The most excellent Damon Lindelof has kindly offered to share a serialized story with NextDraft readers to help us, and him, through the quarantine. To be continued, daily…

Chapter 4: You Got Mad At Me For Making Up LOST As We Went Along But You’re Okay With THIS Shit?

There was nothing more mysterious than an eyepatch.

When Elizabeth was nine, she came down with a bad case of mono and for two glorious weeks, her mother took off work to care for her. Despite the discomfort of the illness, this was the only time in her life Elizabeth had her mother’s full attention and it was nothing short of magical. Mono was contagious… not nearly as contagious as COVID-19… but aggressive enough to try to put its hand up your shirt if you weren’t careful. Regardless, Elizabeth’s mother wrapped her up in a warm quilt and cozied up right beside her on the couch as they slurped chicken noodle soup and watched hours upon hours of daytime TV. It was here they both discovered Patch.

Patch surely had a name… Elizabeth recalled it was maybe Scott or Steve… but no one called him that. They called him Patch because he wore one over his left eye. It was black, just like his leather jacket and his tight jeans. His hair was blonde and lustrous. He wore boots and his jeans were tight. He had a gravelly voice and moved like a jungle cat, a jungle cat wearing tight jeans. “How can you tell if he’s blinking or winking?” Elizabeth asked her mom.

“You can’t.” her mom responded.

These were in the days before Wikipedia, so the two were left to speculate as to how Patch lost his eye. No one on the show ever asked him, and who could blame them? He was surly and hot under the collar… he was a man with secrets, a man in pain… he had depth, but no depth perception… “…and men like that,” Elizabeth’s mom said with a slightly lower voice than she normally spoke with, “are dangerous.”

Elizabeth eventually got better and her mother went back to work. The mono had made them a duo, but the normal rhythms of life fell back into place and while they would always remain mother and daughter, they were never really that close again. Even when Elizabeth held her mom’s hand on the other side of the protective plastic, bundled into a blue Tyvek suit with faceshield and gloves bound to her wrists with tape, she still longed for the comfort of being wrapped up in that quilt all those years ago. It was in that moment… that very moment… that Elizabeth swore she would avenge her mother’s death. No – she would do better than that.

She would prevent her mother’s death.

All paradoxes start with a single act of hubris. Not an action, but an idea. An individual vowing to bend the laws of time and space to their own selfish whim with no fear nor regard of consequence. The very moment such a decision is made, there is an audible crack as quantum realties spill out across the multiverse, each possibility a grain of sand freed from the hourglass formerly imprisoning it.

So are the days of our lives.

Years would pass before Elizabeth beta-tested her first chronoceutical. Dozens of failed attempts to alter the series of events leading up to that dreaded day in November would follow. But then, finally, she would succeed… and in succession, a rather phenomenal serendipity would occur.

For when Hillary gave her acceptance speech at the Javits that night, she spoke of her own mother, Dorothy.

She said that Dorothy’s parents had abandoned her at the age of eight, left her and her baby sister to fend for themselves as they were put on a train to be raised by relatives they had never met. Hillary paused in her speech and said, “If I could go back in time and tell anyone in history about becoming president, I would tell my mom.”

Elizabeth was there at the Javits… of course she was there for she was the one who had made this happen. She had pulled apart cosmic strings and shat upon the Godel metric to make this happen. She had defied the laws of nature and gravity and decency to make this happen and there she was, up on the stage, the one she had done it all for… and she was talking about TIME TRAVEL?!? Tears streaked down Elizabeth’s cheeks, her body trembling… she swore she could actually hear the cracks in the glass ceiling above her as Hillary brought the room to near silence in anticipation, her voice low and confident and true as she said –

“I think about my mom on that train. I wish I could walk down the aisle and find the little wooden seats where she sat, holding tight to her even younger sister, alone, terrified. She doesn’t yet know how much she will suffer … I dream of going up to her, and sitting down next to her … and saying, ‘Look at me. Listen to me. You will survive. You will have a good family of your own, and three children. And as hard as it might be to imagine, your daughter will grow up and become the President of the United States.'”

The crowd at the Javits exploded. Elizabeth was screaming with them, screaming like a teenager when the Beatles played Ed Sullivan, screaming and pulling at her hair with joy and relief and rapture.

Hillary raised up her arms in victory.

She was, of course, wearing an eyepatch.

To be continued…


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3