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January 23, 2019

Discount Prophecies: Chapter 5 – Nostalgia for the Future

Belinda sat in her office at Discount Prophecies. The police had recently left after setting up hidden cameras and listening devices. One of the nice things about being a registered Seer was that when you said someone was going to try to kill you, they took it seriously. They were watching and recording so they could arrest the culprit before he killed Belinda, but after they had enough evidence that he would try to. If Belinda was lucky, it would be the same person that killed Pandora Ross, though she doubted that. She was still convinced that Floyd Washington had committed that murder. Sadly, she couldn’t see the conclusion of that investigation. Her Sight had been missing things lately, but that always happened after a major alteration of the future. It would clear up soon.

When the door opened, Belinda looked up immediately, but it wasn’t her attempted murderer or the cops. It was the last person she had expected or wanted to see. Why was he here?

“Am I too late?” Darren said in a huff. “I heard the cops were coming in here. Has Washington been arrested already?”

Of course that was why he was here. He needed to be on the scene when it happened so he could claim some of the credit. Typical.

“No arrest yet,” Belinda said. “And it’s going to be someone else. A man named…” She had to check her notepad. “Rick Hightower is going to try to murder me tonight.”

“Rick Hightower,” Darren repeated. “Isn’t he in Floyd Washington’s movie club?”

“Yeah, they call themselves…” She checked the notepad again. “CAMERA. It’s an acronym, but I can’t remember what it stands for.”

After she said it, Belinda wondered why she was sharing information with Darren. It wasn’t anything big, but it was her information. She guessed it was just habit. Old habits die hard, even when they’re from an alternate future that would never happen.

“You know, you’re lucky nothing has happened to you yet,” Darren said solemnly. “I know you’ve been spending time with Washington. When I heard the cops were coming here, I figured he struck again. He’s a dangerous man.”

“You’re wrong about Floyd,” Belinda said, shaking her head. “Sure, he probably killed Pandora, but I think it was a crime of passion. I don’t think he could kill in cold blood.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure. I studied his profile and he has all the hallmarks of a serial killer. Plus, he’s a skilled Muay Thai fighter, though I hear Pandora was better. That’s probably why he needed a weapon to beat her.”

Belinda perked an eyebrow. Muay Thai fighter? Floyd hadn’t mentioned a martial arts background. Darren was probably right, though. He was usually right about these things. When she thought about it, the broken and scattered furniture weren’t consistent with a murder committed in the heat of anger. The struggle was prolonged, and Floyd would have had time to come to his senses.

“So, do you See anything else happening to Hightower?” Darren asked.

“Who?”

“Rick Hightower. The man who is trying to kill you.”

“Oh, him. Yeah, he wants to kill Floyd, but he thought I would warn him, so he’s going to try to kill me first. I don’t think he thought this all the way through.”

Darren smirked, “Clearly not. Why does he want to kill Floyd?”

“He was obsessed with Pandora Ross. He had some kind of delusional relationship with her and wants revenge on Floyd for killing her,” Belinda explained. It was odd. She didn’t remember Seeing that when she looked earlier.

“OK, so he definitely wasn’t Pandora’s murderer. I knew that, of course, but it’s nice to have definite confirmation.”

Oh, right. She wasn’t going to share any more information. At the same time, she was questioning that decision. True, there was a reason she decided not to pursue that future, but there were still good things about it. There was something wonderful about helping Darren solve mysteries. She still remembered a lot of the cases they had worked on in the alternate future better than she remembered things that had actually happened to her. It always gave her such a sense of purpose. Darren brought justice to people who deserved it. Sure, he was sometimes a jerk in the process, but overall, he was a force for good.

“You seem lost in thought,” Darren said. “Are you in the present or the future right now?”

“Sorry, I was in a past future.”

“I have no idea what that means. I assume that’s a Seer thing,” he grinned. “Everything seems to be under control here, so I’m going to go, but let me leave you my card.”

“No need. I already know your phone number, email address, and your Twitter handle. I can get ahold of you if I need to.”

“Right, Seer. You know practically everything already,” he said as he opened the door. “Look, I know you already said no, but I’d really like you on my side. I can pay you much more than you’re making now.”

Belinda wasn’t sure how to answer. It didn’t matter. Darren interrupted her anyway.

“You don’t have to answer right now,” he said. “Just think about it. You’re a good Seer and we’re already working on the same case anyway. It makes sense to work together.”

Then he left. The troubling thing was, it did make sense. By working together, they could tackle this case from more angles. In the corner of her Sight, a new future loomed, attempting to come into focus. It was similar but not identical to the one she had rejected. In this one, Darren was not such a jerk as he had been. Sure, there were problems, but it was better. She tried to tell herself, “no,” but she couldn’t shake the vision of the new possible future.

 


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