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Ripples: Part 1 (Podcast Episode 3)

Introduction

The headlines on the newsstands all said it was, “The End” in one way or another. The end of days, of Earth, of Humanity. It was a bleak sight to see before entering her office building, and the energy from the people inside gave the impression that it had already happened. People were walking like zombies. Heads down, moving slowly, which was strange for NYC. When Taylor got to her floor, she was the first one there as always and welcomed the silence, the stillness, and the lack of “doomsday energy.” It had been a whole month since, “The Vision,” which is all anyone called it now, and Taylor definitely felt like the oddball around as she was still going about her life in a relatively normal fashion. While others were building bunkers and putting together life insurance policies, Taylor was still doing what she did best: plan events. And, the apparent approach of the end of the world brought in a lot of business as people wanted to party and they weren’t holding anything back monetarily. Taylor was in a meeting with a new client going over ideas for their 8-year anniversary party when Taylor’s assistant opened the office door and walked in with purpose to her stride.

“Taylor, you have a call,” Regina spoke with urgency and resolve. Taylor sat up surprised as Regina would never interrupt a meeting in progress like this unless it was extremely urgent.

“Regina, what is it?” Taylor asked

“It’s someone from The White House calling on behalf of The President,” Regina said. Taylor looked at the couple before her, and they looked back at her shocked.

“I’m sorry… I should take this…”

Chapter 1: Day in the Life

Taylor stared into her mirror like she would every morning after she finished applying her makeup. Every day, Taylor’s alarm would sound at 5:30 am. She would then go to the bathroom, put on her work out clothes and either go for a run or follow along to a workout DVD in her living room. Then it was time to shower, do her hair, get dressed, and apply her makeup to finish what she described as her personal sculpting period. It was all about her in the morning and making herself into who she wanted to be. After she did her final check in the mirror, she would go pack her lunch for the day and then head to work. Today though, something was different. Something strange and unfamiliar. Something on the tip of the tongue, out the corner of the eye, something just out of reach from description yet noticeably off.

She stared and stared and yet she still had no idea what was wrong about the picture. She saw something completely transparent, but somehow noticeable and it appeared several feet in front of her, yet she was far too close to the mirror for there to be anything that far away. Then it just disappeared. Was I dreaming? Hallucinating? She thought. She stood there for a minute or two looking in the mirror waiting to see if it would return. Just her usual reflection stared back at her. The weirdness of it, and the lack of evidence captured her mind, and she stood there staring and thinking. It was probably just something in my eye, she finally reasoned to herself pushing the event behind her.

Now she was behind schedule. Those few extra minutes of trying to figure out the nameless weirdness set her off her daily path. She went into the kitchen of her apartment and put together her lunch for the day before leaving to get to work. Taylor took the stairs as usual. Four flights down, then through the apartment building’s lobby, and finally stepped out onto the sidewalk. The streets of New York City were already buzzing despite the early hour. She turned left out of the building towards her bus stop which was conveniently located at the end of the block. As soon as she started down the block though, her usual 7:45 am bus passed by her. She stopped and turned to watch it drive by and out of reach. She let out a breath of disappointment but then quickly perked back up and continued to the bus stop to see what she should do next. There wasn’t any use in complaining about what was done.

She considered maybe hailing for a taxi while she walked to consult the bus schedule. She checked her watch which read, 7:47 am, calculated she had about 5 minutes to wait for the next bus and decided to just wait it out. Then, again, right there in front of her, the transparent distortion was back. It looked something like a mirage now, slightly more apparent than what she first saw, like a shimmer in the air. Part of what made it so mysterious was that it took up her whole field of view. It covered the World in front of her, yet she was still very much aware of the World in front of her. She stared at it, and it felt like she was looking not just at something but into something. And then, after what felt like a few minutes, it was gone. She checked her watch to see how long she’d been staring. It read 7:47 am. Still? She thought. It must have been at least a few minutes, she reasoned to herself unable to control the confused looking face she formed as she looked behind her to the other people waiting on the bench. No one seemed to notice what she witnessed. She began to get worried. Taylor was a woman of reason and order. She had her routines, and she knew how to solve problems. As an event planner, one of the best in New York for that matter, she solved problems for a living. Fear and panic were not good emotions for clear thinking, and yet her mind wandered to thoughts of brain tumors, poisoned water, terrorist attack — Stop! She commanded her own thoughts. Focus on the facts, Taylor. I feel fine, and if it continues, I can go to the doctor to get some tests done. She stood there for the next minute or two reasoning herself out of her panic and fear. When the bus arrived, she was clear-headed again, climbing on board to get to work.

Taylor sat at her desk checking the time on her clock: 8:26 am. As the boss of her event planning company, and no meetings until 10am, getting in after 8 wasn’t a big deal. It just was not her routine. Her morning seemed more hectic than usual and as hectic as the event planning world can be, she appreciated order in the rest of her life. Her mind began to travel to thinking about that shimmer that caused her 26-minute delay but stopped herself. She stood up from her desk and walked over to the windows that covered two whole walls of her corner office. 42 stories up, Taylor gazed down and out at the incredible city of New York. She took a deep breath, released it slowly, and then turned back to her desk as if to try the approach again. Sitting down, she got to work, thoughts of mirages, and shimmers locked away.

Taylor spent her day meeting with clients for weddings, charity events, and one for an over the top birthday party. Taylor was an artist at making an event a true experience, and that’s why she was called upon to plan events at prestigious places like The Museum of Natural History, The Met, The MOMA, and so on. She was called upon to plan events for prominent people and companies like fundraisers for both political parties and even had the honor of planning a Presidential dinner, and an International Peace Summit filled with the World’s leaders and Ambassadors. Taylor was a big deal in her industry, and she loved what she did, and loved working on the events, but when 5 o’clock hit she dropped everything where it was. She didn’t like bringing work home with her, so she set herself up in her company as the event planner, creator, and designer, but when it came to coordinating and making the events happen, she had an amazing group of people she could count on to take her visions and ideas and make them happen for their clients.

Taylor left her office just after 5 o’clock and on her way home she stopped at a local grocery store to shop for her dinner. This is something she did to bring variety into her life as she was so rigid with everything else. She loved to cook and so she would go into the store every day and buy what was fresh. Taylor returned to her apartment building, taking the stairs up to the fourth floor, and got to work making her dinner. An hour later she was sitting with her dinner in front of the TV with a movie on. Before bed, Taylor laid out all her clothes for the next day. She didn’t experience another visual hallucination since waiting for the bus in the morning, and she fell asleep without worry and feeling calm knowing her routine was back on track.

Chapter 2: Somewhere Beyond the Sea

The largest machine in the World was up and running.

“Alright, everyone check-in,” Lincoln called out to the room of scientists before him. Lincoln stood in the back, as fifteen scientists sat behind computers in two rows in front of him. One after another they reported back with the words Lincoln wanted to hear. The Large Hadron Collider, the LHC for short, was online and ready to hurl protons around the almost 17-mile long circular tube forcing the particles to collide. This massive machine, a part of the CERN laboratories, was World famous and to work there was an extreme privilege. Lincoln’s team was there to analyze the effects of the protons basically exploding into other smaller particles. Today, though, was going to be different. Instead of one beam of protons colliding with another, Lincoln devised a way to, theoretically, cause the particles that are created from the exploding protons to then slam into each other. A double collision. The hope was to then create more new particles for the many scientists in his group to study. The project was five years in the making, with alterations made to the LHC itself to enable this day to happen. Lincoln was excited and nervous as the moment, which was a culmination of his theories, approached. The moment of truth. Would it work, or would it be a five year, multi-billion dollar failure? Lincoln wiped his forehead with a handkerchief and placed it back in his pocket.

“We are approaching maximum speed,” said one of the scientists looking back from his computer, serious in expression. They were all nervous as they had all been working with Lincoln these past five years as well. “Max speed,” the same scientist called back.

“Ok, Gustav, align the beams, and everyone, cross your fingers,” Lincoln said calmly yet he paced the back of the room unable to fully hide his nerves. It wasn’t just fear, it was excitement too. Lincoln watched the timer counting down until the collisions would occur. 20 seconds, 19 seconds… 5 years, 15 scientists, 10 different nations… truly science is the great uniter, Lincoln thought to himself a flush of pride washing over him. 14 seconds, 13 seconds. The machine was on autopilot, and everyone’s eyes were on the clock, most out of their seats now. Some had their hands on top of their heads, others leaned forward with their hands on the table. 5 seconds, 4 seconds, 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second…

The sensors erupted with a flurry of data pouring into the machine’s computers. The initial collision occurred, but they wouldn’t find out for over a month whether both collisions occurred, and what results it created if successful. There was so much data that was collected in a few milliseconds that it would take that long to analyze everything. Just moments after the collision, Lincoln saw it: a distortion in his vision. Something transparent, yet somehow observable. It was like he was looking at the scene before him with a clear film over it all. It lingered for a few minutes and then, it was gone. He looked around, and everyone was doing the same thing.

“Nice work everyone!” He said with fake excitement in his voice, but he was pretty sure he sold it as everyone cheered, shook hands and hugged each other. What just happened? Lincoln thought. Did the others see it? Was that why they were looking at me? I was probably just staring into thin air for a minute like a zombie!

He brushed off the incident as it didn’t occur again. It was the afternoon, and their experiment was over, so that meant time to celebrate. A celebration five years in the making turned into quite the spectacle. Lunch turned into dinner, turned into drinks. Lincoln didn’t find his way home until almost midnight. His small one bedroom apartment in Geneva, Switzerland was mostly neat and tidy until your eyes fell on his work area. A large corner desk was covered in papers and books making a sort of barricade around his computer. Lincoln walked over to the desk instinctively as he spent most nights continuing work at home after leaving his lab and office at CERN. He sat there, leaning back in his desk chair. He thought he’d left the incident with his weird vision behind him, but it came to the front of his mind immediately. Hours of stimulation from his coworkers enabled him to forget, but the quiet of his apartment brought the moment back to him.

Lincoln was a scientist, and he just couldn’t dismiss things, especially things that came from his own senses. There was something there, something observable, and therefore something testable or something I can recreate, he reasoned to himself, still leaning back in his desk chair now twisting back and forth his hands on top of his head staring at the ceiling. Lincoln finally sat up in his chair, his mind made up, rolling the chair closer to the desk. He looked over the desk lifting up some papers until he found a pen. He opened a drawer and pulled out a stack of post-it notes. He thought for a moment, then he wrote down one word: Shimmer.

Chapter 3: Love in an Elevator

Everyone was talking about it, but Taylor felt out of the loop. That weird shimmer or mirage that she saw a week ago was apparently being seen by everyone, everywhere. More than that, it also had developed into actual visions now, not just shimmers, but again Taylor was in the dark. She hadn’t experienced any visions or seen any shimmers since that first day one week ago. Reports started coming out the very next day as a flood of people entered hospitals around the World looking for answers. The first report was to simply note that there didn’t appear to be anything physically or mentally wrong with anyone. Then, everyone came out talking about their first experiences. It wasn’t long before they discovered that no one reported anything before the time when Taylor herself first saw the shimmer in her bathroom. Roughly 7:00 am EST. Reporters immediately went searching for the event that could have caused this Worldwide mystery. Two days later all eyes were on the CERN laboratory and their experiment at the LHC that occurred at the exact time the visions seemed to have started.

Taylor was in her kitchen preparing her lunch for the day with the news on. She was now following the story every morning. A man was speaking to a panel of reporters.

“We won’t have all our data analyzed for at least a few weeks, and we won’t be able to make any conclusions or official statements until then, but I do admit the coincidence is staggering.” A jumbled sound erupted as reporters all shouted their questions simultaneously at the man before the clip cut out and returned to the morning news anchors.

“That was Dr. Lincoln Hadson, lead scientist on the project at CERN that many are speculating is the cause of our new visions,” she said. No one really knew anything, but that wasn’t going to stop the media from guessing, claiming, and making conclusions and accusations of their own. Taylor clicked off the TV and headed out to catch her usual bus. Back on her schedule she entered her building 15 minutes later and approached the elevators after crossing the vast and open atrium. She got on with five other people. After a few stops at different floors, only one man remained on the elevator. She noticed him glance her way and then back forward before boldly turning completely to face her.

“I see that you appear much more at peace today than when I saw you last week,” he said smiling, knowing that his statement would leave her with an air of confusion. Taylor looked him up and down and replied back with her own smirk.

“Well, I was off my normal routine that day,” she said, “and still a bit confused having first seen that little shimmer or whatever it is that morning,” Taylor spoke confidently and playfully knowing that he would clearly not be expecting her to remember him. She had an eye for details after all. He reacted just as she expected, giving a look of surprise, then came back with a friendly retort.

“So, you noticed me,” he said with a comedically overdone smugness on his face as he pretended to fix his tie. Taylor tried not to smile back but failed. “Well,” he continued, “my name is Charles, who do I have the pleasure of being noticed by?”

“Taylor,” she replied, and they shook hands like they completed a business deal. Everything about them was a contrast in appearance. His skin was dark, and hers pale. His hand was huge and engulfed her own in the handshake. He was very tall, and she was average height, but next to Charles she was definitely short. Taylor was more reserved, and Charles was clearly more outgoing. Their hands let go of each other, and the elevator stopped at Taylor’s floor, and the doors opened. Taylor stepped off the elevator as Charles held his hand in the doorway. She turned back to him.

“It was nice meeting you,” she said with a nod. Charles gave a look at the floor number and then looked back to her.

“Well, I’ve got your number,” he said, “I hope you won’t mind me interrupting you one of these days.”

“You can make an appointment with my assistant any time you’d like,” she said giving him one last smile as the doors began to close… then it was there. The Mirage, or the Shimmer, yet it wasn’t that anymore at all. It was like the media had been reporting, a clear vision. Before, when she saw the Shimmer waiting for the bus, she thought it felt like looking into something, like looking into a window but the other side was fogged, and she was unable to see clearly beyond. Now, that “window” was absolutely clear and what she saw was like a memory and what she could only interpret as the future. They were two separate visions, but happening simultaneously. Her mind was able to somehow separate the two though. In the one vision, she saw that day when she missed the bus. She could see what she saw then. Checking her watch as she decided to wait for the next bus instead of trying to hail a taxi. She could read the time of 7:47 am on the watch on her wrist. In the other vision, she was looking out over the city leaning against a glass balcony wall with her arms folded on a golden railing, feeling happy, and looking over she saw the man from the elevator, Charles. He was leaning back on the balcony next to her, looking down at her smiling before leaning down to kiss her. Before he did, it was all gone, and she was looking into Charles’s eyes as the elevator doors continued to close giving her more proof that these shimmers, and now these visions, happened in an instant almost pausing time itself. They were like a mental download happening in no time at all and yet she could experience the full time of the moments as the visions poured in. She stood staring at the closed elevator doors for a moment before turning to make her way to her office.

What the hell was that? She thought to herself as she slumped into her chair behind her desk. Ok, I think it’s safe to assume the vision I just had of the past, waiting at the bus stop, connects to that shimmer I saw at the bus stop last week… maybe that shimmer was trying to show me a vision of me today in the elevator with Charles? She was reasoning out loud now up from her chair and pacing around her office. So, was me meeting him inevitable because I missed a bus? Then, what does that say about that vision of him and me on the balcony? Do I have a choice in the matter? Not that I didn’t like where it was leading, but if I am not the one choosing it… She was annoyed, confused, yet also fully aware of her enjoyment of her conversation with Charles in the elevator. She was feeling torn from experiencing past, present, and future seemingly all at the same time; then, also experiencing different emotions for each event or vision at the same time. Maybe, he also had a vision? Her mind was racing. He probably thinks he’s got it made now…

Taylor walked over to her desk and picked up the phone calling her assistant.

“Yes?” Regina answered.

“If a man named Charles comes asking for me, or to make an appointment with me, be nice, but make me too busy, or if you need to pencil him in for some time and then cancel, and so on,” Taylor said.

“Ok…” Regina answered, the sound of her pen making a note reaching Taylor’s ear.

“I know it sounds strange… just don’t make it seem like I’m avoiding him, I just need to try something,” Taylor replied.

“No explanation needed, I’ve got you covered,” Regina said professionally. She was her assistant, but also a good friend after working for her for so many years, so Taylor knew she’d eventually explain what was going on, but Taylor also knew Regina wouldn’t ask. Taylor hung up the phone and returned to her desk feeling accomplished. She smiled, thinking of Charles, and shrugged off her moment of insanity thinking of a future when she would tell him what she did. She didn’t want to give up the happiness she felt from their meeting just before, but she also needed to establish that she was still in control of her life. With her experiment in place, aiming to control when and where she met Charles again, she felt at ease, and when Regina called in to announce her first appointment for the day, Taylor was her usual, cheerful, and professional self as she walked around her desk to greet the incoming clients.

Chapter 4: Psychotic Girl

Taylor lifted her head off her desk and opened her eyes with a jolt. Her phone was ringing, and she had no idea how long she had been asleep. She took a deep breath and let the air out in a quick burst to wake herself up a bit before picking up the phone.

“Hi, this is Taylor speaking,” she said only at this moment thinking why she was answering the phone and not Regina.

“Umm, yes I know,” Regina said, laughter in her voice. “I just wanted to see if you needed anything before your next appointment. Is everything ok?” Taylor looked over to check the time. 2:20 pm! The realization brought a growling from her stomach.

“Oh, crap, I fell asleep,” Taylor said, “For over an hour! Oh, man, when is my next appointment?”

“You’re next should be here any minute, for a 2:30 appointment,” Regina said, awaiting instructions.

“Ok, ok… have them wait 10 minutes so I can eat quick, and then after them, I am going to need a major coffee boost!” Taylor spoke laughing at herself and what she was putting herself through to maintain control of her future. The past week and a half she’d been coming into the office an hour earlier than usual to avoid bumping into Charles and having to confront him about the vision or chance winding up on that balcony with him somehow and feeling helplessly out of control. The earlier wake-up time, though, with no change to her work schedule, left her exhausted. Regina had reported that she had to turn Charles away twice in that time as well. Once on the phone and once when he came to her office in person. She had been wondering the past couple days how much longer she could keep up avoiding him without seeming disinterested or just plain rude or hurtful. Now, with the current experience of falling asleep on her desk for over an hour, she concluded that she couldn’t keep this up any longer. She ate her lunch, and after her 2:30 meeting Regina came in with a large cup of coffee. It brought her back to life and kept her going until 5 o’clock, but with her long nap she looked at the work she needed to get done and decided to stick around for another hour or so to start catching up. She finally put everything down when 6 o’clock rolled around and walked out of her office ready to head home.

“Good night, Regina,” she said, tiredness audible in her voice.

“Oh, before you go, if you want, a few of us are heading up to the rooftop restaurant for dinner and drinks? I know you’re tired, but it’s a beautiful night,” Regina spoke looking to her friend and boss hopeful. Taylor thought for a second, realizing that she was off her schedule and wouldn’t be cooking tonight anyway.

“Ok… I’m in. Are you going up now?” Taylor asked.

“Was just waiting for you to finish up… let’s go!” Regina said with excitement.

Together, Taylor, Regina, and a few of the event coordinators that worked for Taylor made their way to the elevators, and Regina hit the button for floor 84. They were all engaged in conversations about their days, their clients, and their personal lives, and Taylor listened on intrigued, but too tired to participate much more than that. They arrived at the top floor, number 84, and the doors opened onto a large waiting room with a glass wall in the shape of a semi-circle shielding them from the outdoor space beyond. In the middle stood a man with a headset on his head and dressed sharply in a black suit and black tie. The podium he stood behind read, “THE EDGE,” in sharp block letters. Regina stepped up to the podium to tell the man they had arrived for their reservation. Regina was tall with curly strawberry blonde hair. She had a curvy figure and walked confidently. Regina had the reservation down for five people already even though Taylor just agreed to join. She was incredibly thoughtful and kind. Taylor smiled at the gesture as she watched Regina wave them all forward with a big grin on her face as a waiter arrived to take them outside to their table.

The restaurant and bar were in an incredible spot, but Taylor had only been here once or twice in her 5 years in this building. She had her routine, and she typically stuck with it. Taylor felt revitalized after dinner. They all ate, talked, drank, and laughed together for a couple of hours before leaving their table and heading to the bar area to continue their night. Surprised at herself, Taylor stayed to join them. Well, my routine has gone to hell today, so why not? She reasoned. Regina was definitely the ringleader and kept everyone engaged and had them all meeting new people. As the night went on, Taylor started to fade and discreetly removed herself from the group to find a quiet area to either re-energize or make the decision to finally go home. In the opposite corner of the rooftop, on the restaurant side, she found her quiet spot. She leaned forward with her arms against the railing, looking out over the city. The view was breathtaking every time. Years living in New York City and she was never not taken back by the size and beauty of it.

Someone had just walked over and placed themselves right next to her, and she looked over annoyed at her quiet spot being disrupted, but when she saw Charles standing there, leaning with his back against the railing, her annoyance turned to shock and then joy. She was genuinely happy to see him, and for the moment the vision was forgotten. He smiled at her, and they both just stared at each other saying nothing. Then, Charles moved to lean in closer to her just like in the vision and then at that moment a vision came. Instead of seeing Charles in front of her on the rooftop, she was seeing him in an Elevator as the doors were closing. A perfect replay of their first meeting and where Taylor first saw the vision of this moment here. Then, she was back watching Charles’s face moving toward her, but before he got close to her, she pushed herself back off the railing and away from him. She was feeling vulnerable and confused.

“Why did you just try to kiss me?” She asked, accusingly, her hands up in a position that gestured Stop.

“Kiss you?” Charles said laughing, “I’m not that bold. I was just going to whisper in your ear,” he said with his hands raised in the air like she had a gun pointed at him.

“Oh,” she replied and paused to take in what he said, now feeling a little silly at her actions. Her arms fell back to her side. Charles took a step closer to her, his arms in the air still, and a smile on his face.

“I was going to ask, jokingly I thought, if you were avoiding me?” he said, his hands finally back to his side as he walked towards her, now at a normal distance for a conversation. “But, I guess that might be a little true after that reaction,” he always spoke with laughter in his voice not taking offense to her reaction.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m just a little freaked out about these visions. I have been avoiding you a little, but only because I don’t like the idea that I’m not in control of my future.” She paused to take a breath and calm down as her heart was still beating fast from her initial reaction. Charles stood there and his eyes read nothing but understanding. Taylor continued. “Before the elevator doors closed last week, I saw a vision of you leaning in, and I guess I just assumed you were leaning in to kiss me. The idea that I didn’t have a choice in the matter had me a little freaked out, and then when you just leaned in now, I assumed that you were taking advantage of that vision and of me in a way.” She finished pouring out her thoughts and feelings and felt vulnerable and a little crazy with all the things she’d done this week trying to avoid what could have been a nice moment. Charles just smiled before responding.

“Wow,” he said, “That is intense.” He started laughing, and Taylor quickly joined in. His lighthearted nature released some of the tension she was feeling, and she indeed felt lighter. “So,” he began again, “how about we try this second meeting again? Would you like to get a table at the restaurant with me?” Taylor agreed, happy for the second chance to prove she wasn’t completely insane.

They sat together talking and getting to know each other better. Charles was a former NFL wide receiver who started a company to help current NFL players prepare themselves for their future. He explained what it was like for him, growing up with nothing and then being handed millions of dollars a year when he made it to the NFL. It was like winning the lottery, and he made some terrible financial decisions early on before meeting a man who called him out on how he was throwing his money away and taught him how to be truly wealthy for the rest of his life.

“I was lucky I didn’t get hurt in those first few years,” he said. “This way I could make up for my initial spending and actually set myself up for the future. So many players start off and spend like me, and then when their career is done, from injury or age, they have no money saved and no plan. That’s what I do now. I help these players plan a little better and set themselves up for amazing lives after the NFL. I want them to still enjoy their money and their success now, but also have them set up for the future.” Taylor was amazed at his story and all he’d accomplished in his life. They talked for a long time, and after a while, she turned around to look at the bar area. Regina and the other women were gone. She surprisingly didn’t feel tired though and was happy to continue her time with Charles. They sat and talked until well after midnight before going downstairs to get taxis. The first taxi pulled up, and Charles opened the door for her to get in. Before she did, she moved in, stood on her toes, pulled his head down and kissed him. She let go and stepped back with a smirk.

“Now I don’t have to worry about any visions,” she said and stepped into the taxi leaving him there on the curb smiling. When she got home, and her head hit the pillow, she was happy tomorrow was Saturday so she could catch up on some sleep.

Chapter 5: This is The End

Taylor woke up on Monday morning feeling revitalized. It wasn’t just the sleep she caught up on all weekend, but a new resolve about her life and these visions. She spent her Sunday afternoon walking through Central Park and finally pausing to sit beneath a tree with her journal and a hot cup of Green Tea. She had been trying to make sense of these visions and how they fit into her life since they started and after her crazy antics over the past week and her night with Charles on Friday she finally felt like she had it figured out. Putting it on paper was her way to make sure and fine-tune her thinking. She wrote:

I realize now, that the only control I had I gave up trying to change that future vision. I chose to let the vision control me and change how I live my life. No more! I think it was talking with Charles that really made it clear, about how he helps his NFL players. Enjoy the moment, but plan for the future. I don’t know if we can change our future’s once we have one of these visions, but I feel now in this moment that I have choice in everything I do, and I can’t let these visions take that feeling away or really influence my choices now. So, I will plan for the future but live right now. Live in the moment, so they say. After all, if there is something I want to change, the action to do so happens in the moment, right now, not in the future. Whatever I see of my future, I will not make assumptions, as that lead me to really make an ass of myself. I will see if there’s something to learn from it perhaps, but mostly I think I will ignore it. My focus should be on living now and being the best person I can be, now. . .

Taylor sat and wrote for about an hour before she was satisfied and felt the clarity of mind she was hoping to find there. She started living her new philosophy right away, really taking in the beauty of Central Park as she walked through and walked with her head up and smiled at people and said hello which was something she rarely did walking in the City. But she noticed that most people smiled right back and seemed happy from the attention she gave them. She also decided to stop avoiding Charles, and the two had texted back and forth all weekend. All of this gave her a spring to her step Monday morning as she approached her usual bus stop. She actually started a conversation with one of the other people waiting at the stop. It so happened that he also lived in her building and caught the same bus with her every day for the past few years. The man had to take a phone call when they got on the bus, but before she stepped off at her stop, the man paused to say goodbye.

Taylor arrived upstairs in her office surprised to see Regina at her desk already. Taylor checked her watch confused, but she was right on time, Regina was early.

“Good morning,” Taylor said as she approached Regina’s desk.

“Hi, Taylor,” Regina replied and immediately kept talking, “Did you hear the news this morning? I saw they’re going to set something up at THE EDGE on the roof for us all to watch.” Regina paused looking to Taylor expecting her to know what was going on. But Taylor’s face gave herself away before she responded.

“I actually didn’t see the news, what’s going on?” She asked with a little nervousness in her voice.

“Oh, wow, sorry, umm, well they announced that the lead scientist, Dr. something-or-other, from CERN, behind the experiment which led to these wacky visions, is giving a press conference to explain what’s going on.” Regina finished in a huff of excitement and nervous energy.

“Really? Wow, I guess that’s probably something we should check out, what time is this happening?” Taylor asked.

“Right!” Regina started again, “he goes on ‘the air’ at noon, our time, and this morning the restaurant on the roof put out a tweet that they’ll have the press conference on the tv’s upstairs for us to watch, I think we should all go together,” Regina finished. Taylor agreed and then entered her office and walked straight to her windows to take in the view and stop herself from going down the thought process of trying to figure out what the doctor from CERN had discovered. She was working on keeping her mind in the present as she promised herself she would.

When noon approached, the office cleared out, and they all headed to the elevators and up to the top floor. Charles was up there waiting when Taylor got off the elevator and greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. There was a crowd of people on the rooftop, but no one was eating anything. The Restaraunt had TV’s all around already, but they amplified them with extra speakers so all could hear the coming announcement. They all stood with anticipation as the press conference started and The Doctor they keep talking about entered the screen and walked over to the podium.

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The man at the podium looked tired as he ruffled some pages before looking up at the crowd before him. At the bottom of the TV, they had his name written identifying the man they’d all come to hear speak, but Taylor was too far away from the TV to really see it.

“Hello, my name is Doctor Lincoln Hadson, and I am the Lead Scientist on the project at CERN that we assume is the cause of these visions we all appear to be having,” He spoke with minimal energy in his voice. When he paused for a breath, the murmuring from the crowd in front of him was audible through the TV screens as the people on top of the roof looked on in silence. “We have been working day and night since the beginning of this trying to determine what is going on and perhaps why exactly it is happening. Now, from a scientific perspective, we are only able to make theories about why this is happening, and each theory is years away from any potential proof. So, all I can offer at the moment is to explain what appears to be happening. We’ve collected thousands of statements from people experiencing these visions all around the World, and this is what we’ve determined,” he paused and slowly slid the top page over and under the pile of pages before him. He glanced at the notes and then after an uncomfortable pause looked back up at the camera and began talking again.

“The visions are of both past and future events. It seems that there must be some sort of energetic connection between moments in the past to moments in the future. For example, if you have a vision of some future event, when you arrive at that future in real time, you’ll also have a vision of the past moment where you had the future vision. So, we assume that there is a direct cause and effect going on. That the past event had a direct energetic cause for the future event. The only problem is that this is nearly impossible to prove.” He again paused, and Taylor could hear questions being thrown at Dr. Hadson from the crowd. He continued without addressing them.

“There appears to be no amount of time that these events have to be separated by either. We’ve had some reports where the visions occur moments to hours later. Others met their future vision days and weeks later, and others have yet to arrive at the future they saw. Now, the final thing is that from what we can tell, no one has been able to alter those future moments, but further study on those who have not seen their visions come to fruition are needed.” This time the eruption of questions from the people before Lincoln was deafening and he had no choice but to address them. A moderator stepped in and called on one reporter at a time.

“Can this be undone, or are we stuck with this forever?” The reporter asked.

“I don’t know, but …” Lincoln was interrupted before he could finish speaking by another reporter who just shouted his questions above the crowd.

“Do you realize how you’ve screwed up our lives here?” The reporter began, “I had a vision of being in a car accident yesterday, and now I can’t bring myself to drive anywhere…” he finished, and more and more reporters started shouting questions and accusations at Lincoln that he visibly became more alert and frightened standing at the podium unsure what to do.

The crowd on the rooftop became restless as well. It seemed the press conference was coming to an end as another man walked in front of the podium with his hands in the air trying to calm down the sea of reporters invisible to the eyes of those watching the television. Taylor looked at Charles, and he looked back, each just giving a sigh at the whole event. Right then, Taylor had another vision, but there was also nothing there. All she saw was blackness. Endless blackness everywhere she looked. It was like she was completely blind all of a sudden. However long it lasted she knew that as her focus returned to the rooftop no time had passed. Yet, the scene before her was noticeably different. It was silent. Even the reporters on the TV were silent as well as the moderator and Dr. Hadson. Taylor looked to Charles, and his eyes confirmed her thoughts. He had the same vision she did. Looking around, it seemed everyone had the same vision, and everyone was looking around for that same confirmation. People started to whisper to each other confused and afraid.

Soon, panic set in across the rooftop like a visible wave emanating out from select groups upon the rooftop. Simultaneously the noise of questions being shouted at Dr. Hadfield echoed through the amplifiers and across the rooftop. People were pulling out their cell phones trying to call people, and Taylor could pick out enough of the conversations around her to know that everyone had this vision of Blackness. Taylor felt panic start to creep in and worry and fear and then, she stopped herself. She remembered her resolution to not let these visions affect her, to change her life, to take away her choice and control of the moment. She closed her eyes and thought to herself. If that vision is really showing us the end of all things, she paused and looked up at Charles, then I better live these moments in front of me even more so. And if I can change something, to stop it somehow, it happens now, in the moment. She was repeating that last line in her head with her eyes closed again, like a mantra until she believed it. People were really panicking and started to shove each other on their way to the elevators and stairs. Taylor looked back up at Charles who was looking around at the scene, worry in his expression, and she took his hand. He looked down at her, and she smiled up at him. His worry disappeared, and Taylor felt free in the moment. Whatever the future held for them, for humanity, she would live today. She wasn’t afraid.

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