I just got a fantastic idea, guys, so the next few chapters are going to be fillers… kind of. Whatever- the point is, I was strapped for inspiration, but I had a dream that totally made my day.
My office looked a bit like a prison cell. It had one window, with bars on it, and was completely bare. The carpet was brown and the walls were puke green. Great. My kind of place.
I stepped into the door, a box in hand, and placed my new Teacherly Items on the table. No, not a table. A desk. My desk, I had to remind myself. This isn't where I thought I would be, to be honest. But, then again, it's been a while since I had a definite idea of the future. Now, when I think about the future, all I see is Cassie. She's the only thing that I can say for sure is going to be there.
"Hey, you must be Lash," I turned to see a woman in the doorway. She looked to be about Principle Powers' age, and was very warm.
"Yeah, that's me," I replied.
"I'm Jennifer. Jennifer Mathews. I teach Veterinary Science- super division," she told me, "Come to the teachers lounge and meet everyone."
We walked down the halls, and turned into a room. It smelled of cigarette smoke and flat Coca Cola. "Everyone," she announced, "this is Lash, the new Criminal Psychology professor."
"Isn't he a bit young to be teaching at a university?" a girl, who looked to be about my age, asked from the corner. A British accent was thick on her lips, and she inhaled a cigarette.
"Believe me," an elderly gentlemen, who I recognised for some reason, sneered, "he has a lot of experience in that department."
"You're pretty young yourself," I responded to the girl, ignoring the man, "what do you teach?"
"Quantum Physics," she said.
"Ignore Emily," Jennifer told me, "she looks that young because she doesn't age. She controls the Time-Space continuum." This was a bit of a shock. I mean, I've never met anyone immortal before.
I later found out that I recognised the old man, who taught Legal Studies, because he had been at my trial. Jennifer was nice to me, in a weird motherly way. Emily, on the other hand, was very cold.
"You're a bit of a bitch, you know," I told her, as she followed me outside for a smoke.
"Only a bit?" she laughed.
"Why is that?" I questioned.
"When you can see the future, at least you have an inkling of what's going on. When you go to the future… it's a whole other story. You experience it. You taste it, smell it. You feel it," she looked at me, "and more often than not, the future sucks."
I furrowed my brow, "What do you mean?"
She touched my shoulder and glared, "I'll show you."
It was the single most terrifying experience of my life. It was like I was in a vacuum, hurtling towards something that didn't quite exist.
I landed with a thump, outside a bar. I recognised it. I had gone for drinks there a few times, but it was different now. The neon sign had burned out a few letters, so instead of being called The Laust Daymunds Bar, the words said 'The Last Days'.
Creepy, I thought. I looked around, and saw Emily beside me. She probably brought me here to scare me. She could, after all, control the Space-Time Continuum. Maybe she had created this world, and just brought me here to freak me out.
"Welcome to your future. I'm gonna go get a drink. Look around, see if you see anything you like."
She had that twinkle in her eye that made me worried, but I followed her into the The Last Days bar.
And what I saw rocked my world. There were people who stared at me when I entered. I was wearing my Teacher-Wear, so I took off my jacket and tie, to fit in. But I couldn't. It seemed that only a few years had passed, but the hairstyles and fashion had changed dramatically. Or maybe I was just in the freak part of town.
Emily nudged me, "Go to the bar."
She was there, in a costume. It looked like it was Gothic Lolita, with sexy frills and a push up bra. Her hair was no longer blonde. She had dyed it a deep purple colour, and her bangs fell over her eyebrows.
"What can I get you?" she asked me, wiping a class.
"Cassie?" I practically shrieked.
Finally turning her eyes to my face, her blue eyes widened.
"No fucking way," she said, slamming down the glass.
"What the hell happened to you?" I asked. She didn't look anything like herself. Firstly, she looked older. Probably around her early twenties. Secondly, she looked angrier.
"Me? You're asking what happened to me?" her eyes narrowed at me, and I felt my blood freeze and burst into flames at the same time.
"Lash," Emily called out, beckoning me over.
I turned back to Cassie and gave her an apologetic look. She didn't care. "Can I… um… can I just?" I pointed to Emily.
"Go ahead," she shrugged. Everything about her was sharper, more decided.
"So," Emily sneered as I reached her, "How do you like your girlfriend's new profession? She wears Harajuku costumes and slings suds to Manga fanboys."
"Waitaminute…" I was stunned, "This is Cassie's job?"
I looked around the bar one more time, realising the reason it had looked so foreign before. It was a total Japanese bar. Like, a beer garden only sleazier.
"The future isn't written in stone, but every decision you made, or might make, has impacted this. This might not be exact, but it's bloody close," she sipped her beer, and glanced behind me.
I turned, to meet a pair of angry blue eyes from the bar. Shit. I'd better go talk to her.
"Who's that?" Cassie asked, before scoffing, "and why do I care?"
"I don't know what happened. Why do you hate me?" I asked her.
"I don't hate you," Cassie looked down. Her voice held something for a moment. It almost sounded like sincerity.
"What year is it?" I asked, like an idiot. She gave me a very strange look before answering.
"Why do you need to know?"
"… how about I rephrase that- how old are you?" I asked her again.
She shook her head and said, "Twenty three."
I blanked. In this reality, Cassie was older than me.
"So it's been six years since I took the job at the MSU?" I asked, for confirmation.
"Yep. You look different," she said. I don't think she realised that she wasn't glaring at me any more, "Less tired."
"So, you've seen me recently?" I asked again.
"Not really. It's been a few years, La-" she stopped herself, looking down at her clothes, "I look like a freak to you, don't I? Purple hair, filly dress, serving drinks?"
"You look great," I told her. Because it was true. She had lost a bit of weight, which was disconcerting, but she looked like Cassie, under all that hair dye.
"Cassie, we need another round of shots for that table over… oh," a girl was behind the bar, now. Magenta didn't look very different. She fit in this place more than Cassie did. She was wearing the same outfit, and had ribbons wrapped through her hair.
I started to piece things together. Magenta and Cassie are working at a bar in the freak part of downtown Maxville. Cassie hates me, and has purple hair.
"Can someone please tell me what's going on?" I asked no one in particular.
Before I knew what had happened, Emily was sitting beside me at the bar.
"Hi girls," she greeted Maj and Cassie, "Don't be too hard on Lash."
She then leant in and stage whispered, "I take it that this is his first time time-travelling."
Maj and Cassie both blanked and looked at each other from under heavily lined eyes.
"Time travelling?" Maj asked, finally.
"Oh, Lash is here from the present… or, your past. I decided to show him his future," she sipped on her beer and corrected herself, "well… your future."
"So… this is the old Lash?" Cassie asked, her eyes locking on me.
"Correct. He has no idea about the events that have lead to this cataclysmic point in your life," Emily stated.
"My life is not cataclysmic! I have a job, friends, a place to live- my life is fine," Cassie argued.
"Be reasonable, Cassandra," Emily sneered, "you hate it here. Magenta got you a job at her work, and lives with you in a tiny cramped apartment."
"It's not a fantasy, I'll admit. But it's fine by me," Cassie stood her ground.
"The good thing about coming to the future," Emily was addressing me, now, "is that you can say anything. Because, technically, the future hasn't happened yet. So, when we go back to the present, none of this has happened."
She turned back to Cassie and Maj, who were looking at her expectantly, "Magenta – that is your name, right? – only got you this job by asking the manager of the bar very, very nicely. If you catch my drift. And Warren doesn't know, does he? Hmmm. Pity, that. He's going to pop the question. Not any time soon, but in the not-too-distant-future. It's a shame that he'll never know that his girlfriend a tramp. Sleeping with your boss to get your friend work... it's a shame, really. And it wasn't the first time, too. When you first started working here, he pretty much forced himself on you. Bringing back bad memories, am I? Well, too bad, because I'm not going to stop."
Magenta's face had been drained of all colour, and tears were streaming down it. Cassie was too stunned to say anything, but only for a moment.
"Stop it. Stop upsetting her," she growled.
"Well, I think you guys deserve to know. He called her in, and asked what size she needed for her sexy little Lolita uniform. She told him about her voluptuous size six, and he gave it to her. She sauntered back into the bathroom that's en suit his office, and changed into it. He took her, right there, in his office, while she asked him not to. What were her words, again, 'Please, no! Get off me! What are you doing?!'" Emily smirked at her little imitation of Magenta's gravely voice, pleading for mercy, "And then," she continued, "when Cassie was out on the streets, you took her in. You're such a good friend. Her family had disowned her by now, after the accident. She couldn't find a job, and refused to let you support her. You told her you could get her a job here, at The Laust Daymunds Bar. But your boss was only going to give it to her at a price. Just one more touch, one more thrust into your soft, supple body-"
"Shut up. Shut up right now," I told her.
"Lash, you wouldn't do anything to me. I'm your only ticket home," Emily snickered. I shot a look at Cassie, who was holding Magenta's shoulders as she cried.
"You're a fucking bitch. Don't you have any conscience?" Cassie asked her.
"When you've seen as many futures as I have, you know that saying these things does nothing."
At that very moment, I saw a flying, flaming fist reach out towards Emily. It landed her right in the nose, and sent her flying a good few feet back.
"Shut. The fuck. Up," Cassie growled, before shooting an icy glare at me, beneath her dark violet bangs.
"Leave," she told me, "now."
I grabbed Emily, as she staggered from the floor, trying to pretend that everyone in the bar wasn't staring at us.
"Take me back, Emily," I commanded. She did, and I was flung through the vacuum one more time.
The first thing I wanted to do when I landed, was go find Cassie to make sure that she wasn't a Gothic Lolita just yet. But first, I had a score to settle.
Emily wasn't really surprised when I punched her. Usually, I'm against hitting girls, but Emily was such a bitch it didn't matter.
"Lash," she sniffed, trying to make her nose stop bleeding, "don't you want to come back to the Teachers Lounge?"
I heard her mutter something like 'bloody hell' as she wiped a bloody streak onto her sleeve.
"No. Tell Jennifer I won't be coming in tomorrow," I said plainly.
"Lash?" I heard her voice answer groggily on the other end of the phone.
"Yeah. Hi, Cass. Sorry, did I wake you?"
"No, no," she said, even though I obviously had.
"You awake, now?" I laughed, knocking on her front door.
"Yeah. Where are you?" she asked, opening it. I hung up when I saw her shocked expression. Clearly, I was not who she had been expecting at the front door.
"Got to go, Lash," she spoke into the phone, "a dashing young man has just come to my doorstep."
I gave her a quick kiss, relieved to see that her hair was still blonde, and that her eyes weren't glaring at me.
"I met this girl, at the university," I told her.
"And?" she asked, curiously.
"She can travel through time," I told her, not wanting to tell her the whole story. Magenta's pale expression was still etched in my memory.
"That's nice," she yawned at me.
"Do you think," a thought hit me, "that I could go back? And stop myself from making all those crappy decisions?"
"Why would you want to go back?" she asked me, "going forward is hard enough."
So, there you have it. I squeezed it all into one chapter for you, instead of dragging it out. I hope you enjoyed it.