2nd Chance, by Patrick Stacy

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Second Chances
by Arthur Sánchez

 

Keith laid the newspaper down beside him on the back seat of the limo. It was the same as all the others. It had a full-page ad that simply said:

Need a Second Chance?
Want to Change the Past?
1 Million Dollars.
Satisfaction Guaranteed.

In every newspaper it was the same: big block letters followed by a phone number. "Satisfaction Guaranteed." That was the part that caught his attention. What kind of hoax would guarantee your satisfaction?

"Are you sure you want me to drop you off here, Mr. Graham?" James said, turning in his seat to look back at his employer. "This really isn't the best neighborhood." Keith smiled. James was the perfect chauffer: middle-aged, graying, and he looked after Keith with almost a paternal zeal. If only Keith had been smart enough to hire someone like James a year ago. Maybe then... Keith turned to look out the window.

The dilapidated tenement building in front of them was five stories tall, had gray stonework, and was so smeared with dirt it looked like it was wearing prison stripes. The front stoop was empty. "This is where the man lives," Keith answered slowly. "At least, this is where he claims to live."

"Perhaps if I were to go in for you," James offered, "to ascertain that this is the correct address."

Keith pushed aside the newspapers and picked up his crutches. He had the door open before James could hop out and get it for him. "Nope, the man said to come alone. Besides, there aren't many who would knock down a cripple just to steal his crutches." He tried grinning but the joke sounded stupid even in his own ears.

"In this neighborhood," James replied dryly, "I wouldn't be so certain."

Now Keith did grin. "If I'm not back in an hour," he said, swinging out onto the curb, "call the cops. Otherwise, hang tight." He shut the door with his hip.

Keith turned and hobbled up the steps. He moved with admirable speed for a man with useless legs. Six years of dodging linebackers had made him remarkably nimble. The clacking of the crutches against the pavement though reminded him that he hadn't been nimble enough.

There was only one name scribbled on the panel next to the intercom, so he didn't bother to check the slip of paper on which he'd written the address. He pressed the button and waited.

"What do ya want?" barked a harsh voice from the speaker.

"I'm here to see Dr. Cromwell," Keith barked back. "I've got an appointment."

The voice suddenly sweetened. "Ah, yes, Mr. Graham. You're expected. Straight down the hall please." There was a buzzing sound as the door lock was opened. Keith pushed the solid metal door open with his shoulder and allowed himself to slide into the hall. There was the stink of urine in here. Keith quickly scanned the darkness as if expecting a full blitz, but the hallway was empty. Dirty, but empty. He let the door slam shut behind him and limped down to the other end of the corridor. When he got there, a second door opened and the hallway was filled with a blinding white light.

"Ah, Mr. Graham, do come in," a male figure said from the doorway. He was smallish, thin, and dressed in a dirty lab coat. Keith assumed it was Dr. Cromwell. Keith propelled himself through the doorway and past the good doctor.

The room beyond looked like something out of a science fiction movie. There were bright lights, bubbling flasks of murky liquids, electrical components strewn across worktables, and piles of papers threatening to tumble onto the floor. There were five computer terminals arranged in a semi-circle around a battered old chair. It looked like the workshop of a madman. Keith turned to face Dr. Cromwell.

"Your ad said: Satisfaction Guaranteed," he began without preamble. "Is that true?"

Cromwell stepped away from the door and let it fall shut. He had lanky gray hair that hung to his shoulders, a hawk-like nose, and a feral look in his eye. Not the most trustworthy of appearances. "If it weren't true," he said meekly, "I wouldn't be able to print it."

Keith snorted. "Lots of stuff gets printed that isn't true. Being in print isn't any guarantee."

Cromwell smiled. "Then let's just say: you have my word on it."

"Right," Keith said casually, "cause if you rip me off, I've got several large friends who are apt to return the favor by ripping your face off. You've got my word on that. Understand?"

Cromwell's expression didn't change. He was either a good liar or confident in his scam. "Perfectly," he replied. "Would you care for some coffee?" He indicated the two bubbling flasks. "I've got regular and decaf."

Keith shook his head. "Let's just get down to it."

Cromwell's smile widened. "Do you have my money?"

Keith leaned against a table and reached into his shirt pocket. He drew out a folded piece of paper. "A check for one million dollars. Not even certified. I'm surprised you'd be willing to take a personal check."

Cromwell stared at the paper greedily. "Oh, I'm not worried. I can always use my service to make sure you stay on the up and up. Besides, nobody's ever backed out of the deal before."

Keith cocked an eyebrow. "Nobody? Others have used your service?"

Cromwell looked at him blandly. "You didn't think you were the only millionaire who wanted to change the past, did you? I've had several satisfied customers."

Keith looked about the room. "You have, huh? Then how come you live here?"

Cromwell stiffened at the jab. "I've had... expenses. But I am happy to say, with your contribution, I'll now be able to afford a better location. I presently have my eye on an estate in the Cayman Islands."

Keith shook his head. "I don't think a million dollars will be enough for an estate in the islands."

Cromwell crossed the room smoothly and plucked the check out of his hand. "Oh, I'm sure there'll be other donations such as yours. This million is only the down payment. Now then, shall we begin?"

Keith hesitated for only a moment before remembering he didn't have anything to lose. And maybe, if he was lucky, he'd have something to gain. "Yeah," he said with a nod, "let's."

Cromwell slipped the check into the pocket of his lab coat. "I assume you have read and signed all the papers I sent you? Liability waivers? Insurance forms? Last will and testament?"

"Signed and sitting with the lawyers."

Cromwell peered down his angular nose at him. "And did you read the materials on quantum physics and the theories on the time/space continuum?"

"Couldn't make heads or tails out of it," Keith admitted. "I tossed those on fire."

Cromwell sighed. "It is imperative that you understand the mechanics --"

Keith cut him off. "Look, doc, if it isn't wrapped in pigskin I'm not going to know what to do with it. Can we save the technical jargon for later?"

Cromwell glared at him but didn't press the point. "Then, I must ask you: Are you going into the past to observe it or change it?"

Keith set his jaw firmly. "Change it."

"For yourself or for someone else?"

"Does it make a difference?" he asked, annoyed.

"All the difference in the world," Cromwell said with a nod. "If you want to change your own past, I'd have to return your money - 'cause that's impossible. But if you want to change someone else's past. Now, that, I can help you with."

"I don't understand."

Cromwell sighed again. "If you had read the papers I'd sent you on --"

Keith cut him off again. "Small words."

Cromwell rubbed his face with a bony left hand. "They never want to understand the science," he mumbled disappointedly. "OK, small words." He held out his hand and pinched his thumb and forefinger together to emphasize the point. "Everything in your life had to happen so that you'd end up in this place at this time, right?" Keith nodded. "As a result, you can't change the details of your own life. Even if you tried to prevent your father from being born, the fact you're standing here proves that you failed. Who you are, right now, takes into account anything you might do in the past."

Keith thought about it. Made sense. But it didn't matter. It wasn't his life he wanted to change. "But I can affect what happens to somebody else?" he asked.

"Yes," Cromwell confirmed, "because whatever you do to their life doesn't change the fact you are here today."

"Then let's go."

"Great," Cromwell said as he went over to a computer terminal and began flipping switches. "No time like the present. Now, you'll only have three hours back there. So use your time wisely."

Keith paused. "Three hours? Why only three hours?"

Cromwell didn't even turn to look at him but continued to work the terminal. "Don't know really. But I can't seem to get anything to stay in the past longer than that. Probably some aspect of quantum mechanics I haven't worked out yet, but I'll get it eventually. When you get to the past, you'll be at this location. So, if you're traveling, you need to get there within the three hours. Um," he peered at Keith from over the terminal, "you're not going to need more time than that are you? You don't want to go to Paris to stop the French Revolution or anything, do you?"

Keith thought about it. He could be at the country club in an hour. Ten minutes to deflate the tires on his Ferrari and then back. Plenty of time. "No," he said slowly, "not Paris."

Cromwell smiled. "Good. So how far back do we want to go?"

Keith crossed his arms across his chest. "Nine months."

Cromwell paused. "Nine months? That's not very --" A light of understanding went on in his pale-blue eyes. "Ah, yes, I know the date then." He peered at his dials. "It was in all the papers."

The process of time travel seemed rather anti-climatic, given all they'd discussed. Keith was taken across the room to a bare area of the apartment. There was a metallic grid laid out on the floor with an old leather rolling chair sitting in the middle. Cromwell sat Keith in the chair and laid his crutches at his feet. Keith looked at the chair's metallic wheels and then at the grid.

"Is this safe?" he asked with some concern.

Cromwell smiled. "Is it safe?" He walked away chuckling -- but he didn't answer the question.

The next thing Keith knew, there was a loud humming sound, several bright flashes from the overhead lights, a couple of bangs from somewhere off to his left, and an odd pulling sensation against his skin. It felt like someone had pinched his cheeks and was now pulling them back taunt across his face.

"Hey," he said, realizing he'd never asked. "How do I get back?"

But there was no one there.

The sensation was gone and the humming had ceased. His ears rang a little as the silence in the room struck him. Keith looked around "Hey, Doc, you there?" But nobody was.

Keith grabbed his crutches and got up. Aside from the grid area, the place was dark. He was all alone. The place was also neater. There were no bubbling flasks, no strewn electrical components, nothing was out of place. "This better not be a scam," Keith growled. "Or you'll regret it!" No one answered him.

Keith hobbled to the door and found it unlocked. Behind him, the lights above the grid area began to shut themselves off automatically. The corridor still had the same smell of urine but once he got to the street, he discovered that James and the limo were gone. Was this the past or did an hour slip by and James had gone for the cops? No, Keith realized, James would have called for the cops but he wouldn't have left. He would still be here. Hope began to rise in Keith. He shuffled rapidly down to the corner and flagged down a cab.

"Where to?" The cabbie asked as he began to write down the pick-up in his log.

"What day is it?" Keith demanded.

The cabby, a Latino with a bushy black mustache and suspicious eyes, glanced back at him through the bulletproof partition. "Huh?"

Keith ignored the look. "Day and month. What day and month is it?" The cabbie glared at him. "And what time?" Keith added. "I, I'm trying to make a party at the Oakdale Country Club. I just want to make sure I haven't missed it."

Dropping the name of one of the most exclusive Country Clubs in Pittsburgh caught the cabby's attention. There could be a big tip in this for him. "October 15," he answered. "It's still early, about 9 p.m."

Keith had to remember to breathe. Cromwell had done it. He was in the past. "That's great," he said with a grin, "that's really great." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a hundred-dollar bill. "Get me there in less than sixty minutes and this hundred is yours." They were there in forty-five.

The rest was simple. For an extra hundred, Jose, his cabby, even helped. Keith used his Member ID to get through the front gate. Then they pulled into the parking area and, while Jose distracted the other drivers, Keith limped over to his beloved candy-apple-red Ferrari and slashed the tires. No car meant no driving. No driving meant no accident. No accident meant -- That's when he heard them.

Peering over the hood of the car he saw himself in that stupid tuxedo: big, strong, without crutches, stumbling out the side door to the clubhouse. Jennifer was right behind him in her powder-blue gown carrying his award. It was exactly as he remembered it.

"Look, Keith," Jennifer pleaded with him as she took off her heels (she hated heels), "let me drive. OK? You've had enough for one night." Her blonde hair was pinned up that night. He'd liked it that way.

"Bull," his past self sneered back at her. "I'm the man of the hour and I," he said almost tripping, "am fine."

Keith gritted his teeth. What an idiot. He didn't stay around to watch the rest. He remembered the rest. He grabbed his crutches and shuffled back to the cab. Just as he got in, he heard his past self start to yell and curse at the top of his lungs. That car wasn't going anywhere.

Jose got him back to the lab with plenty of time to spare. So Keith sat down on the stoop to wait. He didn't know how he was supposed to get back. Cromwell hadn't explained it. But this trip could only last three hours. Then, he'd be back in his time. Keith looked down at the braces around his legs. He was still crippled, so the Doc must have been right. Preventing the accident hadn't prevented his injuries. Maybe he took off driving the next night, or the night after that. He drank a lot back then. He just prayed Jennifer had the good sense not to be in the car with him when he finally did end his career.

When his skin began to feel tight again, he knew his time was up. There was an odd sense of movement, like sitting on a speeding train, and then it was over. Keith looked up to find himself still sitting on the stoop. He turned, expecting to see James's concerned face coming towards him, but nobody was there. Keith got up and scanned the street. The limo wasn't there either. "What the --"

Keith turned to look at the building. It was the correct address. What had happened to James? For a second, he was afraid that he hadn't returned to the present, but he'd felt his skin tighten and that was how it had worked the first time. Keith pulled out his cell phone and attempted to dial the car but couldn't get a signal. The phone was charged but didn't seem to be working. Damn. Keith glanced up and down the street again. There was a bar on the corner. It was a seedy-looking place with a half-operational neon sign flashing in the window. Keith began moving towards it. They'd at least have a phone. He'd call James to get him.

The interior of the bar was actually nicer than he'd expected. It had a typical layout: Stools ran along the horseshoe-shaped bar, a big-screen TV sat in the corner, a couple of tables were scattered about, and there were booths against the walls. The lighting was warm and the place was clean. It was homey. It also wasn't very busy. Just a couple of people sat at the bar and hardly any of the booths were occupied. Probably too early for the local crowd, he thought. Keith limped up to the bar.

The bartender was an older gentleman with a balding head, a potbelly, and a white apron. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up in order to keep them out of the spills. He was in the process of wiping down the bar when Keith approached him.

"Excuse me, can I --"

The bartender looked up. "Oh, hey Keith, the usual?" He turned and with a practiced motion filled a beer mug from the tap. He then spun around and slid it across the bar at Keith. "The rest of the guys aren't here yet but I got your table reserved. The way the Steelers are playing this season, though, I don't think you'll have much competition for the TV." He grinned at what he took to be a joke.

Keith stared at him. "Ah, do I know you?"

The bartender gave him a puzzled look. "Do you know me? Sure you --" He glanced down at Keith's crutches and frowned. Then he looked back up and the realization came into his eyes. "Oh, ah, sorry there, buddy. I guess you don't know me. But you will. Let me --" The door behind Keith opened and the bartender glanced past him.

"Oh, hey Doc," he said to the person, "glad to see ya. Got another one." And he indicated Keith.

Keith turned to see Cromwell standing at the door. Only this time the scientist was dressed in a conservative gray suit with a red bowtie. His hair was neatly combed and cut and he looked more like a college professor than a mad scientist.

Cromwell smiled at him. "Well, hello, Mr. Graham. Been here long, have you?"

Keith glared at him. "Listen, you crook, my lawyers are going to have a field day with you."

Cromwell approached the bar slowly. He seemed almost cautious. "I'm sure they will," he said slowly, "in whatever reality you come from."

Keith frowned. "Excuse me?"

Cromwell was holding his hat in his hand and proceeded to place it gingerly on the bar. "Sam," he called to the bartender, "a beer, please." Sam nodded his head. Cromwell turned towards Keith. "You've been time traveling, haven't you?"

Keith glanced around the bar. He didn't think it was something they should be discussing in public. "You know I have," he said in a whisper. "That's what I paid you for." Sam came by with the beer and handed it to Cromwell. He nodded encouragingly at Keith.

Cromwell took a sip. "Actually," he said, "that's what you paid the other 'me' for. I, unfortunately, didn't get any of that money."

Keith suddenly felt like somebody was trying to pull his chair out from under him. "Come again?"

"In your reality," Cromwell tried to clarify. "You paid the Dr. Cromwell in 'your' reality in order to time travel. You didn't pay me."

"What the hell are --"

Cromwell held up a hand. "Bear with me. I can explain. I call them 'Quantum Screw-Ups.' They're the different ways people screw up time travel. What did your Cromwell tell you: that you can stay in the past?"

Keith shook his head. "You, I mean, he said I had three hours. That's it."

Cromwell nodded. "Then, did he say you could change your own life -- prevent your father from being born?"

Keith shook his head again. "Said I couldn't do that. Said I couldn't change anything that led to me being there."

Cromwell nodded again, this time with a little more enthusiasm. "Seems this Cromwell was brighter than most. Ah, I know, he didn't tell you about the multiverse?"

Keith reached for the beer Sam had given him, but then remembered he didn't drink any more. "The what?"

Cromwell smiled. "Quantum Screw-Up #3: When you change the past, you create a new future."

Keith leaned heavily against the bar. "I thought that was the whole point?"

The door to the bar opened again and a young couple walked in laughing. Cromwell looked slightly startled by their arrival, as if he'd just remembered something. "Look, there are some things you need to understand before the others get here."

"Others, what others?"

But Cromwell wasn't listening. "Sam, can I have the sugar dispenser?"

Sam reached under the bar. "Sure thing, Doc, I keep it here special. Just for you."

Cromwell grinned. "Thanks." He took the glass-and-metal container and flipped it over, pouring a ribbon of sugar across the bar. "This is your life," Cromwell said, pointing at the line. "Here's your birth, your high school graduation, your rookie year, your…" he glanced at Keith's legs, "accident. And this," he said, pointing at the end of the line, "is the moment you went time traveling."

Keith stared at the line. "I have no idea what the hell you're talking about. I just want to get home. I just want to see --"

"Just bear with me," Cromwell cut him off. "Five minutes. All I ask is five minutes." Keith glared at him but then nodded.

"OK," Cromwell continued, as he poured a line of sugar in a curve making the letter 'p.' "You travel back in time to this point, your accident." He drew a finger through the line and created a break. "And you changed the event. You broke the timeline."

Keith stared at the spilled sugar as if waiting for it to mean something. "Yeah?"

"But all of this," Cromwell said, pointing at the top half of the line, "happened because of the original event. You may have changed it. But it still had to happen. Hence, you created a paradox. And the universe hates paradoxes."

"When does this start to make sense?" Keith demanded, grumpily.

Cromwell smiled. "The way the universe deals with the paradox you created is to create a new timeline." He poured sugar into the gap in the line and then drew a new branch off to the left. "See, by changing the past, you created a new future. But the old future doesn't go away. It has to happen. So now we have two realities: the one you started in and the one you created."

Keith began to shake his head. "I don't --"

The door behind him opened and somebody walked in. "Hey, Doc, how's it goin'?" The voice was masculine and oddly familiar.

Cromwell smiled. "It's going well, Keith. Come over here. I want you to meet someone."

Keith turned slowly and found himself staring into his own face. The man who'd entered the bar was heavier than he was by about forty pounds and had a small scar on his chin that Keith didn't have, but everything else was exactly the same. The newcomer was his twin.

"How ya doin'?" The man said to him and extended a hand.

Keith shook it. "F-Fine. Thanks."

"Keith Graham," Cromwell said amicably, "meet Keith Graham."

Before anyone could say anything the door opened again. A man in a wheelchair rolled himself in. He looked just like Keith except he was missing his legs.

"Keith!" The man in the wheelchair called out.

"Stumpy!" The man next to Keith yelled back.

"Some of our Keith's go by nicknames," Cromwell explained. "Gets confusing otherwise."

"Some? How many are there?" Keith asked.

Cromwell sipped his beer. "At last count: 47. Not all of them come to the meetings. Some of the alternate Keiths are still pretty angry, but most do show up."

Keith felt his head spinning. None of this made sense. "Meetings?"

"The Keith Graham support group," Stumpy said from below him. "Isn't that why you're here?"

Cromwell decided to intervene. "Say, guys, why don't you go claim our usual table. Newbie Keith is still getting adjusted to the situation."

The two new Keiths glanced at him. "Which screw-up was it?" Chubby Keith asked.

"Number three," Cromwell confided.

Both Keiths shook their heads. "They always get stuck on number three," Stumpy said as he wheeled himself off.

Keith started to feel hemmed in. He wasn't getting any of this. "Maybe I should leave." He said as he began to get up.

"No," Cromwell said, placing a hand on his arm, "hear me out. It'll start to make sense."

"How can there be 47 Keith Grahams?" Keith demanded.

Cromwell picked up the sugar dispenser. "When you created a new reality, you became part of that new reality. That's the part people screw up. They think they can return to the reality they came from. But the reality you created exists because of you. When you got pulled back to the present, you don't get pulled back to the present you left, you get pulled into the present you created." Keith's mouth opened once or twice as he tried to form a question. But Cromwell didn't wait.

"But what if you weren't the first?" Cromwell said, as he began to pour a series of lines and from each line drew a connecting line to the one next to it. "What if your reality got created by somebody else time traveling to fix their reality? Each time traveler creates a new line. The number of universes that could then exist would be infinite. Now, let's really mess with your head. Suppose this reality, my reality, isn't the result of one time-traveling Keith Graham. Suppose this reality is the result of a dozen, two-dozen, or five-dozen unique events -- all of which happened because somebody went time traveling -- and put together, they created this." He raised his hands to indicate the bar. "That's my theory. We seem to be a 'catch-all' reality. All the unique events that went in to creating this reality were caused by different time-traveling Keith Grahams. That's why you've all ended up here."

Keith hung his head. It didn't make any sense but he didn't want Cromwell to keep going about it. Besides, it didn't matter. He just wanted to go home. It wasn't him that he cared about. "Just tell me how I get back to my reality?" he asked.

"I'm not sure," Cromwell admitted. "But the Federal Government has asked me to come up with a plan on how to do that. Some people are a little concerned that we might be overwhelmed by Keith Grahams." He smiled as if he thought it was funny. Keith just felt his heart sink. He wasn't going to be able to get back. He wasn't going to -

"Geez, Doc, do you always have to make a mess when you're explaining time travel?" A feminine voice called from down the bar. "I'm not on my shift two minutes and already I gotta wipe down the bar."

"Sorry, Jen," Cromwell apologized, "just trying to initiate our latest member." Keith looked up to see her standing there. She had her blonde hair up and her blouse was powder blue.

"Another one," she said with a thin smile. "How many does that make? 50? 60?" Keith couldn't find his voice.

"He's number 48," Cromwell confirmed.

"Nice to meet you, number 48," Jennifer said as she extended a hand. Keith shook it in a daze. "You OK?" she asked. "You don't look so good."

"I, ah, I just..." His tongue felt like it was welded to the roof of his mouth.

Her green eyes sparkled. "Let me guess, in your reality we dated or something. Right?"

Keith nodded his head. "Ah, yeah, or something."

She nodded her head. "Figures. Well, if you're anything like the stinking drunken bum that I married in this reality, you can forget about it. You can turn right around and go back to where you came from. I don't give second chances."

Keith's heart froze. "Married?"

Jennifer pointed back to where the other Keith Grahams were watching TV. Several more had slipped in unnoticed. "Yeah, that jerk on the tube." Keith glanced over and realized that they were watching Pittsburgh play. The quarterback was number 24: Keith Graham. "Three years I wasted on that slob, and if it wasn't for the prenuptials he tricked me into signing, I wouldn't have to be working in this joint. Some karma, huh? The first job I get after divorcing the guy and I end up serving drinks to his look-alikes. Speaking of which, you still don't look good. Maybe I should get you something. You want another beer?"

Keith shook his head. "Ah, no, I don't drink."

Jennifer stopped. Her hand was already on a beer mug. "You don't drink?"

Keith shook his head. "No, used to, but I gave it up. Ever since... ah, well, ever since."

Jennifer cocked an eyebrow. He wondered how much she could guess. "You want some coffee then?" She asked in a much gentler tone.

Keith smiled. It was Jennifer. She was alive. "Yeah, coffee would be great."

"I'll have to see if we have any sugar," she said, glancing at Cromwell. "'Cause somebody keeps using it all up in order to explain the workings of the universe."

"Sam said I could," Cromwell said defensively.

"Well Sam doesn't have to clean it up," she snapped at him. "Try using pretzels sticks next time." She slid a bowl towards him. "At least then I can make you eat the ones you play with." She turned to Keith. "I'll get you that coffee, hon, be back in a minute." She turned and walked away. Cromwell stood there looking puzzled.

Keith nudged him. "What?"

"Oh, nothing," Cromwell said as he began munching on a pretzel stick. "It's just you must have made a good impression."

"Why do you say that?"

Cromwell glanced in Jennifer's direction. She was by the kitchen door pouring a cup of coffee. "It was an ugly divorce," he said softly. "So she usually doesn't care much for the new Keiths. But you she liked. Interesting. Anyway, I'm pretty close on a theory for getting the Keiths back to their own realities. It should only be a few months really. But I don't offer any guarantees."

Keith looked in Jennifer's direction. She'd retrieved a carton of milk and was pouring some into a creamer for him. When she caught him staring, she frowned at him. But Keith didn't turn away. He couldn't turn away. She was so beautiful. He must have had a funny expression on his face because it made Jennifer crack a smile. Then, she rolled her eyes like she shouldn't have expected anything else from him. But it was a smile.

"Maybe I don't need any guarantees," Keith said, feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. "Maybe this reality won't be so bad."

 

 

Story © 2004 by Arthur Sánchez Arthur@ArthurSanchez.com


Illustration © 2004 by Patrick Stacy artboy@adelphia.net




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