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Forever Eight: An Original Story by Dawn Collins, Part 2
They say that is impossible to remember being born and they're right. Even though Calvin Parks had been born forty-seven times, he never became aware of his own existence at least to the point of concrete thinking and memories until he was about six months old. At this age there was mostly just feeling: a feeling of love from his mother, a feeling of happiness from being so loved, and once in a while the unshakable feeling of impending doom. Even at this young age Calvin would awaken screaming, haunted by the images of a monster holding a knife.
Only when he was about three years old did he remember why he was haunted by these nightmares. Only then did he start to realize that every thing that had happened and that would happen had all taken place before, several times. And then he knew how little time he had, just under six years to figure out what he might do differently to stop his own death and hopefully get time to continue beyond the eve of his ninth birthday.
The best way he supposed was to write it all down. The slight differences when he did certain things, possible methods for escape that he hadn't thought of (this page was mostly blank), ways of convincing his mother to choose a different tutor for him (which also seemed like a dead end), and an entire page dedicated to the name "Sophie". By age seven, Calvin had filled a dozen notebooks with information (all in code of course, otherwise his mother would make him see a shrink).
"Save Sophie..." These were always the last words Calvin ever heard and he never could determine if they were spoken to him while he was still alive or if these were few precious seconds spent in some sort of afterlife, before he was whisked away back to the beginning. One thing he knew for sure is that the words were not spoken by the only person near him at the time of his death (his killer), so he supposed whether he was alive or dead when he heard them that they must come from somewhere beyond this world and therefore must be important.
Sophie was not one of his classmates, nor was it the name of any of Calvin's aunts or cousins. He always made sure to know all the first names of his teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, pretty much any adult he came into contact with and no one's name was Sophie. Calvin knew he needed a different approach if he was going to solve this mystery and he had a good idea of what it might be, he just didn't like the idea of doing it.
The only avenue he had rarely taken was attempting to make friends and learning if any of their friends, family, or anyone they knew was named Sophie. It was hard for Calvin to make friends the first time around, let alone the forty-seventh when he had acquired more knowledge than many adults. Children were cruel, petty, jealous, whining, and most frustratingly of all way too concerned with what other kids thought of them.
Calvin had made friends in the past, but there was only so much childish behavior he could take and it never lasted long. He found that other children preferred it if you pretended to be dumb but Calvin was a little too obsessed with reading, science and speaking proper grammar and it always wound up alienating his peers. To solve the mystery of Sophie he supposed he would have to try the friendship thing again, and perhaps with someone he had never tried to befriend before.
Cory Hanner was arguably even less popular than Calvin. This was probably due to the fact that he was poor, his clothes were always dirty, and he had a crude way of speaking which often landed him in detention. The thought of being around him made Calvin's stomach turn, but each time he repeated this life Calvin always tried to do at least one thing different, and perhaps if the voice speaking to him were some sort of spirit or God they would appreciate the sacrifice Calvin made and let him move on.
So one day in early spring, Calvin abandoned his own lunch table where he was the only occupant, and sat next to the equally isolated Cory. Cory, who was stuffing his face with what was probably his only meal of the day, looked up and glared at Calvin, "What the Hell do you want, Genius Boy?" "I thought you might like some company." Calvin answered as politely as he could. "Yeah right. Why would I want to sit with a loser like you." Calvin answered by slipping an open palm under the table. Cory looked down to see a half dozen firecrackers in Calvin's hand. "All for you." Calvin said. He could tell by the smirk on Cory's face that his plan had worked. "Holy shit, Calvin! When did you get so cool?"
Calvin and Cory walked to Calvin's house that afternoon. Calvin had invited him over for dinner, knowing that the promise of food would most likely convince Cory to come. As they walked, Cory talked and Calvin started to realize that he really wasn't that bad. Calvin even felt a kinship toward the boy when he talked about growing up without a father. When they arrived at Calvin's house, Cory's face gaped open, "This is where you live? You must be rich!" "Not really," Calvin replied quickly, not wanting to loose Cory so quickly, "We rent it from this guy who owns like fifty houses." This seemed to quell Cory's jealousy and he continued to talk about his own family.
"I think we'd do better if my mom would stop having so many kids. She's pregnant with my little brother right now. Number five."
Calvin stopped halfway down the hall to his bedroom, "Pregnant..."
"Yeah. With number five."
Calvin could care less about Cory's mother and her pregnancy, mostly because she was having a boy so there was no way it was a Sophie. He looked back, or perhaps forward since it technically hadn't happened yet, to his own mother's behavior in the months leading up to Calvin's death. Calvin had always been so concerned with making sure she didn't get murdered in front of him that he hadn't realized the implications of what she told him was "a bad case of the stomach flu". The stomach flu didn't last six weeks which is now about how long Calvin realized his mother had been, or rather would be, sick.
Calvin hadn't expected his friendship with Cory to benefit him so soon. He had always assumed if he left his mother out of the equation on the day of his death that she would be safe, but what if Malcolm's plan had always involved killing her too... And maybe the reason Calvin couldn't find Sophie was that no one knew she existed yet, not even her own mother...
Read more of my poetry and short stories 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