe I’m an alien learning how to blend in with humans through subterfuge.”

Philip blinked and waited a moment, “what do I need to do to get you to leave me alone?”

“If you just let me save you it would change history,” the kid tapped his watch and pointed out the window.

Following the extended finger Philip turned to see a large truck barreling toward the lowered guard rails. Philip did a double-take and turned to speak to the kid but the seat was empty.

He looked down at the pale line of skin on his finger which drew his attention.

“I like to pretend I’m from the future and I’m here to rescue my fellow passengers from a disaster,” a calm voice whispered from somewhere in front of him.

Philip blinked then forced himself to look toward the source. This seemed oddly familiar.

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Filed under Science Fiction, Short Fiction, Writing

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