Afflictions: Part Twenty

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Paul paced around the living room. Nothing had worked. He had tried every single thing he could think of. He’d moved the couches, he’d taken their shoes, he’d changed the court, but nothing had changed. The vision carried on uninterrupted by the change of minor details. Perhaps it was arrogant for him to have believed that he could successfully guess the one minor detail that would change everything. He’d had this vision for two years now, so he knew it was significant.

“Damn it…” He muttered.

All of his work was pointless, because it was a pointless task. It didn’t matter how many nights he spent awake and locked in his room. It was impossible. His back ached, and he could feel a weight on his head. He still couldn’t recall how long it had been since he’d last slept.

What if things had been different? What if he had a different power, or even no power. He might not have met Vanessa and Anastasia if he didn’t have his visions. Then again, it seemed that destiny was stubborn, so perhaps he would’ve. They might’ve started a team all the same, and they would go out on missions, but he could come with them. Even if he stayed behind, it would still be better than this.

He stopped in his tracks, and hung his head. It was useless to consider that possibility. This was the reality he had, and it was impossible to change it. He was blind, and Zoey was going to die.

He found himself laughing. It definitely was a funny thought. Here he was, pacing around the living room, not having slept in days, trying desperately to change the future so that he could be the one to die. He never worked this hard to stop his own death. Even back when he didn’t know it was a fixed point, he never went on like this. Zoey was innocent. She was useful. Anything he could do, he could accomplish from beyond the grave just by writing a letter. He could even give it to John to have it delivered at the appropriate time.

He tried to recall what Adara had said. She’d offered him ‘one final challenge’, and told him to seek out the vision again. He supposed she did have magic, so seeing the future wouldn’t be beyond her grasp. Was he failing his challenge? Was this supposed to be easy, and he was just missing something obvious? He had to be missing something.

Paul almost ran towards his room, when he felt his leg hit something. He had forgotten about the couch being moved. That was stupid. The air rushed by him, as the fell over the couch’s arm. The impact was just a dull thump that he felt all over his body. He figured that would hurt more. He hoped he didn’t have any broken bones. That was a real pain in the ass last time. Regardless, he was tired. He needed a nap. He felt his eyes beginning to shut, on their own accord.

A few moments later, Paul awoke to someone touching him. Their touch was firm, but gentle. They didn’t move their hands, or seem to be shaking him. He reasoned it must be Ashley. He tried to recall the last pleasant conversation he’d had with her, but couldn’t bring anything in particular to mind.

His head was aching, and he remembered what had happened. He was unconscious after he tripped on the couch. Combining that with a headache probably meant a concussion. On the upside, he didn’t feel any intense pain anywhere else, so he probably didn’t have a broken bone.

“Paul!” Arte shouted.

He was surprised by her voice, but figured he shouldn’t have been. After all, if Ashley was healing him, that meant Arte was probably somewhere nearby. Her voice definitely sounded concerned. He hadn’t really heard her sound that worried in a while. Did it look that bad?

“Am I dead?” Paul was surprised to hear his own voice. That wasn’t quite what he was thinking, but it was close enough.

“No, Paul. You’re gonna be alright.” Ashley’s voice sounded reassuring. “I think you tripped on the couch and hit your head.”

“That sounds about right…” The pain in his head started to ease up.

“How did the furniture get moved around?” Arte asked.

Paul thought for a moment. He was trying to change the future, so he rearranged the living room. “I moved it.”

“Why would you do that? That makes it sound like you were asking to get hurt.” Arte sighed in vague annoyance.

She did have a point. That was a little foolish.

“I need to go.” He brushed Ashley’s hands off of him, and got up to his feet. He felt lightheaded for a moment, and started to stumble, but caught himself.

“Paul, wait!” Ashley called from behind him.

He was already going. He made his way towards the door, and groped around until he found his cane. He slipped on some shoes, and went out the door. Once he was on the sidewalk, he heard the door open again, but didn’t hear anyone coming after him.

“Thanks, Ashley.” He called back. He hoped she heard that. After all, she did sound really worried about him, and she was helping him. Now it was more important to get to the basketball court. He wasn’t completely sure why, but he had to.


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Hello traveler! You’ve happened upon my serial, or maybe found it intentionally. If you like what you see, be sure to check out the reading guide and read the rest of the series! This may be season 3, but there’s pretty comprehensive recaps, so it’s not as if there’s an enormous backlog.

Short blurb this week, because I am diseased. Rough couple weeks.

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