5..4..3..2.. “Happy New Year!” I could hear these 3 words echoing in distance, wrapped inside the noise of fireworks that went off at the same time. It’s the 1st of January, 2100. A new century for the world to look forward to. But I was never the kind of person who’d celebrate the passage of time. Time isn’t even a real thing, we created it to keep track of events in an order that we could understand.
Maybe that is why I’m here in my attic, going through my ancestral stuff while everyone else is out there celebrating. It may sound boring, but I’ve always found old stuff interesting. And so, while combing through all the age old furniture that is present here, I took fancy to one particular box that had a few dusty old photo albums in it. I picked one of them up and started flipping through the pages when suddenly, out of nowhere, a letter flew out from one of the pages like it had been waiting for years to escape from its grasp. It was somewhat fascinating for me because it’s been more than a decade since the last postal service shut down. So, I couldn’t help but have a look. It was addressed to my great-grandfather and the date on it indicated that it was written on 5th of June, 1997. But the most surprising part was yet to come, I wasn’t prepared for what I read next, the letter was written by me and had my signature on it…
Next thing I know the lights in my attic switched off. The attic began to shake furiously, picking up pace with each passing second. I was feeling giddy and just when I thought that it couldn’t get worse, it stopped. Stopped so suddenly I jerked forward and hit my head.
Groaning, I picked myself up and moved towards the switch. Darn it, the bulb must have fused. I moved out of the small attic and was shocked to see the sight. All my furniture had disappeared. Everything was different. Everything looked ancient, like it was from another century. Yet it felt like home. It had the same soothing, welcoming comfort.
Just then a lady, maybe in her young 30’s appeared in front of me. I was going to apologize to her for intruding into her home when she passed by not bothering to even look at me. It was like I wasn’t even there. I happened to see a mirror after the lady had gone and My! Wasn’t I shocked to see my reflection. I couldn’t understand what was happening around me. Here I was in a place that felt like home but wasn’t. I wasn’t seen by the lady yet I could clearly see my reflection. Well except it wasn’t even me anymore.
I felt like I hadn’t aged at all but my blonde hair was now jet black. That wasn’t all, I had a beard which might I add looked handsome. But I also couldn’t fathom how my clothes had changed. My comfortable shorts and shirt was replaced by a kurta and some sort of a skirt. It all felt so foreign. And yet here I was, mentally if not physically present. I knew that I possibly couldn’t have written a letter a 100 years ago and I was even more curious to find out all about it.
After spending quite a while staring at my reflection I proceeded towards the direction from which the young lady had come from. I was equally intrigued and scared to see where I would end up, who I would meet, what I would learn and whether I would get back to my life or not.
As I began to wander around the house, I heard voices from a distant room. Moving in the direction of the voices I came across a well lit room that was big enough to accommodate a small gathering. In the centre of the room stood two people deeply engrossed in conversation. One was a young boy who was maybe 8 or 9 and was surprisingly tall for his age. He stood solemnly looking down while his father, I presume, continued to speak to him in a grave tone.
I couldn’t make head or tail of the conversation as they spoke in a different language, but the tone implied that the boy was being punished. The look on the boy’s face was not of guilt, he probably hadn’t done anything wrong and was not given a chance to explain. The young boy’s face was oddly familiar and I was lost deep in thought trying to figure where I had seen this boy and if so how that was even possible. My mind was racing in thought.
Suddenly out of nowhere there was a gentle tap on my shoulder. I was shocked. Nobody could see me and yet here was someone who tapped my shoulder. I turned around and I froze. I shrieked, shrieked so loudly that if anybody could hear me they would have run far, far away. In front of me was my great grandfather to whom the letter was addressed to. He was there in all flesh and bone and yet he was the only one who could see me.
I was scared out of my wits and all my great-grandfather could do was smile. I had only seen him briefly when I was four or five and didn’t remember much except a vague memory. He continued to smile while my expression changed from shock to confusion. What was my great grandfather doing here? How could he see me? Realisation clicked in. I know who the young boy was. No wonder the boy’s face was familiar. But wait, how is this possible? How could this happen?
My great grandfather sensed the inner turmoil in me and began to explain.
First things first no I’m not real and neither are you. You are in a memory. A memory I created for you to find. Your appearance has been changed in the rare event that you are discovered this would allow you to blend in easily. And as you probably have guessed the younger boy is me. An event occured on the 5th of June 1997 that changed my life. You are currently in the year 1980. I came across a letter that saved my life. Yes it was the letter that you read. This has always happened in our family and I experienced this when I received my letter.
It’s okay to feel confused but remember this when you receive a letter addressed to you, you can always change the course of history. A lot of lives have been saved due to this. Use this ability well.
And just like that the ghost poofed and a loud howling wind started to blow. It started to grow louder and louder till it was deafening. And I was back in the attic before I knew what was happening.
And I was left to wonder if it was all a dream.