September 28th, 2019 by Patrick Starks
Yes, I think I understand it now, this life we live. It’s nothing but a gigantic school filled with nothing but young students. I guess we’re all meant to learn everything that we can of it before we go on to the next, although, some would disagree, for there have been many of us that have left this life far too soon. But on the other hand, it would be our ignorance to say that they didn’t learn anything at all or that we knew more than they did. But still, I just don’t get it… This planet… It’s merely our teacher yet we ignore all the teachings it throws our way. If we keep depriving ourselves so much of its knowledge, we’ll lose everything, and to be honest I’ve already seen too much of that already. But what am I supposed to do with such a gift? To be so awakened in a world of illusion is like being around a bunch of drunks and being the only one sober through it all. Am I supposed to just sit by and watch the world fall apart and hope that people find their way? Who knows…? But I guess that just comes with the territory of the many of us that have angel eyes.
“Daddy, what are we?” asked a little girl. She was three-foot-tall and had hair that came all the way down to her ankles, but in the moment, was tied up into a large bun so that she wouldn’t trip over it.
The man who was her father had suddenly found himself caught off guard. So, trapped in his thoughts and he’d completely forgotten the little pride and joy that was next to him. And it was that pride and joy that made him think so deeply from the start; keeping her safe was all that mattered. The man then replied.
“I’ve told you already, I’m not your father. Well… not exactly. I am your father from the future. Your real father…” the man stopped before he finished his sentence.
He’d never told the little girl what happened to her real parents. But that was the least of the man’s worries. That little girl with the eyes of an angel, that stood not far from him, was something more special than what he could fathom. The man continued.
“But if you must know, we are the ones many call Angel Eyes,” he said, perched up on a cliff as he looked into the nights sky.
“What are Angel Eyes?” the little girl asked.
“Well…” said the man, hesitantly. “Angel Eyes can see everything about this world as clear as day, the good, the bad, and the ugly, which over time becomes so vivid some almost become insane, but there are some that can wield it un-fazed. And with you being so little to wield it, well, that makes you quite the special one.”
“Is it like the third eye?” asked the little girl.
The man smiled. How could someone so young know about such a thing, he’d questioned. A little girl on an opened land with no books to study. Part of him even began to wonder if the little girl could read at all, but then he’d come back to realization that it was, in fact, his daughter that he was talking about. He felt proud.
“The third eye…” the man smiled. “How do you know about the third eye?”
The little girl then said not a word. She pointed at the man with her chin tucked into her chest.
“Of course, I did…” the man sighed.
“So, is it the same?” the little girl persisted.
“No, not exactly. Angel Eyes go far past the third eye. When you have Angel Eyes you have fully broken into the seal of your true nature, a god or should I say goddess for you.”
“But I’m just a little girl… And I’ve never heard of gods getting picked on.”
“What do you mean picked on?”
“At school…” the little girl pouted. “They all say I’m weird and that I talk funny.”
The man smiled and ruffled the little girl’s hair out of its ponytail.
“Just like your mother…” he said.
“I miss mommy,” the little girl sobbed. “I’m sure she would’ve known what to do about it. She’d probably come by and give everyone them a spanking.”
“Yes… She surely would’ve. Probably even their parents,” the man laughed. “I miss her too, your mom from the future, well, both… Nevermind, but don’t worry, she’s still with us, somewhere out there. In fact, I bet she’s right behind the cloud shaped like a heart, just West of us.”
The little girl then blushed and pounced around the field with joy.
“Ooooo! Did mommy have Angel Eyes?” asked the little girl, excitingly.
“She did. In fact, she had the most beautiful ones of them all. Remember? Her eyes were like staring up at the moon at night, completely grey and luminating in every way. And with them she could see everything, more so, see bulls… I mean, crap from a mile away.”
“Eww! Why would mommy want to see crap from a mile away? It stinks.”
“Well, can’t argue with you there,” the man laughed.
The little girl then made her way over to the man and wrapped her tiny arms around his leg as she stared up at him with the same eyes he’d just described. Immediately, his heart would feel heavy just by the sight of them.
“So…” the little girl hesitated, teary eyed.
“So?” the man replied.
“So, was that why mommy went away… Was it because she knew everything?”
The man hesitated to answer the question. He’d thought about it a dozen times and throughout all those times he truly believed that was why his wife was taken. But from the pictures that he’d been brought in to come and see at the Sheriff’s office two years prior, he’d find himself speechless for the most part. Even down on the floor with a pool of blood underneath and around her cold body, the man’s wife still looked beautiful as ever. Ironically, peaceful, as if she was okay with it, okay with dying. But the man knew that this was something he could never tell his little girl. Not until she was old enough at least. But still he wondered if she would even be prepared for it when that day came.
He’d jumped time after the time to save his wife, but the results would always end the same, with her dying and him dying trying to save her. And the pain of it all still lingered. He’d thought about how many little girls he’d left orphaned from the time’s he’d jumped, all of which were his daughters but… something about the one that coiled around his leg like snake he couldn’t find himself to abandoned. She was different, but the question was, how was she different?
“Yes… that was why mommy was taken,” the man replied, ashamed of the lie he’d tell. “She’s gone off to another world now, but to help others in need.”
“Like Captain Marvel?” the little girl smiled, still somewhat teary eyed.
“Yes, my love, just like Captain Marvel. But it’s time for you too head back inside now missy, it’s just about your bedtime, isn’t it?”
“Yeah…” the little girl pouted. “But will you tell me a story tonight? One of the ones from your journal.”
“Yes,” the man sighed. “I can read you one, but this time ask before you start skirmishing through my belongings. I want to prepare you for this world, not scare you from it.”
“Too late Daddy,” the little girl laughed, running back inside.
The man smiled again. “Yeah, exactly like your mother. “
Outside of the man’s home was a crystal river and a barn filled with two horses named Copy and Peppermint. Peppermint, his wife’s horse, was solid white and had red stripes that streaked in its long hair like the swirls on a candy cane. Its eyes were no different than the man’s wife, grey and luminating. But Peppermint would not let anyone except for his wife ride her, no many how many times he’d tried.
Copy was, of course, his horse but still somewhat his wife’s since she’d picked him out in the first place. The horse was solid black, and so black that at night all you could really see was its eyes and pearly white teeth. In his wife’s’ words, a handsome man needed, a handsome horse. And he’d felt the same about Peppermint and his wife. Gorgeous wife, gorgeous horse.
He’d done his best to feed Peppermint, but it seemed she still was eating. Before all that had happened, Peppermint was in a lot of ways chubby, but now she was skinny as could be, with her ribs poking through her skin like rubber. The man felt as sorry for the horse as he felt for his daughter, but what was done was done and there was nothing he could do to change it. Sure, he could’ve jumped back into the future to try and fix things again, but the man was exhausted and had lost faith way before he arrived in the time that he was in. For once in his life, after the death of his wife, the man felt settled.
As he walked the two horses back into their stables, he’d heard a strange whisper. It was just as soft as the wind, but like the wind the man had not a clue the direction it had come from. There were then chimes that played harmonically in the background. It was all so strange, because he and his daughter were the only ones that he knew of to live outside the city of Burdenham. But at the end, there was no mistake about it, someone was there.
“Who’s there?” the man shouted, eagerly.
The chimes had stopped, as well the whispers. All that was heard now was rumbling noises in the background, like someone homeless rambling through the garbage. The horses jumped around in their stables in panic, which was every bit of the reason for the man to believe something was wrong. The man then picked up the shotgun to the left of him. It had only two buck shots in it, which wasn’t a problem since the man never missed, although, holding it he’d still felt a discomfort. Rather he wanted to believe it or not, the man hated guns, more so, the intentions that had come with them. But making sure the little girl not far from him was safe was all that really mattered. So, the man cocked it back.
“I said who’s there?” the man shouted, again.
And then someone responded.
“My name is Rebar, but you might also know me as Reaper,” said the voice far away, smoother than a whisper.
“Y-you mean as in the Grim Reaper,” the man swallowed.
“Yes, exactly but… I don’t know who or where that version of my name came from. Although, its grown on me a little, so at the end I don’t mind it really.”
“Oh, that’s bunch of bull!” shouted the man. “Come on out now or else!”
The man spun around, searching every angle that he could, but the barn was surrounded by nothing but darkness and hay. He’d wondered what happened to the lights, but realized it was a bit too late to start questioning such.
“You know, you’ve been very naughty Mr. Wines,” said the Reaper. “Very naughty indeed.”
“What are you talking about?” the man asked. “How do you know my name? Why are you hear?”
“Isn’t it obvious?” the Reaper asked. “I’m here to collect.”
The man now revealed as Mr. Wines said nothing else. His hands trembled as he held the shotgun in the air, although, he’d reassured himself he’d heard worst, and probably done worst through all the times he’d jumped. And it was then he’d have an assumption for why the Reaper was there.
“You know…” the Reaper grinned, faintly in the dark. “I don’t like it when people meddle in my business. You my friend have been jumping from time to time trying to save your precious wife not letting well enough be. You should know by now that there is no escaping death and there is no escaping me.”
Mr. Mines stood in defense. Was the Reaper there to collect his soul?
“Shanna died to soon and you know that! It wasn’t her time to go!” the man shouted.
A frail hand expelled from a black corner. It was massive, and when it rested on Peppermints head it would look even larger.
“Wait… what are you doing?” asked Mr. Wines.
“Beautiful horse, isn’t she?” said the Reaper. “In fact, just as beautiful as your wife now that you mention her.”
Before Mr. Wines could make an attempt to stop what he felt would happen, now lying in the hay before him would be a cold peppermint. Copy nudged Peppermint with its wet nose but no response was given. It all reminded the man when he was nudging his wife’s cold body and then holding her in his arms.
“Why!” shouted Mr. Wines
“Because… I am the Reaper,” said the Reaper, with a cynical smile.
“I don’t understand… what the hell is your motivation from this?” asked Mr. Wines. “Won’t god be upset with you?”
And then gradually the Reaper would fully reveal himself underneath the moonlight that shined down in the middle of the room. His back and shoulders scratched the ceiling. And when he’d leaned into Mr. Wines his head would be just the size of Mr. Wines shivering body.
“There is no god,” said the Reaper. “Well… not at least one
that I answer to.”
“You mean you don’t answer to anyone, not even the devil himself?” asked Mr. Wines, hesitantly.
“Nope, afraid not. And what is this devil everyone of you humans keeps on babbling about? He sounds like a knockoff version of me,” laughed the Reaper.
“But…” the Reaper continued. “There is a woman, who I follow up with on occasion. You could say she and I have an understanding.”
“She?” Mr. Wines questioned.
“Mother Nature,” admitted the Reaper. “But you human beings are so disrespectful to her. I’m surprised she hasn’t flipped your world upside down yet. But then again maybe she is for how things are going with this planet these days. Wait, wait… Dammit… that just mean I’ll have more work to do… Shit, that’s what she meant by other assignments.”
Mr. Wines stood in awe. So much history of the world, so many religions, yet hear he was standing in front of something that knew it all. Only difference was that nothing about the tale was inspiring. In fact, it was quite tragic.
“So, let’s cut straight to the chase shall we, I’ve grown tired with the small talk,” said the Reaper, trying his best to stand tall, but realizing that the roof might’ve come down had he did. And having a dead Mr. Wines wasn’t on his agenda for the night. Or was it? He grinned.
“I’m taking you back to where you came from, tonight,” said the Reaper.
“I can’t,” disagreed the man, looking back at his home.
“That isn’t your daughter you know. And no matter what you think you can accomplish here her fate is already sealed. She will die sooner or later, maybe now… If you don’t cooperate.”
“Please,” pleaded Mr. Wines. “She doesn’t know anything about this life, she’s just a child. Can’t she just come with me? You don’t understand, she’s…”
“She’s what?” interrupted the Reaper, curiously.
The man thought quickly. Had the Reaper knew how special the little girl was who knows what he might’ve done, and it surely wouldn’t have been death seeing how the Reaper had already predicted that she was going to die, in his words, soon or later, disregarding the now.
“She’s too young to die alone… At least let me bring her with me. So, when the time comes, I can give her a proper burial,” said the man, with beggars face.
The Reaper grinned and shook his head, flicking his finger at Mr. Wine’s head like the giant booger that rested by the corner of his nose, which was really the only thing that stuck at from the hood that went over his head. Everything within the hood was completely hollow, but there in the middle of it was a pickled nose that stretched out far like a witch or like Pinocchio.
“Are you that ignorant?” said the Reaper, with annoyance.
“No, it’s just…”
“It’s just that your ignorant,” interrupted the Reaper. “You know, they say when you enter this life you know nothing and when you leave it, you know it all. But it’s actually quite the opposite from what I’ve seen. When you enter this life, you know who you are, what you want and what you want to be. However, as you age others influence tends to strip out the child within, therefore leaving them lost, confused, and not knowing their purpose in life.”
“I don’t get it…” said Mr. Wines. “Why are you telling me this?”
“You said that the little girl knew nothing about this life, and I just wanted to clarify how much you’ve forgotten and how much she hasn’t. But unfortunately, age will strip her of that. How sad… Probably the only thing I feel sorry about for you humans.”
Mr. Wines then dropped down to both his knees, as he stared at the shotgun in the palms of his hands. A diamond sized tear dripped down from the side of his face. All this time he thought he’d had it all figured out, or at least was a little close but now it was revealed that he was further from the truth than what he’d liked to believe. He then took the barrel of the shotgun and placed it in his mouth.
“Then maybe I should just end it all here!” Mr. Wines cried, muffled.
“Really?” said the Reaper, annoyed. “All that you’ve just said. About the little girl, about life, you’re really going to end it all right here, in a smelly barn of all places.”
Mr. Wines finger trembled by the trigger and the trigger was scarcely loose. Any time now, and he’d be a goner whispered the voice in his head, but then he’d pulled it from his lips. He stood back up on his feet, turned to the wall behind him and fired twice with frustration.
“So, are you ready to leave now?” asked the Reaper. “Because I ain’t having ya meddle in my business again.”
“Okay…” said Mr. Wines catching his breath. “But let me ask one question?”
“Yes, what is it?”
“If I go with you, could you take me to see Mother Nature first? I have a question for her?”
The Reaper shook his head and sighed, and then put up somewhat of temper tantrum that nearly brought down the whole entire barn.
“Oh, now why do have to go and make things so difficult?” asked the Reaper, frustrated. “Did you know about the three wishes?”
“Like a genie?” Mr. Wines asked, surprised.
“Yeah. A Reaper has to allow for three wishes to whomever he decides to keep alive.”
“That makes no sense.”
“Yeah tell me about it… But I guess that something you can ask Ms. Nature about. Now can we go please!”
“Yeah, let me just run back home and get my things.”
“Alright then but hurry up. I’m starving.”
“Oh, one more wish?” asked Mr. Wines.
“Ugh… what is it?”
“Could you give Peppermints soul back?”
The Reaper then rolled his eyes and snapped his fingers to the wind, and joy would be in Mr. Wines eyes again. Copy and Peppermint danced in the stable like they’d never danced before, like two unicorns in a magical forest. It was then Mr. Wines walked back down the trail he’d come from. It was freezing cold and darker than it had ever been that night. Part of him wondered if that was how death felt, but it had seemed that he’d already answered that question.
When he’d walked through the door to his home, he could still smell the Hamburger Helper he’d made for the little girl. He’d burned it a little but still the little girl ate it as if it was his best made yet. He’d thought about his daughter from the past. And how much of a spitting reflection the one from the present was to her. But now he’d be losing it all again, and by the hands of death himself, who Mr. Wines had had a grudge with for a long time now.
Up the stairs Mr. Wines went to check in on his little girl. She was just like her mother, rosy cheeks and all, sound asleep but with snoring that he’d found himself for once, laughing about. But then she woke up.
“Daddy,” she said. “You said you were going to read me a story out of your journal.”
Mr. Wines looked puzzled. He’d completely forgotten about it. But with the Reaper just yards away from them, he’d felt himself suddenly in a panic. But denying a promise to his little girl was like death, and so, he’d pulled out the journal from his bag and began to read it.
“No, no, no,” said the little girl.
“What is it?” asked Mr. Wines.
“You have to start off with the title, every story has a title.”
Mr. Wines smiled. He didn’t have a title, not for any of his journal entries. But he’d have one now.
“Of course, the title,” he replied. “It’s called “The Man who saw no Future,” he said.
The little girl then jumped up from her covers. “Ooo interesting!”
Mr. Wines began:
The man was just a man who saw nothing at all. Yet, still he’d tried, and did his best not to fall. He was handsome, his wife was gorgeous, and his daughter was air, but at the end life would show the man that nothing of it was fair. He’d traveled from planet to planet, star to star, but no matter how far, that he went, he’d realized that maybe time might’ve been better spent. But then one day the man had found his home, embraced again with love that he felt so out of zone. He’d felt he again, now had it all but still there would be someone at his doorstep that would call…”
“Ooo who was it?” asked the little girl, excitingly. “Who was it that called?”
Mr. Wines felt a sharp pain in his chest. He’d looked down at the blank page in his journal and realized that he’d been making up the whole entire story, although, nothing about it was fiction. Everything that he’d just said had happened and was happening now.
There was a knock on the door. The Reaper whispered the voice in his head. He looked back down at the little bundle of joy in front of him and thought of all the things that could happen to her if he wasn’t quick about his decision. And the decision had been made long before he’d opened the door. He wasn’t going anywhere, and his little girl if they needed to leave, was going with him. But his plan wasn’t to come along with the Reaper, which was the difficult part. The reaper letting him go was like a mouse trap letting a mouse go, which was literally death if it did.
There was another knock on the door and this time more aggressive. The Reaper was losing his patience. Quickly, Mr. Wines grabbed all the little girl’s things, the important ones and stuffed every one of them into his bag.
“Daddy where are we going?” she asked.
Mr. Wines then turned back to her. “Where going home,” he said.
“But we’re already home,” the little girl smiled.
“Well, yeah…” Mr. Wines corrected. “But we have another home and I promise you there want be any bullies there.”
“But what about Copy and Peppermint?”
“Oh, don’t worry they’ll know where to find us. In fact, there headed that way right now.”
The little girl smiled. And this time the door down the stairs would bust open.
“Oh Mr. Wines!” shouted the Reaper. “Are we ready to go yet?”
Being haste for time, Mr. Wines, slung his backpack over his shoulder, wrapped his daughter in a blanket, picked her up and exited through a path the little girl never knew about, especially in her own room. In her closet was what she believed to be the switch to the light, which she could never reach to pull. But that was beside the point. When Mr. Wines had pulled it, she’d found herself almost in a different world.
To be continued