The Mandela Effect
A collaboration by Leila and Haylee V
Smoke envelops the room. Oh God! It's started! Nobody waited for the orders to be signed! Were they targeting me? The living room billows with smoke. My exit is blocked. What do I have on me? I spy my luggage through the flames. I can't get to it. My purse and my wallet are there. NO! My eye catches a glimpse of the sunlight peering through my bedroom window. The smoke builds in the room.
I have to get out of here! I run up to the window. I tug at the pane. It doesn't slide open. My chair! I grab the chair and throw it towards the window. The glass shatters, and the chair plummets to the ground below. My eyes spy my backpack. Think fast! What can I throw into it? The flames are almost at the door. Smoke pours out of the apartment. The fire is seeking the air from the outside through the window. Think Stacey! Think! My nightstand. The money from Corey. It will have to do. I was supposed to deposit it before the trip. I grab the cash and throw it in the backpack. I grab some clothes from the dresser. Guys/Girls it doesn't matter. I just need to get out- quickly! I'm almost out of time!
I stare out the window. It's now or never. I stand on the window sill. The hedges. I think I can make it to them. Third story? Doesn't matter. It’s better than being burned alive. I jump aiming for the hedges. I hit with the sound of crumpling brush. A sharp pain in my ankle. I scream in agony. My ankle caught something. I landed wrong. I can hear the sirens in the distance. I don't want to wait around for anything. My ankle sears in pain, the peripheries of my vision fade with every step. I have to make it to my car!
My car! It has been vandalized! "Tranny Whore!" a few voices yell out. They've smashed the windows to my car and slashed all four tires! I can't do anything about it right now. If they catch me, I'll end up in worse shape than my car. I try to walk, gingerly. Each step on my right leg make me see red. My ankle burns with pain as I hobble away. The hospital? No, I can't go there. I can barely think over the pain. I have no ID. They'd have to report me.
Corey, at the clinic. He’s my only choice. I grit my teeth with eacth step. Every few steps I have to compose myself. Maybe he can patch me up. I need to get off the streets. I take as many short cuts as I can figure, back alleys and parks. I'm trying to stay out of the main roadways. I press my shoulders against the walls and fences, in a vain attempt to keep the weight off my disfigured foot. Relief washes over me as approach the rear of the clinic. I've almost made it to the entrance! Privacy at last! My ankle is swollen; I’m in a cold sweat. The adrenaline must be wearing off. I’m going into shock. Pausing to catch my breath , I quickly kneel behind the dumpster near the clinic. My vision continues to cloud. I’m starting to shake. My phone! There’s no way to call Corey.
I see two figures in the distance, hobbling towards the rear entrance. They look worse than I do. Watching from my vantage point, I shudder at the horrors I see. It has started. People are getting their jollies beating up anyone that looks trans. The two knock on the door and Corey quickly answers. I see concern crossing his brow. More people are approaching, and they don't look friendly. They brandish semi-automatics and I hear the shots. NO! I scream in a silent whisper. Tear pour down my face as the hoodlums gun down the trio execution style. They run away whooping and cheering. "Bagged two more trannies, and a damn Symp too!"
I settle on the ground, still dripping cold sweat. A hand cuffs my shoulder and I jump. Startled, I turn toward the figure, expecting my fate to be the same as Corey's. I see a young woman wearing a lab coat. With tears in her eyes, she motions for me to remain still. "Shhh!" she hisses, while trying to comfort me. But I am in too much shock to care...
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