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20 Years From Now
Buffalo, NY 2011 (Part I)
It was late. Probably around 11:00 pm. I can’t remember the day, but I seem to remember celebrating the Fourth of July not to long before then. Maybe mid-July then, who knows? I was sitting in my windowless study; the room was dimly lit with a single desk lamp, which I had been using to see the novel I was in the middle of reading. I had sat undisturbed for nearly an hour already, absolutely absorbed by the book, and I was completely oblivious to my surroundings. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, the strangest thing occurred. As I turned to the next page of my book, a loud screech echoed from the mouth of my brick fireplace, which hadn’t been lit or cleaned for the longest time. I jumped out of my seat very quickly, and ran towards it cautiously. Following the screech, came a falling object that landed right in a pile of soot, coating my body in a cloud of black. From the shock of the happening, I had fallen on my back, gasping for breath between coughs, and rubbing the soot from my eyes, hoping to get a look at what had fallen so unexpectedly. As the dirt settled I became amazed. For standing in front of me, collecting it’s bearings from the fall, was a small black monkey.
Now I didn’t know much about monkeys or apes or really anything of that nature, except for what I’ve seen in movies and pictures, but I did know that they definitely weren’t native to Central Buffalo! We were both silent for what seemed like ten minutes. I imagine it was thinking about where it must be, or even how it got there; but I was busy thinking about how to contain it without it running rampant, destroying my apartment, and disturbing my neighbors. I was positive they had already heard the screeching though. I inched my way backwards, toward the desk, the legs of which had managed to get covered in the dirt. As slow as possible, I reached for my cell phone, still looking at the monkey, who was still looking at me. I must admit it creeped me out a little. My first instinct was to call 911, and so I did. “Hello?” A lady on the other end asked. “Hey, um… there’s a small black monkey in…….” My cell went dead. Duh, I forgot to charge it. This meant I had to catch it myself. I walked over to it, feeling confident that it would stay there, and I touched its head.
Buffalo, NY 2031 (Part II)
I woke up in my study, lying on the floor, exactly were I had fallen. I was exhausted. I sat up, scanning the room. My study, which had been decorated with leather furniture, paintings, small stone head busts, and of course, my desk, was in complete ruin. Slightly dazed, I looked around, hoping to find something still intact besides my fireplace, but to no avail. The small scull of a monkey smiled at me through a tear in a painting that had been resting on the mantel piece twenty years prior. Leaning forward, I caught a glimpse of something brown. It was my beard. It was longer than both of my arms and legs put together and twisted all over the floor. I got all the way up, found a pair of scissors on the desk, cut off the hair and through it into the fireplace, and lit a match. It was gone in seconds. I checked my watch, it read, 1:16 pm., June 15, 2031. That wasn’t right. I was just in my study, reading in the year 2011! I had an Ecodrive watch, which ran on sunlight, so incase it was 2031, it would have had to be exposed to the sun for twenty years in order to even work. It was then that I noticed that the entire roof to my apartment was gone. I stared in shock at the gaping area that had once been my ceiling into the sun that was high in the sky. What puzzled me more than my roof being gone was the fact that the sun was a pale green color, defiantly not as radiant or warm as a normal sun should be. Everything was silent. Dark gray clouds swarmed around the green orb, adding to the eerie effect. Something very strange was going on, and I was desperate to find out what it was.
I walked over the rubble all over the floor, and made my way to the closed door that led to my living room. I tried to open it, but the handle was stuck, so I decided breaking the door down would be the most efficient way to get out. I took about ten steps back, and charged. My arm met the door with such force, I heard something snap, and then felt pain. Whether it was the door that broke or my arm, I have no idea, because instead of a living room floor to break my fall, there was nothing. I looked downward for a split second at two stories of bare bone building frames, some of the only remains of the apartment complex that I lived in. I fell for one second. It stretched to two seconds, and I knew that I was going to be dying soon, or dead. Then I landed on something hard and cold, that sent every nerve in my body screaming. I was flat on my back, and I couldn’t move. I started to panic. Then, I felt warm wet spots all over my body, and knew what it must be. I strained my neck to look downward where the spots were, but I was blacking out. I would sleep soundly for the next two days.
I woke up on a soft couch, with a blanket over me, and a pillow under my aching head. I was aware that someone had been taking care of me, which was a comforting sign that I wasn’t alone. I uncovered myself, to reveal about four bandaged-up areas on my calf, waist, chest, and I could also feel one on my neck. Something metal had pierced my body; it was a wonder I was still alive. I saw that the time was 9:24 am by the numbers hovering over the coffee table. Yes, that’s what I said, hovering. A three-dimensional hologram of the numbers was slowly spinning at a fixed height above a tiny silver disk, roughly the size of a quarter, which the turning numbers seemed to be emanating from. Curious now, I sat up and marveled at how small and simplified everything looked. I could vaguely tell what most of everything’s functions were, so it was very interesting to study them. I got up very sore and painful, and walked around the room a little. I didn’t have my shoes or original clothes on, and I felt clean, as if I had just taken a bath. I was dressed in very comfortable soft clothing, that I assumed were used as sleep wear. They fit perfectly. The carpet on the floor was the most soothing thing my feet had ever felt. It felt almost as if I was walking through a mixture of warm water and steam one second, and the next second, a refreshing chill like ice shot up my leg, giving me goose bumps. It was a very amazing feeling.
I made my way to the kitchen, where I found what looked like a floating granite slab in the center, used as an island. I bent down to see what could cause the lift of such a heavy object, but all I found was an almost invisible, clear, glass rod about the width of a pencil. It extended from the bottom of the slab to the floor, where it seemed to penetrate the paste white tiles. This was the most incredible thing I had ever seen. I began to stand back up, when I heard a loud beep. Then, in the living room over the counter, I could see a hologram much like the clock, appear on the floor. It was in the form of a man, a little shorter than me, and full color.
“Hello? Are you doing okay?” He asked, looking straight at me. I was quite taken off guard by the sudden appearance of the first man I had seen in over twenty years, but I attempted a quavering response.
“He…hello?” I replied, making it sound like a question. During the slight pause, I noticed a little screen on a silver box directly under the image that read, “Derin Steele”. I was assuming that was his name. “Are….are you Derin Steele?” I asked as politely as possible. He nodded his head, and with a big smile stuck out his hand as if to shake. Are you kidding? I thought to myself. Am I really about to shake hands with this floating stranger? But I suppose if a one ton rock could be supported by a miniscule sliver of glass, anything was possible. I reached forward, and grabbed for his hand, surprised to feel it as real as life, although the white ribbons ascending the figure every few seconds did make it somewhat unrealistic.
“Yeah, I’m Derin. I found you about two days ago laying flat on your back on a steel support frame from an ancient apartment building just down the street. You were pierced with four or five pieces of rebar, and had bled out pretty good by that point. You’re lucky I found you. I only go through there when I am late for work, and I’m NEVER late for work. I brought you back to my place, and cleaned you up a bit. You were conscious for about five minutes yesterday, and started jabbering on about some book you didn’t get to finish, but I doubt you realized you were awake.” I looked him straight in his artificial eyes, and thanked him for all the help.
“He he,” he chuckled. “That’s alright. So many people in the world today are so lazy, miserable and selfish. I don’t know many people that would have helped you out. I’m telling you, under the circumstances, the chances of me finding you were one in a million. You must have some special purpose. Besides, what the heck were you doing up there anyways?”
The following ten minutes were spent describing my experiences from the time the monkey fell through my chimney, to now. He said that it seemed a little farfetched, but the monkey part seemed to interest him quite a bit.
“Now, you’re sure the monkey was black, right?” He asked questions like this a lot, making sure I got my facts straight. After I was done talking about my time thus far, he told me that he was standing outside of a grocery store not too far away getting food, and that he would return in two minutes or so. I thanked him again, and his image collapsed into a pile of sparkling marbles that scattered on and around the base of the box, which quickly faded away into nothingness.
Derin’s Story (Part III)
Breakfast that morning was incredible. Derin had returned with a matchbox sized container that held about twelve pill-looking capsules, all different colors and labeled in small print. He handed me one, and I strained to see the black lettering. “Cinnamon and Sugar Oatmeal; is that what’s in this thing?” He gave me a blank stare for half a second, and started to laugh.
“You really have been asleep for twenty years haven’t you? Yes. That tiny box contains enough for the both of us to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner today. You must have….what….had to buy cans of food or something, right? That’s crazy to me.” My eyes widened at how casually he had just said that. He took the capsule back from me, and placed it and a few others inside two separate bowls and on a plate. As soon as they made contact with the chrome dishes, they expanded into formless masses, uncooked. He then put each one on a circular pad that seemed drawn on the stone island I saw earlier, and in just five seconds, the food was steaming.
“Well, I’m definitely glad to see you’re doing better. When I saw you on that beam I knew you were special, because honestly, I think I’m the only one stupid enough to go in there. Now that I’ve heard your story, I can kind of guess what might have happened. About ten years ago, it became public knowledge that the government had been issuing tests on random citizens of the US. This accounted for the significant rise in number of people who had been in “Acoma” for a long period of time. Others that had family members “die” started to panic, because they knew that they may not have really been dead. All of the people that had successfully been revived, remembered a monkey being the last thing they saw. About half of the revived people said they saw a white monkey. These are the people that have lived happily up to this point. The others, said they saw a black monkey. These are the ones who go insane after a short period of time, and live as if they were demon possesed. You said you saw a black monkey. I’ll try and help you.”
But I knew there was no help. I could feel it. There was a short pause, and then I started to cry.