Ghost Creek, Episode 3
PREVIOUSLY- Sean and his friends explored the mysterious abandoned house in the woods, finding nothing inside but a mutant rodent-eating frog. Sean led them into the basement, the place where he was kept during his abduction experience. There they found a room drenched in red paint, an anachronistic CD player (the source of the screaming which had led them inside in the first place,) and a strange man claiming to be Sean, who offers them pudding.
BAKERSFIELD, IL. JUNE 1981-
“What do you mean,” said Sean, “you are me?”
“Just that,” said the older man. “I am you at the age of twenty-eight. To save you doing the math, that means I’m from the year 1999.”
“See, I knew there’d be this whole awkward ‘trying to convince you’ thing, so listen up. When you, we, whatever, were seven, we were riding our bicycle, pretending to be Luke Skywalker in his X-wing fighter, and Dad’s Mustang was the Death Star. We got a little too close, and put a big scratch in the paint. Dad freaked out when he found it, but he thought Tommy Stipe next door keyed the car. We never told him, or anybody, the truth.”
Sean gaped up at the older man. “How did you know that?”
“When we were nine, we found a cardboard box by the side of the road with some newborn puppies someone had abandoned. We knew Mom wouldn’t let us keep them, so we hid them in the shed in the back yard. They all died within a day, and we buried them beside the garden. Again, never told anybody. You want me to keep going? Because I’ve got about a dozen of these,” he looked up at Bobby and Marcy, “and some of them are kind of embarrassing.”
“No,” Sean said. “I believe you.”
“Wait,” Bobby said. “This for real? This guy’s from the future?”
“No,” said Marcy. “I don’t believe it. It’s impossible.”
Sean-at-twenty-eight raised a finger. “You’re right, in a way. Time travel is physically impossible. But psychically, astrally, whatever you want to call it, it can be accomplished by certain talented individuals. See, I’m not even really here. This space we’re in doesn’t literally exist. The three of you are asleep on that ridge up there, dreaming this. But it is real.”
The three kids exchanged baffled looks. None of this made sense.
“So, if you’re from the future,” Bobby said, “what about me and Marcy? What happens to us?”
“Let’s see,” said Sean-at-twenty-eight. “You, Bobby, are a very successful psychiatrist. You and your boyfriend Tony . . .”
“Yeah, you’re gay.”
“Don’t look so shocked. You told me yourself that you always knew.”
Bobby flushed red and made a slight sputtering noise.
“What about me?” Marcy said.
“You, ah, well, let’s just say you are a very good person who helps a lot of people.”
“What does that mean?”
“I really, ah, I shouldn’t have even told you that. People shouldn’t know too much about their futures. It kind of messes things up, trust me.”
“I can’t believe I’m gay,” Bobby was able to mutter.
“Look,” said Sean-at-twenty-eight. “We don’t have much time. This is a temporary state. I don’t know how much longer I can hold it. Let’s get down to business.”
“Yeah,” said Sean-at-ten. “Why are you here? What do you want?”
“Well,” said Sean-at-twenty-eight. “You ever hear people say things like, ‘if I knew then what I know now,’ or ‘if I had it all to do over again?’ This is a unique opportunity to make some changes in my life. I’m going to finish college this time, do . . . fewer drugs, and most of all I’m going to boink Nikki Phillips in my sophomore year. Plus, I went on the internet and memorized the winning lottery numbers from the week I turn eighteen. Ten million dollar jackpot.”
“What’s the internet?” said Sean-at-ten.
Sean-at-twenty-eight broke into a huge grin. “See? You’re going to have so much fun.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t just come back here and slip into my old skin,” said Sean-at-twenty-eight. “It’s a paradox. Two souls, or whatever you want to call them, can’t occupy the same body at the same time without a lot of complications. So this is like a swap.”
“Yeah. You go into the future and take over my life. I come back here and take over yours. Everybody wins.”
“I can’t . . .”
“Ah, but you can,” Sean-at-twenty-eight interrupted. “And you will. I know you will. I’m you, remember? We’re science fiction freaks. I know you can’t pass up the chance to actually go into the future. 1999, man. There’s no flying cars or men on Mars, but there’s a lot of other fantastic things. Trust me. And you’ll be an adult! You can do anything you want. We’ve got our own apartment. A gorgeous girlfriend. I’m not going to say any more. You in?”
Sean-at-ten but his lip and considered for just a few seconds.
“What about Wilson?” he asked.
Sean-at-twenty-eight shook his head. “I don’t know. They never found him. We still don’t know what really happened. I think whoever took us did something to us to our brain, though. That’s why it’s possible for us to do this.”
“But the dream . . .”
“I sent you the dream,” said Sean-at-twenty-eight. “Another talent of ours. I’m sorry, but I had to use a potent bait to get you down here. Come on, Sean. What do you say?"
“You can’t trust this guy,” Marcy put in.
“But he’s me. I can trust myself, can’t I?” Sean looked up at his older self. “What do we have to do?”
“That’s the weird part,” said Sean-at-twenty-eight. “We have to, ah, kiss.”
“Yeah, I know. Ew. I’m not looking forward to it any more than you are. It’s like a fairy tale thing, though. Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, the Frog Prince. I guess the soul can be transferred through the breath, or something. I don’t pretend to understand, but that’s the way it works.”
“You are not going to kiss this guy,” Bobby said. “He’s probably just a child molester, messing with our heads.”
Sean-at-ten shook his head. "I'm ready," he said to himself.
Sean-at-twenty-eight took Sean-at-ten gently in his arms. He leaned down, tilting his head and closing his eyes to bestow the kiss.
“Oh, wait, one more thing,” he said before their lips could touch. “If you happen to run into the forty-two-year-old Sean, don’t listen to a word he says. The guy’s a liar.”
But then the man’s lips fastened upon the boy’s with incestuous fervor. Sean-at-ten closed his eyes and the world spun. He had the sense of being dragged into an immense whirlpool, a spiraling backwards plummet into a black void.
And then he awoke.
NEXT TIME: Party like it’s 1999. Another strange frog. Idiot box.