As I stepped out into the plaza and looked up, I stopped dead in my tracks. That man, I had seen him yesterday. And her. And her. And him. Surely we could not all be on the exact same schedule. No. No, it was more sinister than that. The man with the harmonica was playing the same tune as he was yesterday. I know, because it got stuck in my head all day and I had to purchase, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” on iTunes yesterday afternoon so I could hear it and get it out of my head.I knew I should get going. I couldn’t stop and think about this any longer, or I would drive myself mad. Speaking of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” I also knew I could use a distraction right then. As I walked, I reached into my purse and withdrew my sleek, gunmetal grey iPod Nano. Trying not to take my eyes of the street as I passed the same people as I had yesterday, I clicked through to play the track.Music.Artists.Rolling Stones.All songs.Hmm. It wasn’t there. I must have forgotten to synch before leaving my office computer yesterday. That was silly, but not unlike me. I always remembered the important stuff; just never the practical, daily stuff.Except for that guy. That man coming out of the bakery who smells like he spent all night cleaning fish and eating sauerkraut sandwiches. I remembered clearly as anything how he yesterday he deliberately bumped into me so that he could ask me out, with a lame reference to my shoes and the sunshine.Bump.What the -- ?“Pardon me, miss,” the smelly man said, as a shiver went up and down my spine. “I didn’t mean to bump into you, but I was noticing how much duller the sunshine looked once you passed by.” A beat. Then, I mouthed the rest of his words as he said them. “Not too many girls wear heals with pants anymore around here. I’d love to see them in my flat tomorrow morning.”As I did yesterday, I simply walked on toward work, but this time there was a knot in my stomach. This couldn’t be. Why was everyone doing the same things today?I got close to my building and saw a kid riding on his bike. Yesterday, he tried to pop a wheelie and ended up popping into a light pole. Hopefully he at least he learned. Hopefully he would not repeat the same idiotic maneuver as he had the day before.But I needed to know if he would or not. I stopped and watched. The kid leaned forward, putting his weight on his handle bars. He worked his grip in. He kept leaning forward as he settled his weight back into the seat. Oh now. He was going to do it. He was going to try it again. Why would he do that? Why would he be so wreckless?Hopefully today –But no, he pulled up on the handle bars, shifted his weight, and wobbled right into the same lightpole he had yesterday.I ran to my building. I ran up the stairs. I looked at the calendars in the office. They were all today’s date. Not yesterday’s. I hadn’t dreamt yesterday. I wasn’t just having déjà vu. It was a different day. But people were doing the same things. The exact same things over and over again.I sat down at my desk. I looked at my pile of tasks. Yes, everything I had done yesterday remained done. I wasn’t going crazy. Yesterday had really happened. Was I just imagining the details? I booted my computer and launched iTunes. If yesterday had happened the way I thought it had, I would have the last purchased track in my library as, “Jumpin ‘ Jack Flash.” Sure enough. There it was. My phone rang. I picked it up. It was the boss. “Trudy, are you coming to the meeting?”I blinked in confusion. Meeting? Another one. We just had a staff meeting yesterday morning. “Sir?”“Every Monday morning, we start with a staff meeting. Surely you know that after three years.”I looked at my calendar. I looked at the date on the computer. I looked at my watch. I looked at my tasks, at my iTunes, at everything I could see. “Sir, it’s Tuesday.”My boss laughed. “We all hate Mondays, Trudy, but that’s a unique answer to the problem. Get over here.”I grabbed my copy of the agenda from yesterday's meetings with my notes already on it, and walked slowly into whatever was going on with the world.
Spooky, love it!!
Wow! Groundhog Day with weirder (and possibly more sinister) undertones. Good job!
“If I’ve said it before, I’ve said it a thousand times…”She had. I stopped listening. I could quote the speech anyway.You never listen. “You never listen.”Don’t you care about your future? “Don’t you care about your future?”I don’t know what I’m going to do with you. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with you!”My mom folded her arms. “I’ve made a decision about next year.”Well, that was new! And, uh, it sounded bad. “What are you talking about?”“I’m sending you to a military academy.”I swallowed. Say what?
Awesome, Heather! Niftily executed.
Hahaha! That was great Heather!!!
C.N. -- “Not too many girls wear heals with pants anymore around here. I’d love to see them in my flat tomorrow morning.” ...HILARIOUS!Heather -- No, not militart school?!? Great stuff.
Not again, I thought, as a wirey haired, middle aged man stepped into my path."Excuse me, miss?" He asked, cautiously.I smiled, feigning politeness. This was the sixth time this week. "Would you mind taking our picture?" He said, gesturing to his companion- an equally middle aged woman who waved congenially at me from a few feet away.Ah hell, I thought. So what if I'm late. My boss could suck it, anyway. A five minute break for coffee was an entirely impossible feat in the first place."Sure." I said. The man quickly showed me the ropes, clearly rather unadept himself in this new era of digital cameras. I assured him I knew what to do and he settled back into position with what I assumed was his wife."Smile." I called. The man's arm draped over the woman's shoulder, as they each grew a perfectly positioned grin.Click."Thank you, sweetheart." He said, both of his hands clapped firmly over mine as I held out the camera."No problem." I said, gathering my bag, which had been disgarded between my feet moments ago. At least he was polite, I thought. The last kid who asked me, nearly ran my over with his skateboard.Ever since they filmed that ridiculous movie here, "Mr. Winter and the Snowbottom Queen," you would have thought Atlanta was Paris freaking France!
Nice, EJ! Tourists are a pain. lol
Natalie stepped from the black cab and onto the curb. Her heart stopped for just a moment as that feeling of déjà vu enveloped her. She knew this was her first time in London, and yet he had described this place so perfectly that she knew it as if she had walked the street a hundred times. For an instant, the world spun, the buildings blurred and the other pedestrians in the piazza turned to stare. The color dulled, then faded to black and white – and motion stopped. Nothing moved but him as he approached her. Natalie had picture this moment in her mind so many times. No wonder it seemed as if she had lived it before. And today, in this place, at this time, she had never been so captivated. He strode toward her so casually, so confidently. How dare he be so cool and calm when she was struggling to remember the words she had rehearsed so many times on the flight! His white tee shirt hugged his muscular body and the red sweater over his shoulder was both subtle and stylish. His head tilted slightly and his eyes narrowed a bit. He was obviously at home in this city, and Natalie wondered why she hadn’t insisted he meet her in her own hometown. Right now, New Orleans seemed more than a half world away.They had met through their work. Short business emails and phone calls had evolved into long love letters and romantic conversations, and she had fallen in love long distance. For months they had danced around the obvious issues until they both knew they had to chance losing what they had in hopes of having more. As the miles between them became inches, she knew it had been worth the risk. He reached out to her, and in one graceful step she was in his arms. She was touching him, smelling him, feeling his hand stroking her hair.She was home.
My sweaty palms gripped the armrests of the coach class seat as British Air flight #1088 began its descent.Eyes closed, I silently chanted, "Just land this sucker, just land this sucker..." The engines revved, then backed off, the monstrous 747 banking to the right like a whale changing course.God, I hate to fly. And this trip had required me to cash in all the frequent flyer miles my nerves had in the bank. Los Angeles to New York. New York to London. London to New Delhi. Was it Thursday or Friday? I had no idea. The only thing I'm sure of is the dream that tortures me night after night. The dream that began a week after Tess left London for New Delhi.My twin sister, Tess. She and I are cosmically linked, as most twins tend to be. But I wanted grad school at USC and she was lured to London with the promise that her textile designs would conquer the home furnishings market. So, we had physically parted ways six months ago. Last week she'd called me, ecstatic. Simon, the Brit who had "discovered" her, announced that Spiral Designs wanted a huge order. Tess was to travel immediately to Delhi to supervise the factory work of her designs. "It's my big break, Mira!" her voice sparkled over the phone. "I'll call you as soon as I get there."That was the last time I'd heard from her. And then the dreams began. Well, one dream really. Over and over. I was seeing through Tess's eyes. An empty room. A warehouse. Cement walls, cement floors. The pungeant smell of curry with undertones of fabric dye. Far off, tinny music gnawed at my ear like an earwig burrowing into my brain. Faces of people I did not know."Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to New Delhi. Please remain seated until we have come to a complete stop at the gate." The flight attendant's announcement brought me back.I joined my fellow passengers, flowing out of the plane like a school of fish swimming upstream. My head was reeling -- from lack of sleep, from time zone madness, from fear.The automatic doors whooshed open, allowing me to escape the confusion of the Delhi airport and tumble into the darkness of an unfamiliar city. The warm, humid air slapped me in the face and then wrapped me in it's arms. Oddly comforting, it was thick with the fragrance of incense and distant fires. I blinked, trying to clear the smoky haze that draped everything like a blanket. I'd never been out of the United States, yet I felt an odd sense of familiarity as I stood on the curb, the sounds and smells seeping into me.I turned to my right on impulse. Approaching at a fast stride was a young man, about my age, with skin the color of milk chocolate. He stopped short in front of me and I was startled to see his eyes were a deep green. I knew this man. His face was in my dream. Tess's dream.
Boy were these stories amazing! What different but utterly cool takes on the prompt! Totally unexpected directions, too!
Ooh Deb! That is so a great teaser for a novel. Give it up... you're working on it, right? If not, you must!
EJ, thanks! Kind of sort of. I've been to India a couple of times and really want to use that very distinctive feel of the country. It's exciting and scary all at the same time.
That is so cool!