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Four Minutes to Midnight
It was cold. I could feel it, even under the covers of my old bed. No, the house wasn’t drafty, and no, it wasn’t winter. In fact, it was a beautiful autumn night- my brown wood bed seemed to creak- or maybe it was the floorboard outside my bedroom. I sat up, shaking myself awake; it was 11:56 on my glow in the dark digital clock. Four minutes to midnight. Maybe mom was just getting a late night coffee or watching a horror flick. I groaned- barely mumbling “turn it down” I nestle my head under the covers, prepared to back to sleep.
I woke up again.
Two minutes to midnight.
The creaking grew louder- if mom is watching psycho I swear I’ll- I thought, stopped in mid- sentence by the slow whooshing sound. My room seemed to grow slowly lighter.
One minute to midnight.
The room felt like it was spinning- probably a dream- the light grew brighter. I popped my head up, searching for anything that could explain it- then the voice came-
“welcome to zero hour, Sofia”
it was slow, lilting, like my father’s when he boarded that plane…
“There are thirty seconds until midnight”
the voice continued, this time a booming explosion like outside the airport
“use it wisely”
the voiced said, full of innocence, like my six-year old brother Tyler tugging on my sleeve saying “Sofia, why is mommy crying” I shuddered- this was becoming too creepy- I tried to scream, but nothing came out
“Sofia, here is a chance to start your life over, make your father come back, your Mother happy again”
It reverted to a cooing comforting voice, like my babysitter five years ago- when I was ten.
“Make your choice now.”
The voice said imperiously, like my schoolteacher when I got a C.
I looked at the clock- I still probably had ten seconds left, it had happened so fast
“Yes” I whispered, and the voice heard. The room whirred, the digits on the clock spun, finally clicking to one number-
Suddenly it all stopped- I opened my eyes, it was morning- it had been a dream after all. the bird, a cardinal, I think, chirped outside my window. I could hear the dishes rattling upstairs-
Mom was making breakfast? I tried to remember the last time she did that- the day dad boarded that plane… a voice called from the hallway “Sofia you’ll be late for breakfast” it was deep and lilting, like my father’s- my fathers!