My name is Anna, and I have the gift of prophetic dreaming. I know it’s difficult to believe, but it’s true. In all other ways and to all other superstitious beliefs, I am an Atheist. I don’t believe in fortune telling, psychic mediums, faith healing, ghosts, or gods. I am a logical and scientific minded person, you see, and I have no evidence for any of those other things. Logically, I should also disbelieve in my prophetic dreams, since I am the only one able to measure and study them, which I have done for the better part of thirty years. I’m 45 now, and truthfully, I only really noticed the dreams on the eve of my 15th birthday. Once I did notice them, however, I recalled that every year, on the eve of my birthday, for as far back as I could remember, I had had a portentous dream. Just one dream a year, every year.
That’s how it works, you see. I don’t dream about other people and their lives. My dreams can’t solve anybody’s problems, and they don’t strictly foretell global events. Every year, on the night before my birthday I have a dream about where I will be at the same time, the following year. As a teen, I used to think everyone had these dreams, until one day when I had asked my best friend, on the day before her birthday, if she was excited for her birthday dream that year. She, of course, had no idea to what I was referring, and told me that I was acting strangely, before she hung up the phone to work on her ‘surprise’ party arrangements with her step-mother. That had seemed to spell the end of that friendship.
Later on, I had broached the subject with my mother, who listened attentively, a small frown creasing her brow. She had then told my father about it, and being the helicopter parents they were, they sent me to a therapist. I saw that therapist, in his thoroughly modern chrome and black leather office, twice a week, for three months, until we all worked out that it was just a joke. Haha. And that was where we left it. My parents were less than amused, and grounded me for a month, until they let me off after a few days, figuring that it was better to send me to therapy, and be safe than to be sorry. I have never mentioned the dreams to anyone since, until now.
Back to the dreams, however. They weren’t spectacular shows with golden lights and flashing signs letting me know that they were prophetic, but rather brief, flickering slideshows, showing me two possible paths my life would take in the following year. Each option was portrayed in a series of snapshots, with the final few showing the inevitable conclusion of the choice I had made. You must understand that I am not given foreknowledge of every minute event during the year, just the highlights. So you can imagine that this has led me to be in some very good, as well as some very bad situations in my life. Like the dream I’d had just before I turned 19.
I was shown that the year could have two conclusions, as usual. In one, I was sitting in my dorm room, surrounded by books, as I studied for a test. In the other, I was at a party, looking like I was having a great time. Naturally, being 19, and feeling immortal, I happened to choose the path that culminated in the party, making sure that I was well prepared in advance for the test the following day. (I was a party girl, but I wasn’t a total loser!)
I had had a great time, and my friends and I were heading back to the dorm in high spirits after the party had ended. We were all a bit tipsy, apart from our designated driver, who had been sipping colas and soft drinks all night. None of us could have predicted what happened next. She had lost control of the car, for some reason that never became clear, and had sent us careening into oncoming traffic. I have no memory of the events that followed. All I know is that I woke up in hospital the next day, on my birthday, wearing a full body cast. Doctors told me that I was lucky to be alive, and that my survival was nothing short of a miracle.
That was the only year that I had missed my birthday dream. Not that it would have mattered anyway, as I ended up spending the next two years of my life in a wheelchair, as I focused on my recovery and learning how to walk again. I never did take that test.
Last night was the first night in my entire life that I didn’t have a birthday eve dream. Today is my birthday, and I am spending my day connecting with my friends and family, and letting people know that they have been loved, and are worthwhile. It won’t matter after today, anyway. Today is the last birthday I will ever have. In fact, it is the last day that anyone will ever have.
My dream last year was the most unusual one I have ever had. As I’ve mentioned before, the dreams usually show me snapshots of my life, very personal, and important only to me, and perhaps to the people in my life, culminating in the usual portent of my fate should I take either of the two paths presented. This dream only had one ending. This one showed me The End. That’s right. The end of everything.
By this time tomorrow, life on earth will have ceased to exist. Earth will have ceased to exist. The end comes in an asteroid strike, that smashes our tiny planet from its gentle orbit, and sends it hurtling towards our Sun, where it is swept up in the gigantic gravitational field, and incinerated so thoroughly that not even ash remains.
My name is Anna, and as of today, you have one day to live.