Missing Time (A Short Story In Five Parts ~ Part Five)

Previous installments of Missing Time: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.


Tim’s eyes popped open. He felt disoriented. His pupils struggled to adjust to the light from the window. Rachel came in and out of focus, and he felt a chill run up the back of his neck and down his forearms.

“Your hour isn’t even up yet!”

“Whoa. That’s all I can say.” Tim sat up straight and shook the blood back down into his arms.

Rachel smiled, tilting her head, “Is this a good whoa or a bad whoa?”

“The sights, the smells, the smallest of details were right-on. Nothing could convince me I wasn’t there with my father just now.”

The long silence that followed was broken by the sound of the gong signaling the end of their session.

“I have to say Tim, I couldn’t be more pleased with how this is going. But you have to keep in mind what you’re experiencing isn’t real. It’s only the DMT helping to reconnect you with some lost echoes of the past.”

Rachel’s phone buzzed, and she slid it from the front pocket of her blazer. She hopped to her feet, swiped her finger across the screen, and quickly brought the phone to her ear.

“Please excuse me for a moment while I take this call,” she said to Tim as the door clicked softly behind her.

Nearly fifteen minutes passed before Rachel returned. As she sat down Tim noticed the color was drained from her face.

“Everything okay?” Tim asked.

Rachel appeared stunned, as though her brain was still processing. “That was my attorney. It seems a few of our patients have gone missing. The program is being shut down pending a full investigation.”

Tim looked concerned. “They can’t do that! I’m starting to feel complete for the first time in forty years.”

Rachel looked defeated. “They warned me, but I didn’t want to believe them.”

“Warned you?” Tim asked.

“Our data speaks for itself. People are being helped, even cured here. Some of my colleagues urged me to be more careful and not ruffle too many feathers. Psychopharmacology is an ATM machine for the drug companies.” For a second she forgot Tim was even in the room.


“Our data speaks for itself. People are being helped, even cured here. Some of my colleagues urged me to be more careful and not ruffle too many feathers. Psychopharmacology is an ATM machine for the drug companies.” For a second she forgot Tim was even in the room.


Tim stared blankly, “Cures don’t exactly fit their business model, do they?”

“I’m really sorry,” Rachel said, as she came out from behind her desk offering both of her hands to help Tim off the couch. “ I shouldn’t have said any of that in front of a patient. That was extremely unprofessional of me.”

“It’s okay,” Tim said, his bottom lip quivering as he steadied himself.

Rachel embraced him and whispered in his ear, “You are going to be just fine.”

“I know I am, but when you’re my age, these kinds of goodbyes hold a kind of gravitas,” Tim said as he wiped his eyes, put on his cap, and shuffled out of the office.

Tim rode down in the elevator and made his way to the L train. From each click of the turnstile, to the shapes and colors of the dingy tile mosaic covering the station’s walls, he took a mental note of each and every thing he encountered. As usual, most people were too busy with their phones to make eye contact but he instantly connected with the curious expression on the baby’s face as she smiled at him sweetly from her stroller. The world was still so beautiful and Tim intended to not miss another second of his life.

He stood on the stoop of his apartment building, entering his security code on the keypad with one hand, and patting the retangular-shaped lump in his coat pocket with the other. He took a deep breath, relieved that it was still there. Tim took off his hat then turned the last of the deadbolt locks on his front door. He emptied his pants pockets of their contents into the red silk lining of his overturned newsboy cap: keys, wallet, Swiss army knife. He smiled in disbelief as he pulled out a half-eaten Tootsie Roll carefully folded into its wax paper wrapper and held it in his palm.

He switched on his vintage Linn LP 12 turntable, lifted the tone arm, and rested the needle onto the outermost groove of The Bridge. This was indeed an extraordinarily great day. Without A Song began to play. He paused for a second in front of the hallway mirror, chuckling at his reflection. Age had exaggerated his facial features just enough to make him look like one of those carnival caricatures that you regret buying the minute the artist hands it to you.

Tim swayed to the music as he danced his way to the recliner by the window, sat down, closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. He slid the slim black vape he’d swiped from Rachel’s desk drawer out of his pocket, brought it slowly to his lips, but then pulled it away. Stealing it wasn’t his proudest moment but he was far too close to stop now. Besides, there were so many vapes and vials in Rachel’s drawer that he was sure this one wouldn’t be missed.

“Thank you Matt.” Tim said, smiling, as his eyes swept across his familiar landscape, his favorite bodega, the floral shop, and the restaurant with its faded yellow sign. He brought the vape back to his lips, and took a generous drag of the DMT, blowing a thick cloud of vapor towards the ceiling. He paused and took one more hit, and another, until he felt tiny fragments of himself falling away to a place that was warm, peaceful, and delicate around the edges.


“Thank you Matt.” Tim said, smiling, as his eyes swept across his familiar landscape, his favorite bodega, the floral shop, and the restaurant with its faded yellow sign. He brought the vape back to his lips, and took a generous drag of the DMT, blowing a thick cloud of vapor towards the ceiling. He paused and took one more hit, and another, until he felt tiny fragments of himself falling away to a place that was warm, peaceful, and delicate around the edges.


He was engulfed in a blinding light followed by a vacuum of darkness. He was enveloped in a damp cloud that clung closely to his skin. As his senses reawakened further he felt a lightness of being and a welcomed absence of aches and pains. Tim began to hear the cawing of crows and the crunching of leaves. He opened his eyes to see his mother marching tenaciously up the wooded path, she’d not yet spotted him lying there.

“Timothy Alfred Johnson,” she yelled into the trees through her clenched teeth. “You’re in so much hot water when I find you.”

His mother was closing in on him fast. Timmy propped himself up on one elbow. On the ground next to his leg, he saw the thin black vape and quickly kicked it into the underbrush. His hunch was right. Two moments in time indeed could be bridged, and he somehow managed to fully step across into this one. Not two seconds later, he felt his mother’s fingers firmly grab ahold of his left ear, pulling him to his feet. Pain had never felt so good to him.

“Young man, your dinner is cold. I’ve been waiting for you for over an hour.”

At first Timmy was speechless. He couldn’t even begin to explain exactly what was happening but knew this was much more than some lost echo of the past. He looked up at his mother and smiled as his tears clouded the finer details of her youthful form.

“What do you have to say for yourself?”she asked as she grabbed him by the arm and jerked him down the path leading to the road.

“I’m so sorry Momma, I was tired and fell asleep. But I promise that won’t ever happen again.”

The End

Thank you for reading!

With Gratitude,
~Eric Vance Walton~


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Hi Eric, what a very realistic short story. Many people in this world are like Tim. You describe it very real. I will wait for your other short story, sir. Have a nice day.

Thank you Eliana! Enjoy your day!

Wow! Really awesome. Thanks for posting this here. I wasn't sure where you were heading with it, but that definitely wasn't one of the outcomes I was expecting!

I'm glad you enjoyed it @bozz and thank you! I could've gone so many different directions with the ending but I wanted Tim to have a 'do over' and leave a bit to the reader's imagination. I was considering having Tim leave what was left of his fortune to Deb, the waitress, or some charity but then the act would've been construed more as a suicide than stepping from one dimension to another. This was probably the most challenging story I've ever done and was a lot of fun to write. These characters feel like real people to me after I write them, I hope Tim goes on to use his "do over" to his advantage and fulfill his life's purpose. : ) I appreciate you following to the end!

For sure, it was a really great read. Is this something you just wrote recently or have you had it in your portfolio for a while now? Your explanation her draws me to some parallels in "The OA" on Netflix. Only vaguely though. I don't want to me misinterpreted as implying anything.

No, this is my newest short story. I’ll have to check out The OA, I’ve never heard of it. How is it similar?

Just the different dimmesnions thing. It is mind bendingly amazing in my opinion. The sad part is they cancelled it after two seasons so don't fall too in love with it. 😛

It’s difficult to make it in that genre, even if it’s good. The film industry is unbelievably competitive. I have to watch at least one EP.

I just read the series synopsis in Wikipedia. It sounds interesting!

Bravo! A thoroughly satisfying conclusion to a very engaging story.

Thank you @deirdyweirdy! I'm glad to hear it kept your attention!

@tipu curate

Well done my man, well done. I enjoyed every segment of the story.
Very true in that people do go missing when things start working ... or they wake up dead.
Enjoyed every word of all 5 parts,
Sult

Thank you very much. I learn so much each time I write one of these. I can’t wait to share the next one. I have ideas for three more now. I appreciate you taking the time to read all five. You’re one of only a handful who still do that. I hope you enjoy the rest of your week. We hit the road tomorrow for Sedona and I’m going to be stopping at a few Starbucks on the way (thanks to you).

Just discovered your blog. I like your short story