A/N Just to let you know, I would like to expand this story sometime. I'm already trying to work it all out in my little brain! But it justmight be a while! Enjoy!
August 4, 1948
Lucius Snow groaned, rolled over, and pulled the soft pillow over his dark head. He snuck a peek out from his pillow sanctuary and glanced at the clock on the wall. It was six-thirty in the morning. What was a cat doing here anyhow?
Oh, well. He had to get up in half an hour anyway. Groaning wearily, the young 28-year-old man rolled out of bed. Yawning and stretching he walked over to his front door. He opened the door to find a ginger tabby sitting on a newspaper on the hallway floor. The cat, once again, meowed when he saw Lucius and ran past him into the small apartment.
"Good morning to you, too," Lucius ridiculously greeted the feline, "I don't know where you came from, but you're not staying here."
Lucius picked up the Paper and gazed at it. Since when did he start getting a newspaper delivered to his door? He shrugged the matter off. If they wanted to give him free papers, he wasn't going to stop them. He closed the door, sat down in his chair, and began to read.
As he read the Paper, he became confused. It mentioned the death of a man. A car, while speeding down the road in front of the newspaper building, hit the 50-year-old Chicagoan.
"That's odd," Lucius thought to himself, "I don't remember that happening."
Lucius Snow worked for the newspaper as a typesetter; he had for about two years now. He definitely would have heard if an accident had happened. Wouldn't he?
"Hmmm..." Lucius mumbled, "Must have slipped my mind."
"Meow!" The cat announced his reply.
"Sorry, cat," Lucius said, "If I would have known you were coming, I would've planned your breakfast…"
"…Or set a trap or something…"
"Aw, would you just shut up?" Lucius asked the cat, "I'm tired of hearing you meow. I'll tell you what, if you'll stop meowing, I'll bring you home some tuna."
There was no reply.
"Come on, Snow," Lucius slapped his forehead, "What are ya doing? You're talking to a cat, for Pete's sake!"
He shook his head and stood up. Throwing the Paper in the garbage can, he went to go take a shower.
"Man, Snow," He told himself, "You'd better watch herself more carefully. You're talking to cats now."
"Maybe Paul was right," Lucius thought, "I definitely need to get more of a social life."
Paul Cochran was Lucius' best friend. Paul had a date just about every night. With Lucius, it was quite the contrary.
Lucius was a quiet man. He kept to himself a lot, so that made it a little difficult getting a date. But, that became a big problem for him.
You see, he had a dream. Lucius had always wanted to get married, have about eight kids, and move into the country; where the nearest neighbors were about a mile or two away.
Lucius turned the water off and sighed. Like that would ever happen.
"So, what'cha doing tonight, Lucius?" Paul asked later that day during lunch.
"Oh, nothing special I suppose." Lucius replied, "Why do you ask?"
"Because I've got this date with this girl from Springfield." Paul's eyes lit up as he bit into his sandwich, "Boy, is she beautiful; smart, too."
"That's good, Paul."
"Yeah, she says that she's gonna – Lou, something wrong?" Paul asked his friend.
"Paul," Lucius drummed his fingers on the table, "How do you do it?"
"Well, you know, you always got a date, the girls are always hangin' on you," Lucius sighed, "I'm not like that. I guess I'm not that outgoing."
"Outgoing? Man, you just don't go-out. You're always at work or at home. Why? Can't find any girls out there for ya?"
"I don't know, Paul, I mean, I want to get married, raise a family." Lucius took a sip of his root beer, "I wanna get out of this darn city. I'm tired of breathing factory fumes and running myself into people left and right."
"Huh? What dream are you living in, Lucius?" Paul was surprised at Lucius' wishes, "This is 1948. It ain't the 1880's anymore, cowboy. How many kids you want anyway?"
Lucius just shrugged. Paul already didn't understand. If he told him he wanted more than three or four, Paul would throw him in the nut-house for sure.
"Listen, man, you want a date? I'll help ya, okay? Just leave it up to ol' Paul Cochran. You're gonna be okay."
Lucius groaned. He was in trouble.
Lucius was stunned. Not more than five minutes ago, 50-year-old Greg Farnon was hit by a speeding car. But, how could that be? The newspaper had said this morning that that had already happened. How could it – no, it couldn't be. Could it?
He left for home quickly, though he wasn't sure why. Who'd ever heard of a newspaper that gave accurate headlines before the story actually unfolded? It was nuts. Wasn't it?
"Man, you really need some help, Snow," Lucius shook his head and mumbled as he walked, "You're getting pretty bad off. Ya talk to cats and now you're thinking that some old newspaper predicts the future. Yeah, right."
When he reached his home, he instantly went to the garbage can. And there, where he had left it, was the newspaper from earlier that morning.
Lucius yanked it from the garbage can and once again found the headline about the accident. There it was, in black and white: 50-year-old Man is Hit by Speeding Car.
His eyes immediately took a good look at the date: Saturday, August 5, 1948
In shock, Lucius dropped the mysterious Paper onto the floor, and then bent down to pick up the scattered pages.
Could this really be tomorrow's newspaper? Does it really tell what is going to happen? Are you kidding? Isn't this proof enough?
Sticking the Paper inside his coat, Lucius left his apartment and went back to work. He got there as Paul was leaving.
"Paul! Hey, Paul! Come here!" Lucius called him.
Paul ran over to meet him, "Yeah?"
"Look at this." He showed him the Paper, "What do ya see?"
"A newspaper. Listen, man, I just got my eyes checked. There ain't nothing wrong with 'em. The doc told me that to my face."
"Would you close your yap, Paul? I'm trying to show you something." Lucius instructed carefully, "Now, take a closer look at this particular paper; at the date."
"Aw, for Pete's sake, Lucius," Paul pulled a paper from his coat and looked at it, "Did they print all the wrong dates on 'em?"
"No," Lucius snatched the normal paper from his friend, "They didn't. And this Paper, my Paper, it's not a normal paper."
"Yeah, I know, it's got the wrong date on it."
"Besides that. Paul, this is tomorrow's newspaper. Not today's and yesterday's; tomorrow's newspaper… today." Lucius explained in that familiar way.
"You're not trying to say…?"
"Man, Lou, you've been acting weird lately. Have you been having too much to drink? I mean, if this was really tomorrow's paper, where's the article Kenneth is writing right now on the Greg Farnon, who got hit by a car?"
"Right here." Lucius showed him the article.
Paul's mouth dropped open in surprise.
"Get your chin off of the floor, Paul. Pay attention." Lucius commanded.
"Oh, don't worry, Lou. I'm all over ya. You've got my attention."
"Good, now, let's go to my house and I'll tell you how it all started…"
Lucius Snow sighed. Man, he was living well right now. Using the Paper, he had gotten the scores of the ball game and won a bunch of money. With that money he took Margaret Kensington out to an expensive, candlelight dinner and now, a movie. It had been all Paul's idea and for once he had a good one… maybe.
There was one problem. Despite all the luxuries and despite having a beautiful woman sitting beside him at the latest John Wayne movie, he had this feeling of guilt. He felt as if he had misused the Paper, like he was supposed to use it for a different purpose. But, what purpose could that possibly be?
Shaking all those thoughts from his mind, Lucius turned his head to look at Margaret. He saw how beautiful she really was; her long, flowing, black hair. At the same moment, she turned to look at Lucius. Their eyes met and as they began to lean towards one another, somebody screamed.
"Fire! There's a fire!"
Lucius jumped up and looked around. He spotted the fast growing blazes in a corner. Acting quickly, he grabbed the Paper and Margaret by the hand and started for the front door.
About ten minutes later, when they had finally made it out of the building, he glanced at the Paper.
Fire at Chicago Theater.
3 Teenagers Dead
"Oh, gosh," Lucius said softly, watching as the flames tore at the smoldering structure. Telling Margaret to stay exactly where she was, he ran back towards the building.
He ran into the hot theater. Already the fire had spread about twenty-five more feet. He held his breath as long as he could because of the black smoke that filled the room. Everywhere people were running and screaming, trampling over each other. It was every man for himself. Right away, Lucius could see that.
Finally, after a bit of searching, he spotted the three teenagers standing in a corner. As quickly as he could, Lucius forced his way through the emptying crowd of people. When he reached the kids, he started talking to them. They were scared to death. So scared, they couldn't move, they didn't know where to go. And after a little bit of coaxing, he managed to get the boys out of the burning building.
As he crawled into bed late that night, his hair still damp from his shower, Lucius vowed to himself that he would, from that day forward, use the Paper to save and help the lives of others. If he had been paying better attention to the articles, and thinking of someone other than himself, that fire might not have started.
"You blew it, Snow. Absolutely." He whispered into the darkness.
As he fell asleep he decided to use the rest of the money he had won and give it to the theater for reconstruction. It's the least he could do.
28 years later – May 15, 1976
Lucius Snow was 56-years old now. The Paper had been coming to him for about twenty-eight years. Sadly, his greatest wish still had not yet been fulfilled. It looked as if it never would. He was still living in Chicago… alone. Paul Cochran was still living in Chicago; except for he had three kids and many grandchildren now. All Lucius had was the Paper… and the Cat.
Suddenly, it hit him. He remembered now. Lucius had been getting rid of some of the stuff at his apartment when he had come across a pocketknife… with his initials carved on it: L.S. He couldn't remember where he got it from… until now.
It had been in Chicago, 44 years ago, when he was about twelve years old. He, along with his mother and father had just moved to Chicago from Pennsylvania. It was year 1932.
He'd been exploring this new city, taking in everything on that summer day. He had gone to the park and was walking around when he noticed a little girl, about six-years-old, looking up into a tree. Concerned, he ran over to her.
"What's wrong? Is something the matter?" He bent down in front of her and asked.
She nodded, "My kitty is stuck in the tree. Can you get him down?" She asked him, tears streaming down her face.
He nodded slowly, "Yes," He finally said, "Yes, I'll get down your cat. What's her name?"
"GiGi," She sniffled.
"GiGi? Okay, here goes." He hoisted himself onto the lowest branch.
He finally made it to the scared kitten and tucked him inside his shirt. As he started to make his way down the tall tree, he suddenly lost his balance and slipped.
The next thing he knew he was laying on the ground – on top of somebody. Unhurt, he scrambled off the person.
"I'm very sorry. Are you okay?" He asked the woman.
The woman grunted and stood up. "Oh, yes, I'm fine. Are you okay?" She brushed the dirt off her shirt and glanced at the newspaper she held in her hand.
That's when Lucius noticed how unusually dressed she was for a woman of the 30's. Her eyes were blue and she had red hair.
"I'm fine. Thanks. You know, you saved my life." He was still a bit shook up from the close call.
"Oh, don't worry about it. I was just at the right place at the right time." She glanced away from him.
"Here you go," Lucius handed the unharmed kitten to the little girl, "He's okay. Now, why don't you take him home… where he'll be safe?"
"Okay. Thank you. You saved GiGi's life." And she left.
Lucius was unaware of the woman's thoughtful stare at him as he talked to the little girl.
"It was her cat… he was in the tree…" He tried to explain.
"Lydia," She held out her hand, "Lydia Carson."
"Lucius Snow." He shook her hand shyly.
"I know. I mean, I know now, uh, never mind. Well, I've gotta go now…" She said
"Yeah, uh, bye…" He turned and left.
"She was nice; nice, but strange." He thought.
It was later that day. Lucius was sitting on the front porch of his new home, waiting for his parents to get back. They had gone out looking for jobs. In 1932 money was scarce.
He heard somebody coming up the sidewalk and looked up. It was Lydia Carson. She walked up the stairs and stopped on the porch in front of him.
"Miss Carson?" Lucius put down the ball he had been playing with.
"Hello, Lucius. I was walking around at the park and I found this near the tree. I think you dropped this." She held out a pocketknife.
"It's an awfully nice knife, Miss Carson, but it's not mine." He took a look at it.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't it have your initials on it?" She turned it over and showed him the L.S.
"Yeah… I guess it does. Thanks, Miss Carson." He hesitantly took the knife from her hand.
"It's Lydia and you're very welcome. You hold on to that, okay?" She instructed.
"Yeah, okay. Thanks, I will." He promised, slipping the gift in his shirt pocket.
"Alright, you take care." And she turned around and left.
Lucius was left standing on the porch watching Lydia walk away. He didn't know that he had seen her for the very last time.
Lucius shook his head and returned to reality. Yes, that was it. That was how he had come to own that knife and if his suspicions were correct… the knife could be the key to the newspaper – why he got it.Lucius shook his head and returned to reality. Yes, that was it. That was how he had come to own that knife and if his suspicions were correct… the knife could be the key to the newspaper – why got it.
"Lydia Carson… Lydia Carson…" He repeated the name quietly.
The man handed Lucius the small box and left the room. It was later that day and Lucius was at the bank. Earlier that day, he had suddenly remembered another thing.About a week after the incident with the knife, an envelope was left in the mailbox with his name on it. The sender's name had not been on it. The only thing the envelope contained was a key. He had just stuffed it away with his other boyish "treasures" and forgot about it… until know.
He opened up the box to find a single envelope with his name on the front of it. Opening it up, he found a folded up letter. As he read, his heart pounded.
I'm sure you are puzzled right now. You may know where your life is going, where you want it to go, or maybe you don't. Believe it or not, I know how it all feels.
Our "task" is not an easy assignment. You will be confused and hurt at many times. I am sure you will find yourself in many odd situations, but I have faith in you. You will handle it well.
I am not sure whether you remember me or not. My name is Lydia Carson. We met in a park in Chicago when you were a very young boy.
I'm sure you have many questions. I'm sorry, but I don't have all the answers. Though, I can tell you that there was another before me who got the Paper. I was not the first and I have great doubt that you'll be the last.
When a legacy is passed down, words often go with them. These words were given to me and I hope they will offer you assurance, too.
"You, of all people, know how fragile life is. So, somewhere between the pages of our newspaper, Lucius Snow, find time to live it."
This was remarkable. Was this really the woman who had saved his life when he fell from the tree? If had not been for her, Lucius was sure, he would have been dead 44 years ago. It troubled him to think of that.
Suddenly, it hit him. Legacies. When he died the Paper would go to someone else, but who? How could he really do something like this to an innocent boy or girl? How would he know? Oh well, he was sure when the time presented itself, he would realize that that child was the one.
In the mean time, he had to get going. If he didn't get to Michigan Avenue soon, an eleven-year-old boy was going to be fatally struck by a truck.
Lucius once again glanced at the newspaper dated May 15th.
Indiana boy, 11, killed
Lucius sighed as he waited for the kid to come out of the building. There was an essay contest today. The boy, Gary Hobson, was one of the finalists.
Finally, he saw a boy run out of the building. The boy tripped on a curb and fell into the street; right in a speeding truck's way.
Lucius ran towards the kid, took him by the hand, and pulled him out of the way; and not a moment too soon. The truck roared past, not even bothering to stop.
Lucius turned away and walked towards home, leaving the boy standing in awe
Lucius watched as the Indiana boy who he had saved earlier waved good-bye to a new friend.
He wasn't totally sure how exactly, but he knew that it was right. This eleven-year-old boy here, Gary Hobson, was the one. He was the one to be Lucius Snow's successor.
He knew it was right, but on the other hand, he didn't know how he could do such a thing to somebody; somebody who still had a chance for a real life.
But knowing that it was right, he shook off his thoughts of doubts. As the boy started walking back towards the building, Lucius stopped him.
"I think you dropped this, kid. Ought to be a little more careful, huh?" He held out the very special knife to the un-expecting child.
"This is cool, but, uh, it's not mine." The boy replied honestly.
"You're Gary Hobson, right?" Lucius looked him in the eye.
"Aren't those your initials right there? G.H.?" Lucius turned the knife over to the other side, revealing the letters.
"You hang on to it and take care of yourself." Lucius put the knife in the boy's hand.
"Thanks, mister." And the boy walked off.
Lucius watched until Gary was out of sight. Despite the fact that he knew what was destined to the child in another ten or twenty years, Lucius felt that he had done the right thing. Turning around, he headed for home. He had a letter to write.
20 years later – September 28, 1996
He was dying… alone. He knew it. In spite of the pain though, Lucius felt at ease. It was his time to go. After all, he was seventy-five years old now and he had completed his task. He had been getting the Paper and saving lives for nearly fifty years now.
The Paper had come this morning… on the bed. Lucius was in so much pain, he could barely move. But, he saw that the Paper had nothing for him on that last day.
He couldn't help as he lay in his bed, but to think of Gary Hobson, his successor. He would be around thirty years old by now; a grown man. Lucius had no doubt that after he was gone, Gary would receive the Paper. And he would do well with it. Just as Lydia Carson had had faith in him, he had faith in Gary. The city of Chicago would be in good hands.
He would make mistakes. Lucius was sure. Everybody does. But, he'll get through it and he will do well. It would have been nice to see him once more; as a man, but fate seemed to hold a different course.
As Lucius lay there, he prayed that somebody would be there for Gary; someone for Gary to talk to when he needed to vent; someone who would understand. Lucius, he had had Paul, but Paul had been more interested in the "benefits" of the Paper, rather than the "tasks".
Gary needed somebody who would help him to get through the trials and struggles that came with receiving tomorrow's news a day early. He needed someone to help him to… to live his life.
"Please, Gary," Lucius whispered as he slipped away, "Find the time to live your life."
For a moment there was darkness, than light; glorious light.
All Disclaimers Apply
Some of this dialog is not mine. Some of it belongs to the creators of "Early Edition".