It’s hard to be frustrated with this life when it’s the only one I’ve ever known.
I skip. I am a skipper.
I don’t know if that’s what other people would call it, but it just what I’ve always called it; I jump forwards in time at random intervals.
Other people could fly. Some were super strong. I skipped forwards.
Always forwards. Uncontrollably.
I might stay in a place and time for a while, I might not. It might be seconds. It might be hours. Once, it was for a few blissful weeks. I might skip forwards moments or decades.
Either way, I’m always moving forwards and on to the next new thing.
I’ll learn things. Meet new people. New beings. I’ve seen civilisations rise and fall. I’ve seen what humanity becomes. I’ve seen how it dies.
It has taken me a long time, but I think I am nearing the end of my journey onwards now. I sense it. I’m old. I’m weak. I only have a few jumps left in me – such has been the physical and mental toll my power had taken on me.
I miss my parents. I never stayed in one place long enough to make any real friends. At least, not once my ‘gift’ fully manifested.
Except for the girl. I’ve forgotten her name, but she was kind to me when I stayed in that one timeline for weeks. I had nowhere to go. Nobody to help me.
Except her. She was kind, even if it was only in passing. She told me that my plight sounded like something she had read in a book once. But that person came back, eventually. Perhaps they would have a cue for it in the future, or a way I could return to her.
No such luck.
I wish I could remember her name.
I’d talk to people when I had the chance. Or, I did until human languages changed. I was always jealous of people who lived in a normal timeline. They could get to know each other. Spend time learning things. Grow old with someone special.
It’s hard to even remember human beings now. I must have been in my mid-20s when they died out, having achieved little else beyond doing everything in their power to speed up the world’s decay.
I don’t know how old I am now… Older, certainly. A desire to control things has given way to acceptance. I just keep skipping, waiting for the jump that will finally drop me into oblivion; either as the world ends or my body gives out.
I suppose, oddly, I’ve grown old with the planet rather than with a person. Nobody else has that privilege.
The air is hard to breathe in this place. There’s nothing but rock and an angry sky. And yet here I am, trying to remember a girl’s name from when I was a young man.
Another jump forwards. It hurts this time.
It’s never hurt before.
How much could I have achieved if I’d learned to control this ability of mine?
How much should have achieved?
It’s too late now.
I remember seeing stories about heroes who saved the world or the galaxy from some huge plot. We should all have been so lucky to be born destined for something like that.
Would I have saved the world if I was able to go back and warn people of what was to come?
Probably not. I’d probably have been ignored. I’d probably have just felt more lost; I’d have had to work twice as hard to find my place. At least this way I have a direction.
Forwards. Always forwards.
The skies are somehow darker here. I don’t know if it’s the setting sun or my eyes failing. I don’t know how much further forwards it is.
I don’t stay long enough to work out which.
It hurts more. Blood runs from my nose.
The next one will be the last. I know it.
What was that girl’s name?
I take a deep breath, feeling the final forwards lurch building inside me.
I tell myself it’s OK.