The Crossing

If you had the power to change your past - to fix every mistake you've ever made, to live the perfect life - would you do it?

Alice Carlton, the sixteen-year-old good girl, is dying because of a single mistake.
Charon is trapped in a living death because he dared fight his fate.
Two wrongs never make a right. Or do they?

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1. Death

            “C’mon, Al, just run across when there are no cars coming! It’s not that hard!” Benji’s voice was almost swallowed by the roar of a passing motorcycle, but Alice heard him anyways. They were walking home from school together, just like they had every day since third grade. Before that, their mothers had taken turns driving them.

            “Easy for you to say! You know, some of us aren’t quite as fast as you. What do you run again? A four minute mile?”

            Benji smiled. “Three-fifty-six, baby. Oh yeah. You know, you really ought to worship me. Yes, I am just that cool.” Alice rolled her eyes. It was only that much more annoying that it was true. Benji was the fastest runner in the county. He’d taken first in every race he’d ever competed in, including those with adults and professional runners.

            Alice good-naturedly shoved Benji, and he mock stumbled into the street. Right in front of an oncoming semi. His unnaturally quick reflexes were the only thing that saved him from becoming a Benji-pancake.

            “Yo! Cut it, Al! You want to get me killed?”

            “Maybe…” She smiled wickedly. “You know, then maybe I wouldn’t have to hear you bragging about how great you are like every day on the way home-”

            “Aw, come on, that’s not fair. You’d miss me! My gorgeous smile is the only ray of sunshine in your dreary day.” Alice shoved him again, harder this time. She hated when he got all cheesy on her.

            “Just for that, I’m sooo not J-walking with you. I’m going to go to the light, like a normal person.” Alice sniffed as primly as she could while fighting a smile. She didn’t know where Benji had gotten this idea that waking across the street here was faster than going down the block, but it was stupid. Even she knew that.

            But Benji wasn’t putting up with it. His hand easily covered her shoulder, and he pulled her back toward the curb. “Look, just try it once, alright? Then we never have to take short-cuts again.”
            “Promise?”

            “Promise. Now watch me.” And Benji jumped into the street. When he reached the middle, he stopped running, put his hands in his pockets, and whistled as he strolled nonchalantly across the asphalt.

            “Show-off,” Alice grouched when he reached the other end unscathed. She tried to look angry and severe, but the look cracked into a giant smile. Then that faded away into the pounding of her heart. “Seriously, I don’t think I can do this, Benj. There’s no way I’ll ever make it across.”

            Benji, it seemed, was not in a mood to take no for an answer. He waited for a momentary clear, and darted back to Alice’s side with a flourish of his invisible cape. “Come on Alice, live a little! It’s not even dangerous! People do it all the time. Only prudes like you actually use cross-walks!”

            “You take that back! I am sooo not a prude!”

            “Since when? Have you even ever made out with a guy before?”

            “Yes! Michael Rogers, at Homecoming, if you must know. Not that it’s any of your business!”

            Alice knew that her furious blush gave away the lie instantly, and Benji pounced on the moment of weakness. “So lying! So you really have never kissed anyone? Strange… Ok, here’s the deal. You cross here with me, I’ll kiss you. We have to cure this prudishness someday.”

            “Ew! You’re practically my brother!”

            “But we’re not related, are we?” Benji looked practically maniacal, his face contorted in a triumphant grin. They both knew he’d won. If Alice were to back out now, Benji would finally have his “proof” that she was a lesbian.

            “Fine. Once.”

            Alice prepared to cross by taking deep breaths and stealthily wiping her sweaty palms on the sides of her jeans. Was it just her, of did it suddenly get a lot warmer? “Benji, I don’t think I can do this.”

            “No, you’ll do fine. Just go when I say… Now!”

            Alice didn’t even look as she sprinted out across the street. Her gymnast’s body lunged with everything she had, and while she wasn’t the best vaulter, she was passably fast. But not fast enough.

            The screech of the tires was all the warning she had before something hard slammed into Alice’s body. She felt herself fly up and over the hood of the car, grabbing vainly for something – anything – to hold on to as she flipped onto the roof. But her body was in shock. Her lungs couldn’t grasp any air, her fingers couldn’t move. She was numb inside.

            Then she hit the ground. Hard. Breathless and in agony, Alice waited to die. She didn’t have to wait more than a second before the second car hit her, but it felt like an hour. It felt like a day. An eternity. This time, the pain wasn’t even there. She just stopped existing below her neck. Then she stopped existing above it.

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