A Grave Mistake: Chapter 3

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If you would like to start at the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Part 1

It would seem that humans may not be built to withstand magic. You might be able to harness it for a moment, yes, but at times, there seem to be side effects.

STORY 3 – NATASHA GILL
Day 2, 6:14 am

Natasha sat at the kitchen table with her morning cup of coffee and her list for the day. No one else was up yet and she was embracing the silence. She didn’t sleep well the night before, plagued with questions regarding her 5 ½ hour black-out. How had she managed to accomplish all of those things yesterday? And why couldn’t she remember it? She stared at her mostly empty list for today. Most of the things she planned to do today, she’d already checked off yesterday.

There was, however, one glaring item. Pick up car from Jason’s school. What was wrong with it that she’d left it there? If it had broken down, why didn’t she have it towed?

But the question plaguing her the most was, what if I forget today too?

Suddenly she had an idea and went down to her office and grabbed a journal from the bottom of the bookshelf. She’d only written in the first few pages a couple of years ago. She flipped to a blank page and started writing bullet points:

  • Woke up at 4:47 am
  • Drank 1st cup of coffee
  • Showered and got dressed
  • Drank 2nd cup of coffee
  • Went through list for the day
  • Started writing in journal just in case I black out again.

So that was plan. Write down everything she did as soon as she did it. If she still remembered it all at the end of the day, then it must have been some weird fluke. If she didn’t, well, she’d worry about that then.

She could hear footsteps upstairs as the rest of her family was slowly getting up for the day.

* * *

She’d just finished dropping off the last of her 3 kids off at school: one at the elementary school, one at the middle school, and the last one at the high school where she needed to pick up her car. After finding a spot to park the rental, she managed to find her car in the packed parking lot. Surprisingly, it started just fine so she drove it home and left the rental.

It would have been so much easier to have phoned a friend or asked her husband for a ride, but she was afraid she was going crazy. She wasn’t ready to share with anyone until she had a better idea of what was going on. Besides, she kept telling herself, it was probably just an off-day. No need to worry people over nothing. It was probably stress. She so badly wanted her business to do well. They didn’t depend on her paycheque so the hit they took when she quit wasn’t the problem. It was her pride. She didn’t want to fail. Not at work. Not as a mother. Not as a wife. Not as a person.

She just needed a day off. It was beautiful out, especially for February so she decided that, rather than taking a cab back to the school, she’d walk the 5km. Some fresh air and sunlight was exactly what she needed. Then, she’d return the rental, everything would go back to normal, and no one would be the wiser.

She recorded this in her journal, grabbed her new pair of running shoes, and stepped out into the cool winter sun. Not being in a hurry, she started walking a leisurely pace. After a couple of minutes she noticed that there was a man walking behind her on the other side of the street. The soles of his shoes kept scrapping the pavement as he walked, scuffing random rocks and pebbles along the ground. More the anything it was annoying and ruining her calming walk so she started to pick up her pace, hoping that he would turn down one of the side streets.

But he didn’t. He kept pace, staying the same distance behind her. She tried to slow down, hoping he’d pass. Instead, he slowed down too. When she stopped to pretend to tie her shoe, he stopped and pulled out his phone and looked like he was texting someone. When she stood up to start walking again, he put his phone away and started walking too.

Finally, she turned right at the next corner, and walked down one of the side streets. He crossed the street and followed. Now, she was getting nervous. She quickened her pace and cut down one of the walkways, between a couple of houses. He followed.

She picked up the pace again. By now, he was outright running to keep up. The walkway led down a pace and into a forested area. She was walking faster now and the trees were flashing past her, the wind blowing in her face. She veered off the path and went deeper into the trees until she came to another path that led out into a different neighbourhood. She raced down the street and turned at the first corner.

And that’s when it happened. She approached a red car that looked like it was parked in the middle of the street and passed it. Then another. Then another. Why were all of these cars parked in the middle of the road? She’d been walking for a while now and had reached the end of the neighbourhood and found herself at an intersection. The intersection as usual was crowded with cars, but just like earlier, all of the cars were stationary, even the ones in the middle of the intersection. She veered around them, surprised to see people in them. Curious, she wanted to stop, but she was afraid the man would catch up so she kept going. She was walking quickly now, not quite running: she didn’t want to draw attention to herself.

Finally, she saw Justin’s school and her car. Now, she’d be able to put some distance between the man and herself. She grabbed her keys from her purse as she walked. Looking around, she didn’t see him. What she did see were teens all over the yard and parking lot. It was about lunch time so that wasn’t the weird part. What was odd was that they were frozen, mid-motion. Every single one. Stunned, she stopped walking. As soon as she stopped, everyone started moving again. Had she just imagined that? She grabbed her phone to see what time it was, thinking she must have made great time. That walk should have taken about an hour. Expecting to learn it had only taken 50 minutes, she was stunned to see it took 3.

Then, something clicked into place in her mind. She grabbed her journal out of her purse and quickly logged what happened. So that was how she’d gotten so much done yesterday.

It wasn’t until she was driving back to the airport and got stuck at a red light, that she understood why she’d left her car behind yesterday. She quickly wrote that down too just before the light turned green.

She’d been driving for about 20 minutes and was almost to the airport when she couldn’t remember why she was going there. Then she couldn’t remember where she was driving. The half hour was quickly evaporating from her mind as though she was waking from a dream. A dream that had been crystal clear one moment, and the next, it was vapour lost in the atmosphere. She pulled over to the side of the road. The last thing she remembered was pulling the front door shut behind her as stepped outside to walk back to Justin’s school.

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 4

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