Note Behind the Picture

A picture on your mantle unexpectedly falls and crashes to the floor. As you go to pick it up, you notice a note hidden behind the picture. The message is from the future—and written by you. It instructs you to do something important. What does it say?

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52 thoughts on “Note Behind the Picture

  1. bilbobaggins321

    Honey, please go clean up the attic-its been uncleaned for months.”
    I froze. Uh-oh. The words that I had been dreading had come to pass. I tried to skirt around her to get back to my room, but she managed to corral me into the hall underneath the pull-down door.
    She pulled a duster and some spray from out of nowhere and put them in my lifeless hands.
    Don’t be stupid, I thought. You knew it had to happen sometime. You’ll have to get over your fear of the attic sometime.
    I uplled down the creaky attic door, and I shivered just at the sound. Even though I was a teen, I was supposed to be “grown up”, there was something about that old attic that just gave me the willies. I wish I had just left my grandmother’s house when I had the chance. I would be willing to live with anyone, even alcoholic Uncle Banks, who had tried to get me under his foster care. My grandmother had always been acting wierdly lately, especially around the time that my parents died.
    I warily ascended the stairs, swearing under my breath some kind of empty-worded chant, knowing well that if one cobweb landed on my shoulder I woul run hell-to-leather down to my room.
    Once I got up there, and I had clicked on the metal bulbs, my fear subsided. What was in here anyway?
    There was nothing but some crates and boxes, boxes upon boxes. Only one was open.

    Once the curiosity was too strong, I set down the duster and carefully opened the box, afraid that if I opened it just a little faster it would disintegrate. Some old memoribilia from ancient history (that’s what I call my grandmother’s youth years) came into view. I automatically picked up a very old photograph of Grandma in high school, cradling it in my hands. I noticed some dust on the frame, and, being OCD, reached for the duster to clean it off. Leaning back to reach the duster, I stumbled over another box, and my knees buckled.

    I winced as the nice frame shattered on the wood floor, and I prayed to God that Grammy had not heard it, or I’d have the Devil to pay. I began to clean up the remains hastily, glancing over my shoulder. I picked up the frame, and noticed a small paper note poking out from a corner. I pulled it out.

    It was a small card, and it had no inside, it as just a small sheet. The paper was worn at the edges, and the writing was blurred, as if the picture had been written millenia ago. I held it closer to my face, and, squinting in the dim light of the attic, began to read.

    End of Part One- Part Two Coming Soon

    BTW- This was written by a 13-year-old-wish me luck!

  2. ShadowThief28

    I know that it said “Letter from the future” but I just had to try this one out. Please read and review! 🙂

    I trudged through the door of my scanty apartment, exhausted. I sighed and collapsed onto my bed, already half asleep. A sudden crash of glass startled me awake. Without thinking, I grabbed the gun off of my nightstand and cocked it, getting to my feet. The place was small enough that no one could break in and go completely unnoticed. Despite this, I edged forward hesitantly. But there awaited me no thief, no murderer; nothing but the sound of the light wind and the sight of shattered glass and splintered wood on the tile floor.
    “Huh,” I muttered out loud. I un-cocked the gun and tucked it into the waistband of my jeans, shuffling closer, careful not to step in the glass. My heart rate came down somewhat as I surveyed the rest of the room. Nothing else had fallen or broken, and the doors and windows were still locked.
    Reassured, I quietly padded back over to the broken picture frame. Crouching, I steadied myself with one hand, reaching for the picture with the other. It was one that brought back a flood of memories – and pain. A gift from Hazel, it showed myself and a group of four or five other young men, all literally skin and bones, sharing a bed at one of the ‘dying rooms’.
    It felt heavier than I’d expected, and I turned it over. On the back was taped an envelope, charred and stained with blood. I swallowed hard, almost certain I knew what it was. With shaky hand, I gingerly broke the seal and pulled out the letter. It too, was in bad shape, but I recognized my neat handwriting.
    April 26, 1945
    Auschwitz, Germany

    Luke,
    Even the Irish suffered from the Holocaust. Don’t worry: emancipation day is at hand, and I’ve got a plan to get out of this god-forsaken hell-hole. And yes, I can say that; what little good had come out of this won’t do well until your lifetime. (Hint: he’s French, good-looking, arrogant, and every bit of good you are, despite more than whispers of the contrary.) Don’t him slip through your hands, ever.
    Anyway, go for the best and things will turn out fine. Don’t listen to those that put you down; there are dozens of people to lift you up. 🙂 A word of advice: pray. Fenris knows it’s the only reason I’ve gotten this far. Never forget, but don’t obsess. Take risks, and live life for the both of us. By next week, I’ll be watching over you, as is Liam now.
    Please, forgive and forget, and leave those troubles behind. Let the wind take you where your heart says to go. Travel lightly, for what you bring with you becomes part of the landscape. Take this letter with you on your journey as a reminder. Don’t the dark of yesterday taint the light of tomorrow. Look around you and appreciate the woes of your ancestors; they did a lot to get you here.
    No fear!
    Lúcás Cavanaugh

  3. unb315

    I heard the glass shatter but chose not to turn around instantly. Nothing good came out of the sound of breaking glass, and this was certainly no exception. I was not surprised, therefore, to find that one of my picture frames lay broken on the floor Cursing slightly under my breath I went to clean the mess up, but the sight of an unusual piece of paper caught my eye. Abandoning my task of cleaning, I picked it up and saw a handwritten message scribbled from top to bottom. The handwriting was startling familiar, but I was even more freaked out about who it was addressed to: myself.

    Dear Lucy,
    I hope this note finds you in good spirits, and that life is not being too hard on you. A thought of you came into my mind today, saying that I needed to write to you as soon as possible. Though I have nothing of great importance to say, I just wanted to give you a piece of advice that will greatly benefit you in the near future. Whenever you feel like life is far too great a burden to handle, remember that in the long run you are destined to succeed and not fail. Trial after trail will come to defeat you, but with faith and hope you will make it through better than you were before. Never forget that.
    Sincerely,
    The Future You

    Even after reading through the note multiple times I still had a hard time believing that this was a message from the future, and the writer was myself. There’s no telling how it was even possible or if my imagination was running wild, but I couldn’t fight the hope that was growing inside of me. Picking up the remains of the picture frame, I placed its picture of myself after my high school graduation in a spare frame from my closet. But this time there would be no message to accompany it.

  4. RobertCordaro

    Jack Stryder was a character I created for my daughter. When she was little she would ask for him by name, but he actually started out a generic name I used for her stories. One day she realized he would one day be on a spaceship and the next in the Kingdom of Palomar! So now he’s the guy that created a way to travel between the multiverse! When I saw the title of the prompt, I went right to him.

    Jack sat in his old room back home. He smiled as he remembered growing up here and listening to his father try to convince him to stay away from the military because he wanted him to do something better with his life. Now he has returned with a degree from MIT!
    Just then, he noticed that one of his posters of Aerosmith had one of its corners lose, so he stood up to straighten it and found that someone had built a shelf into the wall right behind it. That’s where he found the composition book hidden. Curious, he started reading the first page of the notebook.

    Dear Jack,

    One day in the future, you’ll be sitting in your quarters in the Castle of Palomar and you are going to realize that you have such a wonderful story to write. However, this revelation will come too late! By the time you realize that no one knows the whole story you will be close to 600 years old, and will never have enough time to write everything down! Why, it took nearly 100 years just to write down everything from your time in space!
    Anyway, I (you) have only had one regret in life, that you didn’t write everything down as it happened. Don’t you dare try to be a writer, you really do suck at it, let the scribes and bards to the writing, but you MUST keep a journal. And that journal must be paper, not computer, because some worlds are quite magical and don’t need to use technology like we did.
    I cannot say anymore, to say anymore would be a disaster to the space/time continuum!

    Signed,
    Jack Styder

    Ps: I have to be quick so the mage won’t see me adding this: Do not trust the red head, she’s actually a dragon! Oh, and the giant spiders on the second planet you visit ARE the good guys!

    That was it. That was all that was written in the whole notebook. What bothered Jack the most was that he could recognize his own hand writing and his own signature!
    That night, before he went to sleep, he remembered his new journal:

    Dear Journal,

    Today I got a letter from NASA asking me if I would like to come to work with them on the new Apollo space program. They couldn’t tell me what it was for or anything, but my dad told me it was something big. I have a feeling my dad, the Big Bad General had something to do with it. He’s been working on Top Secret crap my whole life. He says it’s big, but I’m sure that I’ll just be fixing some mainframe under that mountain he worked in.
    Anyway, it’s late. Good night.

  5. Nat47

    I leaned my head against the cold window, feeling a silver run through me. My hand absentmindedly traced the tiny designs, made by frost along the thin, slick surface. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath till, I exhaled long and unsteadily. Stepping away from the window, I pulled my fuzzy jacket to my finger tips hiding my cold hands. My nose was stuffy, my head began to ache and I wanted nothing more than to crawl under the warm covers and forget the rest of the world. Yet instead I grabbed a glass of water from my nightstand and gulped it down, ignoring the fact that I had no clue how it got there, and that it tasted flat and warm. I walked throughout my lonesome house my bare feet making silent noise against the icy marble floor, stopping at the broader of my living room. My gaze fell to the large fire place. The one place in my house, that never seemed to change. Every since I moved in twelve years ago, being only five I still remember my mother moving gracefully throughout the house placing candles and pictures everywhere. I was so interested in the old fire place, my mother let my set up the decor around. I could almost hear her contagious laugh, as she told me that when winter came we would light the fire and sit around it as a family, slurping hot chocolate and eating warm cookies, the yummy ones that one bite had the chocolate dripping down your face. I smiled memories flooding around me, I licked my chapped lips as if I could taste moms delicious cookies. Closing my eyes, I wished to be in moms protective arms, soothing me, and making me smile. I felt tears well up in my eyes threatening to break free and drown me. It has only been two months since mother was once here, singing as she cooked me fresh breakfast in the morning and fluffed the cushions making sure things were not perfect but comfortable. I coughed back the tears, feeling a uneasy lump in my throat. When suddenly a loud crash had me jumping higher than Mt. Everest. A scream forced itself from my lips, as I looked around the room wide eyed. Nothing looked unusual. I hurried myself to the huge marshmallow like couch in the middle of the living room. Tucking my feet under me and hugging the couch pillow tightly I still watched uncertain. When I glanced down to see, by the fire place a picture was shattered against the wood flooring. I laughed, unwittingly at myself. “Wow, chicken.” I called loudly, and stood from the couch dropping the pillow behind myself. I was careful not to step on the broken glass around, and picked up the picture still pressed against the frame. It was one I greatly remember being taken. It was me and my mom outside by her famous white rose bushes. It had taken my mother a lot of work to grow the beautiful bush of roses, and she was very proud as so was I . A smile tugged on my lips remembering how every spring the whole house was filled with the familiar scent of the roses.. I quickly made a note to myself to get the picture a new frame. My smile faded as I looked down as the mess that surrounded me. Cautiously I stepped back from the living room and swiftly turned walking to the kitchen. I grabbed the old red broom and began cleaning up the glass. I carefully picked the frame up using just my thumb and pointer-finger. When I saw a piece of paper, flutter through the non-windy room to the ground. I threw the frame to my left hearing only a swoosh as fell into the trash can. I picked up the note and the paper felt like sand between my fingers. I opened it, noticing that it had many creases from being folded over and over again, possibly stuffed and crammed in pockets and bags over time. The paper once ruff suddenly felt warm, I smoothed it rubbing it on my worn down skinny jeans. My eyes skimmed over the words and confusion hit me, hard. The letter, was addressed to me, and written by me? I would remember writing this I think. My head was bombarded with questions as I read it over again.
    Dear Lisa,
    You need to leave your house, now. Don’t talk to dad, or anyone. But James, you can trust him. Call him as soon as you can. Don’t forget mothers locket. And please be safe.
    Lisa

    I quickly folded the paper back up, and put it in my tiny front pocket, of my jeans. I was wearing mothers locket. I had always since she passed, I didn’t know why I would need it, but for sentimental reasons. And James? That name tugged back memories. James was my old friend. Well best friend, we did everything together. Until he moved three years ago. “But..?” I question myself out loud. What did James have to with this? I haven’t spoken to him, since he left. And why do I have to leave? Was this a joke? “Urge!” I groaned at myself. “To much thinking.” my voice boomed, as I swept my hand through my auburn hair. What if this isn’t a joke? I thought logically for a second. And then without another thought I grabbed my bag from the kitchen counter and slipped on my high comfy boots. I didn’t hesitate as I walked out into the bitter cold and to my car. Not knowing where I was headed, or what was really happening. I pulled out my phone, and typed in the familiar number, the number to who I haven’t talked to in ages. The number I wasn’t sure he even used. I turned the corner, as the phoned beeped loudly in my ear. Making my hands sweat and my heart race. I hoped he would answer, and at lest have an idea to what was happening, or what was to come. Finally, for what felt like weeks, I heard a voice I thought I’d never hear again. A voice of a friend, someone who I could trust. My voice was barely a whisper as I couldn’t over come the shock, or the rush of time. “Hey James? It’s me Lisa. I really need your help.”

  6. ShadowThief28

    It was a rainy day, the thunderheads looming overhead, heavily and ominously, foretelling days worth of summer storms. I sat at my desk, working feverishly to finish a report for the precinct. A recent – and deadly — outbreak of the Spanish influenza had gripped the city in a blind panic. I was one of the only ones who knew enough to track the spread. A very loud – and very close – clap of thunder made me jump, blotting ink on the otherwise clean sheet of paper. Seconds later, the shattering of glass had me on my feet, gun in hand and racing down the stairs to fend off . . . a picture?
    I lowered my gun and walked over to the mantle, kneeling to pick up the picture, now free of its glass. A letter, written on parchment and sealed with wax, made the picture heavy. I was slightly alarmed to notice my family crest. Was this a letter from a long-lost relative? There was only one way to find out.
    I removed the tape and turned it over. The address was unfamiliar to me, a place that I had never heard of. But the date-! August 15, 2028; that was ten years, two months, and seven days from now. How was that possible? As a detective who experience premonitions, I believed that nothing was impossible.
    It was not addressed, and so I opened it. Unfolding the smooth, thick paper, I saw blood red ink scrawled across the page in my familiar handwriting. I did not dismiss the possibility; instead, I read it softly out loud, to make it more concrete.
    August 15, 2028

    James,

    I know what you must be thinking: Things like this never happen to people like us, right? I know that you dismiss little, and take every possible scenario into account, even if it sounds crazy. Many things do, even if the assumptions are correct. Take my advice, after all, I’ve made the same mistakes and seen what they can do. First off, pack and leave the house. Screw the department and that lousy assignment; they don‘t know the first thing about what goes on at the CDC. (Watch the epidemic episode in Numb3rs; it’ll explain a lot). Second, find me at the address on the envelope. It may sound impossible, but I’ve found that multiple versions of ourselves live in the same time-space continuum we do. Time travel and worm-holes exist here. It’s trickier than living there, sure, but the blessings – and rewards — are infinite . . . you’ve always tried to do the impossible. You are a Thief, after all. Third: Is it difficult? Yes. Take the Southern and shoot your wife; she is infected. Look underneath the loose floorboard under your bed; you will find a bag of coins and several other ‘pointers’ that I left for you. Take them with my blessing and don’t look back.
    P.S: put the picture in your suitcase; I forgot to on my way out.
    Faithfully yours,
    J. Deckland (a.k.a.: The Shadow Thief)

  7. Raindropsfallin

    Lucia Castillo
    Feb. 1, 2012

    Broken Pieces

    He’s back. You can feel it. Deep inside you, you know he found you. You are in your room trying to sleep, but your head aches and stomach turns. Did you tell anyone about your past; your old name? Did you give your phone number to the wrong person; your address? Did you have a picture out from your past? You have to leave. Again. The window creeks and the curtains move with the quiet breeze of the wind. Shivers run up and down your spine and your body goes cold. Getting up to close the window tight you hear a crash coming from the next room. You freeze in place and your heart starts pounding. Flashes run in your mind.
    “Sa-va-nnah, you can’t hide from me. Wherever you go I’ll find you.”
    The pain in your head brings you back. He is not here with you now. Slowly, you go to your dresser, pull out some sweats, and put them on. Your gym bag is in the trunk at the end of your bed. You look through it; it has your clothes, a wallet with some money in it and a different ID, some hair dye, and your sisters phone number and a throw away phone. This phone is only for that one number, to call and let your sister know that you are gone again.
    The memory of the last day you saw your sister comes to you. “I can’t stay here, you know he’ll find me,” tears fall from your eyes as you tell your sister goodbye. “I’ll call you when I’m safe, remember don’t use this phone for anything, keep it with you at all times, if it rings three times and stops you know it’s me. Then you can call me. I will always have a different number every time.” You hug her goodbye and walk away; away from your sister, your family, from the pain and heartbreak and away from HIM. You did not know that all this pain would bring you love and joy in your daughter, who is now three years old.
    Back in your room, you take a deep breath, grab onto your necklace that keeps you connected to here and now. Again you start to move.
    Quickly now, you grab some stuff from the bathroom and head towards Natalie’s room. You hate to do this to her again. Picking up and leaving, not talking about people from your past, friends that she made growing up. Picking up your daughter and shushing her back to sleep, with your gym bag on your shoulder and slippers on your feet, you go to the garage. With Natalie in your arms you put the bag in the trunk and slowly put her in her car seat. You turn on the car and put on the kids music and open the garage door just a little and press the button for the car alarm, praying she won’t wake up. Then you head back inside to get more stuff: the baby’s blanket that was yours as a child and some photos of some simple days. Nothing too revealing, no land marks, none of your friends, just you and Natalie.
    As you pick up one of your favorite photos, you realize what had crashed earlier. A photo of a long lost memory in an old scratched up frame. As you pick up the photo from the broken pieces, a note slips out from behind it. The handwriting looks like yours but you don’t remember writing it. “Savannah, Self-defense is not murder. Get your gun now, and you can finally go home.” Your name is Shannon now. But Savannah was your name in another life. You go towards the kitchen, jump up on the counter, open the little door inside of the cupboard, and pull out your gun.
    Then the car alarm goes off and Natalie starts screaming. You freeze. Everything in your body tells you to run to your baby girl. With the gun in your hand and the note in the other, you bolt to Natalie. He is there. He is trying to get to your daughter. You hide the gun. You had some training with it but he has had more. He is a police officer after all.
    “Is she mine?” he asks. All these years you’ve kept her from me. Every time I found you, you never mentioned I had a daughter. Every time I got so close to you, this close to getting you back, I never saw her with you”.
    You don’t understand. Every time you knew he was close to finding you, you left. He is talking like you had seen him multiple times since then. “Answer me!” he screams banging on the car window. You walk slowly to the car, thinking, what can you do?
    “Yes, she is yours.” You tell him. “You said you didn’t want kids. You said you would have me get rid of it if you ever found out I was pregnant. I lost my first one because of you.” Anger struck your voice, “I didn’t know when I left. I swear I didn’t. I just needed to find myself, that’s all. I needed to figure out who I wanted to be.”
    “Don’t you raise your voice at me!” he yells, and you flinch. All the memories come back to you, the pain, going to the hospital, being alone though all of it. Every time you did something wrong in his eyes, you got a beating. Every time you had to hide the bruises on your arms, tell your family everything is fine between you two. And in the fear of having to go back to it, of putting your daughter into that situation, you pull out your gun. “Back off!” You say, “get away from my daughter, get out of my house, or I will shoot you” calmly now. Your heart is racing. You have no idea how he will react and your hand starts to shake. But when you remember why you are doing this; you remember the note that is crumpled in the palm of your hand, self-defense is not murder, you calm your shaking and put your finger on the trigger, and again you say, “Back off.”
    The alarm of the car is still blaring, and a neighbor calls from underneath the garage door, “Is everything alright, Ms. G.?”
    “No, Henry, call the police. Tell them there’s a break in right now and you fear for my life.”
    “You Bitch!” Zach screams over the alarm. You turn off the alarm, and give him on last chance to leave. But he doesn’t take it and he lunges for you and the gun. You scream, and there is a fight for control for the gun, and it goes off. You fall to the ground and slam your head on the cement floor. There is a pain in your head and you feel light headed. The last thing you see is Zach lying on the ground with blood draining from his body, and the baby crying for you.
    As you come to you hear the police sirens get closer and closer. You are still light headed from the bump on your head, but you are determined to get to your baby. Natalie is screaming at the top of her lungs with the Wiggles music still playing “give a dog a bone”. You grab her from her seat and shush her back to sleep, “you’re safe now, baby, your safe, mommy is here. Everything is gonna be alright. We are going home now.”

  8. hillsworth

    As I sit here, slightly slumped over the keyboard, I wonder to myself what my life would have been like if I had just understood this note when I found it taped to the back of the picture when it fell off the mantle and broke. Maybe I could have been the high-school quarterback? Maybe I could have taken MaryJane Whats-Her-Pants to the prom. Maybe I could have been a world famous racecar driver. Maybe, maybe, maybe…
    The sores on my rump hurt like the dickens and the creme that Nancy puts on them dont do a whole lot. If I could feel my feet, they would probably feel cold right now, but, oh well, what the hell, huh? Who could have guessed that a hunters stray bullet would crash through a window and change a young life so dramatically.
    I contemplate what to write. ‘Look out!’ Or ‘Duck!’ would seem the obvious, but I know they won’t do, because I am what I am. So I settle on the truth that has confined me to this damn wheelchair for the past thirty-seven years.
    “Sorry.”

  9. Dylio83

    As Dylan leaned over to turn his alarm off, he remembered the significance of that morning. All the anxiety that had built up in the days leading to that morning came rushing back. The years of studying and hard work and the time spent away from his beautiful wife Jenn and their 2-year old daughter Jamie had finally paid off.

    He turned over to Jenn, who was lying on her side facing him with a smile on her face.

    “This is it, baby.” He said, as he leaned over to kiss her. “Soon we’ll be able to afford anything and everything. Penthouse suite overlooking Central Park. Private school for Jamie. Private jets to our private islands in the Caribbean.”

    She kissed him back and held his hand towards her chest. “I know you can do it. And God knows you deserve it.”

    “WE deserve it.” He said smiling, before getting off the bed. “I’ll put a pot on. Let you know when it’s ready.”

    As he was walking towards the kitchen, a loud crash broke the morning silence. he walks over to the living room to find their wedding photo had fallen off the mantle and smashed onto the hardwood floor. As he went to pick up the picture, Jenn calls out from the bedroom.

    “What was that? Is everything ok?”

    “Yea baby, our photo fell off the mantle. I’ll clear it up, don’t worry about it.”

    “Shit! Be careful. Don’t go stepping on any of the glass. Last thing you need is to miss your first day!”

    As he picked up the photo and pieces of glass, he notices a folded up note amongst the mess. Picking it up and opening it, the first thing that catches his eye was the letterhead on the note.

    ‘Sterling & Associates Investment Bank’

    That was enough to leave him dumbfounded, but as he read the note, he could not fathom how or why it says what it did.

    “Don’t do it. The more you make, the more you lose. If I had known what was to come, I would not be standing on this ledge right now.”

    What surprised Dylan the most, however, was that he recognized the very familiar handwriting on the note. It was written by him.

  10. Scorpio

    Three months, two weeks, four days, and counting. With each passing day she worked harder and longer, until she was only allowing herself short naps while still sitting at her desk when she could no longer force her eyes to stay open and grabbing whatever could be eaten with one hand (and only that because she knew she needed fuel to continue her research) so her other one would be free to click the mouse or turn a page.

    The answer just had to be here somewhere. What was she missing?

    She hadn’t minded too much losing the wager to see which one of them would travel through time first, her with her magic and spells or him with his technology. She had been happy for him, his face lit up like a Christmas tree after the first successful test run. But now she needed to perfect the spell, and quickly.

    She looked at the picture on the mantle, her eyes tearing up and the knots of dread in her stomach twisting tighter as they devoured his beloved face; the one taken on their honeymoon by a fellow hiker, with Huayna Picchu in the backdrop, protecting Machu Picchu and keeping its secrets.

    She would find the missing ingredient. She would. And then she would use it to make the Corporation tell her where, when, Ryan had been sent. He might be expendable to them, written off as collateral damage when both the project and the transporter literally and figuratively blew up, but he was everything to her and she would never give up, never stop trying to find to him.

    Tremors from the underground blasting being done in order to break through the rubble from the explosion shook the small house, rattling the windows and the pictures on the mantle just then, and she watched as her favorite picture wobbled and then began to topple over. With a cry she jumped from the chair and leapt across the room, but was too late to catch it before it hit the floor.

    As she crouched down in front of the shattered glass and broken wood she noticed a folded piece of paper peeking from behind the picture itself. She slipped it out the rest of the way and shook it free of glass before unfolding it.

    Her brow creased in confusion as she recognized her handwriting and then looked at the date, seven years in the future, but only for a moment. She was up and running for her travel pack the instant she finished reading and had pulled the picture from under the broken glass. She knew where he was and what she needed to do.

    Every thing she would need for the ritual was already in her pack, including the one ingredient she had been searching for all these months. She laughed out loud at that thought, remembering why it was in there. Native Peruvian women would hand out the leaves to disembarking tourist to relieve the symptoms of travel sickness. Coca leaves.

    According to her future self, chewing the leaves while casting the spell had another purpose, preparing the body for travel in addition to repairing it from travel.

    She took one last look around the small house and then headed toward the future.

  11. wyocampbell

    What would have caused that to fall? That picture has been there for ages. Now I have to clean up all of the glass, what a pain. Where’s the dang broom? You have got to be kidding me, it wasn’t enough to fall off of the stinking wall and break it had to shatter and spread glass… what’s that?

    Dear Scott, I guess that is how I should address you or myself, since I am writing to myself ten years into your future. That’s right, this is a letter from you/me, because you/I have been given a chance to communicate with myself in the past with something from the future.

    In October of 2022 the World Series will be won by the most unlikely team. The Cubs. The score 7 to 2. With information like that you will be able to place a sizable bet and know that you will win. The dilemma is that I did not know that, in my time line, so I did not place a bet. Now that you do are you willing to change the future and everything that means for the sake of money? Sincerely, Your future self or not

  12. tlcall01

    Tick, tick, tick…the mantle clock sounded rhythmically. Jane shifted in her chair, relieving the pain in her hip from where she sat reading. It was an unusually balmy fall day. The wind-driven clouds alternatively blocked out the sun, resulting in a late afternoon light show dancing across the room. In the stillness of the afternoon, her eyes grew heavy. She didn’t know how long she dozed; just long enough for stiffness to creep into her neck. Her head snapped up. Getting her bearings, she noticed the source of the commotion: a photo had fallen, the space on the mantle where it normally resided now empty. The photo frame lay prone on the carpet, having ricocheted off the hearth. Unsteady, Jane got to her feet, her hips and knees aching. She bent carefully and lifted the frame, turning it over in her arthritic hands. She starred at it. She had seen this photo hundreds of times over the last 10+ years. It was of she and her beloved husband, their two boys, their wives, and a multitude of grandchildren taken years before Artie had fallen ill. She ran a gnarled finger over the image and wondered when she had last talked with Steven and Gregg.

    As she stepped toward the mantle to replace the photo, she noticed a piece of paper folded at the edge of the fireplace. She restored the photo to its normal resting place and reached for it. Unfolding it, she noticed the small, neat penmanship much like her own. Walking toward the solitary reading light, she read, “Dear Jane, I know you’ll find this hard to believe but it’s me, I mean you, Jane. The year is 2032 and you are still alive in kicking. And if I know you (and I do), there is a smile playing at your lips and you are looking around to see which son has been playing practical jokes on you.” Looking back to the paper from her quick glance around the room, she continued. “It’s no joke. You are here now, with Artie, enjoying good health and unspeakable joys, too many to write about here. (Artie says, ‘Howdy’). I need for you to do something, and Jane, this is extremely important and it won’t be easy, but since when have you done the easy thing? Look into the mirror above the couch and what do you see? A woman who has lived a full life; a woman blessed enough to have watched her babies grow into men and her grandbabies grow into adults. You’ve buried your husband and one grandson, lost to a senseless war. You’ve held the family together through difficult times. It’s your turn now: trust in me, trust in yourself….”

    Turning toward the mirror Jane saw herself. The last 70 years raced through her mind, ending at this moment. She refolded the note and let it fall onto the couch. Without a backward glance, she opened the front door and stepped into the world that awaited her.

  13. nicky.wood57

    Walking out of the kitchen and past the mantle, my toe caught oh so gracefully on air. the cup of hot chocolate goes flying, as does the rest of my body. I reach out and inevitably grab hold of my uncle’s picture, bringing it to the floor with me. As I land, the picture shatters in my hands, ripping them to shreds. “Oh crap! Ow, ow, ow…” I mutter, walking tot the bathroom to wash and bandage my fingers.
    When I’m finished with the painful procedure of removing the glass from my palms and wrapping them in gauze, I head back to the living room with a broom and a trash can. Using a dust pan, I quickly sweep up the mess and throw it in the trash can before gently picking up the picture of my uncle. “What am I going to do with you now?” I mumble sadly to myself. As I removed the back of the picture frame, a yellow page falls out onto the wood floor. I swoop down to pick it up and find it addressed to me….. FROM me. I think to myself, ‘I don’t remember writing a note to myself ever. What’s going on here?!’ I open the note and read it carefully.
    NICOLE, I KNOW THAT YOU’RE PROBABLY FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW, BUT I HAD TO GET THIS TO YOU. I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT OUR UNCLE ISN’T REALLY DEAD. NO, HE’S NOT IN JAIL. AND NO HE WASN’T KIDNAPPED. HE’S CURRENTLY IN HIDING ON A DIFFERENT PLANET. THE PLANET IS CALLED MORDOR. I’S ABOUT FIFTY MILLION MILES FROM EARTH, BUT YOU CAN GET THERE THROUGH A PORTAL IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS. GO ON THE COMPUTER AND LOOK FOR A PLACE CALLED IDAHO SPRINGS, WHEN YOU GET TO IDAHO SPRINGS GO TO THE ICE CREAM SHOP AND GO TO THE BATHROOM, BEHIND THE MIRROR IS A SMALL DOOR, TURN THE KNOB AND IT WILL TAKE YOU TO MORDOR. FIND A MAN NAMED DEAN AND HE WILL TAKE YOU TO OUR UNCLE. YOU HAVE TO GO TOMORROW OR YOU WON’T GET THERE IN TIME. BE THERE AT TEN O’CLOCK SHARP. YES YOU’LL HAVE TO GET UP EARLY. HURRY!!
    – NICOLE
    I couldn’t believe my eyes. this was crazy. Absolutely one hundred percent bonkers! But it was from myself, I’m not the most sane person in the world. Well, it sounds like an adventure that will end after a two hour drive. maybe I can get an ice cream cone after wards.

  14. Icabu

    Naomi, charge nurse at Whispering Pines Nursing Home, checked on the patient in room 24D. The old woman was always alone, never even one visitor. She watched as a smile flitted across the old, sleeping face, folding the paper-thin skin in waves of wrinkles. Naomi recalled her mother saying that babies were dreaming of angels when they smiled. At ninety-seven, Rachel Westin was no baby; Naomi still figured angels were behind the smile. Feeling a chill in the room, Naomi tucked the blanket around Rachel’s rail-thin body.
    Rachel was pleased that the Good Angel came to see her again. Age had ravaged her body and her mind roamed where time and reality did not tread. The Angel was good company; the best she’d ever had.
    “Rachel,” the Angel spoke inside Rachel’s mind. “You’ve been granted the ability to change something in your past. If you could, is there one thing you would do differently given the chance?”
    “Oh, yes,” Rachel answered immediately. She’d spent most of her life wanting to change one decision, so long ago.
    “I will leave a note to your past self to accomplish this change. What do you want it to say?” the Angel asked.
    Rachel smiled. “Go.”
    Puzzled, the Angel frowned. “Is that all?”
    “Yes.” Rachel felt decades of regret lifting off her. “That’s all it has to say. I know my past self will know what to do.”

    Rachel watched the chilly rain trickle down her apartment windows on a dreary Saturday afternoon. She snuggled under her flannel throw with a good book and a cup of steaming tea. She would stay home this Saturday, for once.
    Rachel jerked awake at the sound of a crashing thud. The book lay closed in her lap and her tea no longer steamed. A picture had fallen from the mantle. Picking up the picture, her fingers brushed a folded piece of paper tucked in a back edge of the frame. A chill ran up her arm. She carefully returned the picture and opened the paper. It was frigidly cold and crackled like it would snap into pieces.
    She stared at the writing. It was her own but she didn’t remember putting a note there. It only had a single word written on it. ‘Go.’ Go where? Rachel wondered. Go when?
    Puzzling over the note, Rachel went into the kitchen. Laying the note on the counter, she poured her cold tea down the drain. The note wobbled as if in a breeze, drawing her attention to the orchestra ticket below it. A friend had given the ticket to her weeks ago. She’d never thought about going. She wasn’t the orchestra type, was she? It was tonight, in two hours.
    Go. It whispered urgently in her mind. She picked up the ticket. Go.
    Rachel met her friend in the auditorium lobby. He introduced her to a friend with him, Brendon. She was immediately glad she’d come. She felt another chill when she handed the attendant her ticket.

  15. Nicole778899

    The sound of glass shattering hit my ears. “Ugh,” I moaned knowing something probably broke. Everything special to me has a tendency to do that now. I rushed downstairs to see what had fallen. My favorite picture had crashed on the hard wood floor. “My painting!” I dodged the pieces of glass to see if the picture itself had any damage done to it. When I picked it up a note floated to the ground. “What is this?” I picked up the letter to see it was addressed to me. They made the “A” the same way I do; with a little curve a the end. Also, the “i” in Abigail, had a little circle on top instead of a dot; which I often make. Then, in dawned upon me. This is my handwriting! I quickly tore open the letter.

    Dear Abigail,

    I know you think this is a joke, maybe it you think it was made by your sister, Olivia, or your friend, Mia. No, I know you don’t believe it now but this is a letter from you in the future. In case your wondering how this got here, I used my- your device. That’s right you invented the time machine! Listen close though, at 5:23, January 18, 2027, there will be a fire at your house if you turn on your stove. You see, you don’t often clean your burners on the stove and all the gunk that’s left will catch fire. Luckily, I heeded this warning and did just what this note said. I cannot say what your going to do, just remember whatever choice you make will effect me in the long-run. So, choice wisely!

    With love and warnings,
    Abigail Laverdy

    At first, I didn’t believe it then, I thought a moment.

    On January 18, 2027, at 5:23 I didn’t turn on my stove, I just cleaned it for an hour. That note saved my life and so I wrote another the same way and sent it to arrive in the pass in the frame of my picture, but one thing was different. I added a copy of the picture that broke. I wrote on the back, “My Lifesaver.”

  16. Spyder

    Drip, drip, drip, was the only sound intruding upon the thick silence that permeated the room. The leader of the Scorpion faction stood facing the few followers who had remained.

    “This day will mark our last and final hope,” General McCullough paced the distance of the room a single light illuminating the interior of a what used to be a nuclear fallout bunker, now fitted to house the last remnants of the rebel forces. Gun fire resounded within the corridors beyond the iron door.

    McCullough gave his wife a longing look, the pain in her eyes, sending a knife of agony through his heart. “It was an honor working beside all of you. It is because of you we may still have a chance against the injustice that has plagued our country for so long.”

    “Sir, the device is ready.”

    “Excellent.” General McCullough placed the portrait within the container roughly the size of a small chest. The gunfire was outside the door now, men running, screaming and dying could be heard accompanying every bullet. “This is our last chance, don’t let me down.” He said just above a whisper. His finger brushing the switch that could make all the difference. As he flipped the switch, the door blew in as an explosion erupted outside the door.

    45 years earlier.

    David looked up from his studies toward the sound of glass shattering. Investigating, David found one of the many family portraits had fallen from it’s place among the cluttered mantle.

    “What was that?” Called his father from the lounge.

    “Just one of Mom’s photographs, I got it.” He replied as he picked it up from the pile of wood and glass.

    “Figures.” His father said as David walked back into the room.

    “Well, that’s what you got for marrying a pack rat,” David mumbled to himself placing the photograph on the table. As he started for the kitchen a paper taped to the back of the portrait grabbed his attention. “What do we have here.” As he peeled back the tape it disintegrated into dust. Turning it over and unfolding it, David read the note to himself.

    “If you’ve gotten this, it means that things are worse than ever imagined. We held them off for as long as we could, but against the might of the World Federal Alliance, it’s more than most could say. You may never believe what you read here today in this letter. You may wish you never did. But the fate of the world as you know it rests in the choice you make today. May god be with you”

    David stared wide eyed at the paper in his hands, below the hand written note was a photograph of a man in a suit, beside it typed neatly: Mission Assignment – Assassinate the World Leaders.

    David McCullough looked up at the TV his dad switching it to the local news station. On it stood the Presidents of all the nations, the reporter following the story pointing to the crowed.

    “We’re all gathered here today for the dawning of a new era. Today the world leaders unveil a groundbreaking initiative known as the World Federal Alliance…”

  17. ahalper818

        “I remember reading this when I was young,” it began. The letter I held was written in my own handwriting, but I had no recollection of ever writing it. It was not possible; I remember every note.
        “Yes, you still write notes to yourself. You never stopped, even though Mom still thinks it’s a bad habit. 
        “I know your also your also wondering how this could be possible, so let’s go down the list. You are not crazy. You are not insane. You did not get drunk and write this. You did not get high and write this. Everything more plausible than the first thing that popped into your mind didn’t happen, so when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Time travel, as you will learn, is both remarkably simple and incredibly complicated.
        “Now, you and I both know from too many Doctor Who episodes that telling you anything specific about our future is out of the question. I am simply writing this to tell you, you can relax. Your fears will not occur, and I’m not talking about our mother’s fear that you will never be married and she will never have grandkids. I’m talking about your true fears. The ones you have never told anyone. I can’t  tell you how, and I can’t tell you why, but everything will be okay. I know you won’t believe me. I did not believe me when I read this letter. I know the world seems to volatile, scary, invasive, and untrusting right now, but I promise you it will change. 
        “Do not lose your faith in humanity. There are still good people out there. You will just have to find them.”

  18. ps acainaich

    On a very warm summer morning in 2010, my family picture came crashing to the floor. It did not break, nor did the glass splinter and lay in shards on the floor; it merely knocked the backing loose. It was very odd that after all this time, a picture which had been on the mantel all this time would just drop off. I picked it up, slide the backing back into place and returned to my business at hand, but for some reason the falling of this picture stuck in my mind.

    Two days later my world came crashing in around me, literally. An earthquake struck destroying my home and killing my two year old son. He was struck by that very same picture. I told myself if I was to be able to do this all over again, I would have never returned the picture to the mantel and my son would still be with me. I was over come with grief, blaming myself at the lost of my son and went as far as to write myself a letter.

    Dear Karen 26 May, 2012

    Yes, I know this is going to be strange to read and most likely a shock, but if you are reading this for the first time then it hasn’t happened yet and there is still time. Today’s date should be Aug 10, 2010 and this picture should be lying in the floor with the back half off. For some reason it has slipped off of the mantel where it has sat for almost two years. There is still time to save him. Take this picture and place it in the desk drawer. Do this and save Bobby, for in two days an earthquake will hit and Bobby will be struck by this picture, killing him. The loss of him is more then I can handle and I don’t want to live this again. Keep him safe.

    -Karen.

    I took the note and placed it in the back of the picture, so that if the backing slipped off again I would see it and take the picture down.

    May 26 was Bobby’s birthday; he would have been four years old. My grief was still over whelming and each day I saw my husband pray to God, for what I’m not sure for I had long since stopped believing in the power of prayer. I cried and went days without eating or drink falling farther and farther into a state of extreme mental and physical discord and still he prayed.

    On May 30th I feel into total cardiac arrest, and stilled he prayed.

    On a very warm summer morning in 2010, my family picture came crashing to the floor. It was very odd that after all this time, a picture which had been on the mantel all this time would just drop off.

  19. Skippy

    As quickly as I understood the awful heat that radiated from the mantle I removed the iron, but not before the family portrait came crashing down, sliding off my wrist and shattering with floor’s contact. I fanned my little girl away–everything was swell–but not the reason I dismissed her so quickly. For as I glanced down at the little frame fragments, a sliver of tree bark hid behind it. Hm. I was upset I couldn’t open it. It was not as I had ever pictured a hidden note would manifest itself on: tree bark. In my denial I motioned as if flipping open a piece of yellowed, smeared scratch paper.
    “Well, look at you. All mighty and what not. I know–you’re probably wondering, “What the hell?” right? Yeah, I was too when you showed up at my door. That’s really all this letter is about. Tomorrow you’re going to travel back and time (time machine’s in the basement), and tell me to write this letter so you can learn how to time travel. And remember! You cannot even consider NOT to do this or else this note wil

    * * *

  20. CRNorman

    Dana sat straight up in the bed breathing heavily. She glanced around the room as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. She felt herself shaking as she looked around. “I am so tired of that stupid nightmare!” she whispered to herself angrily.

    She had the same one at least 3 times a week. In the nightmare she is out in the city with friends laughing and having fun when she notices a woman rummaging through a dumpster for food. She looks at the woman in disgust. As she’s shaking her head with disapproval the woman turns and she realizes she is staring at herself. Immediately after they make eye contact she wakes up every time.

    She glanced over at the alarm clock. 3:43AM the red display screamed. “Great! Now I won’t be able to fall back asleep” she groaned. She threw the covers back and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Her bare feet padded across the Italian marble floors. “There’s a pint of Ben & Jerry’s waiting to console me” she said out loud to no one in particular. After getting the ice cream and a blanket, she curled up on the living room couch and grabbed the remote. Eventually she dozed off on the couch in front of her 50 inch screen.

    Again Dana awoke with a start but this time it wasn’t a nightmare that disturbed her. A loud noise had woken her out of a dead sleep. She sat up on the couch and looked around. Lying in front of the television was the picture of her winning the 9th grade spelling bee. Somehow it had fallen from the mantle. She picked it up and stared at it for a while. ‘Time flies so fast.’ She thought. She set the picture down on the end table and noticed something sticking out of the back. “What the hell?” She mumbled. A few tugs and the note fell free from the back of the frame. She froze as she unfolded it; she was staring at her own handwriting. Her eyes went to the bottom of the note; her signature. The hairs stood up on her arms as she read the note.

    “You have given me such dirty looks every time you see me at the dumpster. It’s ironic because I am there due to the financial choices you are making today.”

    Dana stared at the note for several moments. She began to slowly look around at her lavish house and furniture. Outside in the driveway her BMW sat shining in the moonlight. All of it paid for with credit. A cold reality washed over her and suddenly she knew that it was time to stop financing her life.

    A few nights later she had the same dream. This time when she passed by the dumpster with her friends, no one was there.

  21. onaway

    I drank the last of it unexpectedly and rested the bottle down on my leg. I like this 7 foot couch. Another stupid commercial and I threw the bottle into the television screen and there was an enormous crash. The entire mantle falls off the wall. The candles are rolling across the hotel room floor, still lit, and under the bed. I jump off the sofa and grab another beer from the ice bucket. It tastes good, especially because I’m barefoot. It’s getting brighter and smokier in the room as the bed burns. I stroll over to the tv to turn up the volume. More commercials. A picture floats on the floor, freed from the frame it was once in. The edges are blackening in the heat. A curled up scrap of notebook paper rolls away from my feet as I step closer to the frame. I pick it up. I drink some more beer. Now the flames are capturing the curtains and the room is really hot, almost white. I use a finger to keep the note from curling back up as I read it:
    “It is ridiculous that I would have the ability to time travel into the past and leave a note from the future. So I have done exactly that! Be sure to drink your Ovaltine!”

    I crack myself up sometimes.

  22. Osha

    The little girl chased the cat through the kitchen. Mittens stayed just two steps ahead of the precocious pigtailed redhead. “Mittens stop,” Sadie called, as she tried to catch the much to fast kitten. Just when she almost had her hands around him, the cat jumped up and over the side table, knocking a picture onto the floor. There was a crash as the glass in the frame shattered. “OH NO” she thought as She picked it up. It was a picture of Mom, Dad, and her, taken this year. She got a bag from the kitchen, and returned to the sitting room to start carefully picking up the glass. As she did so, she scolded Mittens, who now sat on the back of the sofa, watching. “Momma will be angry.” The kitten seemed unconvinced as he wet a paw with a pink tongue and started to wash his face with it.
    When Sadie had finished picking up the glass, she picked up the frame, and shook it over the bag, to loosen up the glass still stuck in the frame. When she did this, the photo fell out into the bag. As she was pulling it out, she noticed an envelope taped to the back of the photo. She opened the envelope and pulled out the paper, and began to read.

    Dear Sadie,
    If I told you that you wrote this letter to yourself, you wouldn’t believe it. But it’s true, I am you and I am writing this letter. Don’t ask me how I am able to do this, you will know soon enough how that all happens. I knew ,mittens would help you find this letter. I wanted to tell you that you are going to have the most incredible life. There isn’t much I would change. But I do need to tell you a couple of things. Firstly, love mom and dad, and spend as much time as you can with them. Two, don’t go to the prom with that Bruce kid down the street. A boy with curly red hair has had his eyes on you for a long time, he is the one for you. And the third thing I want to tell you, is Apple is the future. Make sure you tell mom you love the new hair, she is actually going to start a trend!

    Sadie looked the letter over, it sort of looked like her writing. She folded it up and put it in her pocket. Just then she heard the front door open. That must be mom now. “I’m home” her mom called out from the front room. Sadie slowly went into the hallway and there stood her mom, with the biggest head of bright red curls. She stifled a shocked gasp before her mother could see it. “Mommy,“ she exclaimed…”I love your hair!“ Her mom sniffed a moment, then wiped away a little tear…”I am so glad, I was so scared when I first saw it, and I worried all the way home.”

  23. theevilashleyness

    Penny sighed when she heard the sound of shattering glass enter her bathroom from the fireplace. Her hands shook imperceptibly as she knocked two additional pills out of the bottle of painkillers. Swallowing them dry she peered around the corner to see shards of a picture frame littering the wood paneled floor. Avoiding the shards, she slowly slipped over to the fallen photo. She remembered the moment this photo had been taken. It had been a celebration, a celebration of her business’ success. She’d become somebody, She laughed at the irony. The success of that business was what had gotten her into the mess she currently was in drugs, alcohol, gambling. Penny was carefully picking up the picture, her mind clouded with memories when she saw something slip from behind the photo and waft gently to the floor. Curious, she leaned to pick up what looked to be an odd scrap of yellow paper. The smell of age reached her nostrils as she gently unfolded the parchment. The messy penmanship looked remarkable like her own she noted as she sat down and began to read.
    Penelope Nights,
    You are such a fool. You still believe you control your world don’t you? Sitting in the comfy home with your money and awards you actually believe that things will only get better for you, right? Wrong. You don’t think that they can see how you grow paler and thinner every time you head a meeting. You don’t think they can see how you are barely coherent when you come in to do early morning orders? I know this business has taken you to places that you honestly never wanted. You never wanted that business to do as well as it did. I know, I remember the plans. Tell mother that the business went under and use that as an excuse to travel as we’d always wanted. I know the gut wrenching horror when Penny’s Salon went national, a smarter woman would have sold the rights to the chain right then. But no, no, no, you couldn’t disappoint, couldn’t let down your adoring fans. Deny it. I know you want to. But when you’re sitting here writing this letter in five years you’ll regret it. You’ll regret letting the drugs and depression swallow you, you’ll regret letting their expectations rule over your own desires. But then maybe you’ll surprise me. We’ll see. We’ll see who we’re looking at in the mirror ten years from now, someone happy or someone famous.

    A familiar messy signature lined the bottom of that page and Penny swallowed the lump in her throat. Denial sprang to her lips but she knew that every word written here was true. She rose to her feet, stilling her trembling hands she re-entered the bathroom with defiance in her eyes. In the next few seconds every drug that she’d survived the last year on was poured vindictively into the sink. As she sank onto her plush couch, exhaustion claiming her, she knew she’d reached a turning point. She’d live the life she’d always wanted. She would become a nobody which, in itself, would be something.

  24. minnesotared

    This picture hit the floor with a crash. Nate nearly jumped out of his skin.

    He went over to the mantel and picked the shattered frame up. There was a note taped to the back!

    From– him!

    Dated– “The future!”

    He tore the envelope open. With trembling fingers he unfolded the slip of paper. And then he read it:

    “Put the picture back.”

  25. skdunning

    “Déjà vu,” Ruby muttered, peering into the parlor, gripping the candlestick tightly. Her meager light revealed the empty space on the mantle. Her mother’s portrait was blatantly absent. Carefully, she moved about the room, holding her light aloft to keep shadows at bay. Finally, she caught sight of the filigree silver frame near the fireplace. A note dropped from the back as she picked it up. “Not again,” she groaned. The last time she found a note, her instructions had been to steal a bible from the vicar’s cottage. She had to endure the dull ramblings of the vicar’s sister over tea and scones before the opportunity had presented itself.

    Fetching up the paper from the floor, she held it to the light. The heat of the flame caused the invisible ink to appear.

    “Thank you for the bible,” the note began. “The rare book auction fetched us three million pounds, desperately needed funds. Your next task must be to secure the Jewel of Ester from Lady Montrose’s private collection. This shall be easiest tomorrow night as she will be arrested with other suffragettes picketing on Main Street.”

    With purpose, she returned the picture to its place on the mantle before the mirror. Returning to bed, she decided to call on the 5th precinct in the morning. She was going to need some help from the constabulary on this one to ensure that Lady Montrose was not released before she could abscond with the jewel. And she wanted to see Harry again.

    The next morning, Ruby strolled up the avenue to the 5th precinct. “Miss Ruby Devries, to speak to Watch Captain Macintyre, please,” she announced, presenting her calling card to the officer minding the front desk.

    “Miss Devries,” Macintyre’s deep voice bellowed from the hallway long before he arrived to kiss her hand. Those blue eyes were ever so blue when he wore his uniform. He escorted her to his office, where they would be safe from prying eyes. “How may I be of service?” he asked gently.

    She kissed him unashamedly before showing him her new note. He scratched his head as she explained her plan to him. “All I ask is you ensure I have the whole night to find the blasted gemstone.”
    His blue eyes twinkled. “I shall, for another kiss.”

    She blushed on principle. After another longing embrace, they parted breathless. He asked her as she turned reluctantly to leave, “Why follow notes passed through a mirror and stuck to a picture Ruby? Surely it’s the devil’s work.”

    “The Reflection, Harry, is a future me. We are trying to stop a madman.” She turned to look hopefully at him, “In time, that world will be destroyed.”

    “You mean, you will die?” he asked, surprisingly accepting of the “future” her.

    “Well, she will, yes. But it means we won’t. It’s a long story, but she’s trying to save our future together.”

    “Why would she do that?”

    Ruby smiled, “Because she knows I love you, Harry.”

  26. granthem

    A gigantic hole smoldered in my overstuffed chair. The one I sat in while holding two things, one in each hand. In my left is the note. A note I have folded back into shape. I found it when I was grabbing my keys. Knocked the picture of my daughter peering through a telescope from the mantle over our fireplace. I have to go pick her up from the bus stop. I am going to be late if I didn’t leave right now. But still I sit here, pulverized by what the note said. The words jab out at me like a beckoning finger, keeping me immobile.

    Kill your daughter, Kaylee.

    The gun is in the drawer.

    That’s not all the note said but that was the part that paralyzed me. The note explained that the author—supposedly me—was from the future, that I wouldn’t believe it—shouldn’t believe it. But it was real. It mentioned that the picture of Kaylee would fall when I was getting my keys off the mantle. That I would be late to pick her up from the bustop. That I needed to follow it’s instructions. Correction. I needed to follow the only instruction. Kill my daughter. I had to do it or else dire consequences would occur. That all things depended on it. That she would want it. It couldn’t explain how or why it was so important. Just that I had to do.

    I know a million people who would have thrown it away the second they found it. Tossed it away like some sort of sick joke. But there were a few things that made me keep it in my hand.Things I couldn’t explain. Folding the yellowed note in my hand, sitting on the sofa instead of leaving to get my girl. I needed to leave right now if I was to get her. I can’t be late, but I can’t leave until I figure this out.

    The k’s in the note were troubling. They were the first things I noticed. They made me wonder if I had not written the note myself sometime absent-mindedly. I make my k’s with a flourish that I developed in college. The rounded part of the k was squared like a diamond shape. The leg of the ‘k’ I do the same figure under the writing line. As far as I know, I’m the only one who does it. Cartographers are required to be percise about their work and there was no mistaking these k’s. These were my k’s.

    I had written them.

    The writer also knew my name for my daughter. Everyone calls her Katie or Katherine. No one knows that I when Sandy and I were deciding what to call her in the hospital that we fought over the name. She won. She always did. And she was named Katherine, but she told me I could call her Kaylee, that could be my private name for her. Call her that when she was sleeping. Sandy died that night, complications from the preeclampsia. The only person in the world who knew she was Kaylee—my Kaylee, the sweet girl that made the pain of Sandy’s passing bearable—was me. I hadn’t even told Katie about my name for her. I figured I would tell her when she was older. . .

    But why would my future self tell me to kill her? It made no sense. How could I kill my only daughter?

    This is crazy, I told myself. I need to forget it and get out of here. Pick up my daughter and get back to our lives. Be like those millions of people and just throw it away instead of wasting time in insane deliberation.

    But there was the other thing. More puzzling than the k’s or the original name of my girl. It was the thing that made me sit here instead of going to get my daughter when I knew I would be late. And she would be scared.

    It was the thing I was holding in my other hand.

    It was the gun I found in the drawer.

    I even knew exactly which drawer it meant. Didn’t have to go searching. Went right to it. And now it was in my hand.

    And it wasn’t just any gun.

    It was a laser gun. From the future.

    And it works.

    It blew a hole in my chair when I pulled the trigger.

  27. sdv@q

    10/13/2011

    I picked up the piece of paper that fluttered from behind the picture as it fell to the floor from the mantle. “Lucky that the glass didn’t break. Hmm, what’s this?” I looked at the note and realized that the note was written seven years in the future. “How can this be,” I muttered. “This is 2004.” The note said, “make him get a CT of the abdomen every 6 months from now until the end of 2005.” It said if not that my husband would be dead by the end of August 2005. We had built our dream home in ’99 and were very happy here. The note mentioned a tumorg – a gastrointestinal stromal tumor,,,whatever that was. Better look on the internet and find out what that is, I thought. How nutty am I to believe a note I haven’t written but is in my hand and that I know I haven’t written. At least I haven’t written it yet. If I tell him, he will think I’m crazy and he could be right. I would do anything to keep him well and happy. Even if I do sound bonkers.
    I picked up the phone and called him. You are never going to believe what just happened!

  28. angelhearts2010

    As the shower door fell closed I heard a distinct clatter echo up the stairs from the living room; drawing my immediate attention to the cracked bathroom door. I had half a mind to gather up the toilet bowl brush and rush down the stairs to disrupt any havoc that this mystery intruder could have been wreaking on my new house. I immediately decided against making the same foolish mistake that nearly every fictional heroine I have ever read has done and keep me presence hidden. I took a solid step forward and curled my fingers around the width of the door and pull it completely opened and slip my gaze around the corner; with a sigh I tightened my grip around my towel and begin my trek down the darkened hall that tipped the very top of the stairs. With a sharp breath I dance down the stairs as quick as I can and stop just before the frame of the living room door. I gripped the edge of the towel and dropped my head back against the wall behind me and exhaled; slipping my fingers around the edge of the frame I felt the light switch and flipped it on. The light washed the floor beside me and bounced off the silver candlesticks that my mother had given me as a housewarming gift, sending a warm feeling to surround around me.
    With a sharp breath I slipped around the frame and threw opened my eyes to find…the frame that held the picture of my boyfriend, Samuel, and I the night of our engagement, in pieces on the floor. I let a frown slip across my lips and carefully stepped over to the broken frame to begin picking up the pieces; as I formed a small pile of the broken glass and wood I lifted the picture before me and smiled. Setting the frozen moment aside, I returned to the mess before me when something caught my eye. I knelt further to grab the small piece of paper that lay in the shards and unfolded it before me. It did not have any indication who it was from or when it was placed there, the only thing that I immediately recognized was the handwriting. It was my own. I felt a sharp gasp stick in my throat as I stood up and began reading the small bullets that had been scrawled across the soft, horizontal blue lines.

    Nessah,
    First of all, do not freak out. Second of all, I really need you to read and follow these instructions very carefully.
    • Break it off with Samuel…immediately
    • When you want to publish your book wait for Ethan Hampton, he has more to offer than a job.
    • And finally, look behind you…

    At that moment I wasn’t sure what to do and as my hand fell to my side I slowly turned my head over my shoulder to see my living room window opened, the curtains blowing in the breeze, and just across my yard sat my neighbor, Mr. Sykes, sitting in a chair at his bed room window, a mug of coffee in his hands and a cheeky grin on his lips.

  29. weasleyfan95

    Calli was always sure of who she was. She had a fabulous life, and amazing friends. Although she did not have a lover to call her own, but that didn’t matter to her. Although she had a huge crush on one of her friends for a long time, she decided it would never happen and gave up. While Calli was decorating her house for Halloween she accidentally knocked off the picture of her mantle. She got off the latter, and went to go pick up the pieces, She looked at the broken picture frame, it was a picture of her younger self with her three best and closest friends. One of them being her crush that she gave up on. As Calli was looking at the broken pieces of her picture frame she noticed that there was something hidden inside it. A note on a purple colored piece of paper was there, so Calli graved it and opened it up to see what was inside.

    “Calli, I know this may be a little strange to hear, but I am you, I am an older you, the future you. I am writing this to tell you something. I am hear to tell you that you can never give up on Griffin, he will realize that he loves you in the future. But just in time. I remember the day so perfectly, it was my wedding day. I was engaged to this guy i met, his name was Ethan. When the priest asked if anyone had rejections Griffin stood up said he did, the walked up to the alter, graved me, and kissed me on the lips. As we were dressed, we got married, and we now have four kids. I am telling you not to give up on him. Because love will always find a way. -Love your future self.

    As it so happens Calli was meeting up with Griffin later on that day. Where she did not tell him about the note or what his future self did, or what their future together has in store for the both of them. But Calli walked up to him, told him how she felt, and kissed him on the lips right then and there. He returned the kiss, and their friends who surrounded them sighed with relief, all saying finally in the end.

  30. emillerphx

    Comfortable. That is the word that best described how Brad felt about his bed, about his apartment, and about his life. He had just flopped down on his bed after a late night date with Tricia, a date that had left him feeling happy but anxious. They had been seeing each other for over nine months now and he could tell that she was at that point where she wanted a long term commitment. What was unusual for him was that he was thinking the same thing, maybe it was time. But thinking like that made him feel uncomfortable, and he did not like feeling uncomfortable.

    He thought about this for a while, feeling the tension grow in his gut. In an attempt to change the subject with himself, he gazed up at the mantel over the fireplace in his bedroom. There in the middle was the only picture in his bedroom, a snapshot of him on a mountain bike at the top of Haleakala on Maui. Just him, the blue sky, and no strings, no commitments. He had taken that trip a month before he met Tricia, and he kept the picture right there to remind him of his freedom.

    As he looked at the picture, Brad began to daydream a bit, remembering that trip and that crazy ride down the hill. After a few minutes, he dozed off into a deep sleep. He dreamed of biking, then flying. Soaring through the air, dodging puffy white clouds.

    His sleep, and his dream, were ended by a loud “thunk” followed by the sound of shattering glass. He sat up immediately in the bed and looked around to find the cause, a bit dazed and disoriented. Struggling to focus he shook his head and got out of bed, walking towards the fire place. There, on the floor in front of the fireplace, he discovered that his Haleakala picture had somehow fallen and shattered, sending pieces of glass across his hard wood floors and, unfortunately, under his bed and dresser.

    Carefully stepping forward to avoid the glass, he reached down to pick up the frame. To his surprise there was a piece of yellow paper taped to the back of the frame. He took the frame and cautiously made his way back to the bed where he removed the piece of paper and unfolded it. He immediately recognized his cramped but neat hand writing. It said:
    “Brad. You may feel comfortable but you will not know joy until you marry Tricia and start a family. Look at how much happier you (we?) will be in the future – turn the frame over.” Stunned, Brad turned the frame over.

    The picture showed was taken at the same spot on top of that mountain in Hawaii, but instead of just Brad the picture showed Tricia, a boy about the age of ten and a girl that may have been fifteen. They all beamed with a joy that shone in their eyes and in their smiles.

    Dumbfounded, Brad picked the note up from where he had set it on the bed, and discovered that it was now blank. He quickly looked back at the picture and there before his eyes the image of what must be his future family faded, and the picture of just him came back. He looked at his face in the original picture. He looked comfortable, maybe even happy. But he did not have that joy that was in the other snapshot.

    He flopped back onto the bed and stared at the ceiling, realizing that he needed to let go of comfort, take a risk, and shoot for some joy. As he drifted off to sleep again he made a list in his head of things to do tomorrow:

    One. Clean up the broken glass on this floor.

    Two. Make a lunch date with his brother-in-law the psychiatrist to get some free advice on if he was going insane or if hallucinating messages from your future self was normal.

    Three. Ask Tricia to marry him. Start a family. Try some discomfort for a change.

    1. wrilerner

      Note Behind the Picture

      It has been there for a while. But how long? Andy had no clue. The small simple note was etched on a small piece of paper. The paper was not as white as the new ones, but it had a dark shade of beige that spoke volumes of it’s time spent behind the broken picture of her deceased father.

      In the sun lit atmosphere of her room, Andy sat quietly on her plush bed while she twirled the small piece of paper around a few times. Finally when settled, her dark brow furrowed when she began to read the note. A stray strand of chestnut hair fell from behind her right ear, almost obscuring the date on the note.

      June 20th, 2020

      The twentieth of June was her birthday.

      But why was the note dated ten years later, when she was sure that it was behind her father’s picture a while ago? It was probably sitting here for months, and she never noticed anyone in her attic room prying through her things before. She had no siblings for that. Her mother has never stepped foot in her room except for when Andy was inside. There was no way that anyone would simple sneak inside her room and place this note behind her father’s broken picture.

      Look up.

      Signed,
      Andromeda Tate

      Andromeda Tate? That was here name! She never wrote this note in the first place! Andy took a quick glance at her ceiling, but saw nothing. She threw the note on her bed and ran to the light switch. Turning her lights on, she took a small flashlight she found in her dresser and pulled a chair near the middle of her room. Flashlight turned on in her hand, she stepped on the creaky wooden chair.

      There was still nothing. She wavered a little while standing on the chair, but she persisted and looked closing at the roof. Still nothing. All she saw was the back frame of the wooden panels that served as a roof over her head. Wooden plank steadied the roof, starting from one side of her room to the other. They were strong enough to hold on to and swing about, and wide enough to…

      Wide enough to have something on top of it.

      Andy stood still, placing the flashlight she had in her hand in her mouth. She bit the side of the small tool, using her right hand to feel for any object on top of the wooden plank. Then there it was. She felt something. She grabbed the object and jumped on the floor, almost losing her balance on the chair she stepped on.

      She grabbed her flashlight from her mouth and studied the object that filled her hand. A round silvery ball of some sort. One that was heavy and could break a window if thrown. On the ball there was a design with two snakes wrapping it with their scaly skin. Only one snake’s head stood on top of the ball while the other was below the ball. The carving of its thin deadly tongue stuck out an inch away from the head. Andy noticed the small engraving near the snake’s head and read it.

      In property of Andromeda Tate.
      June 20th, 2020

      The silvery ball slipped from her cold hands and fell, but it did not away when it hit the floor. It stood still with the face of the other snake at the bottom of the ball on top of the floor. Suddenly it snapped open, revealing the darkness of inside of the ball. Andy edged closer to the ball, bending down to look deeper inside.

      Nothing was there.

      Then Andy caught a glimpse of something that moved inside the object. The dangerous hiss of a snake resounded in the room, prompting Andy to quickly back away from the ball while the massive body of what looked like a snake began to slither out of the tiny ball. The young child had no chance to see its face, for she wrenched her trap door open and rushed down the steps leading to the lower floor of her home.

  31. Hunter Field

    I pulled the last piece of glass out of my foot with a wince, drops of blood now forming in several places. Why does nothing break when I’m in the house? Coming home from a long day of work to find shattered glass on the hearth–finding it with your feet, no less!–is not quite the ideal situation. Nonetheless, today’s incident wasn’t all bad. Turns out adventure and mystery isn’t just for the movies!

    The Peter Max painting that had previously hung on the wall was now awaiting delivery to the local Landfill along with its frame, matting, and glass case. In the spot where the Umbrella Man painting had hung, an envelope sealed with wax found its resting place. The envelope was addressed to me, from me, and postmarked twelve years in the future. Not only did I find the date strange, but I would have thought that traditional letters would be obsolete twelve years from now.

    I opened the envelope and found a thin parchment with my handwriting, written to me, from me. The contents were as follows:

    Hunter,

    After picking the glass from your feet, sit down to read this. As I’m sure you have noticed, this letter is from your future. Don’t be a skeptic fool. Twelve years from now, you will be approached by a man in a Laker’s basketball jersey and loose blue jeans. He won’t be wearing a trench coat, nor wearing aviator’s sunglasses. He will be an ordinary guy with an ordinary question: “Could you show me the way to the nearest Library store?” When you give him directions, offer to escort him; you won’t be busy.

    Now, there are two reasons you must take him in person.

    First, if you don’t, nothing spectacular will happen. Second, at the entrance to the Library, the man will give you his business card. He just happens to be Christopher Tolkien and you just happen to be searching for a literary agent, and he just happens to know one and would be happy to set up an appointment.

    Laker’s jersey, blue jeans. Take him to the Library.

    Yours (truly),
    Hunter

  32. EvaVillareal

    My hands shook as I carefully brought the note closer to re read it. All of this time I had expected a happy future, a husband, a child, and a beautiful house with a white picket fence. I quickly turned the note to the back side for a clue, or anything to guide me.

    “Eva, I’m probably, most likely the last person you would ever expect a personalized note from. You know as well as I that I’m not the best with putting thoughts into a letter. -”

    I glanced over my shoulder, wondering who would play such a sick joke on me. I waited for my kid brother to run into the room laughing.

    “I hope you can forgive me for what I’m about to say. High school was the funnest time of my life! My boyfriend and I stayed together for years, and then one day he popped the question and made me a Mrs. I enjoyed 40 happy years on this earth until one day, everything went wrong. Our house caught flames and my husband was killed in attempt to save our son. Ever since that, my life spiraled out of control. I couldn’t keep up with the mortgage, I quit my job and every night I lay in bed, alone. Silently wishing him back. He never came.”

    Tears ran down my cheeks. I quickly wiped them and continued to read.

    “Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. The bottle called my name every night. I tried to ignore it. And then one day the clock ticked louder than usual. It had won. I lost. I ripped the bathroom mirror door open and the small bottle of pain killers fell into the sink. I quickly opened the bottle. And everything after that was a blur. I know how scared you are of death. But Eva, don’t be. For all you know, death could be one of the greatest adventures of all. And trust me, you do know. Love, Eva.”

    My knees dropped to the floor after reading the note over and over. My shaky hands could no longer grasp the thin sheet of paper, my head was spinning so out of control that I couldn’t even watch it flutter to the ground. I burried my face in my hands and sobbed. This couldn’t be real.

    Suddenly, I awoke. Drenched in sweat, in my small twin bed. The sheets warm, and the room pitch dark. “It was all a dream!” I shouted! I jumped out of bed to check the picture frame. As I turned on the lights, I noticed a small folded up, wrinkled sheet of paper on my dresser. My heart sunk, my knees began to wobble. I slowly unfolded the tattered sheet of paper. I held back tears as I felt dejavu. I dropped to my knees the minute it opened. In big, bold letters a small sentence stretched across.

    “Death could be one of the greatest adventures of all. And trust me, you do know.”

  33. Pam

    The thundering crash brought Kea to a standing position from the sofa. She glanced over to the fireplace hoping she was still alone and that no uninvited guest had appeared. It was there that her favorite painting had smashed to the floor and landed flat on its face. Her chest rose and deflated in a deep sigh of relief, and she wondered how on earth did the painting get off that brick wall? She distinctly remembered watching her husband use a masonry drill and force the dowel into the brick above the fireplace which inevitably, she thought, would keep the painting on the wall forever. Kea loved the painting. She purchased it when she was in Door County with her mother. Her beloved painting, named The Secret Garden, had called the mantle home for the past five years.

    She struggled to picked up the painting at each side with her hands. She held it away from her body to admire The Secret Garden. It felt heavier than she had remembered. She hadn’t noticed whether or not the wire that kept the painting on the wall had snapped, so she flipped over the painting and saw that the wire was intact. As she looked down to the bottom of the painting because a piece of bright yellow paper had caught her eye. She hadn’t noticed the paper when the painting was lying on its face after it crashed. She wondered if she was seeing things.

    “Interesting,” she mumbled to herself as she sat down on the floor and placed the painting upon her lap. She removed the piece of paper without a hitch as there was no adhesive holding it. She examined the blank paper. She turned it over and to her astonishment, she knew immediately that it was her handwriting on the note. She carefully read the contents.

    “Dearest Kea, never fear or mourn the past, as the past is only your mind replaying memories that can no longer hurt you. Never live waiting and hoping for the future. If you do so, life never happens. Live your life now, in each moment because each moment holds everything you desire. With all my love, Kea.”

    She thought, “I never wrote these words! Although, I must have – it’s my handwriting and my name is signed way I always sign my name.” Confused and bewildered, Kea sat staring at the words. Time passed, how much time, she didn’t know nor did it matter.

    “Hmpf!” She smiled and nodded to herself. She leaned the painting up against the fireplace, took the note to her bedroom and tucked it away in a drawer. Suddenly, she had a yearning to find her biological mother.

  34. Kukem

    My fingers had brushed past the glass and plucked the note protruding from the wreckage of the picture. I had been the one to frame this picture, and I didn’t remember putting a note in the back. Hesitantly, I unfolded the paper, revealing a page filled with familiar handwriting. It was mine! I flipped the note over and read the name at the bottom. It was also mine. Standing in the afternoon sunlight, I began to read the note slowly.

    ‘If I timed this right, you will be reading this at exactly 3pm on October 12.’

    My eyes flashed to the clock above the mantle as the second hand just glided past the 12 on the clock. The time was exactly 3pm. Uneasily, I kept reading.

    ‘I had to hide this in our favourite picture of our Dog because I remember feeling horrible thinking back to the day it fell off the mantle, especially since he died later that day.’

    I stopped reading and craned my neck to listen for the dog that was out in the yard. I could hear his small bark as a group of kids strolled too close to the walkway on their way by the house. “This is nonsense,” I muttered to myself but I continued to read due to me curiosity.

    ‘What I have to say is important and you need to understand that this is not a joke. They are coming. They want the pendant that we bought for Victoria for her birthday. Take it with you. They will kill you for it.’

    I took a step back and looked to the coffee table where I had put the piece of jewellery I had just bought for her this morning. I managed to find it for sale at a jeweler’s store in one of the nicer parts of town. It was a deep blue sapphire cradled in white gold on a fine chain, something Victoria would love. Why would someone want it? I glanced back to the paper, shook my head slightly and chuckled to myself in disbelief.

    ‘It is a rare and powerful stone sapphire apparently belonging to a lost Mayan civilization. Later on, you’ll find out that the stone was uncovered and then sent to the States to be displayed but was stolen. I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up with it and they want it back. They will kill Victoria, Heath and anyone else they need to just to get it.’ I shook my head again, this time a bit harder, and laughed. “What the hell is this all about?” I asked myself as no one else was home. Except for me and the dog that I had tied outside after I arrived home from my shopping expedition, I was alone. I flipped the note over to read the rest.

    ‘If you haven’t left by 3:15pm look out the front window. You will see a black SUV pull into the driveway. Three men will get out. Two will be in all back with handguns. The third will also be in black but will have a white hat. They will shoot the dog. You will be next. Get out. Now!’

    In the crisp air outside I could hear a car as it pulled into the yard. The dog barked instantly as the vehicle’s engine cut out. I glanced up at the clock again; 3:15pm exactly. I raced to the widow and peered through the heavy drapes as the predicted men exited the SUV. The first man drew his weapon and shot the dog. With a yelp, it tumbled onto the deep green grass as its crimson blood pooled around it. I took a step back as my hand started to tremble. The man in the white hat just straightened his tie and headed for the door.

    On wobbly knees, I grabbed my car keys and headed through the living room, swiftly grabbing the parcel as I went. It was time to take my note-self seriously. As a loud crash ripped the front door out of its casing, I slipped out the back and headed towards the garage hoping to make my escape.

  35. Chris

    A picture on your mantle unexpectedly falls and crashes to the floor. As you go to pick it up, you notice a note hidden behind the picture. The message is from the future—and written by you. It instructs you to do something important. What does it say?

    “Dear Chris,
    And you thought it would never happen, your books would never sell, well, surprise, surprise!
    Now you are on the New York Times Best Seller List for 10 weeks straight.
    All the many months writing that you thought were just in vane, all the critiques you listened to and then did your own thing anyway because your instinct told you so, the many hours sitting in front of the computer sometimes deep into the night, they finally paid off.
    Are you happy now? Are you happier than when you were just a normal person and people didn’t know you? Now you are invited to give speeches and people respond to you with an open mind.
    If you hadn’t spoken out all of the lessons of your life would have vanished in the abyss of naiveté of your children. Once the grandmother is dead, the story dies as well.
    You’ve always been ahead of the crowd. Now you will mingle with it, drown in it, celebrate with it!
    Overcome your angst, open your arms and embrace fame. It has come to embrace you!”

    Startled I looked at the note and had to read it over and over again. A smile crept into my face as I realized that this note is balm for my heart. I’ve already seen that my writing can invade someone’s mind and take a hold and not let go. Just last week I met a woman from a previous writing asking me when will she be able to read the whole story about my mother.
    This story has been partly remembered, partly told, and partly completed with the trauma that controlled my mind for many years.
    It features a Czech-born woman Michelle and her child Nita as they survive the tumultuous times after WWII when the powers, that were, expelled German citizens from their homeland because Germany lost the war. The now refugees were treated with hatred, stripped of their dignity, their belongings taken. Atrocities were committed.
    An illegal border crossing, a visit to Michelle’s parents, two years after the separation, brings back memories of horrific experiences during the post-war times for Michelle and her child. Like stringing pearls in a necklace I had to piece together the emotions, the helplessness, the frustrations enveloping the city girl, who danced with aristocracy, as she was forced to work in the fields, sleep in a hayloft, deal with flea and lice infestations that brought her little girl to the brink of death. Hunger, thirst, pain, rape, hopelessness, were the roots of beginning a new life in a strange country, with nothing but one suitcase filled with used clothing. Michelle’s strength came from her life’s motto: “I have to get through this!”
    Three years of writing and many tears allowed me to put all this to paper and now I know what I have to do…. I have to publish it because when the grandmother dies, the story dies as well.

  36. kenishasworld@yahoo.com

    “Everyday is so ordinary. I wake up at 6 a.m. to get ready for a job that is unique only in its monotony; eat a lunch that is uneventful at best; pick up dry cleaning, grocery shop or do some such mundane task; watch a little TV, take a shower, and then crawl into bed where I’ll read some insipid novel. Then when the waking interval is finally over, I’ll go to bed with a yawning emptiness that never evaporates. Huh… would that something extraordinary happen for once.”
    These were the thoughts Anais Stokely had continuously. But as she was dusting her mantle, these thoughts caused her to be a bit ham-fisted and knock over one of the framed photos perched there. As she knelt to retrieve it, she noticed the subject of the photograph. She and her family always took pictures after Easter Sunday service. But this one was the one taken the year she graduated from college. She remembered how idealistic she was—her plans to save the world one person at a time. “Where did this person go,” she wondered as she gazed at the wide-eyed girl she once was. Was it possible to get her back?
    It was at that moment that Anais felt something shift in her hand. It was a piece of paper that had been placed in the lower right corner of the frame. It was just an automatic reaction to unfold and read it.

    “I know how unhappy you are. Take heart and follow these instructions. Go to the corner of 54th and Benton Avenue and wait in the parking lot. You will receive a message that will make everything better.
    Hopefully,
    A.Stokely
    This was definitely a joke. Anais balled up the paper with the intention of throwing it away. But she stopped. In her mind’s eye she saw the girl in the picture. She wanted everything to be ‘better’. And, it was written in her handwriting. She ran out the door, keys in hand. She believed herself to be totally insane but she was not going to miss the opportunity to have something remarkable happen in her life. The note did not give a time or a date. How could she be sure that she had not missed whatever she was supposed to receive? Anais decided not to think that way. She would wait as long as she had to.
    At 12:23p.m on a Saturday afternoon, Anais pulled into the parking lot on the corner of 54th and Benton. It was a liquor store. She could not imagine what kind of a message she would receive there, but she had promised herself she would wait.
    By 5pm Anais’s mysterious someone had not shown. She began to laugh mirthlessly at her naiveté and was about to leave when she saw the billboard that she had seen men working on all day. Until then, she’d not paid it much attention. It read, “If God seems far away, who moved?”

  37. wrotalistic

    I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Did mom know my plans? Obviously, she’ll spank be rather than leave messages like this. But who else would have known?

    I paced back and forth inside my room, after minutes of cleaning the glass shards on the floor. Earlier, Jennifer’s picture suddenly fell for no apparent reason, and behind it was a hand written note. The hand writing’s very familiar, and strangely, the writer knew what I was up to. The weird part is, she enlisted what will happen, or rather, “what had happened” or so she says. Those were the exact consequences running in my mind the past few weeks.

    Maybe it meant good for me, but I don’t know. It’s terribly confusing. I’ve been thinking about the author for a few minutes, and I couldn’t believe what my thoughts had made. It couldn’t be me right?

    “Faie, this may sound weird, but you have to believe me. You should not go to the meeting place tonight. Ou- I mean, your parents won’t be fooled about your pillow trick on the bed, because they saw you slip behind the door. Akira won’t make it in time, I swear, and you will be caught by the town police. Of course, you’ll end up in jail, and your parents will take you out and spank you, and the news will spread throughout the neighborhood, and it will be made known to your relatives and friends that you are a very stupid get away criminal. I know this sounds foolish to you, but who else would have known your plans? Use logical thinking. I know you know what I mean. By the way, if you still doubt this message, I’ll give two words for you. It’s Time Travelling.”

  38. lynrogg

    Boxes half packed with the families possessions scattered the floor. Moving workers were bustling back and forth carrying the boxes out like busy bees. Mom was rushing after them while attempting to keep her giant round glasses on her sweaty face.
    This past week had been a turbulent and terrible week for me. First, Mom had approached me to tell me that Dad had run off after she had caught him with another women. Then, she had come to me to tell her that she had landed her dream job in Europe. I stared around sadly at my old living room. Everything was happening way too fast. Dad was gone. We were moving and I would never see my old home again.
    “Sweetie,” Mom cooed softly as she hurried over to me, “Are you all right? I’m terribly sorry for how everything’s turned out.” I nodded curtly, turning around to stare at our old family portrait on the mantel so Mom wouldn’t see my tears.
    “I’m fine,” I said managing to keep my voice casual. I could feel Mom staring at the back of my head, unconvinced.
    “Alright,” she said at long last, “I’m going into town to finalize everything with the movers and the airport. But if you need to talk, darling, I’ll understand.” She reached out to grab my arm, but I pulled away. Sighing, she turned and left the room.
    I stood there for awhile staring at our family portrait. At the time everything had been so perfect. Our family would stand together, smiling and happy, forever in that picture not knowing that Dad would leave his wife and only daughter forever. I stared at him angrily. He had used to call me his little angel.
    Anger welled up inside me until I smashed my fist hard into the mantel. The little shelf rattled so hard the family portrait fell and smashed on the floor. I stared at it anger pounding through me. Then, slowly, I noticed a small note taped to the back. Curious, I reached out and picked it up. The note was folded in half and the writing looked like it had been scribbled in a hurry. Although it was not signed, the handwriting was unmistakably my own.
    Look behind the old wardrobe in the basement
    I flipped it over, looking for more, but no further explanation was given. At first, I was unsure if I should trust the note. After all, how could it be from me? I don’t ever remember writing it. Still, the mystery was intriguing. I looked quickly at the clock. Mom shouldn’t be home for at least another twenty minutes.
    Down in the basement, I looked quickly around for the old wardrobe. I never liked coming down here. There were no lights and, in the darkness, normal everyday objects started to obtain an eerie quality to them. Soon I found the wardrobe. It stood in the back, large and forbidding. Gulping nervously, I hurried to push it aside. It gave way with a screeching sound. I stood there, panting for awhile. I squinted through the darkness and tried to make out what was in front of me. A large sheet of plywood covered what should have been a small storage closet. A little odd, I thought. I didn’t remember having this boarded up before. I scavenged in the dark for a hammer. Swinging the hammer into the boards, I welded the hammer like a club. It took more effort than I thought and I almost gave out. As I stopped for a breather, I heard a soft piteous moan come from behind the boards. My heart froze as I heard it. It sounded human.
    I redoubled my efforts to break down the boards, terrified of what I would find but unable to stop. As the dust settled, I stared down into darkness. There on the dusty floor sat my dad. He looked bleak and starved. All his skin seemed to have shrunk back against his bones and gave him a skeletal appearance. Wrists and legs bound with duct tape, he slowly twisted his sunken face around to stare at me. Duct tape covered also his mouth. His eyes seemed glassy and distant.
    “Dad!” I cried, unable to hold back my sobs. I reached forward and ripped the duct tape from his mouth. “Are you alright?” He clearly wasn’t, however. Kneeling next to him, I could see the bruises and the broken bones. Fumbling terribly, I managed to dial 911 into my cell phone. I had already given them our address by the time Dad responded.
    “Hailey,” he croaked in a voice that was weak, “it’s too late my dear.” He reached his bound hands out to stroke my face.
    “No,” I sobbed determinedly, “they can help you.” Dad gave a half smile, as though a reflection of his old self were trying to break through.
    “No dear,” he said, “I’m afraid she broke most of my bones when she found me. She poisoned me, beat me, and then his me down here so no one would find me.” His breathing seemed labored now as though talking were using up his remaining strength. Searching my face desperately, his eyes locked onto mine. “Please forgive, Hailey, darling. I strayed. I betrayed your mother. But know that I never intended to hurt you. I would never leave you.” I fought to regain my voice and to keep it from shaking. I figured I would be brave for my dad.
    “It’s alright, dad,” I whispered to him, “I forgive you. Just don’t leave me. Stay with me.” However, dad’s eyes closed at once, but a hint of a smile tugged at his mouth. I found myself sobbing worse than ever. I didn’t leave his side though. I couldn’t.
    The sirens sounded outside our house signaling the arrival of the paramedics. I stayed with dad as they pulled him into the ambulance. We rushed with the lights and sirens to the hospital. Somehow I knew it was useless as they rushed into the emergency room entrance.
    Dad died before they opened the doors.

  39. henbean98

    I ran into the dimly lit living room with my bathrobe on, discovering the cause of the loud shatter that I had heard from the study. I had been reading a light novella called The Art of Fishing when the shatter had pinched its way through the stubborn silence that had refused to move.

    Believing it be be robbers, my alarm quickly subsided. I decided to pick up the mess before going back to the study. I turned on the lamp and began to pick up the shards of glass when I came across a folded and yellowed piece of paper that was caught between the frame of the pictures and the broken glass.
    I grabbed it, wincing as a shard of glass pierced me.

    I unfolded the paper, and began to read. . .

  40. Hannah Renee

    Note To My Past Self
    Feb. 28, 2021

    Yes, the date is correct. This is a letter from your future self. It doesn’t matter, though : you don’t have to believe that. All that matters is that you read this and take it to heart.
    I am warning you that next week is a critical time in your life. If you make a certain wrong choice, it will be the first step of a distressing journey down a road you don’t want to walk. That road will bring you to where I am now : sitting alone at a desk in a dim room, cold with regret as I write these words. It is an unspeakably horrible thing to know that you have wasted your life.
    But I have been given a second chance.
    I was promised that this letter will somehow reach you – reach myself – the week before I made the first wrong choice. I know that’s so, because as I write it I remember finding it when the cat knocked Grandpa’s picture off the mantle. I remember reading it, and I also remember laughing it off as a practical joke.
    I would warn you of the choice that you have to make, but all I can say is that it is something which will seem trivial to you. Ten years later, I cannot remember what my first wrong choice was, and neither can I tell what I should have done instead.
    You do not have to make my mistake.
    If you take a different road, you will reach a different destination. You will never have to write this letter because you will never come to the place where you are writing it. However, you must know that if you never write it, you will never receive it. If you make the right choice – as I hope you do – you will never remember this letter at all.

  41. AH02

    The distinct sound of glass shattering as I entered the house almost had me running back to my car. But instead I forced myself to walk through the dark toward the Family Room, berating myself because I didn’t leave on more lights. I had promised my parents, as the only daughter that lived nearby, I would keep an eye on their house while they were away. I was starting to regret that promise as I found a large umbrella as my only weapon.

    I held my breath, knuckles turning white as I grip the umbrella. I slowly peek around the corner and let out a sigh of relief as I notice the old family portrait had fallen from its perch.

    “What on earth? You’ve been up there for nearly twenty years and you pick this moment to fall!” While I wasn’t crazy enough to expect a response from the inanimate object, it did make me feel better.

    Instead of cleaning up the mess right away, I walked through the house with more confidence switching on and off lights checking that all the doors and windows were secure before returning for clean up duty. As I rescued the portrait from the debris, I noticed a folded piece of paper hidden beneath it. The portrait was abandoned for the note. Expecting it to be in my mother’s handwriting I was startled to realize it was mine.

    Don’t marry him. Wait for Caleb.

    It was a simple cryptic message that stole my breath.

    I slowly pulled the ring from my pocket where I placed it only an hour earlier. Patrick had insisted I wear it. He was sure I would say yes, but it didn’t seem right so I pocketed the diamond as I left my work parking lot, which is the romantic location he chose to ask me.

    Again reading my own warning, I smiled and placed the ring back in my pocket relieved the decision had been made. Patrick wouldn’t be happy, but I had a feeling I would, someday.

    I was pulled from my thoughts at the pounding on the door. As I peered through the peephole I noticed it was my parent’s neighbor.

    Slowly opening the door, I looked up at him. “Yes?”

    He seemed to recognize me, even though we have never met. “I’m sorry Ma’am. You are one of their daughters aren’t you?”

    “Yes, I am.”

    “I saw the lights going on and off throughout the house and with the robberies we have had in the area … I thought your parents were the latest victim.”

    “Oh, no I was just checking to make sure the house was secure.” I decided to leave out the bit about the family portrait.

    “Sorry I intruded.” He started back down the steps.

    “Thank you Mr…” I called after him, realizing I didn’t know his name.

    “Caleb.” He said smiling. “You can call me Caleb. Have a good evening, Ma’am.”

    I returned his smile. “I think I will.”

  42. Megan Risley

    “Megan, if you don’t know where you are, or how you got here, don’t panic. You’re probably safe, but just to be sure, you should probably call your future boyfriend at the number listed below so he stops worrying about where you went. Last time this happened, you ended up in a different state. It worked out fine – you went to the largest bookstore on the West Coast and got to spend seven hours wandering around there while your ‘adopted’ parents drove down to get you – but you didn’t know how you got there, either. Thankfully, we’d anticipated this, and I’d written another note – like the one now – and put it in your pocket. As you might imagine, I’ve had to put them everywhere, since I never know what I’ll be doing when this happens. “This” is a long and complicated story that is probably best left for your boyfriend and “parents” to explain (I’ll just say that it has to do with memory loss) so it’s probably best that you call them now. I know it’s hard for you to trust strangers, but you do meet them at some point (when you’re about my age, in fact!), and, even if you can’t trust them immediately, you can trust yourself, right? (Check the handwriting).”

  43. Miria

    There was nothing warm about travertine on a cold December night. A loud crash from down stairs had jolted Sam out of bed. She tiptoed towards the top of the stairs, a Louisville Slugger gripped tightly in her hands. The foyer was silent.

    The only light came from the steady blinking of the DVD clock. She entered the room and strained to listen for any noise. The faint hum of the fridge and the tick tock of the mantel clock were all she could hear. A quick flash of light crossed the room and she jumped.

    “A car on this road, this late at night? She loosened her grip on the baseball bat and walked to the window. “Must be one of the neighbors, hmmm.”

    As she backed away from the window. She placed her foot on something sharp. She gabbed her foot and felt a shard of glass protruding. She hobbled to the chair beside the fire place and switched on the lamp. She pulled the glass out and blood began to trickle. She looked on the floor. The picture of her graduation from Cornell was shattered.

    She grabbed the old whisk broom she kept by the fire place and began to sweep up the mess. She carefully picked up her picture. It was heavier than she expected. She turned it over and found a note taped to the back side.

    “That’s odd.” She opened the letter.

    There were three words on the paper. “Leave now, Sam.” She recognized her own handwriting, her own signature, the way she curved her S’s and the twirled her M’s.

    In the distance the faint sound of a car door slamming sent chills throughout her body. She reached up and turned off the lamp. She sat silent for a moment. The familiar sounds of the house drifted around her, reassuring her she was safe. But the unmistakable creak of the bottom back porch step caught her attention.

    She went to the kitchen, grabbed her keys and purse and headed out the kitchen door into the garage. She locked the doors as soon as she got into her car. The garage door rattled as it pulled itself up. She looked in the rear view expecting to see someone standing in the driveway behind her car. No one was there.

    She turned back towards the dashboard to put the car in reverse. She saw him standing in the doorway to the kitchen. She paused for a moment to look at his face. The last time she saw him was two years ago looking through a subway train window. He was handsome, she had forgotten all his good qualities. She smiled, slammed the car into reverse and left that town for good.

  44. chilo

    I felt like crawling back to my apartment after a few steps in this old building. It had all the reminders of a mother who used to pull out a stick and beat you senseless for ditching school or painting the patio neon purple. Yet, here I am. Clearing up the cobwebs and dishing out junk. I have to keep tabs on everything before my sister gets here from Mississippi. The worst part of this place is her room. There are a bunch of pictures in their collective frames lined up on top of a mantle.
    “Ol’ Gus and his hound dog. Huh!” I placed the frame back and it caused the preceding ones to tumble over.
    “Oh, great!”
    The sudden smash of the frame at the end to the floor sent goosebumps up my neck. I went over to pick it up and a note falls out.
    “What’s this?” I open the folded paper and notice my squibbly chicken writing of a signature at the bottom,
    “Dear me, This house is a gold mine! Don’t let Sue sell it to your Uncle Jesse. Convince her of the investment. Mom left a few other things behind this mantle piece. It’s a real jackpot!
    signed, Greg”

    I crumbled the paper and shoved it in my pocket. I began removing the frames and mantle from the wall. A bright light surfaced from the small crack. I pulled the mantle some more and my eyes couldn’t believe it. Gold!

  45. Iweta89

    James winced. The sound was loud – a crash of wood on tiles. Then the glass shattering and scattering to every corner of the room. When he peeled an eye open he saw the devastation that used to be his family portrait. The four bits of wood that held the frame together has divorced and glass shards lay across the floor in an intricate maze.

    His mum was going to kill him.

    With a quick glance at the clock he knew he had five minutes to clean up. Ten max. Though nothing was going to stop his mum from knowing when she returned. Not when the silhouette of the frame remained on the wall. The paint underneath was shining daisy-fresh next to its faded drab brother.

    “Broom, broom, broom.” The words were almost a prayer as James dashed to the nearest cupboard. The broom was of course at the back and tangled in a complex web with every other cleaning instrument possible. It would take more than the four minutes he now had.

    Beginning to sweat, he opened the next cupboard. Vacuum cleaner. Score!

    After shoving the plug into the wall the machine gave a shaky cough, spewing dust up in the air. With a hopeful grin James pet the top of the vacuum and dragged it out towards the mess. Just as the first piece of glass tinkled up the metal pipe it coughed its last words. He could have sworn they sounded like “Sucker…”

    What was left? Tissues? The glass would cut through and slice his fingers. Then there would be glass and blood on the floor.

    With a frantic glance at the clock James yanked the tissue box off the table. Maybe his mum would appreciate the effort… Just as he fashioned himself a tissue glove the doorbell rang.

    Muttering a curse he went to the front door.

    “Good morning.” A woman stood at the front, clipboard in hand and big smile pasted on her face. “We are here for the scheduled clean-up and delivery.” With that she pushed passed James and entered the room where the portrait had fallen. An ear-piercing whistle from Miss Sunshine-and-smiles sent two more cleaners racing into the room, cleaning gear clanging behind them.

    James watched in awe as the room was swept up and a new frame was put on the wall in a matter of seconds. How could they have known?

    As the crew left the woman placed a paper in his hand. “This was behind the old frame.”

    Shutting the door, James inspected the note and his jaw dropped. No way…

    “Dear Me, Mum would have grounded you for a month. So, you’re welcome. Now, can you please put this behind the frame? And book a cleaning crew – same time, same year. From, me.”

    1. missedd112

      Very good, but then consider the source; I’m not published. The ending is a nice clever touch. Well done – but would you edit out a few of the “that”s? Still, very clever. Well done!

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