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prose [ Science-Fiction ]
science fiction

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by [jaw ]

2012-01-21  |     | 


Something was wrong. I woke, opened one eye, and looked at the ceiling. It was a different ceiling than the one I went to bed with. I looked around the room and there was nothing familiar anywhere.

I lifted my hands to my face, I felt stubble, a days worth at least. I couldn’t be sixteen; I don’t grow more than peach fuzz until I am almost nineteen. Believe me I know! I turned my head to my right and beside me lay a young woman with light auburn hair. Her face was oval and her nose came to the delicate point of the Celtic woman. She had a high hairline and everything about her face was pale and feminine. Her breathing was even and rhythmic, the hair tousled, she wore no make-up and looked to be no more than nineteen or twenty.

On or about my fortieth birthday I change realities. This is not something I do of my own free will, it just …happens. I go to sleep and wake up somewhere else. Without fail, I enter each reality as a sixteen-year-old, live in that reality for about twenty-four years, and then, whoosh, I move on.

I was angrier than ever this time. In the last dimension, I had a wife and two lovely daughters, eight and ten, who were smart and witty. My wife had been warm and caring. It had been a good marriage. In that reality, several months had passed since my fortieth birthday, and I had believed the curse was broken, that I was free to live and die like everyone else, for never before had I remained in a dimension for more than a few days past my birthday.

This train of thought brought back a deluge of recollections from my many past lives. I remembered a war and the death and destruction it wrought, including the loss of my parents, of a young wife, and babies. I have suffered both pain and joy in my many lives. At times, I had been despondent with life and overjoyed to leave, but I cannot recall the number of times I had been wrenched from a life of contentment, after praying and hoping, that I would be able to live out my life as others did, and then die.

Again, I had no idea who I was in this dimension. Much of my history in a new reality comes to me after a time but I could often speed up the process by looking at things like photographs and observing my surroundings. I lifted the covers to get out of bed. This exposed a bit of her ample bosom, which I admired. Waves of emotion then filled me, the emotions of this life; the call of the woman who lay beside me. I fought it with the memory of the family I had left behind, with the fear of what would become of them. Pain filled me. It was bloody combat between my last life, and the torrent of memories now inundating my being. The draw of this new reality was inexorable as always, and I could feel my brain and soul being overpowered by this new place.

I stumbled to a nearby chair and put on a pair of jeans, they were a perfect fit. Staggering to the bathroom I looked into the mirror. The face was mine as a young man and more recollections violated my throbbing brain. I fell to my knees squeezing my head, ‘oh god!’

The adorable redhead was my girlfriend, but her name would not come to me. I sobbed, my head felt like a knife had penetrated it to the core, but it soon subsided, and then I slumped to the floor.
There were stirrings from the bedroom. I forced myself to go and greet her, lest my secret be revealed. The auburn haired girl appeared wearing a dressing gown with ‘Kathleen’ embroidered on it. Her name, it hit me like a bolt of lightning.

“Good morning,” she said.

“Good morning,” I replied in kind to the welcoming smile.

She kissed me, pressing her mouth against my lips as her tongue caressed mine.

“I love you,” she said, snuggling into my chest.

More memories came flooding back. I could not help but feel affection for her though I mourned the loss of my family. This reality was taking me; they always do.

“God I love you too, dearest Kathleen,” I replied, hugging her tight and remembering good times and the great affection we felt for one another.

“Let me get breakfast.”

I was happy to let her as I did not know my way around the kitchen and was not even sure if this was my place, hers, or ours.
I am not certain what it was she cooked us, but you can be sure I took careful note of where she got everything and helped her prepare it so as to better understand how things were done here and how to use the appliances, which were different from ones I had used in other dimensions.

After breakfast, she dragged me back to the bedroom, laughing, kissing, and teasing me. We made love.

After sex, which I was glad was performed in the usual way; we cuddled and kissed, holding each other. This new reality now held me fast in its grip. I was beginning to think this might be a nice life, a good reality, and an interesting dimension. The one odd thing was that I wasn’t sixteen, but twenty-one.


I pressed my hands against my head in agony. It was throbbing as if being pounded with a ball peen hammer. I looked around, Kathleen was gone, and my upper lip was covered in peach fuzz.

Oh my god! I had not passed more than a few hours in the last dimension. That had never happened before.

The massive burden of the thousands of years of my hollow lives crashed down upon me, shattering me. I curled up into a fetal position groaning, in agony. My skull was filled with pain and every tissue and joint in my body screamed with the torture of my meaningless existence. If I could not die as others did, I would end it myself.

“Wake up sleepy head, it’s time to get up!”

“I don’t feel well, I’ll get up in a bit dad.”

My father tore the covers off me and yelled, “get up you lazy bastard, the animals won’t wait until you feel well!

My head pounded at the further abuse, but I rolled out of the bed onto my knees, containing it between my hands lest it blow apart.
I wanted a quick, painless death. I checked the computer in my room. Yes, I confirmed that which I knew. It was 2040, and yes, I was sixteen. This is my life; I wake up in the year 2040 and leave in 2064, without fail, except last time. There would be no next time. I was determined. By luck we lived on a farm and after chores, much like chores on farms in other dimensions, we ate breakfast. I was free for a bit afterwards and snooped around. I found what looked to be a shotgun, and if I could find shells, I would have a quick, easy death.

It took ten days to discover where the shells were kept and I stole two. It was another few days before I was alone on the farm. I had only known these people for two weeks, but saw no need to commit messy suicide in their house so went out to the field. I sat on a large rock, loaded the gun, put it against the roof of my mouth, and pulled the trigger. Click. It was a damn dud! I removed the cartridge and inserted the other one. Click. In anger, I slammed the butt of the gun on the ground, my finger still on the trigger. Blam! The other shell worked as well as long as I did not point it at myself.

I ran back to the house and brought back the entire case of shells. One after the other I tried them, then threw them on the ground, when they wouldn’t fire. “Damn you!” I screamed at my unknown tormentor.

My parents came home. They heard my screaming, and found me with shells strewn all around and the shotgun in my mouth.

I was hospitalized. Each time they let me out, I tried another method of ridding myself of this empty life, but it was impossible for me to die. Fearing for my safety, they would send me back to the asylum after each attempt. Little did they know that life refused to release me.

I turned forty in the asylum and whoosh!

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