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The Choice

It was in the late afternoon, and the sun began to commence the fall. The early hours had been dismissed, and the time of the day had long gone. Sitting behind his desk, Professor Kalross had anticipated an evening rush of student eager to learn the next lesson, as his class was at the height of popularity, seventeen years running. With endless piles of papers cluttered in his workspace and very few hours left in him, Kalross began to sift through the storm of assignments, grading and correcting left and right. As his speed increased, time slowed, and his work became passion for a brief thirty minutes. Reaching the end of his career in teaching, Kalross was ready to write dozens of books, publishing at least six a year. He wrote in the late 70s and early 80s, but after a brutal car accident, Kalross had never been the same, sometimes even disappearing into a daze. At one point during a lecture, Kalross was talking about the 17th Century and John Milton’s Paradise Lost when he suddenly began to hallucinate and left the classroom, taking his car and driving to the very spot where the accident happened. Kalross had always been a troubled man, plagued with visions of a dystopian future and other worlds where extra-terrestrials were the least of our worries. Kalross always saw strange happenings, but there was always one thing that was the same, no matter how subtle; a boy, a teenager no older than seventeen years of age watching him from the shadows. As Kalross’ mind began to wander and stacks of paperwork began to tumble off his desk, Kalross sprung awake and came face-to-face with a young man.

“Oh, I’m sorry son. I just dozed off,” The boy remained motionless. “Can I help you with something?” The boy looked at Kalross, staring deeply into his eyes, which unsettled Kalross deeply, but that wasn’t what made Kalross scared. Kalross felt a deep, sad shadow linger over his spirit, and that’s when he saw it; a strange shape located on the edge of the boy’s right pupil. In the shape of an arrowhead, Kalross immediately jumped out of his seat, “You’re him!” The boy smiled, and nodded. “You’re the boy from my dreams!”

“Yes, indeed I am, Mr. Kalross.” The boy came around the desk, to Kalross’ direct point of view, and sat down in the wooden chair against the marble-coated wall, clutching his stomach. Kalross looked closer at the boy’s stomach, and noticed a strange liquid seeping through the cracks in the boys hands. The boy picked up on this, “Oh, this, it’s ok. It comes with the territory.” Kalross began to think, but his brain shut itself off, stopping his rationalities from clouding his judgment.

“Who are you?” Kalross asked the boy, and he responded, “I’m from a distant place. You can neither know the destination, nor the date.” Kalross froze. He knew exactly where he was from, but not when. “You’re from the future!”

“That’s correct, Professor.” The wound on the boy’s stomach seemed to get worse as the boy began to tense up, becoming agitated and restless. “Now, Professor, I have no more time to waste,” Before Kalross could start a question or conversation, the boy picked up a piece of paper and began to write, “At some point in the future, you’re going to meet someone, and they’re going to change you. They’re going to follow you, and they’re going to listen to you, but mainly, they will become close to you.” Dropping the sweat-drenched pen, the boy fell to the floor, the bluish liquid flowing from the wound like the Niger River. “Whatever you do, you keep this person close, and you treat them like they’re your own, but keep them in line without being harsh.” As Kalross gripped the boy’s clammy hands, he knew the boy would soon die, feeling the life fleeting away from his body; the same feeling he felt when he died.

“Ok, I will, but tell me; what’s your name?” Just as the boy heard the question, it was as if time didn’t just slow, but stopped. As Kalross began to process this moment, he realized, looking at his watch and the clock, time did stop; something was happening. Letting go of the boy’s hand, Kalross stepped away, and saw the boy’s body lift into the air. As his body reached halfway up, the boy’s head dropped to a stance where it was facing directly at Kalross, and then the boy’s eyes opened. In a split second, the boy became a conduit for something, a force of unknown nature. Then, the boy’s lifeless corpse began to speak, the voice rumbling and quaking as it echoed within the room.

“Kalross, you have been given a task by the Elder, K’alijtazmanan. It is your duty, now, to carry out the Elder’s wishes. If you refuse or do not follow in this path, your life and world with be ignited in flame and chaos. To save the world, now rests on your shoulders.”

“How am I supposed to save the world? I’m just a Professor!” Kalross screamed at the possessed body, who in turn responded, “It is not you who will save it, but the one you are tasked to save.” Kalross then realized that his fate was determined, but would not become reality until every question was answered. Before he could ask one lurking question, the body dropped low and came up to Kalross, arms stretched out, grasping the sides of his head.

“You will see our power, and influence.” Shown various images and visions of worlds, time periods and revolutions on Earth, Kalross saw the truth. He saw that, everything mankind has accomplished was something out of a story; a freaking race of sentient, organic Monoliths, Kalross thought, something from Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey saga. These things, whatever they were, have been around longer than the Earth, and they planned on keeping it.

“Now you know our existence, our power, and our influence. Now go, and let time bring you to your fate; your destiny.” Then, in a flash, the boy’s body disintegrated, and disappeared. Time began to move again, and Kalross’ life would never be the same. Then, in that moment, Kalross’ mind began to ponder once again, but this time, looked to the future. He wondered, what would become of this place, this world if he does as this “Elder” asked. As best case and worse case scenarios ran through his mind, he instantly fixated his attention to one. He knew the disaster that would inevitably follow by his actions, but he knew, in the end, his choice would be fruitful. Kalross walked slowly to his desk, and opened the top right drawer, revealing a .357 revolver. The day was slowly coming to an end, and Kalross was ready to make his choice. He knew, somehow, if humanity was to be left in the dust, something new, something greater, would come along. As his hand gripped the rough, black handle, his eyes shut, and a breath of life left his body.

A shot rang out.



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