What Year Is It?

Zoey was waiting in a queue at the grocery store, repeating the shopping list in her head. Eggs, flour, oil… She was going to make pancakes for lunch.

“Don’t forget the strawberry jam,” she reminded herself.

The queue was moving at a snail’s pace, there were four more people to go and the shop assistant seemed highly incompetent.

The door burst open and the sound of the bell placed above filled the space. The boy who entered the shop glanced around the room and started to elbow his way to the beginning of the line. Zoey and the others waiting in the queue made a sound of disapproval, but he was already at the counter.

“What year is it?” he asked the assistant, his voice kind of ecstatic.

The man standing behind the counter looked at him as if he had just announced he had come from Mars. People in the queue started whispering to each other.

“What year is it?” he repeated his question, just like it was a normal thing to ask.

“It’s 2012,” the assistant replied slowly.

The stranger’s eyes brightened and a wide smile appeared on his face.

“Yes!” he said out loud, not bothering to hide his enthusiasm. “It worked!”

A while later he headed towards the exit, oblivious to the way people stared at him. Before he left, he had stopped for a second to look at Zoey. Unruly wisps of his hair covered his forehead and when their eyes met it made her heart skip a beat. That smile, she could swear it looked familiar.

Forgetting the shopping list, she followed him as he walked out.

“Wait!” she shouted in his direction before she could even think about it. “Do I know you?”

He stopped and turned around, so he was facing her now.

“What?” He looked somewhat confused. How could she know?

“Um, sorry,” she said, thinking she must have made a fool out of herself. “I guess I’ve mistaken you for someone else.”

“Well, not yet,” the stranger said, referring to her previous question.

“Excuse me?”

“We haven’t met yet.”

Zoey was puzzled by his answer. “I’m sorry, I still don’t understand.”

The boy sighed.

“I’m Zach. I come from the future.”

Disbelief mixed with some kind of shock emerged on her face. Was she supposed to be scared or amused? Instead of asking if everything was alright with his head, she only repeated his words: “From the future?”

He nodded.

“Listen, I don’t have much time to explain. I found a way to travel in time, that’s why I’m here—” he paused for a while. “You don’t believe me, do you?”

She didn’t. He was definitely a freak. Quite a handsome freak, she had to admit. But still crazy.

And then something absolutely bizarre happened. He slowly began to fade, gradually turning transparent.

“What the—”

“Time to say goodbye, Zoey.”

“You know my name?!”

She felt creeped out. Was it a dream? She tried pinching herself, but it didn’t work.

Before he completely disappeared, he’d sent her one more smile.

“We’ll meet again, trust me.” And then he vanished in the air.

Zoey took a look around to see whether there were other witnesses of what had just happened. Apparently nobody but her had noticed anything weird.

She stood there for a while, still processing the strange occurrence. She saw it. And the people in the shop, they saw him, too.

We’ll meet again. 

Zach. Who was he and why did she think she knew him? From what year did he come and how did he do it? When will she see him again? She shook her head, still barely able to believe it. To get the answers, all she could do was wait for the future.

My second post inspired by an InMon prompt (I guess I’m beyond the word limit, ooops).
If you like my work, feel free to share your opinion!


10 thoughts on “What Year Is It?

  1. I love that she recognizes him before meeting him. If our minds/souls are eternal, perhaps we CAN remember things from the future. That would explain deja vu.


  2. Hi Kate! I love the premise of this piece – as someone says, it would make a great prologue or opening scene for a novel.
    It needs a little tightening up on the editing front – the POV jumps a few times, and the tenses are mish-mashed together – but you totally took me along with the mystery of it all. Niiiice.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Elmo! Well, English is not my native language which is probably why the tenses are mish-mashed (sorry for that!). But I love learning, so I’ll try to work harder and improve my writing 🙂 Anyway, I’m happy you enjoyed!

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