Author: M.D. Smith

In 1975, drugs were available in New Orleans. Nestled among the narrow streets and vibrant markets of the French Quarter, lived a young man named Alex. He worked at a small bookstore by day and spent his evenings lost in the pages of science fiction novels.

One day, as he strolled through the market, a peculiar old woman with a twinkle in her eye singled him out. Her long, stringy white hair covered most of her wrinkled face. With a withered hand and fingernails about two inches long, she handed him a small clear bag of golden, crispy chips, claiming that they held the power to unlock the past. “Chrono Crisps,” she said.

“Focus on a past event that you can recall clearly and think only of it as you fall asleep. You will dream vividly; while there, you can alter your outcome to a limited degree. This is my last bag. Make this dream of an important past event you wish to change.”

Doubtful but intrigued, Alex would try them. He paid her $50.00. High, but not if they worked.

That night, he munched on the small bag of salty Chrono Crisps. He knew precisely the place in time to visit. He was fourteen. His father was coming home on a foggy night with light rain, hit a deer, swerved off the road, crashed into a tree, and died.

Shortly, a strange sensation washed over him. The room blurred, the dream began, and soon, he stood in a graphically familiar scene—the evening of a severe accident that had haunted his dreams. It was on the forest road he and his mother had visited the day after the wreck.

His haze cleared, and he was on the edge of the pavement beside a lighted sign announcing the entrance into the state park.

“This is the spot where Dad died,” he thought.

A light mist floated around him. He jogged up the road, the direction his father’s car approached on his night’s trip home. He would warn his father before he got to the deer. The fog grew thicker. The forest thinned out to only grass shoals on the roadside. Then he heard a car engine and saw lights dimly in the vapor. Alex moved a few feet into the oncoming lane, waving his flashlight, intending to jump out of the way when his father approached.

The engine’s sound increased. Now, the familiar blue car was visible, but no attempt by the driver to slow down. His dad didn’t see him. At the last moment, his father’s eyes widened. Alex sprang to the roadside. The car brakes locked on the misty-wet road, screeching of tires. The extended rear of the old Caddy broadsided and smacked Alex like a hockey stick hits a puck and sent him flying. Alex’s world went dark.

When Alex awoke, terribly groggy, he wasn’t in the den of his home. He was in his parents’ living room, and everyone was watching The Jeffersons on TV. His gray-haired father sat next to his mother. The man was clearly older than when he died in the past. Alex must have been successful.

The fog cleared completely, and he looked down to see his arms lying limp on the electric wheelchair armrests, his right fingers around a joystick control switch.