Jack Carter was having a bad day. He had woken up with a headache, spilled coffee on his shirt, and missed the bus. He had arrived late at work, only to find out that his computer had crashed and he had lost all his files. He had spent hours trying to recover his data but to no avail.
He was about to give up and go home when he heard a knock on his cubicle.
He looked up and saw a familiar face.
It was Richard.
Jack felt a surge of panic. How was this possible? He had erased Richard from existence. He had erased him from his memory. He had erased him from the world.
But there he was, standing in front of him, smiling smugly.
“Hello, Jack,” Richard said. “Long time no see.”
Jack stared at him in disbelief.
“Richard?” he said weakly. “Is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me,” he said. “Your old boss. Your old nemesis. Your old friend.”
“Or should I say, your new friend?”
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a device.
It was the same device that Jack had used to erase him.
It was the same device that Jack had in his pocket.
Jack felt a cold sweat on his forehead.
“How did you get that?” he asked nervously.
Richard smiled wickedly.
“I got it from you,” he said. “Or rather, I got it back from you.”
He pointed the device at Jack and pressed the button.
A flash of light filled Jack’s eyes.
He felt a jolt of pain in his head.
He felt his memory erased and his life changed.
He forgot everything that had happened since he had bought the device online.
He forgot that he had erased Richard, his ex-wife, and anyone else from existence.
He forgot that he had ever used the device, owned the device, and everything except for one thing:
Richard was his boss. And he hated him.
Richard laughed as he watched Jack’s expression change from confusion to fear to anger.
“Welcome back, Jack,” he said. “Welcome back to your old life.”
He put the device back in his pocket and walked away, leaving Jack alone in his cubicle.
Jack felt a surge of rage. He wanted to punch Richard in the face. He wanted to quit his job and change his life.
But he didn’t know how.
He didn’t know that he had the power to do so.
He didn’t know that he had the power to erase people from existence.
He didn’t know that he had the power to play God.
But he was about to find out.
Because Richard wasn’t the only one who had come back from oblivion.
His ex-wife was back too and she was looking for revenge.
Jack sat at his desk, mind reeling. How was this possible? Richard and his ex-wife had somehow come back from being erased. But how?
Before he could ponder further, his phone rang. The caller ID displayed a number he didn’t recognize. Hesitantly, he answered.
“Hello, Jack.” The voice on the other end was icy cold and sent a shiver down his spine. It was the voice of his ex-wife, Emma.
“E-Emma?” Jack stammered. “How are you…what’s going on?”
“What’s going on is that I’m back,” Emma said sharply. “And I know what you did to me. You tried to erase me from existence.”
Jack’s heart pounded. “No, I would never-”
“Save it,” Emma snapped. “I don’t know how, but when you used that device on me, it happened. I was in limbo, neither fully here nor fully gone. But I fought my way back. And now I want answers.”
Jack’s mind raced. He had no idea his device could trap people in some purgatorial state.
“Emma, listen, I-”
“We’re doing this in person,” she interjected. “Meet me at our old spot in an hour. And bring the device.”
The line went dead. Jack sat paralyzed. How had this happened? And what did Emma want with the device?
Numbly, he grabbed the device from his bag. He considered trying to use it on Emma and Richard, to erase them. But he couldn’t risk it backfiring.
He had no choice but to meet Emma. He had to face what he had done.
With the mysterious device in hand, Jack set off into the night, uncertain if he would ever return.
Jack arrived at the old abandoned warehouse, their special place from better times. The building was just as dilapidated as he remembered. He slowly pushed open the rusty door and entered.
“Emma?” he called out nervously. “I’m here.”
A figure emerged from the shadows. It was Emma, still as breathtakingly beautiful as the day they married. But her face was stony, her eyes cold.
“The device,” she said sharply, holding out her hand.
Jack hesitated before reluctantly placing the metal gadget in her palm. Emma turned it over, examining it closely under the dim light.
“How does it work?” she asked.
“I…I don’t know exactly,” Jack stammered. “I just enter a name and date and press the button. But Emma, listen, I’m so sorry, I never meant to hurt you, I just wanted to erase our painful memories-”
“Enough!” Emma snapped. “I don’t want your excuses. I brought you here for one reason only - you’re going to bring our daughter back.”
Jack paled. “What? No, that’s impossible, she’s gone, you know she’s gone-”
Emma’s eyes flamed with anger. “No thanks to you! You’re the one who erased her from our lives! But this device can undo it. You’re going to use it to bring her back.”
Jack recoiled, horrified at the suggestion. Their daughter had died years ago; there was no bringing her back. Surely Emma knew that?
He tried again to reason with her. “Emma, even if we could, think of the consequences-”
But Emma wasn’t listening. Consumed by grief and rage, she seized the device and typed in a date and name.
Their daughter’s name.
Before Jack could react, Emma pressed the button. A blinding flash filled the room.
When it subsided, Emma looked around frantically. “Where is she?” she cried. “Where’s our baby?”
But the warehouse was empty. Their daughter had not materialized.
Emma crumpled to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Jack moved cautiously towards her.
“Emma…” he said gently.
She looked up at him with dazed, tear-filled eyes. The anger and fire were gone, leaving only bottomless grief and regret.
“She’s gone, Emma,” Jack said softly. “But now we can start to heal.”
He held out his hand and helped Emma to her feet. They embraced tightly, united in loss and a glimmer of hope for the future.
The device lay discarded on the floor. Its power was beyond comprehension. Sometimes, you cannot undo anything.
But perhaps one day, they could mend their hearts.
To be continued…