Second Sight

Photo by Josée Holland Eclipse

by Tanya Maxwell

Knowing the future is not what people make it out to be, a gift or something. It’s a curse. The only future I get to see is death. It wasn’t always like this. When I was seven years old, a drunk driver passed by me too closely on the road. His truck’s side mirror slammed into the back of my head. I eventually woke up in the hospital after a terrible dream of my pet rabbit dying. I saw it happening. I felt her pain. The nurse in the room thought it was my own pain. She hit a red button sending me quickly back to sleep. When I finally went home, I found that my rabbit had actually died.

As a child, I wasn’t overly surrounded by death, but eventually it happened again when I was twelve years old sitting in the school cafeteria. I suddenly felt my chest on fire. My vision blacked out, but then gradually lifted in a soft glow. I could see my grandpa grappling at his shirt, falling to his bathroom floor, as the smell of mint toothpaste thickened the air around me. I jumped out of my seat, only seeing the scene of my grandpa’s death in front of my eyes. I backed into another student, sending his food tray to the floor with a loud crash. As I came out of my vision, I saw everyone in the cafeteria laughing and pointing at me. Embarrassed, I fled the room and spent the rest of the hour locked in a bathroom stall. Later that day, my mother got a call telling us about Grandpa’s death. Dread filled my chest as I remembered the pain and fear from my vision. When my mother consoled my tears, she had no idea just how much she was consoling.

As I got older, I started to discover more of how it works. There was a horrible accident involving several kids from school who were carpooling to a birthday party. They were hit by a semi-truck that lost control and swerved in front of the mini-van. Two of the kids died. I was close with one, but not the other. I only experienced the death of my friend. I wondered why I couldn’t see both deaths until I heard that my friend had been in the back seat and the other was in the front. The vision only showed the close surroundings of my friend. I realized I must have only been able to see the deaths of those who are close to me, which meant that I was always going to have to watch my loved ones die.

Today, as I took my shower, I was once again crippled with pain. Everything around me went black until eventually subsiding to a cool gray. The scene unfolded as if I was floating above it. I could see my best friend, Lacey lying under a man with her shirt ripped apart, exposing her breasts. The dark haired man had his hands around her neck. I could feel my own airway being blocked off by rough, calloused hands as my lungs screamed for air. The pain continued to ripple through my body as my vision once again placed me back in the now cold shower. I turned off the water and reached for a towel to wrap around my body and wipe my tears.

I remembered that Lacey had plans for Teen Night at Storm Club tonight. I wanted to warn her, but I couldn’t just tell her. The likelihood of her, or anyone, believing me seemed doubtful. Pulling myself together, I headed straight for the phone in my room.

“Hi, Melissa. What’s up?” she asked.

“Hey, you still going to the club tonight? I was thinking we could catch a movie.”

“Yeah, I’m going. Can we catch a movie tomorrow?”

“Actually, I really wanted to get out of the house tonight,” I lied.

“Well you’re always invited to join me.”

I allowed a few seconds to pass before saying, “Okay, I’ll go. What time can you be here?”

“Umm…can I pick you up around 9:00?”

“Sure. I’ll meet you in my driveway. See you then,” I said, clicking off the phone.

I now had a way to get myself to the event, but what could I do when it happened? Beat the guy to a bloody pulp with my bare fists? The only weapon I could think of was my brother’s pocket knife. He was out with friends, so slipping into his room to grab the knife from his desk drawer was easy. Pushing a silver button released the black three inch blade. I then pressed the lock-back button, sliding it back into the cold metallic casing.


I walked out to the driveway wearing blue jeans and a loose fitting black tunic that rested on my thighs, perfectly concealing the knife in my back pocket. Lacey gave me a smile as I sat in the front seat of her blue Celica. The stiff metal pressed against my body, keeping my mind on the task tonight.

“So, I’m surprised you decided to come. Not like you to go to the club,” she stated with an inquiring look.

“My parents won’t let up about applying for colleges,” I said to continue the lie I started.

“Can’t blame you for needing to escape that. Hey, did you hear that Stacey and Tom broke up today?”

I shook my head and she proceeded to give me all the details, just like any other day.

By the time she finished telling me all about the break up, we were pulling into the parking garage behind the club. I stuck with her, keeping an eye out for any approaching dark haired guys, which looked to be over half the guys inside the club. We made our rounds, talking to friends from school and then some people I didn’t know. So far, no one stood out. When we stopped at the bar to order some sodas, I scanned the crowd with the hope that maybe just my presence alone would keep it from happening.

“Hey Lacey, what is your curfew tonight?” I looked over to where she had been standing and panicked when I saw that she was gone. I spun around looking in every direction, but there was no sign of her.

A cold chill ran down my body as I realized that I just missed a pivotal moment in stopping this from happening. Pushing through the crowd from one end of the room to the other yielded no results and neither did looking in the bathrooms. I took a breath and recognized that I had an advantage because of my vision. Her attack happened outside. I was looking in the wrong place.

Running out the front door, heading to the parking garage, I pulled the knife out of my pocket and flipped it open. I walked slowly, listening for any kind of sounds. The garage was mostly empty except for a couple walking to their car.

I was near the back of the garage when I heard faint sounds of movement to my right. There was a break in the concrete wall, leading out behind the garage. A warm ocean breeze rushed over my clammy skin as a stepped through the barrier. A few steps away from the garage, I spotted Lacey’s purse on the sandy ground. I started to pick it up when a rustling sound took my attention. I ran toward the noise where I came upon the scene from my vision, only at a different perspective.

Lacey was lying on the ground with her attacker on top of her, his back towards me. Her feet were kicking under his body. I quickly moved up behind him and brought the knife down where his neck and shoulder connect. He let out a deep growl, and then ferociously swung his right arm back, knocking me to the ground. Rising to his feet he gripped his wound, towering over me with blood streaming past his hand onto his clothes. I scrambled to my feet holding the wet knife tightly in my grasp. His eyes were bulging from pain as he staggered toward me. I prepared to swing the knife again, trying to decide the best spot for another attack, when suddenly he fell to his knees going limp.

I rushed past his body, bringing Lacey into my arms. “I couldn’t breathe,” she rasped.

“It’s okay, everything is going to be okay,” I told her and realized that I was saying it to us both.

I pulled her up, and we went to her car to call the police. As we sat there waiting, I had the urge to tell her what had really happened; that my visions had saved her life. I took a deep breath, readying myself for whatever reaction she would give when suddenly my sight shifted to a blue Celica turned over on its side beneath a bridge as gasoline spilled to the ground. A loose wire sparked, igniting the dangerous fluid, filling my eyes with searing flames.

Category: Fiction, Short Story