Afflictions: Part Nine

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Paul sat alone in his room. He could physically feel the exhaustion weighing on him, but this was far too important to let such a small detail as ‘not having slept in more than a day’ stop him. He’d finally had another good idea. The shoes were a bad idea. He could admit that now. It was highly improbable that changing such a detail as what shoes an insignificant person was wearing would change anything. He had to turn his mind to other things, since he figured he could only get away with destroying so much of their things, and he’d better save it for when it was important. He stumbled out of bed, and grabbed a hat and his cane from by his door. This was surely a winning idea. He’d need help though.

“Deven!” Paul shouted into the living room. “I need your help!”

There was a series of thumping noises, and eventually Deven replied. “Where to?”

Paul smiled, Deven knew the drill. “Same place. Don’t navigate for me this time though, I wanna get there myself. Just make sure I don’t get hit by a car or anything.”

“What’s all the racket?” Arte called from upstairs.

Paul considered replying for a moment, but decided against it. He couldn’t ruin his plans with unnecessary communication. His eye started twitching, so he paused a moment to rub it until it stopped. It had started doing that lately, but he figured he’d probably be fine. It’s not like he needed eyes anyways. They were only good for light and dark at this point anyways.

Paul went out the door, and made his way down the sidewalk, with Deven following closely behind him. That was something he loved about walking with Deven. He could always hear him. Some people walked too quietly, but not Deven. He knew what was up. Jude had left all of them in charge of taking care of Deven while he was gone, but Paul found himself doing most of the looking after. It did make sense, given that he didn’t do much of anything that Deven couldn’t come along with, and that he did actually have a lot of use for him.

There was a clinking noise, as Paul’s cane hit against a street sign. He nodded in response. That meant it was a left. He used to try to navigate by counting steps, but he couldn’t afford to devote that much constant energy to counting. Not to mention, he started to lose count if he tried. The basketball court was pretty far away, after all.

Paul walked for a while, and eventually felt the sidewalk getting a lot more uneven. He walked for about twenty more minutes, feeling around for the telltale bent fire hydrant. It was beginning to feel like he’d walked a little long, and finally he stopped.

He turned to face Deven. “How long ago did I pass the turn?”

He thought for a moment. “Probably about five minutes.”

“Was the fire hydrant still there?”

“Yeah, it was.”

Paul nodded in defeat. Next time he’d find his way there on his own. They backtracked for about five minutes, and eventually Paul felt the fire hydrant. Since they were coming from the opposite direction, that meant it was a right turn, and then they’d be on top of it. Paul ran his cane along the chainlink fence until he found the opening. It sounded like there were some kids playing basketball. Paul sighed, that would be an inconvenience.

“Guys it’s those weirdos again, let’s get out of here.” One of them groaned, and the basketball noises came to a halt. There were footsteps for a moment, but then everything went quiet except for passing cars.

“Alright, Deven. Describe the scene, so I know when we are.” Paul squatted down in the middle of the court.

“Blacktop basketball court. There’s only one goal, and it’s missing its net.” Deven paused for a moment, presumably to look around. “Theres a ball in one of the yards over there.”

“What color house?”

“It’s the tan one.” Deven paused for a moment. “It looks like it’s been there for a while.”

“What about the trash can, is it still there?”

“It’s got a pile of trash around it this time.”

“Shit.” Paul sighed. The pile of trash was there. At least the ball was by the tan house, and not by the brick one. “There’s not a big box anywhere is there?”

Deven looked around for a moment. “Nope, no box.”

Paul laughed in glee. There was no box, so he still had plenty of time. The trash was an insignificant detail. He already knew time was passing, but the box would’ve been very bad indeed.

With all of that out of the way, it was time to put his plan into action. “Deven, I want you to bend the goal.”

“Wouldn’t that ruin it? I think those kids like it straight.”

“It’s all for the cause, Deven. In the course of history, people must make sacrifices for the greater good.” Paul dropped to where he was sitting fully. “Now, please Deven.”

“If you say so.” There was a creaking noise, and Deven grunted. “Alright, I did it. Did it do anything?”

“Let’s find out.”

Paul closed his eyes, and placed his palms on the asphalt. He’d gotten quite used to summoning this particular vision, especially when he was actually here. He found himself looking out over the court on a cloudy day. Everyone was there, shouting at each other like usual. Zoey moved between Jude and Vanessa. Vanessa sidestepped, but Zoey moved with her. Zoey was dead.

Paul came back to the present, and slammed his fist on the pavement. All he’d done is make the day it finally happens look a little more dreary.

“No good?” Deven asked.

“No good.” Paul shook his head. Of course at this point he hadn’t really expected anything different, but it was still hard to watch the same thing happen over and over again. It looked like it was back to the drawing board.


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Hello traveler! I just uploaded another post this week as a celebration of reaching 100 followers, and it’s a comprehensive guide to how I write! If that interests you, give it a read.

In other news, I’m sure you’ve noticed a new countdown feature on the sidebar (if you’re on the site and not wp reader). I have a new project, which will not interfere with Earth 2 of course, that is releasing June 4th. More details to come, but for now I am going to enjoy being foreboding. Please mark it on your calendars, and prepare yourself for something a little different.

Photo Credit: Original

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