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You Must Not Turn Left

“You must listen to me.”
The woman that looked like a fairy was standing in front of me, staring at me desperately.
I was more concerned about what was going on behind her—there were rolling grass hills and there were multiple lines of more fairy-people, marching in straight lines.
“I’m listening,” I replied, turning my gaze away from the mystical scene.
I could sense irritation and fear in her voice as she spoke. “You must do more than that. You must not only listen with your ears, but your heart and your soul,” she persisted. “I shall say this to you now, although we have been through this many times prior; this is our last chance. YOUR last chance.”

For the first time here I felt utterly confused; but something in her voice, the desperation, made me force back my questions.
“I will,” I promised. “I will try to listen.”

Something like relief passed over her face, but it quickly was replaced by the anxiety again.

“I can only tell you so much. But this that I will tell you, you must try and write it on your heart; imprint it in your brain; make it the first thing you see in the morning in your mind’s eye.”

“Okay,” I said, nervousness beginning to creep into my thoughts.

She stared at me with a gaze that spoke a million words and yet no one word in particular.

“You will not remember this.”

I could not hold my curiosity back now, not to mention the growing uneasiness. Suddenly the sense of everything is as it is was no longer calming.

“Then why are you telling me? Who are you? Where is this? Who are they? Why are you...desperate?” Even though I felt so childish, once I asked the first question, I could not hold back any of the others.
She held my gaze. “You will not remember this, unless you do what I have said. Listen, and not only hear; but also comprehend. REMEMBER, dear! After this encounter ends, this memory will be shattered into fragments. After we part, it will be up to you only to recognize one of these fragments and remember this!”

It was a strange feeling: not only being told that I wouldn’t remember any of what was happening right now; but also that everything was so dim and distorted, yet seemed sensible. I had never been here in real life—wait, why—

“Are you ready to receive the message?” she asked somberly.

“Yes,” I said, my uneasiness rising a notch.

We were then surrounded not by dim, rolling green hills, or marching fairies; but sitting by a dull stream and dull mountains. I could sense—not see, sense—a fog rolling in from the mountains. Normally, this change of scenery would have occupied my attention, but I was too concerned with my own predicament to notice all that much.

“Sit.” The woman motioned to me, where she was already seated on the dull-colored grass.
I sat facing her.

She stared at me with that gaze that seemed to convey something extremely important, yet I had no idea what it could be.

“What do you find you remember most? Colorful things? Crazy things? Normal things? Tell me quickly; we have limited time.”

“Umm…” I racked my brain. “I remember crazy things the most,” I said finally. “Wacked-out things that catch my attention.”

The fairy-lady was now adjourned in sparkly rainbow clothing: it seemed to radiate beams of color. I could see the outfit perfectly; the funny thing was, even from the beginning of this meeting—how did it begin anyway?—I couldn’t identify any specific feature about her face at all.

The outfit, the only thing I could vividly see, didn’t stop there. Gigantic bows and lace trim and puffy sleeves grew from the dress, and a gigantic hat was then on top of her head, also bathed in all the colors of the rainbow. She smiled a little and said,
“Is this crazy enough for you?”

“I think so,” I replied.

“You must do less of this thinking,” she said, her smile vanishing to the same fear as before, “and more remembering.”

I nodded obediently. Out of the corner of my eye, I could sense the fog slowly creeping closer, engulfing any tree or bush in its way.
“So here is the message.” She straightened one of her gigantic bows and took a breath and looked at me.

“You must not turn left.”

“Excuse me?” I said.

“You must not turn left.”

“I—I don’t understand,” I stuttered.
“Do less thinking, and more remembering,” she stated again. “You must not turn left. You must not turn left. Remember, dear! Remember this for all you’re worth! You must not turn left…”

Then the fog overtook us.

My alarm clock dragged me out of my sleep. I rubbed my eyes and yawned. How I hated Mondays; not only were they horrible for all the stereotypical reasons, but my boss was particularly moody on such days—and to top it all off, it was raining and dreary. Great, I thought sarcastically. I quickly got dressed, ate my breakfast, and hopped into the car. The last thing I wanted to be was late today; what a way to kick off the week that would be.

I put the keys in the ignition and backed out of my driveway, past my neighbor’s house that was practically a dump, and, ironically next to them, the most cleanly-kept house in the neighborhood. Down the road to the set of lights that especially loved to torment me, turning red as soon as I was ready to sail right through the yellow. Today seemed no different. I hate those lights. I drummed my fingers on the wheel impatiently and yawned again. Why was I so tired? I even went to bed early last night.

The light changed to green, and I pressed on the pedal. I had the route memorized: straight a little ways, past one of the many Dunkin’ Donuts around here, and then the busy intersection—surprisingly almost deserted today. Crap, I must really be late. I waited a few seconds at the red light (I’m telling you, they hate me), and then when it turned green I turned left.

As I drove down the dark grey roads slick with rainwater, the sun momentarily made its appearance through the fog. The rays of light reflected on one of the puddles, creating a fleeting mini-rainbow. How pretty, I thought, as I whizzed by. It’s so funky, too, how the light does that, creates all those colors. And…rainbows…they seem so familiar.

I thought hard for a few moments. Rainbow…bow of rain…nothing rang a bell. Why did that word seem to carry a secret meaning today? I shrugged and, with a pang of anxiety, my thoughts turned back to my boss. I was really cutting it close today.

I was so wrapped up in my thoughts I didn’t see the other car as it emerged from the fog.

And I remembered everything all too late, as the screeching of metal deafened everything but those words, those warnings.
You must not turn left.
You must not turn left.
You…must…not…



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