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Michael awoke from a deep slumber to the sound of gale force winds pounding the heavy rain against his windows. It looked like a hurricane. Strange, hurricanes usually didn’t make it up this far north. Michael shrugged it off, and took a shower. On his way to the shower, he looked at his phone.

7:23 AM

He stepped into the shower, brushed his teeth, and got himself prepared for the day. Once he got dressed, he grabbed his things, went to the garage, and turned the ignition on. It was just like every day. Yet, something felt off, as if he had been through all this already. He turned on the radio.

“Good morning, it’s October 14th. It’s rainy and 4 degrees in downtown Toronto,” said the radio host. “Here’s what’s marking news this hour.”

Michael kept an ear on the headlines as he backed his car out of the garage. Weather, ostensibly, was the top story. Followed by news from south of the border. Sounded like the Trump investigation was gaining some traction. Business news, sports news, entertainment news — soon Michael lost interest. He turned the radio to music for the rest of the drive.

Michael was headed to meet a friend from out of town today. Haven’t seen him in years. His name was Peter. They were friends from elementary school, but got separated when they ended up going to different colleges. Michael decided to stay close to home. Peter, on the other hand, decided to be a bit more adventurous, and went overseas. It was 5 years since the two last met. It was Peter who reached out first. Peter told Michael he was in town on business, and was hoping to catch up. Michael agreed, hoping to rekindle a friendship he thought he had lost.

Michael’s vision felt a bit blurry. Too bad he didn’t have his glasses with him. He didn’t feel like he needed it earlier in the day. His car was stopped at the lights. His hands rested at his sides, tapping along to the beats of the music. His hands fell upon an object. Michael looked at it to identify it. It was his glasses. This wasn’t where he usually left them. He usually left them on his desk, by his computer. He must have left them in the car from yesterday. Only, he never left the house yesterday. Maybe it was the day before that? No, he was certain he was wearing the pair at home yesterday.

Maybe he was tired. That must’ve been it. He was delusional. That’s it. Must be that he didn’t get enough sleep yesterday. Still, rather serendipitous. He put on his glasses before setting off. He got on the freeway, quickly beginning to cruise at a healthy speed. Perhaps it was too quick. It didn’t matter, anyways. Michael quickly ran into traffic, and had to slow down. What a bummer. He thought he was going to make it there on time, too.

The traffic was worse than was usual. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe there was an accident. Michael reached for his phone. He opened up the maps app. There was nothing. Strange. He opened up a text to Peter.

Just hit traffic. Might be late. Will text soon.

He then proceeded to pull out a journal from his bag. Michael liked to write down his thoughts whenever he got the chance. He used to do it a lot when he used to commute by rail, but as he began to work from home, this habit quickly died. Today, however, the traffic wasn’t budging an inch. Michael looked at his journal with nostalgia. It brought back memories. He opened it up and went through the pages, one by one, occasionally looking up to see if traffic had resumed. He read each page with care. It was rather heartwarming.

He kept flipping through the pages until he had reached his final entry. Or, at least, it was in his memory. He flipped the page, prepared to make a note, when he was, instead, greeted by a giant, all caps, message.

DON’T LEAVE

STAY HOME

Michael had a perplexed look about his face. He had no recollection of making this entry. He flipped the pages to see if there were any other such entries. There were. Around 10 pages worth. Michael closed the journal, staring out the windscreen in disbelief. He rubbed his eyes. Must have been the weather getting to him.

Just then, Michael could hear faint noises coming from behind him. He checked his mirrors. There was black smoke that engulfed the skies behind him. He saw the people getting out of their cars, running away from the smoke. Michael was on the freeway overpass, overlooking a very busy 4 lane through way below. Michael, too, got out of his car, and began to run.

Then, the explosions began. One by one, as if from a Hollywood movie, the cars began to explode. They, too, became engulfed in black smoke. Each car set off an explosion in the cars adjacent, and soon, it began to catch up to the running drivers. In the panic, many drivers began to trip on their feet. One of those drivers was Michael.

He tripped pretty badly, scraping his knees through his pants. Blood began to stain his garments. The pain made it difficult to get up. All he could do was watch, as the explosions encroached upon his location. He looked at his right hand. He was still holding the journal. He opened it up, again, and kept flipping the pages, past the all caps messages. Just past the final message, there was one more, this time, in a more muted tone.

If you’re reading this, maybe it’s not too late. This is the only way we can talk to you. Don’t go out today. Save yourself.

Michael took out his pen from his coat pocket, and began to write inside the journal.

This is Michael. Please, don’t make the same mistake I did.

Michael closed the book. He closed his eyes.

Boom

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Michael awoke from a deep slumber. He felt a pain in his knees. Was it raining outside? He looked out the window. Sunshine glistened the rooftops in his neighborhood. He looked at his bedside table. It was his journal. Strange. He had no memory of placing it there. Nor did he make use of it yesterday. He picked it up, and leafed through the pages. He saw a message, hastily written, covered in bloodstains. He looked out the window. He saw the rain clouds approach from a distance. He picked up his phone, and, after searching a bit, made a call.

“Peter?”

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