I was thirsty so I went downstairs to grab a drink. 19 steps to be exact, two hallways, five bedrooms, three living rooms, two kitchens and a yard the size of a small South American country. It was 1:51 in the morning and no one lived within a two mile radius, at least, not yet.
I had been living here for about four months. My wife, our two month old baby and myself. Most nights the baby would be kicking up a storm, but not tonight – tonight was different.
As I made my way downstairs. I turned on the kitchen light: it was a low, dimmed ambient, the kind that filled the heart with gentleness.
I pondered over the things I had to do in the morning. We would wake up after noon, take the baby for a walk. Some days we would stay home and work on the house, other days we had so much on our plate it was as if we barely had time for anything: not to eat. Not to talk. Not to live.
I was about ready to go back upstairs, not to sleep. I turned off the kitchen light and began to walk back towards the stairs, suddenly, I heard a sound coming from one of the rooms downstairs. It wasn’t a loud sound, in fact, I barely heard it. Maybe the sound was all in my head, I nearly let it run by me.
I turned the hallway light and peeped my head into the room. Nothing. And then, in the mist, between the light and the walls and the shadows from the curtains, I saw a man. He was coming out of the closet, slowly, as if he was looking for something.
My first thought was to grab my pistol, but I didn’t want to wake my wife or the baby. My second thought was to ambush him, but if he had a weapon my family’s life would be at risk. My final thought was to talk to him and figure out why the hell was he in my house in the middle of the night. I mustered my courage.
He wasn’t tall and he was wearing ragged jeans – they were torn and old-looking as if they had gone through hell and back and then back to hell for more. He smelled, different, it wasn’t a good different. I snuck up behind him as he looked around.
“Who are you?” My voice as firm as an old oak tree. My words swayed out of my throat and flowed onto the air.
He slowly turned around and as he turned he had something covering his face, a mask.
“A rat mask? What are you doing here? Who the hell are you,” I yelled as I turned on the lights.
He stood there, perhaps, he had froze. He took a deep breathe. He was very calm, too calm if you asked me.
“You look different, from what I remember from what I expected,” he said.
“What are you talking about?”
“Damien. You look far younger than I thought you’d be by this time.”
“How do you know my name? Who are you?”
“Look I don’t want any trouble, there is nothing here you can take. Why don’t you just go home. I won’t call the police and we can all pretend like nothing has happened here tonight. Yeah? I have a child upstairs.”
The man in the rat mask stepped back and began to look around the room.
“This is where you wanted to build your art room, and the other four rooms you didn’t know what to do with. In fact, you are still not sure why you bought such a big house.” He said as he pointed things out. They weren’t obvious things.
“How do you know my name?”
“Do you believe in time travel Damien?”
“Time travel? What does that have to do with anything?”
He stood dead still as I said that as if I had just offended him.
“It has everything to do with it, and I am not going to harm you. I’m no burglar… just listen carefully to what I’m about to say. I came here to warn you.”
“To warn me? From what? And why should I believe you? I don’t even know who you are.”
“Damien, what time do you have?”
“It’s almost 4 o’clock in the morning. Why?”
“Listen to what I am about to tell you, and do as I say. I don’t have much time. You know the nuclear power plant that is about 5 miles away?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Something terrible is about to happen. Something that will leave you in the darkness for the rest of your life.” I didn’t know whether to feel sorry for him or actually believe him.
“What do you mean? Where are you from? Why are you wearing a mask?”
“None of that matters, listen close because there isn’t much time. You have to get your wife and baby out as far as possible, their is going to be a melt down in about 35 minutes. Everything within a five mile radius will be flattened.”
Of course I thought he was crazy. There was no way that was going to happen. Maybe he wanted me out of my house so he and his comrades could take my belongings, anything could happen.
“A melt down?”
“Yes, you have to go. Forget your belongings and just go north.”
I went along and played his game and I played along well. I just wanted him out – I was willing to do anything to have him out.
“How would you know that’s about to happen?”
“I’ve seen it. I’m from the future.”
“I’m sorry, please forgive me, it’s just a little too hard to swallow, you and your story.”
“You are definitely hard to convince. I could go back a week prior and many have tried to stop this plant from melting down but every time one of us has tried, it sets off another disaster around the world – and far worse too. Too many butterflies, far too many. Time is fragile, it’s like an ocean, one that has never seen any waves. One tiny glimpse of wind can change it, forever. Please go. please. it’s our only chance.”
“I just need you to get out. Get your wife and baby as far as possible and now. No questions asked Damien, just do it, do it now.”
“Here is a letter too, don’t open it now – open it tomorrow, believe me, it’s for the best.”
“Why me? Why us?”
“Because no one else is going to save you.”
Suddenly, several bright flashes appeared around the room – just like that he was gone. I fell back towards the wall and began to breathe heavy. I didn’t know what to think, it was as if I had seen a ghost. I ran upstairs as fast as I could.
“Honey let’s go.”
“We have to go – hurry now. I’ll explain in the car.”
“What are you talking about? You’re scaring me.”
“LET’S GO NOW!”
I grabbed a suitcase and filled it with anything I could find. I was afraid.
It took us three minutes to get our things and jump into our car. We were headed north. As we drove I told my wife what had happened – she thought I was losing my mind, who wouldn’t? The story sounded like a nightmare.
The next morning, 7am. My wife shook me violently, distressed and full of tears. “Honey wake up. There has been a terrible, terrible disaster…”
“What happened?” I asked. The baby was crying louder than ever. The news full blast.
“The power plant exploded, sometime this morning. It destroyed everything within a 5 to 6 mile radius. Our whole neighborhood.” Her tears fell towards her lips.
I needed to pull myself back together. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. I was crying tears filled with confusion.
“How did you know,” my wife asked.
“I told you, I told you I wasn’t dreaming, it really happened,” I said.
Then, I remembered my left pocket. He had given me something. A letter and his identification. I reached to grab it and thankfully it was still there, intact the same way he had given it to me.
The man’s I.D. said Damien J. Barthanul. My name. My birthday and height. It was me, an older me, but definitely me. I opened the letter:
“Damien, do not be afraid.
I know right now you are not meant to understand this, and I won’t go on to explain it. I am writing you this letter from the future. (About 46 years from the time you’re in now.)
I know this is going to be hard for you to take in, but on April 12, 2120 the Airfield nuclear power plant melts down and wipes out everything within a five mile radius.
How you, we, survived is still a mystery but Jody and Candice don’t make it. My life, your life, is never meant to be the same after that. You are destroyed by everything that had been taken away from you, and everything you loved was destroyed that night.
I had to do something and I know by doing so I am tampering with everything I’m not supposed to, but I did this for love. For the love a man can only have for his wife and daughter.
I hope they made it out alive. I hope by the time I get back they’re there waiting for me. I hope Jody is as old as me and I hope Candice is married with children.
I hope this pain is lifted from you, from us, by the time I get back. I love you and please do not mention this to anyone. Not even Jody.”
I broke down in tears. I didn’t know how to hide them. We were alive and I didn’t understand it fully, but I was grateful.
I was happy and to think, in the end, I owed my life, our lives, to myself – that alone made the rest of our lives worth living. There is nothing more beautiful than that.
R.M.Drake, is a lyrical genius with over 1.5 million followers across Instagram, and Twitter. Drake came to fame specifically through sharing excerpts on Instagram, and currently his book A Brilliant Madness is the 3rd best-selling book in Amazon’s love poetry category, while he is re-posted by the likes of the Kardashians and Ludacris.