Back and Forth | Jarrod King

Back And Forth

Nothing prepared me for what happened when I got out of bed. I woke up to the smell of bacon and the aroma of coffee. Instantly, I craved both. My eyes were heavy with sleep as I dragged my hand to the edge of my quilt. I slid the covers down and let the cool temperature of the room awaken the rest of me. One by one I pulled my legs out from hiding and swung them over the edge of the bed and prepared to stand. That was when I received the shock of my life.

My fear of falling kicked in as I felt no floor hit my feet. I noticed my error just in time to give a quick scream and turn to catch the edge of my mattress. I clung with fingers locked on loose material that would give way at any moment. Then I dared to look down. The was a floor there, but my bed was much higher than it was last night. What in the hell was going on?

I gathered myself enough to glance around at the room. The red area rug and blinds were accents to a room that I remembered. The desk by the wall across from the window was a relic I hadn’t seen since I was a boy. I looked at the bed I was holding onto and saw that I was about to fall from the top of a bunk bed. I could feel my grip slipping. When I caught the sight of a 7-year-old version of my little brother sleeping below, that was enough for me to forget about my handle on the bed. My butt pulsed with pain from its contact with the floor and the sheets I held on to traveled down on top of my head.

After I pulled the fabric from my face I held my hands up in front of my eyes. They were small. None of this made any sense.

“Boy, what are you doing?”

I looked up. It was Dad. He looked the same as always, just less grey. Time hadn’t made a huge change on him.

“Nothing,” I squeaked. I was surprised at my high voice.

He frowned and said, “Come on downstairs for breakfast,” and left.

“Okay,” I called.

Was this real? Was this even possible? I closed my eyes and chanted to myself “wake up, wake up, wake up,” but had no luck. This wasn’t a dream. Whatever this was, I knew I needed everything to get back to normal. I had to be about 8-years-old and I couldn’t imagine going back to school – to that awful place with my torturous classmates and nonchalant teachers. My real self had moved past all of that pain. I had since grown to become a completely socially inept adult, but I managed. There was no way I was going through that again.

I had to figure a way back.

My brother stirred in his covers and wiped his eyes as he sat up. He looked at me and must have seen the look on my face. “Jarrod, did the ghost get you again?”

At first I had no idea what he meant, but as I thought about it, I did remember worrying about a ghost in the room. Every night I slept in the top bunk I could feel a presence next to me. It was in the wall next to the bed. I always heard a scratching sound. Without a word I climbed to my bunk and felt along the wall for where I remember hearing that sound, then –

It was night. I fell off the side of a bed and landed on my arm. As I lifted myself off the floor I could tell I was back. I was in my own home and I was an adult again. But how? I got back onto the bed, facing the wall behind it with my knees pressed into the mattress. I leaned into the wall making sure not to touch it, and then the memories flooded back. Before I jumped into the past I was investigating a dime-sized hole in the wall where it seemed like sunlight was shining through. I had scratched at it a few times and before I knew it I fell over a bunk bed. The light was there now. I closed one eye to peek through and jumped back at the sight of my younger self climbing down the bunk bed and walking out of my old room. My little brother followed behind. This was insane. Or I was insane – I wasn’t really sure. I was so scared when I was there I thought I never wanted to go back. But I did get back safely. I contemplated boarding up the hole and never dealing with it again, but my curiosity began to get the best of me. What if I had stayed? Would it have changed anything now – the fact that I was always so lonely? I sat there on the bed in front of the hole in the wall sensing the danger in the unknown, but unable to stop my impulse to face it.

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