Foresight

I’d never had a hallucination that vivid before.

To be honest, it wasn’t immediately startling. Sophomore insomnia usually doesn’t hit after a Saturday night out. Yet there I was, wasting away in front of the harsh glow of my laptop. Will-o’-the-wisps danced around the edge of my vision, and I constructed desultory fantasies of alternate life choices. When the black started swirling in, I barely noticed it – even if I did, I was quite ready to embrace sleep. Waves of shadow lapped at the shore of my eyelids.

A sharp jab ran through my right eye, pain was what set this apart from my usual existentialist stupor. Flashes of complete darkness, with sporadic intervals where I saw the world in a reddish tinge. I fumbled about, starting to panic about losing my vision. It was then.

Watch carefully

It was unsettling, red streaks on a tar background. There was something unnerving about it.

Watch what you’ve done

It was my handwriting. It looked exactly like something I would scribble in a hurry. My body went into a lockdown, and I couldn’t tell if my eyes were open or not. The text dissipated, and a large white room, with cabinets from floor to ceiling, swam into view. Heavy breathing echoed in my ear, as hands underneath me opened each cabinet slowly. It was a morgue.

Then there was a series of rushed scenes, of an older me being fired from my job, in a black suit at someone’s funeral, signing up for human trials for a wonder drug. The images barely moved, were sometimes unclear and accompanied by groans, and yet I completely grasped them. It was re-watching, reliving a movie that you’d soon see.

All trials failed, with one exception

Blood and a mangled pink rope which rose from a dead scientist’s belly and ended in my clenched hand. Cuttings of newspaper obituaries on a wall. Solitary confinement. Repeated testing under restraints. Watching through the eyes of something under a cloak manoeuvring itself out of a facility, killing and attacking with precision and ruthless ferocity.

With our enhanced body, we escaped

The information stream stopped. A low, painful voice said “We should never have. We were Patient Zero.”

***

The visions continued every single day from then. It had taken 20 years from then for all of them to finally come true. I ran out of the facility, escaping the exact same way as the vision. It was no coincidence. I merely followed the methods I had seen in my nightmares every day.

It was impossible to escape this fate. I had tried to, yet my naïveté wore off soon when I realised that choice was an illusion, all roads led to the same destination. I stopped dodging it, and started predicting the future by strictly following the visions.

I heard the alarm being raised, but I already knew I wouldn’t die. How would I send the visions to myself if I perished here? There was little comfort at the end of my journey. I knew I would be alive, I knew I would be searching for answers. I knew, when I had finally found a way to contact the past me, I would still do it, hoping against everything that maybe there was a chance at salvation.

At the very least, I wouldn’t be tormented by the message anymore.

Kartik Reddy

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