Chapter 57:

The Downfall (Part 2)

Cafe Eris


Akaash took a deep breath. He’d been thinking about this for a long time, 5 years to be exact. His father had had another outburst over a trivial matter and hadn’t been back since late last night. His mother was nowhere to be seen either, and Akaash no longer say any future living in this place. Even though it pained him to leave his kid sister behind, he knew logically he couldn’t take them both. Bookmark here

You might be wondering, how does a straight-laced, straight A student make such rash and stupid decisions? Well, everyone has their limits right? And after 17 years , he had had enough. There was a slim chance his parents would storm out of the apartment looking for him, but most likely they’d pretend he was dead and leave him alone. Bookmark here

He slung his duffel bag filled with essentials over his shoulder and almost made it out the door when a small voice stopped him.Bookmark here

“Where are you going?” Mishti was standing behind. Akaash stood frozen in the door frame. How long had she been there?Bookmark here

“Out. For a walk.” Bookmark here

“With a bag full o’ clothes.” She eyed the packed duffle bag.Bookmark here

“Yeah. I might go to the gym on the way.”Bookmark here

“Huh? You don’t work out, you shrimp. Also if you don’t tell pops, he’ll be real angry when he gets back.”Bookmark here

Akaash winced. “Don’t worry about that. I’m going now, okay? Don’t cause a fuss. I’ll be back soon, don't worry.”Bookmark here

Mishti was a smart kid. She knew he would not be back soon. He left without looking back as the door shut quietly behind him.Bookmark here

Next stop was the café. He couldn’t bother his friends, well it’s not like he had any that would let him stay over anyways. He knew from asking around that Scanta was his best bet, the café had extra space.Bookmark here

But it seems that Scanta had changed his mind.Bookmark here

Even before Akaash could speak, Scanta stood waiting at the entrance.Bookmark here

“I’m sorry, but no.”Bookmark here

Akaash was dumbfounded. “But, I thought you’d help me out? Like we talked abo-”Bookmark here

“Trust me.” Bookmark here

...Trust him? Bookmark here

He looked Akaash in the eye, wearing a grim expression.“Things at the café are about to go south. You don’t want to be here when that happens.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?” Akaash looked around and noticed the missing posters. It was a little eerie, but the customers looked like they were going about their day as usual. “Listen, I get that there’s a ghost in your café or whatever, but I don't really care about that kind of stuff. I know it was one of your elaborate pranks. Nicely done but, I’m not joking about this,” Akaash lifted his bag.Bookmark here

Scanta pinched the bridge of his nose. “Akaash. Your dad comes back home at 11:13 am. If you get back before then, you can pretend nothing happened and go about your day.”Bookmark here

“Wait. How do you know-”Bookmark here

“Kid. You have a bright future. Don’t wreck it.” Scanta turned around. Bookmark here

“Wait!” Akaash tried to hide his panic. “You’re lying. You’re a good liar, but I can tell.”Bookmark here

Scanta shut the door wordlessly and retreated back to his office.Bookmark here

“Please!” he called one last time, in desperation. Bookmark here

There was no response. Bookmark here

Akaash stood there, thinking hard about what had just happened. Bookmark here

Now he was left with two less than satisfactory options to choose from. He could go back, or go to some park. Bookmark here

He sat down on the bench outside, hugging his bag. “Damnit. DAMNIT.” he muttered to himself. Bookmark here

“I guess I’ll go home.”Bookmark here

Scanta was right. His dad came home at exactly 11:13 am. Bookmark here

------------------------------------------------------------Bookmark here

Apron, check. Name tag, check. Lunch bag, check. Cell phone, check. Rahim rummaged through his bag to make sure he hadn’t missed anything for his shift today at Café Eris. He was excited to be back there after another weekend of being yelled at by his parents for dropping out of school. Little did he know what awaited him when he got there was nothing to be excited about. He made his way downtown like he would any other Monday morning, but as he approached the café he noticed no lights had been turned on. He tried pulling on the door but it was locked. Then he tried pushing it. No luck with that either. Bookmark here

The spare key was missing too.Bookmark here

He pressed his face up to the glass and peered through the window. It was completely empty. The lights were off, the furniture, gone. Bookmark here

Scanta was nowhere to be seen. Bookmark here

“What’s going on?” said a voice. Rahim looked to the side and saw Maisha, who’d just arrived for her shift, staring at the empty room that was supposed to be Café Eris. Bookmark here

They both had a very bad feeling about this, which naturally, was right. Bookmark here

“Not sure...” Rahim faltered in his response, as he saw men in office attire walking towards them. Bookmark here

The men ignored Rahim and Maisha entirely as they plastered red and white signs on the window that read;Bookmark here

“FOR LEASE” in big bold letters. There was a contact number written below.Bookmark here

Rahim turned towards the workers, starting to panic, “Hi. Um... what’s happening? Why are you putting up for lease signs? Where’s all the stuff? This is Café Eris...Why is it empty?”Bookmark here

The man looked at them. “Kid. Do you work here?”Bookmark here

Maisha and Rahim both nodded. Rahim’s desperation was painted on his face. Bookmark here

The man stared at him, feeling a little sorry for him. “Sorry kid, this aint Café Eris anymore. It got shut down.”Bookmark here

Rahim’s stomach dropped. Bookmark here

The men left and he turned to Maisha, at first, unable to speak.Bookmark here

He managed a few words though, “But- but I quit school… I just wanted to be good at something.” He took a shaky breath, “This is all I had…”Bookmark here

Maisha didn’t know what to say. They just stood there in silence as the commotion of the surrounding world continued, and the café stayed lifeless and empty.Bookmark here

Eventually more people who thought it would be any other Monday morning came by and joined them. Anastasia, Lucky, Akaash and his sister Mishti, along with Maruto. And of course, last but not least, Scanta.Bookmark here

They all turned towards him, their expressions demanding an answer. An explanation.Bookmark here

He opened the door and gestured for everyone to come in. Bookmark here

“Alright. So I know this looks bad,” He put his hands up, “I understand that many of you may be shocked, or confused by this turn of events… but I suppose I must tell you all the truth.”Bookmark here

Everyone’s attention was focused on him. Bookmark here

“Café Eris, is no more.”Bookmark here

The silence said more than it needed to,Bookmark here

“How?” Maisha finally said, “How the heck did this happen? I thought you owned this property?”Bookmark here

He looked at the floor, “Greg Gory’s lawsuit was successful. My assets were seized, so that includes this building.”Bookmark here

Maruto tugged at Ana’s coat, “Ms. Ana… what does that mean??? Why is everyone so sad? Where’s Café Eris?” he teared up a little, “I want frog bread… Where is everyone?”Bookmark here

Mishti, who usually had a sharp tongue when it came to Maruto’s childish views, understood exactly what was going on. She said nothing.Bookmark here

Scanta continued, “Here's the situation. You might have noticed that a lot of the usual people are not here. Wabong is missing, you might have seen the posters. I should also mention that Pimmy was arrested and her group is busy with the trial. Rika is being held for investigation at the moment, and she might be arrested.”Bookmark here

Lucky spoke up, “Where is her son?” Bookmark here

Scanta hesitated, “He’s… at home. He’s not handling the news well. Tristan is also at home. He hasn’t felt well since the graduation event. One more thing. Dazzle is missing in action.”Bookmark here

Anastasia nodded, without a hint of remorse. She knew it was only a matter of time until the state hunted her down as well. She wanted to make one last stop at the Café. Of course she hadn’t anticipated any of this. Bookmark here

“This is unfortunate,” she said. “I suppose we must say our goodbyes.”Bookmark here

Maruto stepped forward. Bookmark here

“NO!” he shouted. “NONONONONO! NOOOOO! This is NOT goodbye!” He started looking a little desperate.Bookmark here

He did a hero pose, “Have no fear! I will save everyone!” He teared up again, “I love Dungeon Eris! I love the frog bread, and the ramen, and, and..” his sniffles grew louder, “I love you guys.”Bookmark here

“Oh.. Maruto.. Dear...” Lucky took pity on the boy. So did most of the others.Bookmark here

He started crying louder, “Yea! I’m gonna be a hero!” he pointed at Scanta, “You WILL NOT shut down Café Eris! YOU WON’T!!” At this point, he was speaking between heavy sobs, “YOU CAN’T! I, MARUTO KUZUMAKI, WILL DEFINITELY SAVE CAFÉ ERIS!!!” Bookmark here

Anastasia crouched down and grabbed Maruto firmly by the shoulders. Something came over her. She was not going to give him her pity this time. Bookmark here

“You are not Maruto Kuzumaki,” she told him calmly, “You are a regular boy.”Bookmark here

He stared at her. “Ms. Anastasia? Why?” he said quietly, his face twisted in shock.Bookmark here

“Your name is Mark Kim, and you are a normal boy.”Bookmark here

“No Ms. Ana! You know me, I’m Maruto!! You know my name is Maruto Kuzumaki, you always said that!!!” he sobbed, his voice laced with the turmoil of this betrayal. Bookmark here

“NO I AM! I AM MARUTO KUZUMAKI” he cried out desperately, as though he were trying to convince himself. “I AM MARUTO! I HAVE TO BE MARUTO! MARUTO IS STRONG! MARK KIM IS WEAK!”Bookmark here

His shaky sobs filled the café. Everyone went silent as the boy broke down.Bookmark here

“I HAVE TO BE MARUTO. MARUTO WILL SAVE EVERYONE! HE’LL SAVE ANA AND SANTA AND EVERYONE ELSE! HE’S GONNA SAVE CAFÉ ERIS!”Bookmark here

He crumpled to the ground, unable to save even himself. Bookmark here

Anastasia shook her head sadly. She knew she had to do this.Bookmark here

“You don’t need to pretend, alright. Even if you’re not a hero, everything will be okay,” she said, hoping it would be true. She hoped that even if she was gone, Mark would become strong enough to face reality. Bookmark here

------------------------------------------------------------Bookmark here

It had been a few hours since the café regulars had left. Bookmark here

The sun had just set. The cold air moved through the lonely city, hoping to be of comfort. It only did the opposite. Bookmark here

Pugh decided it was time. Bookmark here

He walked towards the café doors and took a deep breath. Bookmark here

This needed to be done.Bookmark here

The sign in the window said closed, but he knew he was the exception. Bookmark here

He placed his hand on the door and gently pushed it open. The chimes welcomed him into the bleak room which was once Café Eris. In the center of the room, Scanta sat slumped with his back turned to pugh, an amber drink in his hand.Bookmark here

Pugh waited for a sign. Anything that would make proceeding a little easier. But no sign was given. Bookmark here

He slowly took one step forward. Still no sign. Bookmark here

Scanta took a swig from the cup in his hand, disregarding the man behind him completely.Bookmark here

Pugh decided to break the ice. "I've never seen you so down before." Bookmark here

Scanta didn't respond.Bookmark here

He continued, "you know, I always thought I'd be celebrating when this happened. I thought I'd come find you, and laugh in your face. I finally reached the one goal I've strived towards for decades, and yet somehow... this feels..." he trailed off. Bookmark here

He took another step toward Scanta. Bookmark here

Scanta sat up, immediately downing the last drops of his drink. "Don't finish that sentence. I don't want to hear it." Bookmark here

There was a lingering pause, and Pugh thought of what to say next.Bookmark here

"It’s unfortunate. How things ended up.” Bookmark here

Scanta stared at the empty glass in his hand, painfully aware of the all-too-familiar presence behind him.Bookmark here

"It wasn't supposed to go this way," the words tapering off into a whisper, “We… we had plans. Dreams even. To work and find success together. We’ve known each other much too long for you to have your back turned on me like this." Pugh couldn’t help but raise his voice. It was frustrating, and Scanta was as hard-headed as a brick wall. Bookmark here

Scanta let out a bitter laugh and turned around. "You ungrateful jerk.. So what, is this your elaborate plan to rub it all in? You finally win the war and yet you come back to laugh at the damage? And you dare call me the evil one." Scanta spat out.Bookmark here

He threw the glass across the room and it shattered against the wall. Pugh gasped and tried to diffuse the situation, but Scanta cut him off. Bookmark here

“I knew it! You hear that? I knew it, goddamnit!”Bookmark here

He took a shuddering breath before continuing. Bookmark here

“I knew all along. You have no idea how many times this has happened already. So please, spare me your apology or pity or whatever the hell it is you do. Every. Single. Time.” His rage had turned to despair.Bookmark here

Pugh knew not to take another step. "This isn’t my victory. Look at me, can you see even a hint of happiness?"Bookmark here

Scanta didn’t need to look.Bookmark here

Pugh’s voice grew quiet. "Believe me. I never wanted our story to play out like this." Bookmark here

“Oh. Pugh. As much as I try to change fate, it always plays out like this.” Bookmark here

They both stared at each other, tired and defeated.Bookmark here

Neither knew what to say, but both were thinking the same thing. Bookmark here

If only time could turn back. Bookmark here

------------------------------------------------------------Bookmark here

Tristan was devastated. He has finally found love. Someone who he had formed an instant connection with. Someone who started this whole story.Bookmark here

And now, she is gone. Bookmark here

She disappeared. Bookmark here

Sure, she was a ghost. But Tristan’s love knew no bounds. He truly did not care.Bookmark here

As long as he got to love her, he thought.Bookmark here

But now, he couldn’t even do that. Bookmark here

How could he love someone who did not exist anymore? It was difficult to love the remnants of someone’s existence, Tristan had learned. It took a toll on him. Bookmark here

Surely she still existed in Tristan’s mind. He could not forget her, no matter how hard he tried. Bookmark here

He wanted nothing more than to return back to his regular life. The life where no one took notice of him. His boring, plain life. Bookmark here

As much as it hurts to admit, he was used to it. It was his normal.Bookmark here

He wanted so badly to forget this story if it meant it would fix the hole in his heart. But he could not. Bookmark here

Tristan ran towards the café after weeks of shutting himself inside his home.Bookmark here

He initially thought he had turned the wrong corner and ended up at the wrong place.Bookmark here

The sign was gone, the insides were bare bones. It was the shell of the café he knew. Bookmark here

It was almost as if the place knew that she was gone, too. Bookmark here

Tristan would be in a complex shock if he weren’t so heartbroken right now. He had no idea that the place was shut down.Bookmark here

He barged inside and noise echoed throughout the now-empty establishment. Bookmark here

Just as he thought, Scanta was inside. Alone. Staring at the place he once owned. Bookmark here

Tristan’s mind filled with rage. “What the hell did you do? Where is the café? Is this why she left? You knew she was attached to this place, and yet you let it turn into this? Fix it, now!” He screamed at Scanta, eyes watering. He could not control himself. Bookmark here

Scanta looked at him with empty eyes. “Tristan, you know I wouldn’t let this happen. I never wanted this to happen. Why-” Bookmark here

“You killed her!” Tristan cut him off, sobbing. Bookmark here

Scanta paused for a second, taken aback at the accusation. “Tristan, she was already dead. I thought you knew this-” Bookmark here

“YOU KILLED HER! YOU KILLED HER! YOU KILLED HER!” Tears streamed down Tristan’s face. He repeated these three words like a mantra, almost as if he was trying to convince himself. He pointed at Scanta with a shaky wrist, his whole body rumbling with emotion. Bookmark here

Scanta was speechless. He never knew what to do in this case, no matter how many times it happened. Bookmark here

Tristan’s accusation kept going, but died down as Scanta approached him. He slowly walked towards Tristan, grabbing his shaking arm and pulling it down. Bookmark here

Tristan let Scanta manhandle him but kept shaking. He stared at Scanta with burning eyes, but Scanta could only look back at him sadly. Bookmark here

“Tristan,” he started softly, Bookmark here

“I’m sorry.” Bookmark here

------------------------------------------------------------Bookmark here

If only time could turn back.Bookmark here

It can’t. Bookmark here

Trust me. I would know.Bookmark here

But there is another way. Bookmark here

“Tristan,” I started softly, “There is a way. I mean, it’s the only way. It always has been.” I took on a serious tone and prayed he would listen to me. Bookmark here

“Scanta. What does that even mean! What are you talking about!” Tristan sobbed out, frustrated.Bookmark here

“I need you to listen. You need to understand that this is simply the way things are.”Bookmark here

“What does that even mean?” He repeated, sniffling uncomfortably. Bookmark here

I was fed up.Bookmark here

This nice guy act really does not suit me at all. I snapped my fingers in front of his face.Bookmark here

I shook him by the shoulders. “Tristan. Let me give you a quick reality check right now. You can’t be having a Goddamn temper tantrum over your missing ghost girlfriend right now. Look around!” I gestured at the empty dark room we were standing in. “Things have fallen apart for EVERYONE!”Bookmark here

I counted on my fingers, “Genu’s files got leaked, Rue Tomel Law Firm is done for good, so is Jessica Lemoteurs reputation. Lucky and Ahmed are in custody battle over Kulsum, they’re probably also both unemployed at this point because of the law firm drama. Pimmy and Rika have been ARRESTED! Coco no longer has his mother! And Maruto, that poor boy. Akaash, Maisha, Mishti, all the kids that come here. My customers! Our family! They’re all suffering!” Bookmark here

I paused to catch my breath. “That goddamn Greg Gory got what he wanted and my café is shut down. Rahim dropped out to work, and now he’s unemployed without even a freaking highschool degree and no other options! Dazzle and Ben are DEAD. DO YOU UNDERSTAND!?” Bookmark here

There was a long pause. I had said too much. Bookmark here

Eventually Tristan squeaked out a small “Sorry” and dried his tears. He took a deep breath. “Please, please explain what you meant when you said that ‘this is simply the way things are’”Bookmark here

I cringed thinking about my next question, but it needed to be asked. “Do you believe in fate?”Bookmark here

His face turned red. “What the hell? This question again? No I don’t. I told you that when I started working here! Now stop messing around!”Bookmark here

I shrunk back in on myself, “I know,” I sighed, “I knew. I knew all this would happen.”Bookmark here

Tristan froze. He narrowed his eyes, “What do you mean, you knew?”Bookmark here

“Follow me.”Bookmark here

I led him through the passages and doors that he once ventured through in search of tea for Rika. Bookmark here

“Here we are,” I gestured to a metal box. Bookmark here

Tristan seemed like he vaguely recognized it. “The other side of this can be seen in the storage room… it has some weird carving on it?” Tristan’s entire body suddenly became engulfed in a sense of dread. “I thought it was a safe… What is it?”Bookmark here

Scanta sighed. “The solution.”Bookmark here

“What the HELL is that supposed to mean? Can you stop tiptoeing around what you want to say!”Bookmark here

“This world… it’s not the only one. It’s one of many.” He blankly stared at me.Bookmark here

I hesitated, knowing what would happen next, “It’s a time machine of sorts.”Bookmark here

Tristan sputtered out a wet laugh, “Okay. I know you’re something of a comedian around here, but that one was a little far off.”Bookmark here

I was not laughing.Bookmark here

“I’m serious. Well… it’s more of a portal, I guess.”Bookmark here

“Stop talking like Maruto. You’re a grown man, it’s embarrassing”.Bookmark here

“This is one of many worlds I’ve been in. I told you at the very start. This is a timeless café.”Bookmark here

Tristan’s smile melted. “That doesn't make any sense...”Bookmark here

“Haven’t you ever wondered why this place is so weird? Or why I knew your name before you told me? Or why I know so much about my customers?”Bookmark here

“Because you care…?”Bookmark here

“It’s because I’ve known you guys for many, many lifetimes. Too many. Simply put, this is one of many parallel timelines. This one happens to be a café, but some were doctor practices, restaurants, etc.”Bookmark here

“Very funny.” Bookmark here

When I didn’t respond right away, Tristan wavered. “The prank is over, right?”Bookmark here

I just continued. “All of you have a role to play in each timeline. Some timelines are more ahead than others, some have technology, some don’t. Remember how the storage room was full of random antique stuff? Those are all souvenirs from the countless switches.”Bookmark here

Tristan scoffed and shook his head in disbelief.Bookmark here

I placed my hand on the metal box and it performed a scan. A panel unhinged, revealing the inside full of buttons and a large screen.Bookmark here

“What the hell. This is one elaborate prank. It has to be,” Tristan’s voice tapered off. Bookmark here

I stepped towards him and slapped both sides of his face.Bookmark here

“TRISTAN WAKE UP. I’m not kidding. You do this in every single timeline, it’s annoying. Listen closely. There’s only one way to reset, and it’s to activate this thing.” I pointed to the time machine.Bookmark here

“...ok. Ok. Ok. OK. I get it.” Tristan wiped his tears and began to pace around. “How do we reset it?”Bookmark here

“There’s a code that we need. It changes in every timeline. It takes on the form of an important item from the last timeline. We just have to find that.”Bookmark here

Tristan dragged his hands down his face and shook his palms. “What was the last timeline?”Bookmark here

“Anastasia Nikolaevna’s family mansion. They were Russian royalty, we all were connected through that building in some way or another. I reset the timeline when the family was murdered.”Bookmark here

“So there’s something from Anastasia’s mansion that has the code?”Bookmark here

I nodded. We paced around thinking of what it could possibly be. Bookmark here

Tristan suddenly clapped his hands, “WAIT! That vase… the blue vase. The one that you found in pieces. It was part of the ….. art… installation. Was that from the mansion?”Bookmark here

“Yes? But it’s… a vase.” I deadpanned. Bookmark here

“No. It had a USB.”Bookmark here

My eyes widened. “Where is it?”Bookmark here

Tristan patted his pockets.Bookmark here

Empty. Bookmark here

He turned his backpack upside down and shook the contents onto the floor.Bookmark here

C’mon, c'mon. Bookmark here

He desperately clawed through all the items.Bookmark here

“FOUND IT!” He yelled suddenly. Bookmark here

He grabbed the laptop that fell out of his bag and inserted the USB into it. “Dammit! we can’t read any of this. The only recognizable parts are Anastasia’s name.”Bookmark here

I thought for a second, searching intently for an answer to this problem. Who would know-Bookmark here

I got it. Bookmark here

I pulled out my phone and dialled the only person I knew who could help us. “Genu. We need you to translate something for us. The files on Ana’s UBS, I really need-”Bookmark here

“How are you getting reception here?” Tristan interrupted me.Bookmark here

I put up a hand to tell him to shut up.Bookmark here

“Genu, yes... I’ll send over the files immediately….yes… okay 10 minutes is great. Thank you so much.”Bookmark here

We sat awkwardly waiting. Tristan was clearly still processing everything that had happened. Of course, I knew he’d have this reaction.Bookmark here

“So….” he began, “how do you know… how di…….who….why….” he stumbled over his words. Bookmark here

“Why do I know all this. Who am I? That’s what you want to ask.” I offered.Bookmark here

He nodded.Bookmark here

“I don’t even know where to start…” I sulked. Bookmark here

Tristan looked at me, annoyed. “I know you’re stalling, Scanta. Now just tell me everything, I think I deserve to know at this point, yeah?”Bookmark here

“Oh Tristan, you’ve grown so much! You used to be all scared and shy and flustered, and now look at you! All entitled! I’m so proud.” Bookmark here

Tristan shuddered, “Shut up. Just tell me!” Bookmark here

“Alright, alright. So my name is Ryaaan Scaaanta, my birthday is on-”Bookmark here

Tristan’s face turned red. “I’ll kill you. Seriously.” His voice was low. Bookmark here

I threw my hands up in defeat. “Geez kid, I get it.” Bookmark here

I sighed. He really wouldn’t let me get away with this. I might as well tell him, it’s not like he’ll remember anything. Bookmark here

“This machine lets me switch from timeline to timeline. The people in each timeline are the same, even if they have a different name. For example, you and Lolita are always-”Bookmark here

My ringtone went off. Tristan was fuming because of the interruption. Bookmark here

Thank god.Bookmark here

I quickly picked it up and memorized Genu’s instructions. They weren’t too different from the last timelines. Bookmark here

I hung up, and quickly went to work. I turned a few dials and pressed a few buttons. I couldn’t help but laugh. Bookmark here

“You’re about to turn on a frigging time machine and you’re laughing?” Tristan asked, angrily. Bookmark here

“I feel like Dazzle,” I chuckled. Bookmark here

I continued to follow Genu’s instructions and finally, I heard a loud noise. Bookmark here

The noise. It was finally on and ready. Bookmark here

Tristan looked around at the machine, his eyes reflecting the now-turned on lights. Bookmark here

“So, this is going to fix everything?” Bookmark here

I kept my gaze on the machine. I couldn’t look at him.Bookmark here

“Yeah,” I said softly, “this is it.”Bookmark here

I could feel Tristan looking at me. “Okay, so fix it. Do whatever you have to do. Why are you hesitating now?”Bookmark here

I looked at him in the corner of my eye. He looked suspicious of me. Bookmark here

“I’m not hesitating, Tristan.” Man, was my throat always this dry? Bookmark here

“I just want to say goodbye first.” I turned my head to look at him properly and gave him a tight lipped smile. Bookmark here

“...What? Goodbye? Scanta, it’s not like I’m going to die in there or anything. You said everyone would be there on the other side, right?” Bookmark here

“Yes, that’s right. I guess it’s not really goodbye, then. I guess I’ll just see you around, Tristan.” Bookmark here

Tristan gave me a weird smile. “What...? I thought I was gonna come with…” His smile faded. Bookmark here

I looked down and took a breath, hesitating. “Tristan, only I can be in the machine. It only works for one person.” Bookmark here

“Okay, so I’ll just get in after you,” he said slowly. Bookmark here

I wasn’t actually going to leave him, so why was this so hard? All I had to do was kick him out of the room.Bookmark here

“Sure. I just need to be alone in the room when I get in, just get out and close the door behind you.” I lied straight through my teeth. I felt bad, but I really needed him to leave.Bookmark here

“Umm sure, this door’s not gonna lock on me or anything right?:Bookmark here

I chuckled, “Oh Tristan. Always so untrusting of me.”Bookmark here

Rightfully so. Bookmark here

“How about I leave the door open slightly?”Bookmark here

I smiled. “That works. Now get out please!” Bookmark here

Tristan rolled his eyes, and left the room with one final nod. To my surprise, he shut the door completely. Bookmark here

I pushed the final button and waited for my signal. Bookmark here

After a few seconds, a blinding light appeared and I walked into it.Bookmark here

I knew the drill. I did not stop walking. Bookmark here

I couldn’t help but reflect on this timeline. I ended up making too big of a mess, I think. I almost feel bad for leaving everything behind.Bookmark here

Tristan was probably still sitting waiting outside of the room. Or maybe he came inside and realized he had no chance of leaving his timeline. Bookmark here

I wonder, would he be more angry or sad? Bookmark here

There were so many people affected. Little Maruto and his friends, Coco, Rika, Maisha, Akaash, Wabong, everyone. Bookmark here

People had lost their lives, too. It was such a shame. Bookmark here

I was snapped out of my thoughts when I felt the ground under my feet change. I was finally here. Bookmark here

I did not stop walking. Bookmark here

Once my eyes came into focus, I took a look at my surroundings. Bookmark here

A whole new timeline, it seems. I guess I turned it on properly. Bookmark here

Finally, a fresh start. Bookmark here

Bookmarked
You can resume reading from this paragraph.