Umber (56)

October 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

Saint Sebastian’s request surprised me.

“Me?” I stammered, reaching for another kleenex. “I’m just an observer, a bystander.  Who am I to meddle in other peoples’ business?

“For weeks now,” he replied, “you’ve been asking if Vera ever got France.  You’ve spent a great deal of time piecing together the story of her life.  I saw you cry when Ervin told you that Vera’s baby died, and again when she threw Leroy out of the house.   You care about these photographed people, Miss Marla.  Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t help Vera to improve her life if you could?”

I dried my eyes.  He was right.  I cared about what happened to Vera and all the rest of them.  I even cared about the trick rider, though I certainly didn’t like her.   But, as far as I knew, all the characters who had been communicating with me from various bits of ephemera had been dead and gone for a very long time.  Everybody has childhood dreams that don’t pan out; how could it be possible to change that?  Besides, isn’t there some sort of natural law against manipulating events in the past?

Apparently reading my thoughts, the saint said, “It won’t have any negative effects on the present or the future.”

“You’re absolutely certain of that?”


If it really was possible to somehow reach back through time and make some changes that would have only positive consequences, then how could I refuse?

“What would I have to do?”

“Find the estate sale coordinator who sold you the photographs.  She’ll tell you what to do.”


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