For the A to Z Challenge I generated a list of random words, and I will be writing a short story incorporating those words. Each day a little more of the story will be unveiled. You can read the full story, to date, here. For those of you who have been following along, Old Mark is now Mr. Cross. Sorry for switching names in the middle of a story, but I'm making this up as I go along. Here we go:
“What do you mean he’s dead?”
“I got back. Things didn’t turn out the way I expected,” Mr. Cross said. His arms dropped to his sides, and he stepped back. At that moment the lamp overhead blinked on, and Mark was shocked to see how he looked. He still had a full head of hair, but it stuck up in wild spots. His skin was sallow, and even more wrinkled, and his cheeks, a bit gaunt before, were now hollowed out. The old man looked as if he had aged 10 years and lost fifteen pounds in the past week.
“I checked. Took forever to find the records. Ashton Miller is going to walk in front of a speeding truck tonight. It might have already happened. What time is it?”
Mark fumbled his phone out of his pocket. His hands were still shaking from the shock Mr. Cross had given him. He checked the time. “Seven forty-five.”
“Good. We still have time. He was struck at about eight. We have to go find him.”
“Where did it happen? I mean, where is it going to happen?”
That was right off campus. Mark thought he could make it, but Mr. Cross would slow him down. The old man seemed to think the same thing, and waved at him. “Go. I’ll catch up. It was right in front of the head shop there.”
Of course. It had to be there. It seemed as apt a place as any to Mark. To go along with everything else that had to do with his older self. He briefly wondered again if this was all a hallucination. Perhaps, instead of heading over to King Street, he should visit the campus clinic. It was closer, and he was slightly less likely to get a contact high there. He had nothing against the occasional buzz, but the kind of people who hung out on King Street and specifically the head shop were usually beyond the mild sort of high he preferred.
But, as these thoughts flitted through his mind, he watched Mr. Cross. The old man was shaking, and obviously agitated. Mark felt a pull, as if something were gently nudging him towards a decision. It was an odd feeling, but he heeded it.
“Ok. But you better be there. Because you’re going to answer some questions.”Mr. Cross nodded and waved him on again. “Get going. Time is running out. You’ll probably hear sirens before you see the truck. The guy was running from the cops at the time.”