Making Time for the Kids

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I ran hard from Billings Place to the East 2nd school yard and saw the sniper at the gate, shooting me in the gut, where I fell, died. It hadn’t happened like this before; coming back, I’d changed things. I’d been a survivor of the massacre. Shit. I had no time to think about the ramifications of this change. Like a ton of bricks, I threw myself at the sniper before my kids were among the first casualties splattered all over the green top. I severed his spine with a bowie knife. When he fell forward I kicked his assault rifle away from his body, and grabbed my kids and ran from the yard, pulling Sarita and Manny hard behind me.

(Image by Freepik)

Hysterical, they looked up at me, “Dad? B-but?” I’d just died in front of them, but here I was, gray haired, 15 years older, saving them.

“It’s Dad.” I ran harder, pulling them home just a few blocks away. My younger self hadn’t faded completely; I thought I might disappear if I’d had, if he’d had. I didn’t know; nobody did, but I was going to find out about time paradoxes and the butterfly effect in one fell swoop.

My kids were crying; I ignored them and rushed into my building minutes later, ringing the bell since I didn’t have keys. Sara came down, so achingly beautiful, I threw my arms around her body. “Ronnie? What?” I kissed her face everywhere.

“Wait,” she said, noticing the kids were crying; Sara pushed me away, noting the differences in me. I wouldn’t let her go; after the massacre, Sara had taken forty sleeping pills. After the massacre, I’d become obsessed with time. After the massacre, I’d lost my mind and somehow learned things I couldn’t have learned before.

Sarita reached up and tugged at my shirt, “Papi? Daddy?” I pulled Sarita and Manny into an embrace. I started sobbing, “I missed you so much. I missed you so much.”

Sara stopped pushing me, she hugged me harder, “What happened? Please,” she started to cry then, and I shut my eyes, waiting to not exist, hoping I’d be able to stay. I didn’t know.

And I didn’t care. I’d saved them all. I’d saved them.


This story previously appeared in Daily Science Fiction.
Edited by Mitchelle Lumumba.


Born in Jersey, raised in Brooklyn:  I'm a guy who's always been "writing" in his head and never, ever gave a real writing career a shot. I'd spend a decade or two not committing to anything, and here I am finally convincing myself to not waste time. It's never too late and my novel FOR THIS I WOULD BLEED might have an agent. Fingers crossed, because good things happen when you commit and stop wasting time.