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Forever Eight: An Original Story by Dawn Collins, Part 1
Anyone who observed eight-year-old Calvin Parks closely would assume he was a brilliant young man, maybe even go as far as saying he possessed psychic abilities. Calvin could play five instruments, speak three languages, could quote nearly every book in the library, and seemed to possess intimate knowledge of what was going to happen in any given situation no matter how unusual events were.
One would also notice that Calvin's abilities didn't seem to make him overconfident, in fact most of the time he just seemed bored. This was because Calvin had a secret that he couldn't tell anyone, otherwise they would think he was crazy.
When Calvin Parks opened his eyes on May 4, 1995, the day before his ninth birthday, he knew exactly what was going to happen that day. He knew that his mom was downstairs making blueberry pancakes, bacon and eggs. He also knew that she would be frustrated because the orange juice was well beyond its expiration date. He knew that his dog Max would start barking right about now, and sure enough he could hear the Labrador mix on the other side of Calvin's bedroom door. In exactly four point two minutes Calvin's mother would call up the stairs saying breakfast was ready.
Calvin debated on whether or not to get out of bed early and surprise his mother with his exact timing but decided against it. His mother was a very skeptical person and where others saw Calvin's impeccable timing as some sort of supernatural ability, his mother just said it was part of having a high IQ. Not that his mother was not proud of him, mind you. In fact she insisted he be placed in advanced classes at school and, despite Calvin's objections, had signed him up with sessions with the best private tutor in town.
Malcolm Samuels seemed like a brilliant man whose sole purpose in life was to see intelligent children like Calvin succeed in life. Malcolm was also very charming and nearly everyone in town knew and loved him. Only Calvin knew the horrors that lay just below the surface of Malcolm's seemingly nice exterior.
In Calvin's almost nine years of life, there was only one day he could not predict... tomorrow. This was because Calvin would never live to see his ninth birthday. He would be murdered and there seemed to be nothing he could do to prevent it... And then clock would reset, Calvin would be forced to start over from the beginning again.
Calvin's mother was right, he was not psychic. He was caught in an infinite loop of time which started with his birth and ended with his death, always occurring before his ninth birthday. It seemed that Calvin Parks was doomed to forever be a child and never know what lie beyond being eight years old.
Calvin shuffled slowly down the stairs, deciding to enjoy his last meal with his mother before going to school. He had tried time and time again to stay home, to sneak out of school, to pretend to be sick, to actually make himself sick, to pull the fire alarm at school, he had even gone as far as starting a few fires but nothing ever ended with him living through the day.
After several times of living the same life, Calvin had learned it was easier to just go quietly. Besides, he knew that if he stayed with his mother she would be killed trying to protect him and he couldn't bear to watch her die again. So he kissed his mother on the cheek and walked to Oak Elementary.
As he walked, Calvin could feel himself being watched. He didn't even bother looking up to see the black van parked on the corner of his street. He knew who was driving it and if he wanted to live through the school day, Calvin knew he had to quicken his pace. He knew the rout to take to make it to school safely and saw the van pull into the teacher's parking lot.
The first few times around, Calvin didn't know why he prolonged his death until the end of the school day. At first he figured it was just instinct, like a fly trying to escape a spiderweb, but then he realized it had more to do with time. Time always seemed to be against him and he kept hoping if he just had more of it he could figure out a way out of this trap.
Sometimes Calvin suspected that one of the reasons he was so unsuccessful in his attempts to survive was that Malcolm was stuck in a similar time loop. He always seemed to know where Calvin would be and made sure to be there too in his black van, as if he were taunting him. He never made any moves to strike until this day, always the day before Calvin's birthday.
Malcolm was always nice to Calvin up until the point he killed him as well, so it seemed wrong to accuse him of anything beforehand. Calvin had tried lying before but he was a terrible liar and his mother could see right through him. She told him that she wanted her son to have the best education possible and refused to send Calvin to a different tutor.
Today was always field day, so Calvin's school spent most of the day outside participating in various athletic events. Calvin was not particularly good at sports, but it was hard not to do well when you knew every move the other kids were going to make. He didn't win first place, but finished in the top twenty.
Calvin didn't eat lunch, not wanting school cafeteria food to be his last meal. He ended the day watching a movie about amphibians in his science class. He had seen the documentary so many times (and it wasn't particularly interesting the first time), that it was hard not to fall asleep. The last bell rang like a gong signaling his demise.
Calvin got up and started to walk, knowing it didn't matter what direction he went, he wouldn't make it home. Malcolm's van pulled up beside him. Calvin knew that running would be pointless, Malcolm would just shoot him and he always hit his mark. Malcolm, who was six feet four inches tall and weighed two hundred pounds, grabbed Calvin and threw him unceremoniously into the back of the van. The first several times he had kidnapped Calvin, Malcolm had been much nicer about it which Calvin had decided was further proof Malcolm had done this all before as well. Malcolm bound Calvin's hands with rope, tying knots that Calvin suspected had been perfected over time.
The drive to the woods always seemed to take forever but it was probably only an hour. As soon as Calvin felt the van stopped, he knew that within a matter of minutes he would be dead. Malcolm dragged Calvin out of the van, expertly dodging a kick aimed for the man's crotch, took out more rope and tied the boy to what must have been his favorite tree. He then pulled out a book and started reading.
The story was always a different one but they were always tragedies, as if Malcolm were trying to explain that he was doing what must be done. This time it was Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and Calvin had to admit, even though he knew what would happen after the story ended, Malcolm's readings were always delivered seamlessly in his deep baritone voice, it was hard not to find some enjoyment in it.
Malcolm pulled out his seven inch long hunting knife as he read the last line, "According to his virtue let us use him, With all respect and rites of burial.Within my tent his bones to-night shall lie, Most like a soldier, order'd honourably. So call the field to rest; and let's away, To part the glories of this happy day..."
With that last word, Malcolm plunged his knife into Calvin's chest. Thankfully death always came fairly quickly. Calvin felt the knife go into his body two more times and as his vision faded, Calvin heard a familiar voice whisper, "Save Sophie..."
Read more of my short stories and poetry by purchasing my new eBook!
- The Rise of Dawn: A Collection of Poetry and Short Stories: Dawn Collins: Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Only $2.99! A collection of poetry and short stories. The short stories include "The Silver Dragon" the story of a young girl from a race known as the 'buchies' and the start of an adventure with two pixies and a dragon, "Forever Eight" the story of