Stolen Years
rating: +5+x

I don't remember anything.

Scratch that, I remember a lot. I remember everything up to Darnaway. I remember my life up until then.

My life ended near the van. I was on a patrol. I was checking for vandals, illegal dumpers, people otherwise causing trouble. I found the van and I walked toward it. The passenger's door was open. Someone must have abandoned it there. There were no signs of a crash. I pulled out my clipboard, I watched my hands begin to write.

What does any of this have to do with the van? Mrs. Brodie of Lethen Woodlands was written on the door. It looked like it had been there for a long time, and… God, I remember it all so clearly. My favorite smell, juniper. A soft blanket of fog. Damp cold in my boots.

The Cotors' old place was nearby. That had also been abandoned for a long time. The woman left the place after her husband died, what was it, twenty years ago. The place became a squat for teenagers, all littered with beer, cigarettes, and the occasional needle.

I'm old, now. I must be in my seventies. That morning in Darnaway I was pushing 27. I don't know what happened with my life, and I don't remember anything else after that.

Here I am now in this grand house, at this beautiful table, with my wife and what I assume are my now grown children.

It can't be a dream, as this is the third day. I haven't pinched myself because I don't feel so well. There is a sharp pain all over. I'll have to ask my wife if I've been sick. I'll have to ask her the children's names.

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