I yawned and stretched out. I opened my eyes
and looked around.
"I'm alive," I whispered to myself, "but where
I felt strange. Really strange. The last thing
I knew before blacking out was that I was lying on the side of the road with
two men standing over me. There they were- a few feet away. They were talking
urgently to each other. They spoke quickly as they lifted someone's body and
put it on a stretcher. They were whispering, and their voices got lower…and
lower…until I heard them no more.
I looked at the body. It was of a young girl.
She had dark colored hair that hung limply off the side of the stretcher.
She…oh my God…As I looked closer, I saw that she was me!
I stepped back in shock. Horrified and
confused, tears sprung to my eyes. I stumbled backwards and rammed into
someone. I fell forward, but somebody caught me in his or her arms.
"Hey there now, watch yourself."
I jerked around. He smiled at me. He had a
little lopsided, sweet smile. He was dressed in a faded leather jacket, jeans,
and scruffy tennis shoes. His physical features were better looking than his
clothes. He was tall, and thin. He had short, thick brown hair; soft, brilliant
eyes; and a casual swagger. He appeared to be maybe a few years older than
"What…what's happening? Who are you?"
"I'm Mr. Smith. And don't worry, Anya, you're
"What do you mean? What happened to the bus?
What happened to that girl? That's me!"
"Calm down. Listen, I'll give you the short
rundown. You died in that crash. That's your body being carried away by those
I swallowed. Of course, I had to know that.
There was no way anyone could have survived such a brilliant crash. But, as I
looked at him, I felt my chest rise and fall, I was breathing. I was speaking.
I was alive. Wasn't I?
"You are technically dead. But you don't
necessarily have to be dead and done. What I am saying is that Judge Othniel
might give you the chance to be able to go back and prevent your past self from
"You mean," I said, slowly, not at all understanding,
"I can go back in time and what? Save myself?"
Before this stranger, Mr. Smith, could answer
me, we were interrupted. A short, burly man dressed in black robes, carrying a
bag, stepped out from one of the ambulances.
"Ah, Mr. Smith, I see you have acquainted
yourself with Ms. Anya," he said.
"Who are you?" I asked.
Mr. Smith stepped in to introduce us. "This is
the honorable Judge Othniel. He's come to decide your fate."
"My fate? Like whether or not I'm going to
Heaven or Hell? I thought that gig went to Saint Peter."
Mr. Smith chuckled. "No, like whether or not
you're going to get a second chance to fix your life."
My head spun. "Man, this has got to be a
dream," I said, mainly to myself.
He smiled faintly. "No, it's real. Believe it.
Judge cleared his throat. Mr. Smith stopped talking and stepped back.
"Let's review Ms. Anya," the Judge said. "Tell
me why you were on that bus in the first place."
"I was on my way home, sir," I said. I didn't
know how to address this Judge Othniel character.
"Why were you going home? You were assigned a
camp counselor for a two-week session."
"Judge, is this really necessary? You know all
"Be quiet Mr. Smith, I want to see what she
"I don't know. I was shocked. It was basically
my fault that Stephanie died. I don't think anyone wanted me to take care of
the rest of the kids."
"So on the whole, it was your negligence that
caused Stephanie Anderson to lose her life?"
swallowed thickly. "Yes, but I swear, I tried everything I could to save her. I
know that I wasn't the most responsible counselor, but I didn't want her to
die. I had no idea that something like that would happen. I would do anything
to bring her back."
couldn't help it. I started to cry. Mr. Smith placed his hand on my shoulder.
there you have it. I hope you mean that Ms. Anya. You will go back, and you
will have three days, and three days only, to amend your mistakes, save that
girl's life, therefore saving your own. You will go back with all your memories
in tact. No one will recognize you. You are a free agent in the universe. Go,
with the Blessing of God Almighty and His Court."
with that, he took a large grovel and banged it on a nearby boulder.
"What about…" I started to say, but I never got the
chance to finish. I was already gone.