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Vancouver, WA

May 31st, 2020

She’d woken up at 5:30 this morning, as always, and after rolling out of bed a full minute before her mother had reminded her for the umpteenth thousandth time that she needed to get ready for school, had gone to look out the window that gave her a view of the neighborhood she’d lived in since she’d been born.

Nothing had changed, Mr. Ashbey, their neighbor on the other side of the backyard fence, had been out waiting for his doberman to do his morning duties. Several of the houses she’d seen, as she always did, were lit up from the inside as people were waking up to start their day. Not a one of them seemed to understand that they were stuck here as much as she was. Or maybe they didn’t notice because these copies of them, the aspect of them stuck in this time, couldn’t perceive it. Maybe their future selves got to move on from this place and assume the paths that their lives were meant to take.

Maybe. But what she’d seen that morning had convinced her even more that her original theory was right. Mr. Ashbey, his first name was Derek, had been a family friend for a long time apparently, and he’d always been good to them. Her parents had never said he was a dear friend, but he was someone they could depend on and had done so throughout the years. This morning though he’d done something however that had unsettled her even as it had confirmed her theory, in her mind at least.

He’d winked at her, and nodded.

The wink might have been nothing on its own, but the nod seemed to cement the idea she’d come up with that others were stuck in this strange time loop, and they knew it. But then her hopes had been dashed when she’d had the moment to walk around the block to ask him about it.

He’d been gone.

His wife, Reagan Ashbey, had told her that he’d departed early that morning for a job assignment in Seattle and wasn’t bound to be back until the next day. She might have found this a little more suspicious if this hadn’t been the first time that she’d seen him notice her.

For now, her theory had been shot to hell in a way.

(to be continued)

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