Theodora was a huge believer of a fourth dimension. The middle aged woman would always speak about feeling her dead husband’s presence and was even found talking to him late into night. Joseph and Sam were raised with stories about spirits and regular visits to a medium. Theodora thought that the visits would help her two sons cope with their father’s death. She wasn't ready to believe that they had surpassed the feeling of loss. Young Joseph was the only one out of the three to seem fine with his father’s passing. He was okay with it, didn't really see the big problem that one death could cause. Mostly, he didn't react because he had seen it coming.
Theodora always loved her youngest son most. He has the gift that she always respected and adored, even if it wasn't the gift she was expecting. The woman believed her son was some kind of medium, when in reality he was an oracle. A boy cursed with visions of the future that always came true. These weren't normal visions. They were always grotesque and painful. They were always about death.
It started with his neighbor’s death.
One lonely night, Joseph had pierced the silence with a high pitched scream as he startled awake from what he thought was another nightmare. Sam ran across the room to his younger brother, eyes wide with concern. The young boy shivered slightly when the older of the two asked what he had dreamt about.
“Anna,” he murmured.
Sam tilted his head a little, “The next door neighbor?”
Joseph nodded slowly and shakily. “Yes. S-She was coming back from a party… Driving herself home on the highway… She was drunk and l-lost control and WHOOSH!” He used his hands to replicate a car flying off a cliff.
Sam put a hand on his brother’s shoulder, “I’m sure it was just a nightmare. Don’t worry.”
Two days later they woke up to police sirens. They followed the sirens’ wailing outside to find two police cars parked outside the neighbor’s house. Theodora walked back to her two boys, a sad look on her face.
“Mum, what happened?” the thirteen-year-old Sam asked Theodora.
“Miss Anna got into a traffic accident last night,” she shook her head.
From then on, Joseph realized that his nightmares weren't just nightmares. They were really premonitions. He was seeing people die right in front of his eyes. It was too much for a seven-year-old to take all at once, but as he grew he became quite used to it. He saw death so often that he became numb to the clenching feeling he would get in his chest. He even tried to save his teacher from getting hit by a bus, but it didn't work. One could not escape from fate.
Joseph was in his room, packing up a change of clothes in his black backpack. He looked over at his brother's empty bed and sighed. That would become a common sight for him, he would have to get used to it. Pushing his brown bangs out of his face, he thought about his latest vision. A plane crash. Not very reassuring since he was taking a flight to New York that day.
He pulled the black backpack over his shoulder and ran down the hallway and out into the street. The three pings signaled that he had gotten a new text, so he stopped to check it out.
< I'll b a little late. Meet u @ d airport. -Sam >
Joseph shook his head, putting his cellphone back in his pocket. He ran to the closest bus stop, hurrying to get inside the bus before it left. Finally inside, he relaxed and took a seat. His brown curls fell over his face once again, forcing him to push them away. He straightened up his white dress shirt and tan sweater. Sam always called him a neat freak and a perfectionist. The thoughts of Sam made Joseph frown. He couldn't bring himself to admit it, but he knew that he would miss his brother. He would miss his concerned eyes and his bright smile. The shine in Sam's light brown hair and the raggedy t-shirts that he wore. Joseph sighed, thinking again of the vision. He knew he wouldn't be able to stop it, he never could. Sam would die in that plane crash.
Sam had said that he would be late, but he was never THIS late. The plane was already boarding and the nineteen-year old was nowhere to be found. Going to New York was Sam's idea anyway as a birthday treat for Joseph, who was turning thirteen. Joseph crossed his arms as he looked around the crowds of strangers waiting for their flights. They were about to close the gate so Joseph hurried over and boarded, thinking that maybe Sam was already in the flight.
Sam was driving to the airport, hoping that he wasn't late. He looked over at the time.
The flight was scheduled to leave at 2:40. Sam stepped on the pedal and drove faster. He was sure that by now Joseph was in the plane. Maybe he could take the next one? That was always a possibility.
It was already 3:07 when Sam made it to the gate. He was disappointed and a little scared when he was notified that the plane was already on its way to New York. Sam sighed, running his hands through his silky brown hair. He decided to get tickets to the next flight and meet up Joseph at the hotel.
As he walked through the wide hallways of the airport, he noticed that people were crowding around TV monitors. He walked towards them, curios to what was grabbing so much attention. As soon as he read the headline though, his heart stopped.
Flight 3478 to New York crashes
Panicking, he pulled up his ticket for the last flight. The one he missed. His eyes widened as he felt himself ripping the ticket with his tight grip.
This couldn't be happening, there had to be some other explanation. It couldn't be. Joseph was in that flight.
"Police are checking the scene for survivors," the news anchor announced.
"Such a tragedy."
No. No. No.
"No survivors were found at the scene."
Sam stood in shock until he felt his phone vibrate.
< I'm coming for you Sam >
The brunette checked the name of the sender and hurried to reply.
< Joseph! U ok? Wht happened? >
< I'm not ok >
< Wht r u talking bout? >
< You can't escape fate, Sam. I'm dead. >
Sam sat down on his bed, hiding his face in his hands. He was back at his mother's place. It was impossible for him to go to New York after what had happened. Not even he could believe it. His precious little brother won't be coming back.
Sam looked over at Joseph's bed. A small smiled formed at his lips when he found it impeccably neat. Joseph was such a neat freak, he chuckled to himself.
Sam stood up, heading down to the basement and pulling some cardboard boxes from the cold, damp room. He ran back up the steps and to his room, leaving the boxes on Joseph's bed. Sam started to take Joseph's things out of his wardrobe and desk, arranging them neatly in the boxes instead. Just like Joseph would have done it.
The picture frames. The notes and drawings. His journals and memos. His favorite pencil. Everything Sam could find that belonged to Joseph, he stuffed it in the box.
Each minuted that ticked by became harder for the college student. He managed to pack for about four hours before he had to stop. Sitting back on his own bed, he sat silently. The room was dark except for the desk lamp that lit up the room dimly. He walked up to it and turned it off, laying back down on his bed. He could always just finish the packing tomorrow, when he had calmed down.
Sam woke up to the sound of tapping. Picking up his phone from the side table, he stared into the screen.
He must have been imagining it. The brunette laid his head back down on the pillow, closing his eyes to once again succumb to sleep.
The sound of tapping was heard again, startling Sam awake. This time, the sound was continuous as didn't stop. Sam slid off the bed and followed the light tapping. With only his cellphone as a light source, Sam crept through the dark hallways of his childhood home. He peeked into his mother's room, before remembering that she was out on a business trip and walked out of the room. He froze when he heard the tapping coming from behind him. Slowly turning around, he listened closely for the source. As lightly as he could, he walked towards the windows of Theodora's room. Pushing the curtains aside, he looked through the glass to see what was casing the tapping. He noticed a tree being blown by the wind. One of the branches was slamming softly into the glass, causing the tapping noise. Sam sighed and turned around to leave when he caught a sight that made him drop his phone.
"J-Joseph? B-but I thought-" Sam stuttered.
"You thought right," The boy in front of him said. He was almost an exact replica of Joseph, with the tangled brown curls and tan sweater and everything. This Joseph was different though, VERY different. Half of his face looked as if the skin was burned off. Chunks of flesh were missing from his arms. A huge wound was opened in his chest, as if he had been stabbed by a huge piece of metal. "I did die in the crash," his voice voice was slurred. He sounded rusty, with a sort of drowsy feeling. "But I wasn't supposed to."
"What!? You were always the one g-going on about-"
"Death cannot be stopped?" Joseph interrupted. The half of his lips that he still had turned into a huge smirk. "That's what I believed at least. I saw a vision, Sam."
"A vision?" Sam took a step back, trying to get away from whatever that thing was. This wasn't the Joseph he knew.
"Yes. My visions always happen as they appeared. And I saw you dying on that plane crash." Joseph took a step forward.
"It must have been wrong then." He tried taking another step back but he had reached the window. Reaching behind him he tried to unlock it.
"I'm never wrong, Sam. You know that I'm never wrong."
Sam pushed the window open and jumped out just before Joseph lunged behind him. Running out into the street, Sam felt himself tumble into somebody. He shook his head, trying to get back up, but Joseph pulled him back down.
"You can't run, Sam. You can't escape fate."
Sam stared into Joseph's mangled face and looked back up. The last thing he saw was a pair of headlights.