Changing the Future, a Story, Part Four:
“Believe in things much greater and far more mysterious than we can explain,” Nancy Pennwater Stephenson said to me.
She had just exited the front door of Vree’s house after speaking to Mr. and Mrs. Erikson. They followed her out and seemed to have no problem believing that Vree had gone back in time.
“Why aren’t you upset?” I asked them. “Why aren’t you angry that she’s in the past and dead again?” I went to the sinkhole, stood over it and gazed inside. The rain had stopped a few minutes after Vree had fallen into the hole, but new storm clouds threatened to unleash their burden on us.
Nancy came to me and said, “It’s okay. We did what we could to save her.” She turned and said goodbye to Mr. and Mrs. Erikson. “I have a room at the Alice Lake Motel,” she said to them. “Call me if you need anything. I’ll help as much as I can … whatever I can do.”
“Vree was pregnant,” I said. “How does someone get pregnant without having sex? It’s biologically impossible for the human species.”
“It will make sense when the time is right,” Nancy said. She got into her Sunbird and drove away.
“Go home,” Mr. Erikson said to me. He was tall and his hair was the same blonde color as Vree’s. “We’ll let you know of any changes.” He led his wife indoors.
I kicked a clump of sod into the sinkhole. How could they be so nonchalant about Vree’s death?
Thunder boomed. Electricity filled the air. The sound of a thousand bees came from the sky. My hair stood. Lightning struck an old oak tree less than thirty yards away. I stumbled, almost fell, then caught my balance and stood upright.
Green light swirled deep inside the sinkhole. I stood close to the edge of the hole and jumped. I did not fall. I went nowhere. I stood on top of the sinkhole and defied the law of gravity.
I stepped off invisible ground and jumped again. Again, I stood on top of the sinkhole.
What was going on?
I needed to talk to someone.
Dave was in a wicker chair on his front porch when I crossed the road to his house. He nodded and said “uh-huh” and “okay” while I paced the wooden floor and recounted everything that had taken place. When I finished, he gazed at me for a moment, then said, “Well, that’s certainly interesting.”
Amy opened the screen door and stepped onto the porch. “Are you on drugs?” she asked me.
“No,” I said, offended.
“That is the biggest cockamamie story I have ever heard. Maybe Dave believes it, but I don’t. Not for a minute.”
“It’s true. Why would I make it up?” I turned to Dave and admitted that I didn’t know what to do. I sounded frantic.
“There’s nothing you can do,” he said.
I groaned. “There has to be something.”
I shook my head. “I don’t know.”
A shriek came from inside the house.
“Mom?” Amy fumbled with the door. I followed as she and Dave ran to the living room. Mrs. Everly stared at the TV set on the floor. Her eyes were wide.
A rough impression on the TV’s snowy screen resembled Vree’s face.
“Holy crap,” Amy said.
The air crackled. My neck hair seemed alive. I scratched at it.
Dave scratched his neck too. He crouched in front of the screen.
Vree’s image vanished. A woman in black tap-danced on a white stage.
“Channel ten,” Dave said.
“A Canadian station,” I said.
“What does that mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“What’s going on?” Mrs. Everly asked.
“Vree’s missing,” Dave said. He jumped up and said to me, “Come on.”
I followed him outdoors, to Vree’s house. We stopped at the sinkhole and peered inside. The green light was gone. He said, “You tried to jump in the hole so you could follow Vree, but there was a force field that kept you from entering.”
He got on his hands and knees and put a hand in the hole. “There’s no force field now.” He sounded disappointed.
“And no green light,” I pointed out.
“You said the green light came twice.”
“Yes. The first time was after Vree fell in the hole. A creepy baritone voice said ‘We have her’ and the light vanished. The second time was when lightning struck that tree over there.” I pointed to the oak.
Dave looked at the sky. The storm clouds had gone away but the sky was still overcast. He stood. “I think I know what happened. The lightning energized a wormhole through time and sent Vree to the past. But I don’t know how she became pregnant.”
“Magic,” a woman said behind us.
To be continued.