Timely Persuasion - Online Edition - Chapter 5


Five Seconds To Hold You

    A hard rain had begun to fall.  The graffiti had washed away from the bench, but the paint wasn’t running.  The bench wasn’t even wet.  Even though the rain was steady, I wasn’t getting wet either.  The graffiti wasn’t gone, it just wasn’t there yet.  I’d already blinked back to the scene of the crime.

    It was 2:20am.  Approaching the house, I began to experience a chilly sense of déjà vu.  Although I’d never been here before, I had seen video and photos on the news and in magazines, and often envisioned it in various daydream/nightmares after the infamous tomorrow that from my perspective hadn’t happened yet. 

    A garage/greenhouse hybrid loomed diagonally to the left of me just past some thick shrubs and a wooden fence separating the park from the property.  I walked through the fence, intending to make the greenhouse my first stop as it seemed the most logical choice.  If the body was there, it would mean I was too late and needed to keep pushing further back.  If not, I’d just wait it out and all would be revealed.  Good in theory, but in execution I faltered.

    Part of me didn’t want to visit the scene of this “murder” for fear that it would bring back memories of the other death that hit much closer to home.  I’d never visited the scene of my sister’s death while it was actually considered “the scene.”  I just couldn’t bear to.  Irrational guilt that I had set the events into motion, fear of confirming this, and a variety of other factors played into the decision.

    I also didn’t want to confront Nelson, as I’d likely kill him on the spot.  Although I don’t really see myself as being capable of committing murder, I wouldn’t be above a heat of the moment attack on a highly deserving party.  So I laid low, held back, attended the funeral, and skipped town.  My guilty conscience was more or less a ridiculous way of taking control of the situation (or more accurately not taking control), and it certainly did its job.

    The slamming of a car door reached my right ear, breaking my concentration.  Two men were approaching the Cobain house.  I had already ducked into the shadows to hide when I remembered I probably didn’t need to.  I crouched down to confirm my invisibility by sinking my hand into the ground, but something stopped me.  I couldn’t even reach the ground—my palm struck an immovable force about an inch before it should have.  Partial blades of longer grass penetrated my hand, but that was as far as I could go.

    Confused, I walked back to the fence and tentatively extended my arm.  As expected, it passed through without resistance, just as my full body had moments before.  Squatting once more, this time I couldn’t even get within three inches of the ground.  This was not only true of my hand, but my feet as well.  I hadn’t noticed before in my excitement, but they weren’t quite touching the ground either.  Through my thoughts I heard a voice call Kurt’s name, reminding me why I was here.

    The men had circled the perimeter and were climbing in through a ground level window.  Was I actually here right on time?  Unbelievable.  I ran through and into the house to catch up.  The window led to the kitchen.  Both men were now inside, still yelling Kurt’s name.  I inspected each room of the surprisingly clean house trying to find him, hoping that I’d be able to do something, that my mere observational presence on the scene could persuade a change.  (If a tree falls...)  Moving through walls, I was able to get around the house much faster than the two intruders.  It was pretty vacant, with the only sign of occupancy being the sounds of a television drifting down from somewhere upstairs. 

    Actually getting upstairs was my undoing.  I just couldn’t go there.  Physically.  It wasn’t an invisible barrier as it was when I tried to touch the ground outside, but instead the lack of something solid to climb on.  When I reached the stairs, I went right through them. 

    “You’ve got to be kidding me!” I yelled for no one to hear. 

    Looking down, I noticed my feet were now about a half inch below the bottom level of the house, wading in a puddle of floorboards.  Since the house (and the world, for that matter) is rarely ever on a plane or completely level, I supposed this made some sense.  By extension, I shouldn’t be able get to the basement either.  Or the...shit!

    Not wanting to accept my realization, I ran back outside to the greenhouse where the body would eventually be if it wasn’t already.  I had no way of knowing since the body was found upstairs, above the garage.  It just wasn’t fair.  Pacing around the garage looking for a way up would be a foolish waste of time.  I hurled the ball at the ground in frustration, watching it prematurely ricochet in the space above the dirt and launch into the night sky.

    Eventually the two men left the house.  They didn’t even look in the direction of the other structure, let alone search it.  Either they knew what was there and had no reason to look, or they didn’t know and were in too much of a rush to find out.  Some resolution.

    So close and yet so far.  My ability was more of a curse than a gift, with limited powers of observation and no power to interact.  There had to be more to this.  I needed an explanation.  Trial and error just wasn’t enough.

    My only chance at understanding was to find a teacher.