“If you could see into the future, would you look?”
“Oh hell yes. I’d be living it large on Wall Street.”
“So am I. I’d be a rich son of a bitch.”
“What if what you saw was bad?”
“Depends – How bad?”
“Bad. The worse. Like someone dying.”
“I wouldn’t know that until I actually looked. I guess good or bad, I’d have to take my chances. I’d still look.”
“So you’d look, hoping it to be good, but – if it were bad – what would you do?”
“What could you do? Nothing. The future is the future.”
“If it were bad, would you try and change it?”
“Again, that depends.”
“What do you mean?”
“If I saw myself dying in a motorcycle accident in the future, I’d stop riding motorcycles in an attempt to alter the future. That may not stop me dying at that same time by another cause, but I would have altered the future slightly. That I would do.”
“What if it were someone dying that was close to you? Someone you loved deeply.”
“Then I’d probably change the future if I could. This is a weird topic even for you. Why are you asking me this? You look so serious. What’s up?”
“I changed the future.”
There are 365.25 days in a year. On anyone of those days, usually in the dawn of the morning, you could expect to see Mary Ann Nobles at her desk writing. Author of seven novels and hundreds of short stories, Miss Nobles is best known for her contemporary fiction and “Chic Lit” romance novels. At least she was.
Exactly one year ago, to this very day, Mary Ann Nobles ceased everything. This week would mark the first anniversary of her daughter’s death and the first anniversary of the day Mary Ann stopped writing. She has yet to move on unless you consider alcoholism progress.
Why did Mary Ann’s daughter die? Mary Ann knew the reason. Mary Ann had written her death. She had killed her. So certain were she of this, that she refused to write another word. Afraid she would kill someone or something else.
Having been born in the mellow year of 1980, Mary Ann Noble had the perfect cheerleader body, with long blond hair, bluish grey eyes and that petit figure men died for, although it was slowly getting wider as the booze took over. She lived in Melvine, Colorado and up until her daughter’s death she had been confidant, outgoing and much sought after personality as a guest speaker on the women empowerment circuits. As a best-selling author and lecturer, she had broken through the so called ‘glass ceiling’ in publishing and was on her way to the top. All that stopped on May 21, 2011.
“Come on Mary Ann, we’re going to be late.”
“One more paragraph. I’m all most there. I have to get this out of my head.” Banging away at the keyboard, the words were literally tumbling from her brain. As fast as she could type them the faster they came. She had woken earlier from her nap with the solution to her writers block. She knew where the story was going and where it had to end. It had all come to her in her dream. Before she forgot it, she was bound and determined to get it on paper. Bill, her fiancé was impatient. She loved him, but he would never understand the obsessions of a writer. Then again, he wasn’t a writer. He was one hell of a lover and her fiancé, but a writer he would never be.
Today was their engagement party. This would be the second marriage for both of them and they wanted nothing fancy, but an engagement party was part of the tradition they had agreed too, if nothing more than to appease their friends and family. The entire clan, including close friends and her publisher were to be at the restaurant. Her publisher would be happy to hear she had broken through the block. One more sentence. There, she had effectively blocked the chapter out and she would flesh it out later tonight. She hit save – typing in the filename “Outbreak-Draft.doc.”
The wedding went off exactly as planned. A brief ceremony, teary eyes, fond farewells and a whirlwind honeymoon on the island of Jamaica. She even managed to put the writing aside for a short time as she and her new husband relaxed and enjoyed each other. It was truly a romantic holiday and as this stage of her work, one that she needed. Of course, she kept her notebook with her. She had broken through the block, but she had yet to figure out the twist in the story, the part where the reader gasps as something occurs that shakes the plot line up a little.
On the beach that afternoon; as it usually did for her when she let her mind relax, the twist came to her as she watched a little girl playing in the surf. She utilized her favorite method of asking ‘what if.” In this case, the what if would be “what if her heroes little girl drowned?” What emotional change would the heroin go through? Granted it was an ugly thought, but it fleshed out the role her heroine would play in future chapters of the book. Someone had to die, so it might as well be here she thought as she whipped open her notebook and jotted down paragraph after paragraph.
Six months later, edited, rewrites, and polished, the book was transitioned to its final stages. Officially entitled Outbreak, the opening chapters were making the sounds of a soon to be released best seller in the circle of pre-publication promotional circuits. As with all of Mary Ann’s books, the heroine began to take on a personality and Mary Ann thought of her as a friend. With as much attention as she was developing, there was talk that this friend might have a sequel. This friend was special however. Mary Ann couldn’t quite understand why she identified with her more than any other character she had developed.
“What do you mean you changed the future?”
“I changed it. Something happened. I got scared and I never thought it would work, but it did.”
“Ok Mary Ann, calm down, explain.”
“I brought Kati back to life.”
“What do you mean – you brought Kati back to life? Kati’s sitting right there where she’s always been,” said Bill pointing to his almost five year old daughter.
“Yes, but she died. I drowned her; or rather, she drowned – just like the little girl in my book “Outbreak.”
“That book is yet to be published. You killed it.”
“Now you know why.”
“But you are going to publish it. You did some rewrites you told me, right?”
“Yes, now. The presses are set to run today. But I’ve got to kill it.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I need to stop the publishing. I know how to fix it, I think.”
“I still don’t understand.”
“OK, sit back, listen and don’t judge me and don’t yell at me. Let me get through this. After I finish, you can ask all the questions you want. Promise?”
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