Originally written in October of 2010…
He sat alone in his apartment with the lights off and the late night news on. He sat on the sofa in the soft glow on the television as the anchorwoman began reading the story about him.
Calvin Locke wasn’t the kind of guy who liked to get a lot of attention. But, he guessed, now that his story was out there, attention was going to be an unfortunate side effect. Once the news was over, people all over town would know what he could do. Soon the story would be posted on the internet, if it wasn’t already. He would be getting calls from law enforcement agencies all over the country asking for his help.
It wasn’t that he thought he was all that special, despite what he was able to do. In fact, he had never thought to use his ability to help in solving crimes. He had only used his little gift, or curse, or whatever you wanted to call it, to glimpse his own past and to have a little fun looking back at scenes from his own life.
As it turns out, he could do so much more with it. Growing up, he thought he was just having really vivid daydreams. He would go to a place, and he would seemingly recreate the events of the past inside his mind. And he really felt like he was there. He couldn’t change anything or even reach out to make physical contact with anyone. But he could see events happening as clearly as if he were present at the time.
And then he happened to pull that little trick out while someone else was in the room with him. Calvin was 17 and didn’t realize that he wasn’t alone in the old church. He had wandered into the sanctuary and sat down in one of the ancient wooden pews. His thoughts carried him to a long ago Sunday morning. Suddenly the room was filled with sunlight and people dressed in suits and dresses. An old preacher was standing at the pulpit at the front of the room talking about the time that Jesus fed thousands of people with only two fish and five loaves of bread.
Calvin had never been much of a church-goer, so he quickly got bored and shut off this projected memory. Behind him, he heard a man ask, “What in the world was that?” Calvin turned and saw the old pastor from the vision. The old man was staring toward the front of the church in shock, trying to make sense of what he had seen. “Did you see that?” the old man asked. Calvin pretended to be ignorant of what the preacher was talking about and immediately left the church.
The years went by and Calvin decided that he would no longer be able to just use his power to see things whenever he felt like it. Being able to draw other people into these illusions would only end up confusing people and raise too many questions. But he wasn’t able to keep himself or his abilities hidden forever.
He heard on the news about a homicide case that was giving the local police a lot of trouble. They just couldn’t figure out who would murder a sweet old lady in cold blood. Calvin knew he had the ability to go to the scene of the crime and look into the past. He knew he had the ability to show the past to anyone that was there with him as well. So he volunteered his services.
And now he was headline news. The anchorwoman shared Calvin’s amazing story and had even given him a nickname: Flashback. Calvin “Flashback” Locke was suddenly aware that his life was about to become a lot more complicated.