Short Story Fiction
Mystery of a Future Time
Scott A. Gese

He was missing ten years of his life. Getting it back would take a leap of faith.

Mystery-of-a-Future-Time-Heather-Zabriskie-unsplashHeather Zabriskie/Unsplash

Rosco Patricks turned off the water. His first shower in his newly remodeled bathroom worked perfectly.

His wife had been nagging him about the outdated flooring, shower tile and fixtures for the past nine months. He had been reluctant to start the project but finally gave in a couple of months ago. Now that it was finished he realized it was worth the effort.

Rosco opened the shower door and reached for his towel. He dried himself off, slipped on his robe and shaved using his new sink and mirror. As soon as he opened the bathroom door, he realized something wasn’t right.

He stopped dead in his tracks. The bedroom didn’t look the same. Before he took his shower there was carpet on the floor. It had been there for the past five years. Now the floor was wood with a fancy wool rug on it. The walls had been painted from a neutral gray to a light peach color.

Rosco was confused “What the hell? Am I having a senior moment? Am I having a lucid dream?” He checked by poking his finger onto the palm of his hand. No, he wasn’t dreaming. He was wide awake. He tried to rationalize what he was seeing. “Maybe I dreamt about the carpet. That must be it. I’m only 35. Senior moments don’t happen to people my age. It must have been a dream. I need to start eating better. Maybe start an exercise program or something.”

Rosco finished dressing and headed down the stairs. As he stepped into the kitchen his heart skipped a beat. Things had dramatically changed in this area of the house. The whole kitchen had been updated. New cabinets and appliances were in place and the old Formica countertops had been replaced with granite.

A woman was busying herself at the sink. He didn’t recognize the graying hair. She turned to face him. It was his wife, Tina, but she looked much older. He was dumbfounded.

“What is it, Rosco. Are you OK?” She asked.

He didn’t know how to respond. He stood silent as he tried to process what the hell was going on.

“Rosco?” Tina’s look of concern became apparent.

Rosco regained his composure. “Yes, yes I’m fine. I was just thinking about something.

“Oh. And what was that?” She asked.

“About the new shower. It works really well.”

“New?” she asked. “You remodeled that shower ten years ago. Are you sure you’re alright?”

Rosco wasn’t sure he had heard her right. “Ten years ago? Has it been that long?”

“Yes, I remember you wanted to get it done before you retired. That was nine years ago.”

“Well it still works great.” Rosco excused himself. “I’ll be right back.”

He stepped into the downstairs bathroom and closed the door. “Retired?” He looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe what he saw staring back at him. It was himself but a much older man. There were wrinkles on his face and a healthy number of gray hairs were overtaking his once brown scalp. He reached up and touched his face. It was his but he didn’t understand how it could be. Nothing was making sense. All he did was take a shower. Where had the past ten years gone. He couldn’t remember a day of it.

He stared at the image in the mirror and began to question his very sanity. “Where have I been? What have I done? What is wrong with my brain?”

Something was very wrong with Rosco and he didn’t know what to do about it. He knew he couldn’t stay in the bathroom all day. He had to reach some sort of conclusion about his dilemma or at least make a decision about what to do next.

He finally came out and went into the kitchen. He took Tina by the hand. “Come with me,” he stated as he led her up the stairs. It was a last ditch effort. Rosco was either hoping for a miracle or conformation he really was going insane. He led is wife into the bedroom.

“My goodness, Rosco. What are you up to?” Tina had the wrong idea. Sex was the last thing on Rosco’s mind.

He led her into the upstairs bathroom and closed the door. This is where he was when this nightmare of a day had started. He was hoping this is where it would end.

Rosco turned and looked into his wife’s eyes. They were as beautiful as ever. Her gray hair had disappeared. She looked ten years younger. The expression on her face spoke volumes.

“Look in the mirror.”

Tina turned toward the mirror and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It was the faces of her and Rosco, but they were both much younger.”What is going on here?” She asked.

“I don’t know,” replied Rosco. I stepped out of the shower this morning and into an episode of Twilight Zone. I thought I was going insane.”

“And now I am. I’m young again. I don’t get it?” Replied Tina.

They were in the bathroom for about a half an hour when Rosco decided to open the door. When he did, they were in for another shock. Their bedroom was gone. In its place was a small simply decorated room with a bed and a single nightstand. A woman stood outside the door waiting patiently. “There you two are. I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to come out. It’s time for your medication.”

They didn’t step out of the bathroom. “Medication?” Asked Tina. “Who are you?”

“Oh Tina, you’re so predictable. You ask me the same question every day and I tell you the same thing. Don’t you remember?”

“No, please tell me again.”

“My name is Maria. I’m an aid here at the Shady Rest Nursing Home where you both live.”

Tina and Rosco turned their faces toward each other. Tina closed the door.

“My God! How far into the future do you think we are now?” Wondered Rosco out loud.

“I don’t even want to know,” replied Tina. She was beginning to worry. “What do we do now? Are we trapped in this insanity forever?”

“Maybe we can climb out the window?” Suggested Rosco.

He opened the bathroom window and looked out. “It’s a long way to the ground.”

A tree branch was next to the window. “Maybe we can scale this branch and climb down the tree.”

Rosco closed the window. “This isn’t going to work.”

“Why not?” Tina didn’t understand.

That big tree. That’s the small tree I planted last Summer.”

The two discussed their options and decided to open the door again. They both agreed, no matter what was on the other side, they were going to step out of the bathroom and take their chances.

Rosco opened the door. There was nothing there. Nothing but darkness. It was as black as a starless night. They both stood at the threshold and strained to see something, anything at all. The darkness was total.

“Wow. Now what?”

“We agreed. What choice do we have?”

“We could close the door again?”

“How long can we keep that up? “I say no, let’s take our chances. Maybe things will work themselves out.”

They agreed to take their chances. They hugged each other. Kissed and said their final I love you’s and a short prayer. They held hands as they stepped through the doorway together.

Rosco opened his eyes. He was laying in his bed. His wife was at his side. The bedroom walls were back to a neutral gray. It was a good sign. Maybe things were back to the way they were before he took his shower. His wife was awake and heard Rosco stirring. “Are you going to start the remodel on the bathroom today?”

Rosco hesitated… “No”

The reply was instantaneous. “Good”

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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