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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1701369
1913. Time goes by backwards, technology is superior, and you know your own death date.
JQ Shehl sat on a bench by the hovertrain station. His black hair was combed neatly to the side, he wore his cleanest brown shirt, his overalls were just slightly torn. People walked by him, some on hover scooter, some on skates. They were dressed in slacks, suits, ties, and trousers. He watched man, women, children go by. It was 10:05. The year was 1913.

Suddenly, three men approached JQ. They appeared younger than him, maybe in their fifties or sixties, and had big toothy grins. The largest of them wore a straw hat with a hole in it, wore dirty overalls, and was carrying a shovel. JQ looked over the strange trio. Behind the big fellow was a tall, beefy, man with sandy blond hair and muttonchops wearing a suit, and a man with choppy gray hair with a serious, chiseled face. He was wearing a brown jacket with patches and loafers. The men ignored JQ and sat down on the bench next to them, none of them saying a word.

As the train glided silently in the station, the large man with the hat turned to JQ. “Train’s always late, ain’t it?” He laughed.

JQ smiled. “Hopefully I get my wife back.”

The other man laughed and held his hand out. “Arthur Helningbus. You can call me Ax.”

JQ jumped at the name. “Helningbus? As in Arthur Helningbus, son of Henry Vaxon Helningbus?”

Ax laughed again. “He's my uncle, chap.”

The Helningbus family had a lot of power. They had came from the Isle of Carr in the Mediterranean generations ago, sometime in the 28th century. They had came and overthrown the Ruther family, disposed of a young man name Laynel Ruther, who had been dictator. It had been time since then, and the Helningbus power had diminshed, but the name was still an honor to carry.

JQ decided it be a good time to introduce himself. “I'm Jenovah Quinn Shehl. People call me JQ. I'm a farmer. A nobody.”

"Son, there ain't nobodies in this 'ere world. There's at least one person in this world that yer a someone to. Like yer wife. And don't you start on farmers. Widdout 'em we'd starve."

JQ looked at Ax’s attire. “You’re related to a Helningbus, yet you’re a farmer?”

The gray-haired man sitting next to Ax Helningbus answered the question. “We were preparing for a rise.”

That explained the shovel.

The Rise preparation was one of the most miraculous occurrences of the time. There was no birth. People were born dead, and rose from the ground, which was the “Rising” Miracle, and on their birthday as many years they lived, they would die again. Their body would be cremated, and then the ashes buried, and then a new family member would rise from those ashes. Because time passed from elderly to baby, children were born before parents, and years counted down.

The end of time was the beginning and the beginning of time was the end.

The gray-haired man offered his hands. “My name is Dr. Vil Howe. The man next to me is Arnold Shellington. Arnold’s mother Lucila rose today.”

JQ sighed. His mother hadn’t risen yet. Little did he know she wouldn’t rise for another twenty years. JQ had rose at forty-seven years old. His mother would rise the day JQ would die. She would only live for seventeen years.

A brunette girl with her arms wide open bounded towards JQ. She was thirty-five years young. JQ stood up, and the girl jumped into his arms and kissed him repeatedly. Her lips were warm, her eyes were twinkling.

The voice behind JQ surprised him. “Brendy?!”

Brendy looked at Ax, whispered, “oh, no,” and took off running.

JQ stood in shock, not knowing whether to run after Brendy or shove Ax into the wall, which was probably a bad idea, considering he was the nephew of Lord Helningbus. He decided against the latter, and ran after Brendy, who was shoving people out of her way.

Even though Brendy wasn’t in earshot, JQ was. And he heard Ax Helningbus yell, “I love you, Brendy Marchall!”


“What is wrong?!” JQ asked, stroking Brendy’s face, wiping tears from her eyes. “Why did he say he loved you? Are you cheating on me?!”

Brendy began to cry harder, and searched for words. “He’s stalking me. I dated him back in 1945. I broke up with him, but he doesn’t seem to understand that! The last few months have been the worst, that’s why I’ve been in Lenerith for the past month. To get away from him.”

“You lied to me!” JQ yelled. “You said you were visiting your sick cousin!” Brendy began to cry harder, and it pained him to see. “Brendy,” he said softly, “why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want your mind to wander and you to jump to conclusions, which you always do. I didn’t want you to think I was cheating on you.”

JQ hugged Brendy tightly. “Brendy, I love you, and I would never let anyone hurt you...”

He trailed off when he saw the huge bruise on Brendy’s hip. “He did that to me.”

JQ’s face began to burn, and he jumped for the phone.

“Who are you calling?” Brendy asked, wiping a tear from her nose. The police sirens in the background answered her question.

“We’re going to start our life over, Brendy. Just me and you. Where no one will ever hurt you. It’s the beginning of the end of Ax Helningbus. I don’t care what his social class is or anything, he’s going to jail. It’s the beginning of the end of me not caring. Me jumping to conclusions, it will all end. It’s the end of our old lives and the beginning of our new.” He kissed her passionately. “Brendy Marchall Shehl, for the next twenty years, I will always be there for you.”

Brendy looked into JQ's eyes and tried to hide her smile. She knew JQ knew nothing and everything that she said was a lie. She was a great actress.

995 words
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