The News From Tomorrow

The News From Tomorrow

Then he asked, “Dear Lord, is the future written?”
And God said, “Yes. But remember, the pen is in your hands.”

Lucien Warp wandered the alleys and byways of Brickwood picking up scraps and other recyclables. One day, he found a flashy radio among a pile of broken electronic items. When he turned it on, all he could hear was static. Still he carried it home, hoping the radio would keep him company through his dark and lonely nights.

That night, he lay in bed fiddling with the buttons trying to find a station until he dozed off, leaving the radio on. Around midnight, a booming voice startled Lucien. He sprang out of bed and listened with ears wide open.

“At 5 this morning, May 1st, a huge fire burned down Carly’s Garment Factory. What was once a livelihood for thousands has now become -’

Lucien scoffed and mumbled, “It’s not even dawn yet!” He turned off the radio and went back to sleep. He felt glad the radio was working.

At daybreak, Lucien was roused by the wailing of sirens. A cloud of dark, dense smoke blanketed the sky darkening his vision. Screams and prattling feet filled the morning air.

Lucien’s heart raced and his legs trembled when he found out Carly’s Garment Factory was no more. His eyes fell on the radio sitting right next to his cardboard bed.

For a week, Lucien kept the radio off, afraid it would give him a glimpse of the future. However, the mystery of the matter left him restless, until one night he switched the radio on. Tossing and turning in his bed, he waited until that familiar voice broke the silence of the night.

“At 10:45 AM today, May 9th, a homeless man claimed the National Lottery Jackpot worth 53 million dollars. The winning numbers were,” Lucien grabbed a pen, “18-45-63-11-57-80-04. Lucky man! Congra -”

On May 9th, Lucien Warp became an instant national celebrity. On being asked what he would do with the money, he revealed his childhood dream of traveling to Europe and he pledged to build a shelter for the homeless of Brickwood on his return.

Lucien stood watching the bustling city below from his condominium. In an hour, he would be flying to Zurich. He still couldn’t believe the turn of events in his life. All because of the radio. He turned it on one more time before he left home for his cherished trip. The familiar voice coming from the radio made his heart skip a beat.

“We just received news that Swiss-bound US-Air Flight 865A has suffered port engine failure and crashed onto the I-770 road while attempting to make an emergency landing at Simpson Airport 20 minutes after taking off from Brickwood. There isn’t any confirmation regarding casualties so stay tuned.” After a few moments of static, the voice continued, “A man was shot dead -”

Lucien turned off the radio and slumped on the floor and wept. He sat frozen for hours before he emerged out of his daze and decided to open a bottle of wine to celebrate his fortunate escape from death. He drank and danced, unaware that someone was trying to break into his place.

On the newspaper the next day, the headlines announced: “US-Air Flight 865A Crashes at Simpson Airport; No Deaths”. The lower-left corner of the paper was occupied by a piece of news that went largely unnoticed: “Lucien Warp, the winner of last week’s lottery jackpot was robbed and shot dead in his condominium at 1 AM.”

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Rham Dhel
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2 thoughts on “The News From Tomorrow

  1. Great story, very well written. If what he heard on the radio every time had included a snippet then the main news and a snippet again, it would have disguised the climax better I think? The additional snippet before the end was not in line with the previous two stories and gave it away just before point. 😉

    1. Thank you for your suggestions, Shobhit. But I’m not sure what’s the relevance of adding the main news then snippet again and again since this is a flash fiction. Every detail is gold. Also, if you have noticed, at first Lucien turned off the radio before the news got over. At the end, the news continued for a bit because he was shocked at what he heard. Then, you must have also noticed that he didn’t let it continue to the full so he had that habit of turning off the news before everything is revealed. I think that does not come as a surprise detail in the story at all. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

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