As the exercises kept pushing me to capabilities I never knew I had, I found that my memory was picking up other things too. The fact that I could feel earthquakes before they happened was astounding to me. I had supersonic speed when running that could have been perceived as making the Flash seem slow. My limbs vibrated with heightened awareness when Mother Nature would be preparing for tornadoes to strike. It was almost as if I could have put the weather forecasters out of a job. I was forced to lift objects that no human could. I don’t know of any human that can lift a mack truck with their bare hands and yet it was part of my training. I had to go into ghost towns so that I could practice honing my newfound powers and skills without detection. My mind was a computer. Every day that the AI was in me was another day that I began to distance myself from the memories of my friends and family.
One night, the dust was flying all around me. I had known the storm was coming but I had nowhere in particular to go. I could see the neighboring towns that were miles away. They had no clue that the storms were about to ravage them while they slept. My vision honed in on a house seventy-five miles away. I saw through the house where a woman who appeared to be pregnant had just fallen asleep in the chair nearest the kitchen window while her other two children were slumbered. Something felt off about this house. Curiosity made me run to their home. On the outside, the house appeared unkempt. The porch had boards that were falling through. The swing that hung from the tree outside the house swayed back and forth as if a child were swinging yet there was no one on the swing. The wind had stopped. In my human form, I never would have dared to enter for fear of the unknown but in this state, I had no fear. Since I had no scent, the dogs didn’t pick up on me. I cloaked myself so that the children wouldn’t be afraid. I wanted to know more. Why was this house sending warning signals to me? There was a flashing red light that was as bright as the sun beckoning me to enter. Even though I could see everything around me, I had no clue as to how the perpetrator managed to evade my sensors. For the next thing I knew, my cloak was shattered and I was visible to the children. Something had hit me and forced my cloak to dissipate. I looked up and saw the children, wide-eyed and unafraid. The little boy took my hand and all he said was “You came.” When I asked, “Who are You?” He said, “We’re your next assignment. You must discover how to walk through time.” “Walkthrough time?” I asked. “How?” He held my hand and in an instant had transformed into a teenager. Gone was the small hand I held and in its place was the hand of a young man. “You have to walk through time and reverse what’s happened. The portals will be closing soon. There’s a legend where the caves hold the answers but there are so many caves that even with our abilities, those portals only open for a small window of time. You have to be there and enter them at the right time or else the portals close and other dimensions take their place.” I asked how he knew this. He responded, “three hundred years ago, I was a young man. My family and I were involved in a fire. Somehow I made it out of the house. My little sister was so close to getting out but the ceiling collapsed and trapped and killed my sister. You’ve entered a mirage. Nothing is as it appears. The homes aren’t real. You won’t know for sure who is human and who isn’t. Your training has equipped you to fight the invisible but the invisible is the most transparent thing you will deal with. Do not forget the humanity that was in you. You will need to rely on your gut. The AI hasn’t completely taken over yet. Many of us are still walking the earth even though we are long gone. Do not forget that when you think you know the answers, you haven’t begun to figure out the questions. Assume nothing. Learn everything.”
He let go of my hand and vanished. Even a puff of smoke leaves a trail of smoke. This young man left nothing. There was no pregnant woman anymore, there were no children in the home. The only thing that remained was the remnants of the front porch. I began to think I was in a modern-day Twilight Zone episode. How could I not trust what I saw? My sensors were programmed to see what wasn’t there and to understand that it was there. As I stood on the boards, my sensors alerted me to another sight. The next town was having a festival but it wasn’t the kind of festival that I’d ever experienced during my humanity. There was an apple bobbing booth but to bob for apples, it was done with cars. It was unique. The cars were their form of hoverboards to meet Transformer style entities. Everything appeared futuristic. I slowly walked to investigate what I was seeing. I heard the laughter of the crowds and the delight of those who won their prizes. Prizes consisted of winning cities and properties. Homes were given away like it was a second-place win. Money was thrown on the street for people and yet no one was grabbing it, unlike scenarios I had witnessed during my humanity.
I came across a religious cross. I stopped dead in my tracks. I remembered being a Christian during my lifetime and wondered what had happened to me. Where was my soul? How was I still doing things if a part of my soul coexisted within me? I stepped away from the crowd and while I was studying the cross, I heard a voice calling my name. As I turned, I saw another very bright light coming toward me. He wasn’t human. That much I could tell. He appeared more of a heavenly presence than alien and he stopped in front of me. The words he said next told me which path to take and I would have the answers I sought. It took four days to reach the destination. Between my circuitry not working well and short-circuiting in my joints, I finally reached the cave that I thought the boy had told me about. As I entered the cave, there was a familiar ribbon that was in my path. I touched the ribbon and a door in the cave mysteriously opened. As I walked in the door, I heard a lot of conversation but my sensors couldn’t find a soul. I stroked the ribbon trying to remember the significance of it. In my clumsiness, I dropped the ribbon to the ground and when I picked it back up, the fibers to the ribbon started glowing. Surprised, I studied the ribbon for a moment and watched as the light danced from the ribbon and created another dimension. This time I could touch the dimension I was in as well as the one I saw. The moment I touched the exterior dimension, Dr. Elciram appeared. I was stunned. I hadn’t done what I thought I was sent to do. His image spoke. “My dear. You have reached something very few have done before you. You’ve managed to reach the time travel portal. You have an option that only three others have had. You can split yourself between two dimensions and live out your mortality the way you were supposed to and live as an alien on this dimension. The only downside is that if you split yourself, you won’t live as long. You will live for approximately 500 years. Or you can stay here and train others to embrace their new powers and eliminate the problems that the Earth has faced.” As the thoughts swirling in my head, I couldn’t help but think that being human had a lot of pain and problems but I didn’t want to live an artificial life. I wanted to be able to breathe and eat. I longed to feel the human connection and even though the AI-enabled me powers beyond my wildest dreams, I was missing so many aspects. I wondered what it would be like to be split in two. I was cautioned that if I chose the duality, there would be a cost. I would feel everything again on both dimensions. My AI part would not feel emotions but my earthly part would bleed and hurt. I asked what year it would be if I returned to Earth. When I was informed I would have to live starting in the year 2100, my mind realized that there was no going back. Even if I wanted to, I would never be able to enjoy the time with my friends again. They were gone. I opted to stay.
Within seconds I was back at the stream where everything began. The ribbon at the base of the rock was still where I’d left it. I pinched my skin and was startled to realize that I could feel my skin again. What was going on? I chose to stay and yet I was back in my earthly body. I looked over my shoulder and there was Dr. Elcarim. He stood and smiled and said that “everything I saw was real.” I was allowed to come home because I was selfless. I asked him, “I thought I died and wasn’t allowed to come back.” He replied, “you will have to find the powers you possess.” ” You’ve seen what you can do. Now you have to channel those gifts and use them in this time frame. Never assume you know the answers. Many questions have yet to be asked.” My phone lay near my feet and the moment I realized it, I also recognized that it was the day before I had been abducted. How was that possible?
He winked at me and said “Sometimes we are placed at the scene before things are to happen so that we can choose differently. Choose wisely.” As he said this he evaporated. I shook my head and thought I hope I’m dreaming because otherwise, I am seriously Trippin.
I walked through the trails and eventually found my car. My keys worked and just to be sure I double-checked the date. I made a point of going home and going to bed. When I awoke the next morning, I had this strange feeling that I would be dealing with deja vu. Ironically, because the dream allowed me to remember everything, I still wanted to go to the mountain but something stopped me. I’ll never know for sure if Dr. Elcarim had cloaked himself to stop me but whatever it was made me turn around and not look back. I rested my eyes in my car and when I awoke, was grateful that I was able to still be among the living. I could smell again. I had limited hearing and sight. I was hungry and craving BBQ.
Somehow I woke up from this dream. There’s a lot more content that I can and will add at another time but the dream reminded me of a few things. For one, we should never take our blessings for granted and two, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes, that grass is pretty weeded up. We just see what we want to. What I do know is that if there is a Dr. Elcarim, I hope that he is not that freaky. I’ve heard time travel is possible. I guess anything in life is possible if we keep an open mind and a willingness to accept the impossible.