Author: Ruby Zehnder

The last thing I see is her face. I don’t recall what she says at that instant, but I remember her shocked expression. I catch her in my arms as she falls forward. She tries to speak, but her mouth is filled with blood. I turn my head away.
“’What’s wrong?”
There is a young woman in a white lab coat studying me intently. She has brown eyes and dark ebony skin that reminds me of my mother.
“Mom?” I ask. I see the disappointment in her eyes when I don’t recognize her.
“No, it’s me. Tessa,” she corrects me gently.
I am in a hospital bed and have electrodes attached to my body.
“Tessa?” I ask as I recognize her face. She is the woman dying in my arms. I try to pretend that I don’t know her. I don’t want to speak about what I have just witnessed.
“Why did you turn your face from me when you saw me?” she asks. I don’t want to answer.
Instead, I look around the room. I realize that I am in the Temporal Studies lab at the university. They are exploring my ability to diffract time. Tessa smiles at me. It all comes back. We are lovers, and I am her pet lab rat. She has promised to fix me.
“Did you see any ghosts?” she jokes.
“No, but I think I saw a leprechaun,” I respond, remembering the first time we met when I confessed that I saw all forms of demons. She hadn’t recoiled in fear when I spoke these words, and it was at that moment that I fell in love with her.
“Your brain was lit up like a Christmas tree. What did you see?” she persists.
Being able to diffract time, like a prism splits a beam of light, is not easy to describe. Where most people see only the present, I can splinter time into a temporal rainbow. Only instead of colors I see events. I try to change the subject. She mustn’t know that I ventured into the future. She is terrified of this component of time.
She begins to remove the electrodes from my skull, and I am tempted to pull her down and cover her with kisses. I don’t because I know this experiment is being recorded. I brush my hand lightly over her cheek as she bends over me.
“Was it bad?” she asks as we walk to our apartment.
I say nothing. A shiver runs up my spine at the memory of her death.
When we turn the corner, I sense the gunman hiding in the doorway, but it is too late.
The last thing I see is her face.