One Year Before Impact Day
I lay on my back, staring up at the sky, stars twinkling peacefully above me. There was grass beneath me, cool and a little wet. A weak breeze ruffled my hair. My body felt weak, and far away.
I remembered jumping, and then… nothing. I jumped, then I was just lying on the ground, looking up. My head ached.
Complaining loudly as I pulled myself into a sitting position, I started when I saw Sadie sitting beside me, her expression completely unreadable. We were on the side of the road, not far from the bridge I’d jumped from. I knew that something had happened, because most of the lanes were blocked off, and the flashing lights were blinding.
“Why am I on the side of the road?” I asked Sadie, holding my head though I was already starting to feel better.
“You were unconscious,” she said, her tone icy. “I dragged you here.”
She dragged me? She’d never been able to do that before…
Not that that was the biggest question on my mind, but I had a feeling she wouldn’t be able to answer the one I really wanted to ask. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d be able to cope with the answer.
“I don’t know.”
“I feel fine,” I said. “Why do I feel fine?”
It shouldn’t have been possible. The height that I jumped from, even without the cars, should have seriously injured me at the very least. I patted myself down, but as far as I could tell, there wasn’t a single injury on my body.
“You must have gotten really lucky,” Sadie said, not making eye contact.
“There’s no way,” I insisted.
“Well, how else do you explain it?”
“I don’t know,” I said, as hazy memories began to return. “I remember falling, I remember getting hit, knocked around. I remember the pain. I was hurt. I should have died.” So why didn’t I?
“But you didn’t. Shouldn’t that be enough?” Sadie asked, almost pleadingly.
“This has happened before,” I realised, my entire body suddenly feeling cold and very heavy.
“The accident,” I said. “When you died.”
“No, I remember,” I said. “Not everything, but there are pieces that are definitely true. We were all in the car. You, me, Mum and Dad, and there was no way any of us could have survived. The car was hit by a train going at full speed.”
Sadie cringed. “Can we please not talk about this?” she begged, but I ignored her. I needed to say it out loud.
“I was dying. I was in so much pain, and then, all of a sudden, I wasn’t. They pulled me out of that wreckage, and they couldn’t believe I was alive, let alone unscathed.”
More pieces were falling into place. Something was different about me. There was no other explanation.
“No, Sadie, don’t you know what this means?” I said, my fingers digging into the grass beneath me.
“That the world is completely unfair?” she said, disappointed and a little irate.
I sighed, beginning to calm down again.
“You. You’re right. I’m sorry,” I said, feeling a little bad.
“It’s fine,” she said sharply. “Just, please, don’t talk about it anymore. Any of it.”
“Yeah, okay,” I said. “Let’s just go home, okay?”
I tried to stand, but she placed her hand on my arm, stopping me.
“Wait,” she said, her expression severe.
“I want you to look at the road,” she said, delivering it almost like an order.
“I thought you didn’t want-”
“Just look!” she snapped.
My eyes adjusted to the bright, flashing lights, and for the first time I could actually see what had happened. Several cars were strewn about the blocked-off section, all at odd angles. One of them was even upside down. There were multiple ambulances, police cars and fire trucks, and overhead, I could even hear a helicopter. News crews crowded around the edges of the barricades, filming everything.
“Thirteen people died because one person threw herself off a bridge,” Sadie said. “Just because you get to walk away, doesn’t mean any of them do.”
I couldn’t look away. All of that was my fault? I hadn’t even considered the impact that my jumping would have. At least, not the physical impact. I’d killed thirteen people, and for what? I hadn’t achieved a damn thing, except to make the world an even darker place.
“No. Don’t say anything,” Sadie said. “Even if you had died, even if you’d gotten what you wanted, it wouldn’t change the fact that they all died too.”
“Charlie, I get it, I do,” she said, shaking her head. “Life is hard even at the best of times, and yours has never been easy. I know. I was there, remember? And if you really wanted to walk away from that, well, that was your decision. But those people who died? Their families? Friends? Your family and friends? None of them made that decision. So if you ever, ever try something like that again, whether you live or die, just remember that you’re not the only one it affects.”
I didn’t know what to say to her. I felt ashamed of myself, but at the same time, I felt angry. What right did she have to lecture me? She never had to think about whether her actions affected anybody else. She never had to worry about anything at all.
Where did that anger come from?
“I’m not going to do anything like that again,” I said weakly, painfully aware of just how pathetic a response it was.
“Alright, well, we really should get moving,” she said. “We’re not directly visible here, but they will start spreading out soon, and it would be pretty difficult to explain what you’re doing here.”
As I got to my feet, I thought I saw someone watching me, sitting atop the bridge, completely ignoring everything else. She had bright blue hair, and a long black coat. Then, a second later, she was gone, leaving me wondering if I’d really seen anything at all.
Six Months Before Impact Day
“Wait, that’s it?” he asked, frowning at me from across the table. “Who was the girl with the blue hair?”
“No idea,” I lied.
“Then why mention it at all?”
“It’s my story, isn’t it?” I said irritably.
“Fine, fine. So that’s it, then? You jumped off a bridge and realised you had magic healing powers?”
“How else did you expect the story to end?” I asked him.
“I didn’t expect that to be the end. How did you go from that to… where you ended up?”
I laughed. “Oh, you want the whole story. You should have said so.”
He shook his head, pushing his seat away from the table. He got up, and knocked on the door.
“We’ll continue this again next time,” he said. “Right now, I have some tests I want to run on you.”
Next Week: That Doesn’t Make You Invincible