Offsets

Charlie Boyd was an average 17-year-old boy. He attended high school, played sports, and helped his community. Charlie was seen by his peers as a role model because of his kindness and open mind.

There was one thing that Charlie couldn’t stand: slavery. Charlie’s parents were slave victims, despite living in modern times and being a white, middle class family.

The truth about Charlie’s parents is difficult, so difficult that Charlie has all but nearly forgotten about it. At least he’s tried to. He used to sit up in his room at night, crying and wishing he would die over his dear grief.

It began when Charlie and his parents went on a vacation, in a far away land called Fiji. On that island, they stayed in a luxurious hotel right by the beach. In fact, it was so close to the beach you could nearly jump into the ocean from their balcony on the top floor.

During their stay, though, the infamous Fiji riots broke out. Their hotel was bombarded; people were being taken prisoner or killed. The hallways were decorated with blood and distant screams of terror rang out constantly.

Charlie and his parents took shelter on the balcony. They could hear their door being burst open; they hugged each other dearly thinking they had a sort while to live.

The leader of the Fiji revolutionists walked into the room, escorted by 6 of his meanest looking men possible. The leader, his name Georgie, looked at Charlie and his family with laughter.

“What do we got here? A couple Americans? If there is one thing I hate it this world it’s Americans! Especially ones that look happy! Kill them all.” Georgie cried out.

Thinking fast, Charlie’s dad does his best to secure his family’s safety. “Wait, we’re not Americans. We’re Canadians.”

“Canadians?” Georgie says with intrigue, “There no so bad. I guess we can’t kill them . . . we’ll only take them as slaves.”

Charlie watches as the men grab his mom and dad, and pull them away. One is about to grab Charlie when he makes a desperate maneuver to escape, he jumps off the hotel balcony into the deep blue sea below.

Charlie never heard from his parents again. He heard rumors, some that haunted him for weeks. He heard that his father was working under a goat trader in Nepal and that his mother was a personal servant to a three legged woman in Morocco. Many stories were passed, no one knowing for sure which is the truth.

Charlie moved in with his aunt and uncle, who were in a traveling circus. They were rarely home, leaving Charlie very independent.

Charlie often took naps after getting home from school. When he laid down on his bed today, though, he didn’t fall into a sleep-like state. Instead, he saw a flash of bright light and woke up on an 1830 Virginia Plantation.

Charlie looked around. African-Americans were wearing rags as they worked out in the fields, being whipped mercilessly by a large white man with a straw hat. Some wear near the barn house, carrying corn or water.

Charlie walks over to someone planning on getting their attention.

“Hello?” Charlie asks to a slave woman.

The slave woman doesn’t seem to of even heard Charlie.  Charlie starts calling out again and waving his hands in front of her face. No answer. It’s almost like he’s invisible.

Charlie runs over to another woman with no results. He tries another and another, but no one seems to notice his existence.

Charlie runs over to a calendar hung up on the wall. He looks at the date, baffled. It reads: August 12, 1831. He rips the sheet off the wall and looks at it hard, before shoving it in his pocket.

All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a group of nearly 70 slaves, with some on horseback, come charging onto the plantation.

Charlie watches in dismay as the revolting slaves use hatchets and knives to kill all the whites on the plantation. Even the large white man with a straw hat is stabbed in the pack with an axe. He drops to the ground, dropping his whip. He makes a thud as he lays on the ground, dead.

The slaves of the plantation either scream and run in fear, or watch in awe. The revolting slaves move through the plantation like a knife through butter, killing every white person they see, including women and children.

They then set the plantation on fire as slaves run out of the barn screaming.

Charlie stands numb. He sees dead bodies all around him. Some of the slaves stand over there former masters dead bodies, kicking and spitting in anger.

Then, to the rebel slaves’ surprise, a trumpet war cry is sounded off in the distance, from below the hill.

Some slave rebels from down the hill begin to run towards the plantation frantically.

“They’re here.” “They found us!” The rebel slaves from down the hill scream hysterically.

From below the hill, comes a militia of white soldiers on horseback, equipped with rifles with a bayonet attached on the end. They ride towards the plantation in an all out charge and begin killing every African-American they see.

Rebel or non-rebel, armed slave or not, the militia shoots or stabs every slave that gets in their way.

Some of the rebels surrender. In return, some of the surrenders are shot.

Some of the rebels flee, some are caught, some escape.

Charlie sees the bright flash of light again and wakes up in modern times, lying on his bedroom floor naked.

Charlie gets up slowly, realizing how massive headache he has. He rubs his head with his right hand, wondering to himself if he just had the most vivid dream of his life or if he time travelled.

Charlie sits at a table in the school library, with a large encyclopedia-type book in front of him. Sitting next to him is his good friend, Matt Chews.

“What do you mean you time travelled?” Matt asks with confusion as Charlie flips through the pages of his book.

“Meaning I travelled through time.” Charlie answers sarcastically as he continues rummaging through the book.

“You know what I think? That you’re full of it. You didn’t time travel, it’s not possible.”

“I’m telling you, I did. Would I lie to you?”

“You need to really get more of a social life then. All that time on your own at that big house of yours has got you goin’ a little crazy. It happens to all of us, Charlie. We all go a little nuts every once in a while. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, you just need some help. Maybe a therapist or something.”

“You think I’m making this up? What kind of friend are you then, Matt? If something like this happened to you, I’d believe you.”

“I never said you are making this up, I’m just saying I don’t believe you. Maybe you where exposed to too much mercury as a child. It’s starting to mess with your brain.”

“Here it is” Charlie says as he finds the page, which is of the 1831 slave revolution.

“Someone else go through the same experience as you?”

“No. But I found the exact event that I witnessed. Nat’s Turner Slave Rebellion.”

“Who’s Nat Turner?”

“I don’t know. Some guy that led the rebellion I guess. It says here that a slave rebellion took place in Southampton County, Virginia during August 1831. That’s where I was. Nat Turner led a group of more than 70 enslaved and free blacks in an onslaught against residing white folks in that area. They killed nearly any white person they came across, including women and children.”

“Jesus. Bunch of savages.” Matt laughs, “That must have been a real pleasure to witness.”

“A white militia twice the size of the rebelling slaves defeated the rebellion. At least a hundred blacks were killed by the militia and 56 more were later executed.”

“That leader, Nat Turner, what was his fate?”

“He managed to escape the militia and eluded capture for a few months until he was discovered on hiding in a hole.”

“What they do then? Give him a slap on the wrist and tell him not to do it again?”

“No.” Charlie reads through the page and onto the next one, “No, they hanged him.”

“That doesn’t sound too successful of a riot. I’m no expert at rioting, but isn’t the goal to get something new accomplished. All they got accomplished was a couple dead whites and even more dead blacks.”

“it must have been trying to tell me something. I wouldn’t just go back there in time randomly if it didn’t teach me a lesson.”

“What lesson? Turn the other cheek?”

“I don’t know.”

Charlie went home that day early, complaining to the school nurse he had a severe headache, when really all he wanted was to be on his own for a while.

Charlie sat on his couch, all spread all and slouching lazily.

Charlie thinks to himself. “Maybe the time travel involves my parents? Maybe it doesn’t. How am I ever suppose to know?”

Charlie, exhausted, begins to fall asleep, but before he can he sees a bright flash of light like the one he saw before.

This time Charlie is in a small barn, lit with a few candles.

Standing on top of a few haystacks is Nat Turner, a large and intelligent slave with an angry look in his eyes.

Around him, is a crowd of black slave men, who pump their fists and cheer as Nat preaches to them. Charlie is one of the men in the crowd, standing out like a Republican at a soup kitchen, but can’t be seen or felt.

Nat stands tall and cletches his fist. “My brothers, if we want this injustice to end, we must end it. No one is going to give it to us, we must take it. We’ve been too calm for too long, and know it’s our time to let them know who we are. We tried playing nice only to be treated like dirt. Well no longer, my brothers. For tonight, we will fight back with all with we’ve got. In the books of history to come, they will know what this day. The day the African gained his own freedom from the white man. If it kills every last one of us, so be it. For a death like that would be a glorious death because, then, we die as free men.”

The crowd cheers widly as Nat steps down and shakes hands.

The rebels begin to move out, as each of them is given a weapon. Some get knifes, some hatchets, some spikes, other are given meat cleavers.

Charlie wakes back up in his room, on the ground, nude. He has a headache, but he smiles because he knows what he must do now.

Charlie is walking with Matt in the crowded school hallway.

“You’re going back to Fiji?” Matt asks with concern as he navigates past other high school students. “Did you forget what happened before? You can’t go back. There’s now way.”

“I have too.” Charlie says with confidence. “If I ever want to see my parents alive again, I have too.”

Charlie’s plane touches down in Fiji. He gets his small bag of luggage, inside a toothbrush, tooth paste, shampoo, extra clothes, and a hand gun.

Charlie walks into a convenience store, one close to the hotel he and his family stayed at. Charlie recognizes the store because he visited it often and remembered the rebels used it as a base nearly the rebellion.

The store is empty, except for a small Asian man behind the counter.

“Hello, sir. Anything I can help you with?” The Asian man says behind the counter with poor English.

Charlie, in his dark sunglasses, hold up his gun to the Asian clerk.

“Whoa, man. Be cool. Be cool, man.” The Asian says with extreme nervousness.

“I’m looking for a man who calls himself Georgie.”

“Never heard of him.”

“For your own sake, I’d spill your guts on this guy. Don’t think I won’t hesitate to kill you.”

“Okay, okay. Be cool. Okay, Georgie is staying at the Benolian Inn.” The Asian man says with guiltiness.

“What room?”

Charlie walks onto the Benolian Inn grounds. It’s a cheap motel, Charlie questions why a political leader who be caught staying in a place like this.

Charlie wonders briefly if the clerk was lying about Georgie’s location. He considers going back and shooting the clerk if Georgie wasn’t here.

Charlie knocks on the door, number 23. A middle-aged Asian man enters, Charlie hold up the gun at the man and walks himself into the room.

Charlie shuts the door behind him, and looks around the room.

“Where is he?” Charlie asks it his toughest possible voice.

“Where is who?” the Asian man says with all calmness.

“You know who. Georgie.”

“He’s – he’s in the bedroom.”

Charlie keeps the Asian man in his sight as he opens the door to the bedroom, seeing Georgie lying on the bed half naked watching television.

Georgie smiles when he sees Charlie, like he had been expecting him. “Well, look who it is? My old friend, the Candian.”

“Where are my parents?” Charlie says with his gun pointed at Georgie.

“I’m sorry, but your mother and father are dead.”

“What?”

“They died soon after you were born. You never knew it.” Georgie says to a very conflicted Charlie.

“Not true. I lived with them for 17 years.”

“Those weren’t your real parents, Charlie. You see, you have a great gift. You have a gift to travel through time. ”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“The government has secretly been using you for research. You real parents knew this, but the government refused to let them raise you. The parents threatened to expose your secret, and then were coincidentally killed in a horrible car accident the next week.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The whole Fiji Revolution was set up. It never really happened even though you thought it did. The governments payed me to capture you’re so-called parents and make it appear like they were to be entered into slavery.”

“You mean they weren’t my real parents?”

“Actors really. Must have done a pretty good job then if you didn’t even realize it. Anyway, this terrible memory helped triggered your flashbacks to the past. To the slave time, I believe.”

“How do they know about that?”

“Because, whatever you can see they can see.”

“What?”

“When you were a young child, the government installed a small chip into your brain that has the ability to see whatever you see. When you time travel, they see that too.”

“How many people know this?”

“As far as I know, only the very highest ranking officials. You’re gift, if left in the wrong hands, can be very dangerous.”

“I still don’t understand. How does it work?”

“Know one knows for sure. You’re one of a kind, Charlie. We only know minuscule facts about what happens to you. The government knows how to offset certain flashbacks. Whatever terrible events in your lifetime somehow trigger these flashbacks. For instance, when you were a young child, the government made it appear like your brother died in the Iraq War. You later had a flashback from World War 2. That’s how it works. The government has been manipulating you this whole time.”

Charlie, confused and disoriented, runs out of the hotel.

He vision begins to blur bright white and now he is in back in the slave times.

He is in a barn late at night, only one candle is lit and that is near a pregnant black slave and a male slave kneeling between her legs as she gives birth.

The baby eventually comes out of the black female slave after some tough labor. The male holds the little wet baby in his arms, umbilical cord still attached.

“What do we name him?” The black male asks the female slave as he gently rocks the newborn.

“Nat.” The female slave says as he is absolutely exhausted after giving birth.

“Nat.” The black male says with delight. “Nat Turner. I have a good feeling that one day this little boy is going to have a great influence.”

To Charlie’s surprise, the black male turns to Charlie.

“What do you think about that, Charlie?” the black male says with a smile.

Charlie screams in his bed in modern times. The lights to his room turn on, and there is his mom and dad.

“What’s the matter?” “Is everything alright?” Charlie’s mom and dad ask.

“Just a bad dream. I’ll be fine.” Charlie says innocently.

Charlie’s mom and dad leave the room and head back to their own.

Charlie lays awake in bed, on the verge on a deep sleep.

“Just a bad dream.” He says to himself.

Charlie then reaches in his pocket, and pulls out a piece of appear that reads “August 12, 1831.

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