The Post Lost Chronicles: "Desmond Out of Time"

He was acting strange the first time I saw him. Huddled like some frightened rabbit up against the wall just outside my window. He didn't make a move. Frozen, as if any slight movement would alert people to his presence. He appeared to be a man in his fifties, with long hair sprinkled with gray. "What are you looking at?" my wife Janelle asked, as she entered the room. "Oh, some strange guy sitting up against the wall outside," I replied. Janelle came over and looked out the window. "Yeah, he's acting weird, alright. Probably on drugs or homeless or both. Better call the Police." And with that pronouncement, Janelle walked away, dismissing the guy out of her memory. But I could not. He didn't look homeless. He actually appeared very well dressed. Clean shaven. I didn't want to call the police just yet. Janelle then called out that dinner was ready. She talked during dinner and I went through the motions of listening, but I kept thinking about that strange man. Later that night, after going to bed, Janelle slept, but I did not. I got up and looked out the window. I figured, I had hoped, he would be gone. But there he was in the shadows. I should of right then called the cops. Instead, I went out there. As I approached, I thought how stupid I was. He could be insane and pull a knife or a gun and kill me. I had hoped he would just run away when he saw me. He did not. "Hey, buddy," I said, "you need some help?" he glanced up at me with a look of fear in his eyes. "No. Please, just leave me be!" he replied. "Look," I said, "you've been out here for hours. You can't stay here all night. Maybe I can help you. You want me to call someone for you?" "NO, Brotha, you can't help me," he said, "Please, sir. Leave me alone! You don't understand!" "You're right," I repled, "I don't understand! Now you tell me what is going on, or I will call the cops right now!" So he told me his story. He said his name was Desmond Hume. Years ago he had been exposed to strong doses of electro-magnetic energy. This energy had affected him. At one time he could send his conciousness into the future or the past. He said he could even enter the afterlife. But over the years, his exposure to the energy had taken its toll and now he could physically travel through time and space. The problem was, he had no control over where or when he would go. He would just disappear at one place, at one time, and reappear at another time and another place. He didn't even know where or when he was right now. He said he didn't want to know. But he had discovered that if he waited long enough the "winds of time" (his words, not mine) would eventually "snap" him back like some "quantum rubber band." The other problem, he told me, was that time was very temporal and unstable. If he disturbed anything or anyone, he could accidentally alter any or all timelines. "Even talking to you, Brotha, could affect us both in ways we couldn't even imagine. I just want to get back to my wife!" Now, I don't know much about time travel or quantum physics, but I believed him. God knows why, but I believed him. So I shrugged my shoulders and left him in peace. The next morning I got up and looked out the window. He was gone. I hoped he had "snapped" back to wherever he had come from. I thought about what he had said about how even talking to me could alter lives. I laughed and started to call out a name then suddenly stopped. That was funny. For a moment there, I thought I had a wife!" Next: Case #3 "The Eternal Memories of Richard Alpert"

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