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The Knowing Ones

Some people are chosen to know.

By Jenna TomovichPublished about a year ago 12 min read
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Photo from: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41578-019-0082-7

I held my hand over my mouth to keep from making any noise. Fear had never been so intense before as I hid in that closet. The dim light from the hallway seeped through the slots in the closet doors, giving me just enough light to see. The sound of footsteps from down the hall drew closer and closer until I could see a man standing in the doorway. I tried not to scream, nearly suffocating myself with my hand. He was dressed in all black and held a bloody hammer in his right hand. He observed my empty bed and knelt down to check underneath it. I wasn’t dumb enough to hide under there. Luckily, the window in my room was open. Maybe he would think I’d climbed out. The man walked over to the window, the cool September breeze blowing the curtains around like dancing ghosts. He leaned over the edge and looked down. After a few moments he slammed his fist down on the window sill in frustration and stormed out of the room and down the steps.

My mother, father, and older sister were all murdered that night. A neighbor had heard the screams and called the police. When they arrived, they found me still huddled in my closet, too afraid to move. They never caught the intruder.

A year had passed and I’d been living with my aunt and her family just a few blocks down the road. It wasn’t easy being the kid whose family was murdered, especially in highschool. The looks, the whispers, the sympathetic cliches, it gets old. I had no idea that my already strange and tragic life was about to take an even more bizarre turn.

I was adapting to life at my aunt Rachel’s house. She is a kind, loving woman, and always treated me like one of her own. Her daughter, Mia, was a year ahead of me in highschool and her husband, Ron, was a quiet but kind man. Then there was Chevy, their five-year-old basset hound who was more of a house decoration than a dog considering he slept 90% of the time.

One Saturday, my aunt and uncle were out running errands, leaving Mia and I at home to watch our favorite trashy, day-time TV show. We were just about to find out who the real father was on Jerry Springer, when I heard a thud at the door.

“Did you hear that?” I asked Mia.

She shook her head, “Hear what?”

I got up from the couch and walked over to the front door, nearly tripping over Chevy on my way. I cautiously opened the door and looked around. There was a small, cardboard box laying on the welcome mat. I raised an eyebrow, suspiciously and looked around for the deliverer of the mysterious box. That’s when I heard it, a distant buzzing sound like a wasp. I turned to my left and there, hovering over the driveway, was a drone about the size of a small child. It was unlike any drone I’d ever seen, with a shiny, metallic-like body, blinking red light beams, and glowing, blue wings spinning in circles. There was something almost pixelated about it. Before I could approach it, it vanished into the sky like a flash of lightning. Stunned, I returned my gaze to the little box at my feet. I bent down and opened the lid, revealing a small, rectangular piece of paper inside. The only thing written on it was the name “Rita Polermo.” Confused, I walked back inside with the box in hand.

I set the box down on the coffee table, “Mia, you will never believe what I just saw!”

“Did you find anything?” She asked, still fixated on the TV.

“Yea, there was this drone,” I started.

“OH MY GOD! He’s not the father!” Mia shouted at the television. I waited for her to settle down. “Sorry, what were you saying, Bren?” She asked. Bren was the nickname everyone called me, short for Brenna.

“Do you know anyone named Rita Polermo?” I asked.

Mia shook her head, “Never heard of her.”

I sighed and turned to show her the box, but when I looked at the table where I’d left it, it was gone. “Mia, did you see where the box went?”

“What box?” she asked.

“I had a box that I brought in. It was just here!” I cried, looking frantically around the room.

“I didn’t see a box,” she replied, uninterested.

“Nevermind. It wasn’t important,” I huffed.

That evening, when Aunt Rachel and Ron returned home, we all sat down for dinner. I had almost forgotten about the drone and the box when my aunt said, “Oh, I have the saddest news. The woman who used to do my hair passed away from a heart attack this afternoon. She was only in her forties. Isn’t that awful?”

“That’s a shame,” my uncle said, taking a bite of chicken.

“I’m sorry, mom,” Mia said, sympathetically.

“It’s alright, I mean, we weren’t close, but Rita was a nice lady,” sighed Aunt Rachel.

I nearly choked on a mouthful of broccoli, “Wait, what was her name!?”

“Rita Polermo…why did you know her?” my aunt asked, startled.

I sat there, frozen. That was the name in the box. Not knowing what to say, I just stared down at my plate.

“Is everything OK, Bren?” my aunt asked.

I nodded, “Yea, um, I’m pretty tired. I think I’m gonna go to bed. Thank you for dinner.”

I stood up from the table and took my plate into the kitchen. As I was disposing of the leftovers in the trash I could hear my aunt whisper to my uncle and cousin, “I think talk of death still bothers her. I shouldn’t have brought that up around her.” I snuck up to my room and shut the door, trying to process what just happened. I had received a box with the name of a woman who died shortly after. I couldn’t understand why or how, but I lay awake that night running through the possibilities in my head.

The next morning, I woke up to my alarm clock buzzing and the fresh morning breeze blowing in through my open window. As I rose to stretch my limbs, something tumbled off my bed. When I bent down to pick it up, I froze. It was another small, cardboard box. Inside was another piece of paper with the name, “Billy Adams.” I decided that I needed to share this with my aunt and uncle, especially after what happened the first time. I grabbed the box and ran downstairs.

“Aunt Rachel, Uncle Ron, I need to show you…,” I trailed off when I saw them sitting at the table, hands folded and looking at me concerned. “Is everything OK?” I asked them.

“Sit down, Bren. We want to talk to you about something,” my aunt instructed.

I walked over to the opposite side of the table and sat down. My cousin Mia was nowhere to be seen and I knew exactly where this conversation was going.

“We know this past year has been hard on you,” my aunt started, “What you went through…no 16-year-old should have to go through.”

I stopped her, “Aunt Rachel, you don’t have to-.”

“Please, Bren, just let me say this and the rest is up to you. Ron and I think you would benefit from continued therapy,” she said, staring at me pitifully.

Ron nodded, “We just want you to get the help you need to…cope.”

I fidgeted with my fingers under the table, nervously. “I already went through the city’s program for victims of traumatic events. I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” I answered quietly, staring down at my lap.

“It’s just a suggestion, Bren. You know we love you and just want the best for you,” replied my aunt, taking my hand from across the table.

That’s when I realized I wasn’t holding the box anymore. I jumped up from the table and looked around for it.

“What’s wrong?” my aunt asked, concerned.

“A box! There was a box!” I tried to explain, checking under the table.

My uncle’s phone began to ring and he excused himself to answer it in the other room.

“Bren, what box?” my aunt asked, also looking under the table.

“I came down here to show you a box! I woke up with it on my bed! It has a piece of paper with a name on it…,” I started. I heard the words coming out of my mouth and knew I sounded crazy.

“There was no box, Bren. You didn’t have anything with you when you came down,” my aunt tried to explain.

Ron returned from the other room, his face pale, “I need to go to the factory today. There’s been an accident.”

“Oh, no. Was anyone hurt?” Aunt Rachel asked, standing up from the table.

“Yea, uh…,” my uncle stared at my aunt and then at me, “A new kid who just started. He was killed in a chemical spill.”

“That’s terrible! His poor family,” Aunt Rachel lamented.

“What was his name?” I asked, feeling my heart begin to race.

“I don’t see how that matters, Bren-,” my uncle began to say.

“What was his name!?” I demanded, again.

“Billy…Billy Adams,” he answered, remorsefully.

I sat back in my chair and stared at the wall. Billy Adams. The name in the box. I decided to keep the drone and the boxes a secret from my aunt and uncle, especially after they had just suggested I go to therapy again. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop there.

In the weeks that followed, I received box after box, all containing a single name. No one else could see the drone that delivered them. I know because one time, Mia was walking inside with me after driving home from school and the drone literally flew over our heads and dropped the box right on the doorstep in front of us. She didn’t see the drone or the box, and just walked inside like nothing had happened. I didn’t dare show anyone the boxes either because everytime I’d try, they would disappear. I would have thought I was going crazy, except for the fact that every single person whose name was in the box would die shortly after opening it. They weren’t always people I had any connection to either. Many I would hear about from the news like the woman in Texas who was murdered by her husband or the man from Florida who was one of six victims of a flash flood. If you can believe it, it became almost routine. Sometimes I would get multiple boxes a day, other times I would get one or two a week. I didn’t dare tell a soul because I didn’t want people to think I was insane or cursed. I just accepted that death was a part of me, and maybe I was doomed to know things before anyone else because I had been so close to death myself.

One evening, about six months after I had gotten the first box, I was sitting at the kitchen table, doing schoolwork. My aunt and uncle were at Mia’s softball game, and I was enjoying having the house to myself. Halfway through an algebra equation, I was startled by Chevy’s sudden howling. I had never heard Chevy howl before, let alone make any noise. I ran to the living room where I found Chevy perched up on the couch, barking at something out the window.

“Chevy! What are you-,” that’s when I saw it. A bright, bluish light coming from the front yard. I ran over next to Chevy on the couch, and stared in terror at the entity. The light began to grow bigger and bigger, swallowing the world around it. Chevy leaped off the couch and ran into the kitchen to hide. I felt my body go numb, like I didn’t have control over my limbs. The light finally reached the house, flooded in through the window, and engulfed me.

When I woke up, I was lying in the middle of a white room with no windows, doors or walls. It was just infinite white. I slowly stood up and looked around, feeling the panic setting in.

“Hello!?” I screamed, spinning in a circle. Just then, a section of the white room slid up, revealing a rectangular doorway. Determined to get out of there, I ran through the door, and it slid shut behind me.

I entered a room with high ceilings made of glass. Behind the glass was a galactic sky with planets, stars, and colors I’d never seen before. The room around me was a large, circular dome with beautiful stone carvings along the walls. The floor looked like a giant compass, with star-like points reaching out in all directions. Finally, in the center of the room was a large, steel throne, and on it, a creature dressed in beautiful robes of white silk. He had the appearance of a man, but was about three times the size of a human. His skin was so bright it looked like he was made of sunlight and his eyes were a piercing blue. He had plain, yet perfect features, and his hair was covered by a tall, white pharaoh-like hat. In his right hand was a silver staff with a glowing blue light at the top, surrounded by a silver, twisting, cage.

I walked towards him, “God?”

The creature laughed a hearty, bellowing laugh, “You may call me that if it suits you,” he answered in a deep voice. “Welcome Brenna.”

“What are you? Where am I?” I asked, looking around at the glorious throne room.

The creature leaned forward, his eyes sending a wave of wonder through me, “You are elsewhere. Not on earth, not dead, just elsewhere. As for who I am, well, the most simple explanation would be a higher life form. Please, do not be frightened. I will return you to your home soon.”

I shook my head in disbelief, “This is a dream. This isn’t real.”

“You received my packages, did you not?” the creature asked.

My heart nearly stopped. “Y-yes,” I stuttered, “You sent the drones? The boxes?”

The creature nodded.

“So, was it you who killed all those people?” I demanded, angrily.

“No, I did not kill them. All life dies, Brenna. I simply know who, when, where, and how,” he replied matter of factly.

“So why me? Why would you send them to me if I can’t do anything about it? I can’t stop them from dying! I can’t tell anyone or show anyone! Why are you doing this to me?” I yelled, becoming frustrated.

“I need you to listen very carefully to what I am about to tell you. Can you do that, Brenna?” asked the creature, calmly.

I took in a deep breath, swallowing my frustration and nodded.

“We chose you, Brenna. We chose to use you as a test in the next phase of human evolution. We gave you a gift called ‘The Knowing’. It’s something we only give to a very small number of humans every generation,” the creature began.

“Wait!” I interrupted, “We…there’s more of you? There’s more people like me?”

The creature laughed quietly, “Yes, there are many of us. We created humans to try and develop a more advanced and intelligent lifeform. We give a small number of humans certain gifts to test your species’s ability to cope and handle life with an advanced sense of knowing.”

I thought for a minute, “So, my gift is knowing someone will die before it happens? But…there are other gifts too?”

“Correct,” he responded, “There are others with your specific gift and there are others with different gifts. We monitor how each subject deals with their evolutionary advancement and decide if we will begin to include these traits in future generations. It’s what you humans call…a work in progress.”

“So why me?” I asked, feeling unworthy.

“You endured a very serious and traumatic event. You survived your family’s murder and was able to go on when many would simply…shut down,” he explained, “We choose our subjects carefully, and only choose those who are emotionally and mentally capable of managing the gifts.”

“So what now? I just have to deal with knowing the names of people who are going to die?” I asked, feeling my heart sink.

“The past six months were a test, but we will now give you an option to continue on to the next phase of your gift or to relinquish it completely. Should you choose to continue, you will have a longer period of time in between the revelation of the name and the moment the person will perish. You will have the opportunity to warn them and we will only send you names of people whose paths you will cross in life naturally. You will never have to go out of your way to meet these people. Finally, you will also receive one key piece of information about their approaching demise that could help them avoid it. Do you understand?” asked the creature.

I could give back the gift. I thought for a long time, not wanting to keep the creature waiting but also not wanting to make a hasty decision. I could be free of the burden of knowing who would die. Then again, I thought about my family and how I would have wanted someone to warn them of their death. If someone had, maybe they’d still be here.

I looked up at the creature, directly into his horrifyingly beautiful, blue eyes, “I’ll continue…with the gift.”

Sci Fi
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About the Creator

Jenna Tomovich

Hey guys! My name is Jenna and I'm a twenty-something post-grad living in the DC area! I mostly write for fun and it's always been a hobby of mine. I hope you enjoy my stores and that they bring some excitement to your day!

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