Journey to Nowhere
All I had with me was my suitcase and the clothes on my back. I looked straight ahead of me and saw an endless dirt road which extended for miles and miles. Wearing my lucky old beat up hat and my woolen coat, I left home early that morning to decide my fate.
My day began with breakfast, going to work at the bank and coming home to an all but empty apartment with just my faithful dog for company. I felt as though I was going through the motions of life and my life resembled watching an old movie or rerun of a television program every day.
Life became mundane with no challenges ahead and nothing to look forward to. I got up at the same time every day, went to work, and came home. I am a Bank President. I run the largest bank in this town. It is not a very exciting job, but the money is good and it pays for my kid’s school tuition fees and their various extra-curricular activities. There is even money for my soon to be ex-wife to shop wherever and whenever she wants.
My wife, who never had to work a day in her life, said she was bored and I provided her with no excitement. She had been going to the gym, working out, and met someone else there. She decided to take herself and my children and go and live with this total stranger after knowing him for just one month. She even managed to get herself a job as a copy editor at the local newspaper in the area where she was moving to. The man she met was the paper’s editor and I cannot see how his job was any more exciting than mine was. However, he was 10 years younger than me and that seemed to be the draw.
Watching them leave, and feeling a tangled mixture of emotions, I realized that I could not make a difference in other people’s lives. I needed to start with my own. Staring into her new paramour’s face as he got into his car with my family, I had an uneasy feeling. His eyes stared straight at me and his smile was cold and frightening. He looked evil. He did not speak directly to me and my kids were shaking with fear. My wife told me it would be better this way and she got into the car and never looked back.
I stood there staring at the back of the car until it disappeared. I could not believe what had happened nor would I ever believe that I had no choice but to let it. My children are my life and I cannot think about living the rest of it without them However, Jana felt that since I bored her to death with my day at the bank and nothing much ever happened to excite her during hers, this young guy whose face looked cold and demonic was the right one for her. It was as if he had her under a spell.
I began to think of places that I could go and where I would spend the rest of my life. I couldn’t even think that far ahead. I wandered down the road until I came to a small body of water that was surrounded by trees and grass. There was no one in sight. It was pitch black. The sky was covered with clouds so dark and ominous that I stood frozen to the spot and couldn’t move. The air was damp and yet I felt nothing. I was neither hot nor cold. I felt numb. Feeling nothing but the pain in my heart and fear that someone would finally find me and make me go back to the life I had before, I knew that I had to make a move in some direction.
I began contemplating my next step. I didn’t know where I was or where the road would lead me. It was so dark that I decided to stay where I was until morning. However, that decision was not so easy to fulfil. I saw a light coming towards me from a distance. I hid behind a tree, or at least, I tried to, but I was wearing a yellow shirt and the driver must have seen me from a distance. He got out and walked in my direction. Being in an isolated area, I didn’t know where to go or where to run. I just stood there like a statue hoping that I would look like part of the scenery. As he came closer, I realized that he was a police officer and might recognize me and take me back home.
He drew closer, but, before he could approach close enough to speak I heard the crackling of his radio, and he stopped in his tracks, but not before looking me straight in the eye with his cold eyes and icy stare. His smile sent chills down my spine and I prayed he would not come any closer. Suddenly, he turned and returned to his car and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I thought that for a minute he was the same man who had taken my family away from me. However, from a distance, I could not be sure. I passed the night in that place, rooted to the spot, afraid and unsure of myself. With the coming of daylight, I summoned what remained of my courage, and made my way home. That very day, things began to change.
My head began to hurt and I couldn’t see where I was going. I had just been to the eye doctor. He gave me a new prescription for distance glasses. He assured me that wearing them would make things look much clearer. The glasses would help me not only see where I was but also possibly, where I needed to go. That remark seemed strange at the time, but I just thought he was trying to make me feel better. Little did I know that things would change radically for me and I would have no idea how or why.
Putting on the new glasses I began walking, with no idea where I might end up. I came to what I thought was a small town. I must have been walking for over an hour before coming to this place. Everything in the town was new and in pristine condition. All of the people were older and looked like they were going about their business without noticing or stopping to speak with anyone who came their way. Everyone was dressed alike, everyone looked alike, and yet no one said a word. All of the stores were well kept but had no customers in them. All of them had one person standing at a cash register waiting to check out an order, but no one entered any of the stores.
I began adjusting my glasses to make sure that I was seeing clearly when someone tapped me on the shoulder.
The man didn’t introduce himself nor did he stop to hear my response. He just kept on going saying the same thing.
I walked a little further, stopped, and stared at myself in a store window. Staring back at me was a younger man dressed like all of the other people in this town but it was me, looking at least ten years younger. It seemed that the man knew who I was or at least he was pretending to know me, but he never called me by name nor told me where I was, or what he thought I was supposed to be doing.
The entire town was about 10 blocks long and about 5 blocks wide. Each block had three or four stores and three or four small houses. Behind each of the stores were wooded areas and behind that what looked like gated communities. No one seemed to notice or care that I was there. Except for one person. As I came to the end of the town, I could not believe what I saw. A sign read You are leaving the town of Mundane and No Excitement: Today’s Date is January 25, 2025. What had happened to me in between? When I left home, it was 2010. Where had 15 years gone and where was I during those years?
The second read: The road to the town of decisions
The third announced itself as The road to the town of Surprises
And the Fourth: Just walk in this direction and you will find out
I had no idea what these signs really meant and since I was really nowhere that I knew, I thought about taking off my glasses and hoping to find myself back where I’d started and in my own hometown. However, when I did, nothing changed. I started walking in the direction of the second town hoping that this town of decisions would help me make some for myself. However, when I got there I knew things were only going to get worse.
Facing me at the entrance of the town was the man who took my family. Facing me with his cold stare and chalky face, he stood there all alone and smiled. “Where are my kids and Jana?” I asked.
He just stared at me as if I was invisible and then vanished into thin air. I looked around and saw nothing. I looked straight ahead of me where he’d been standing and I saw something so frightening that I thought I might be hallucinating. Looking straight ahead, I beheld a vision. I could see what looked like a floating ball and inside the ball, I could see my family.
However, they were no longer my family, they were now his. Each one had been transformed into a carbon copy of this demonic creature. Each sat on a chair or bed staring into space with a strange grin on his/her face. Just blank stares. Then the vision disappeared. They were under some kind of spell or drugged.
Frightened to think or even move, I just stood where I was and I took off my glasses. I began looking around and I was no longer in the town but on the same road I was walking on when I left home.
I sat down in the middle of road and started to cry. Where was I and what was happening? All of a sudden, I heard voices and loud yells and screams.
Where had the time gone? I’d just been in the year 2025. It seemed that every time I left a place I was sent even further into the future.
I might be on the same road that I started my journey on but my surroundings were different. Instead of the beautiful houses and trees in the once countrified community that I had lived in, the area was totally devoid of any trees, vegetation of houses. The road was no longer paved. It was constructed from hard stones and pebbles. The surrounding area featured burnt out barns, houses that were in total disrepair. I walked along this road hoping to find a small town or any sign of people. What I did find was so frightening I stood there and froze.
In front of me was a community of small children who looked like they were all alone with no adults in sight. They seemed to be part of some colony. The oldest of these children looked to be about 16 years old. The rest of the children were lined up in front of me and one other person that looked about 18 years of age seemed to be in charge. The date was January 25, 2200.
“Everyone here has a job to do. You will follow our orders. If you disobey, you will be severely punished. None of your parents survived the fire and the attack on this village. You have no other place to go. Everyone here must band together and try to make this place our home. You will have chores to do and some studies that we decide you must learn. You will also cook and clean for yourselves. Hunting and gathering food is your job if you want to eat and stay alive. There are no more supermarkets, restaurants, or even convenience stores. We do have a small general store where our small community can get certain things that we need.
However, there are many animals that you can kill and hunt down and eat. We are lucky to have several cows that can be milked and some hens that might lay some eggs. You are here and that is all there is to it. Everyone must get to work to build a shelter to live in or use whatever houses are here. You can rebuild something or just start from scratch. I do not care. Just remember, we are a community and we must stick together and protect ourselves from any strangers from any other villages or cities that might try and come here and take what little we have.”
Just as he was about to turn back and go into his house or what appeared as a small house, he saw me standing there looking straight into his cold eyes. I could not believe it. The face that was staring straight at me was a younger version of the man who took my family away so many years ago. This person must be his son or grandson. I froze where I was standing. However, he said nothing. Maybe they couldn’t see me clearly but I could see them.
How could the future of the world turn into what looked like the past? As I was propelled in the future, it felt like the world was moving backwards in time.
As I stood watching the scene before me someone must have come up from behind, hit me on the head with something hard, and knocked me out cold.
When I finally woke up, I had a throbbing headache, felt nauseous, and could barely sit up. The left side of my face and head were covered in dried blood. Whatever I was knocked out with had had a sharp edge and really did some major damage to my head and my face. I could not stand up without feeling dizzy and light-headed. I did not see anyone around. My eyes were having trouble focusing on where I was and my vision was blurry. What had happened to the village and the community where I saw the strange man?
When my vision finally cleared and the throbbing in my head seemed to be subsiding, I took a long at my surroundings. I was no longer in the same place I was before I was knocked out. I was in an open field with nothing but grass and farmland in the distance. I could not see any barns, or farmhouses or anything. There was no one in sight as far as I could see.
When I was finally able to stand up I knew I needed to decide which way to go. Where should I walk and in what direction? However, all I saw on all four sides were empty fields of green for miles around. Then out of nowhere, I saw an object coming at me at a high speed from a distance. I tried to get out of its way but I had no idea what it was or who was controlling it. In a flash and a blur someone grabbed my arms and my legs, I was thrown into a vehicle, and something was placed over my head. I could not see anything at all. I tried to scream but nothing came out of my mouth. My screams fell on deaf ears.
After what seemed an age the vehicle stopped and when I was finally taken out of the vehicle, and my eyes uncovered, I was no longer in the village with the children, nor was I in the town of Boredom and Mundane. This was somewhere else. There were people standing on moving sidewalks and cars of sorts that were going at warp speeds high in the air and flying over other layers of traffic. There were people on phones who were able to not only talk to the person but see them as well. The stores and the shops’ clerks and managers that did not look human. They looked like droids of some kind. The people had odd stares and their faces seemed fixed with one expression. No one noticed me or seemed to realize that I was different. Hanging in mid-air was a calendar that said today is January 25, the year is 3000. It will be warm and sunny today just like yesterday and tomorrow. The temperature will be 75 degrees today just like yesterday and today. The name of this town is Stand Still. I began to rethink what had happened to me so far and realized that in every place I was and had been the date was the same but the year changed each time.
Just as I was about to try and leave this town I saw standing right in front of me the demonic face and cold stare of a young man who seemed frozen in time. He had not aged at all. His appearance was the same as it was when he came and took my family away from me. Behind him were my Jana and my children all looking straight at me with that, same cold stare and drugged smile.
As I stood, uncomprehending and afraid, a voice from somewhere in my dim memory spoke softly from the deepest recesses of my mind.