Today’s prompt comes from Frank Tuttle, a purveyor of fine fantasy novels; check them out here! Frank gave me the sentence ‘the rain kept filling up the grave as I dug.’ I took that as a sign that I needed to try writing in first person, which I never do. I definitely need more practice with it, so I’ll probably be trying it more in the future. Anyway, here is what I came up with, enjoy!
I hated the digging, but it had to be done every time. It didn’t have to be raining, though. Water first dripped, then poured over the edges into the hole I stood in, turning the dirt at the bottom to mud. I cursed as some splattered on my dress shoes.
“Can’t we just make him do it?” Calvin said from above me. He leaned against the black sedan we’d come in, with his hood pulled up against the rain. He shined a light into the hole as I dug.
“No,” I said, tossing another shovel-full out. “And you know we cant. You ask every damn time.”
“But he can walk,” Calvin protested. “I don’t see why he can’t dig.”
I stood up and stabbed the shovel into the soft earth. “Look, if you wanna put the damn shovel in his hands, and close his fingers around the handle, and move his arm to scoop up the dirt, then you go right ahead. But that’s the only way he’s gunna do any digging. Got it?”
Calvin sat back against the bumper and waited silently.
One of the more annoying side effects of time travel I’d experienced, was telling people the same things over and over. Not Calvin, though, he was just an idiot; he’d done this three nights in a row and remembered all of it. His questioning and complaining were probably defenses against the weirdness of it all. He didn’t want to deal with the other, even more unsettling side-effect that sat in the back of the sedan, waiting.
The rain soaked through my button up shirt and dripped off my eyebrows. “Deep enough,” I said. I tossed the shovel out of the hole and reached up my hand. Calvin grabbed it and I scrambled out.
“Well, go get him,” I said. Calvin looked like he was going to say something, then turned away, muttering under his breath. I put my hand in my pocket, feeling the cool grip of my handgun. Calvin opened the back door and reached inside. A figure with a black bag on his head stepped lethargically out of the car. Calvin pulled on his arm, leading him. The man wore a button up shirt, slacks and dress shoes like me. Calvin led him over to the grave.
“Let’s hope this is the last time,” I said. I pulled off the bag.
Another effect of time travel was having to come to grips with the idea of a soul, and what that might mean. Because the man in front of me certainly used to have a soul–a mind, a consciousness, whatever you want to call it–before I arrived, and now he just stood there, slack-jawed and drooling. The experts–if they can be called that–said it was because the same consciousness couldn’t exist in two places at once, that the universe had to pick one and shut the other off. I wondered why it was always mine that kept going.
I held up the gun and looked into my own glazed-over, sightless eyes. I’d looked each time, and each time I worried that maybe a little piece of me died along with them. And if I screwed up and had to come back again, would it be me who ended up in a shallow grave of mud and rain?
With our eyes open, I squeezed the trigger.