“Yes. Please tell me.” Zack begged in his 8 year old voice.
Jerry took a slow deep breath in and knelt down on one knee in front of Zack.
“Ok. But there is something I need you to do for me first.” he said.
“What is it?” he asked.
“Just like you have the power to go anywhere you want, I need you to promise me you’ll be calm. This may come as a bit of a shock to you and if you let your mind wander, it could get very hectic. Do you understand?” Jerry glared at him with the first bit of seriousness Zack had witnessed. He shook his head in reply when suddenly a ball struck him on the side of his head, knocking him down.
The children who were playing all started laughing at him.
“Zack, are you okay?” Jerry shouted.
“I’m fine!” Zack blurted out angrily and stormed off. “This just always happens to me! Everyone makes fun of me!” his immature self began showing more than what his adult mind was allowed to control.
“Zack, remember, you can’t get upset right now.” Jerry tried to console him but it was no use.
“I’m not upset! This just sucks! This party sucks! I wanna go home!” Zack shouted and suddenly, they were whisked away to another time.
Zack stood in the hallway of his old apartment again. He might’ve been about 9 or 10 at the moment but he wasn’t given much time to realize it. All he noticed was that he was standing outside of his bathroom door, in his pajamas, watching his babysitter comb her hair in the mirror. He remembers her name was Susan; she was a neighbor in the building he lived in and he had a massive crush on her. Whenever she would stay late to watch him when his mother worked late nights, he would often be able to sneak out of bed to see her.
“Not bad.” Jerry said softly as he appeared behind Zack and startled him again.
“Hey I thought you weren’t gonna do that anymore!” Zack spoke in a shouting whisper.
“It’s not my fault! You’re the one in control! Every time you bounce us, I’m gonna pop up with you. That’s how it works.”
“Well, can you not make it so obvious when I’m clearly busy?” Zack said as he gestured towards the bathroom door.
“Did you forget they can’t see or hear me?” Jerry replied sarcastically. “Anyway, we can’t be here. You wanna know what the deal is and I’m gonna tell you but I need you to be calm.”
“I am calm! Just tell me what’s goin…” Zack shouted but was interrupted by the door to the bathroom opening behind him. He saw the light shining around his babysitter as he heard her muffled speech until she faded out completely.
Once Zack’s eyes adjusted, he noticed he was lying on the grass, looking up at a blue spring sky. He felt that his body was bigger now so he must have time traveled to an older self. He couldn’t think of the age until his pretty view was blocked by a pair of hands reaching down to grab him. A taller teenage boy had lifted him slightly off the ground and began shouted at him furiously.
“You stay away from my girl! You hear me Battle?” the boy said as he let him go and started walking away. A small crowd that had grown around him began to disperse as he began to feel pain in his face and jaw. A slow clap began to grab his attention as he sat up and noticed the only person still standing there. The man in the trench coat.
“Good work. Grade A skills right there.” Jerry said sarcastically.
“Yeah well, I was never really a fighter.” Zack replied as he got up to his feet. “This is Madison High School.” he said in shock.
“And the guy sticking it to you about his girl?” Jerry asked.
“Him? That must be Matt Breakfield. He was pissed that his ex was talking to me in class.” Zack replied.
“The guys last name is Breakfield?”
“Yup. He’s on the football team. They call him The Line Breaker.”Zack added.
“I guess his charming personality is why they broke up?” Jerry spoke jokingly.
“Pretty much. Ya know, I remember when…” Zack began but was interrupted by Jerry, who grabbed him by both of his shoulders and turned him so they were face to face.
“Zack, listen. No more. Are you listening? I need you to stop thinking of the past. We need to talk.” Jerry demanded.
Zack broke his way through his grasp and scoffed at Jerry.
“Why are you being so bossy all of a sudden? What happened to me exploring the past huh?” Zack asked as he made mocking finger gestures through the air.
“Exploring is one thing, but you wanna know how this works and I need to tell you before you lose control.” Jerry declared.
“So tell me. What’s stopping you huh?” Zack snarled at Jerry but before he could respond, a girl came up behind Zack and got his attention.
“Hey, Zack. What’s going on?” she said.
“Oh, Hi Brittney.” Zack turned to face the girl as he recalled her name from memory. “How’s it going?”
“Not bad. I just wanted to check on you.” she said.
“Zack, you need to listen to me.” Jerry attempted to return Zack’s attention to him but it was fruitless.
“Check on me? Yeah, I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be fine ya know?” Zack mumbled.
“Well, I heard about what was going on with your mom and I just figured I’d ask.” Brittney exclaimed.
“My mom?” Zack asked.
“Zack, listen.” Jerry attempted once again to stop him before they could jump but he was too late. The mention of Zack’s mother began a whirl of thoughts to enter his mind. He began to remember her fight with cancer, the years she spent on medicine and in and out of hospitals, all of it swirling around in his mind. Before he knew it, he was whisked off once again through time.
Now, he was jumping through different times and memories without control. He saw the first time his mother told him she was sick, the first trip to the hospital he went with her for, the numerous bottles of medicine by her bed side, every moment of her struggle and every moment he could remember, all flashed before him in a blur.
When Zack came to, he had arrived at a time he did not want to be but unfortunately had no choice. His thoughts had lead him here. There he stood in front of his mother’s grave, as they slowly lowered her into the ground. The priest is saying his final words. He looks around at all the people who came to pay their respects. He doesn’t remember that many people being there but his mind wasn’t occupied on the crowd. He looked down once more at the coffin, as the others around begin to leave. He stood there and stared at the glisten of sunlight on her final resting place.
“Mom.” he whispered.
His gaze sprung up to her gravestone. He saw the year, acknowledged that he was older now, and despite his age or having lived this before, he fell to the ground and began to cry.
A hand on his shoulder was all that snapped him out of it. Jerry stood beside him and knelt down to hand him a napkin to wipe his face.
“You’re getting better at popping up.” Zack uttered sarcastically.
“I’m doing my best.” Jerry replied. “I’m sorry you have to experience this again.”
Zack nodded and stood up, walking around the grave.
“Zack. I know this is a hard memory to handle but I need you to listen to me now. Ok?” Jerry begged.
Zack stood with his back to both Jerry and his mother’s grave.
“Tell me one thing.” He bellowed out.
“Whatever you want.” Jerry replied.
Zack spun around to face him, a look of despair on his face.
“Am I dead?”
To be continued….