Friday, February 10, 2012

The Broken Tomorrow of Josephine Sunday

Of course, Sunday wasn’t her real last name. People didn’t have days of the week for their last names, not real people.

But then, she wasn’t a real person any more, was she?

Josephine closed her eyes, willing her normal life - Josephine Watley’s normal life - to be there when she opened them. But no, it was just the same train station, the same bleached-out colors and insubstantial people. She flipped the hood of her ragged coat up over her head. It was starting to snow.

A few minutes later, the train pulled up. Josephine climbed the steps, turned right into a car, and sat against the window of a two-person seat. The car was nearly deserted, so she set her bag down next to her. The conductor approached.


She flashed her pass, and was putting it back in her bag when the conductor’s voice brought her up short.

“Hold it.”

She looked up.

“Let me see that.”

She handed up the pass.

The conductor scrutinized it. “Don’t normally see these stations on a pass.”

“Why is that?”

“Well, Tomorrow Station is a one-way trip. People usually buy single tickets for that one. And I didn’t think we even had service to Yesterday Station any more.”

She smiled. “I wanted my pass to be comprehensive.”

The conductor smiled back, returning the pass. “Where you headed?”

“Tomorrow Station is always where I’m headed, but I am unfortunately getting off long before then.”

“And where would that be?”

“I believe you're supposed to tell me.”

“Ah, right.” The conductor fumbled with a map, studying it. “ Let's see... ah. Here it is. You’ll want to get off on a Saturday afternoon in the spring of 1987.”

The train lurched and the conductor stumbled, then began stammering, looking quizzically at the map. “Um, what? No, I’m sorry. That’s ridiculous. You’ll want the West Idleston station. The one after next.”

“Thank you.”

“And I’m so sorry for that... um, whatever that was. I don’t even really remember...”

“Not at all.” Josephine smiled up.

“Must be one of those days.”

“It always is.”

The conductor walked on, and Josephine put her pass away, rummaging through her bag. She took out a small journal and began writing. She was finding it harder to put her thoughts on paper, but she forced herself to write at least two pages. She knew she would one day lose writing, just like she lost her proper name. Eventually, even Josephine would be gone and she’d just be Sunday, a living day of the week. After that she would become woven into spacetime itself, a barely sentient waveform of shifting probabilities.

Soon, the conductor announced West Idleston. Josephine put away her journal and zipped up her bag, slinging it over her shoulder as she left the train. Her phone rang and she answered it.


“Josephine, this is Calendar. Are you then?”

She looked around, had a good chuckle at some of the fashions on display, and said, “Spring. 1987. Feels like a Saturday.”

“Good. Now, where are you?”

“Town called West Idleston.”

“Perfect!” Josephine held her phone away from her ear. Calendar was still going on. “Dispatch got you on the right train for once. Okay, you want to get to a highway overpass about... three blocks from where you are.”

She started moving. “So how is visiting some overpass in 1987 going to help me stop being erased from existence?”

“Well, West Idleston was your grandfather’s home town, and you’re at the day after his junior prom,” Calendar said. “But, more importantly, it’s also the day he’s going to kill himself.”