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Master Class – Laurie



We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s sleeping face always made me happy. I stared, breathing her in before I got up to make some coffee.

The old church had a kitchen attached to the gym.

“Who wants coffee?!” My voice echoed in the gym. The blankets were crumpled and the bed was empty. A trail of blood led to the double doors in the back. The coffee cup smashed behind me as I ran out the back.

“Give it to us or I swear I’ll fucking do it.” The man had his arm around Laurie’s neck, her mouth gagged and a growing blood stain on her pant leg, the butcher knife against her throat.

I stopped and fell to my knees. “Why! Why!” I reached into my robe, pulled out the gun, and shot Laurie in the head.


We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s sleeping face made me happy again. I got up and locked the back doors and went to make the coffee.

“Who wants coffee?!” The echoes, sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were time echoes or just sound reflecting off this old gym.

Laurie was slumped over the side of the bed, blood pouring from her head.


We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s sleeping face made me cry this morning. I prayed that the end was near. I crossed my fingers and prayed to fucking god that this would end.

I locked all the doors and sat and cried again. Damn, I could use some coffee.

A van crashed through the back door and six men in SWAT gear came rushing out, rifles at the ready, and positioned themselves between me and Laurie.

“Babe, what’s going on?” Laurie sat up. I smiled; today I got to hear her voice.

The old man in the white suit came up behind the armed men. “I grow tired of this game. Give us the machine and we can end this charade.” He raised one brow and waited.

“You know I can’t,” I said and felt my face flush. I felt for the fob in my pocket and pressed the button.

The bomb destroyed the bed and all six men, the old man, and Laurie. I collapsed and cried until…


We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie. Oh, Laurie. I won’t live without you.

I went to the back doors, squinted at the morning sun and breathed in the morning air. The old man was sitting on the front steps of the church across the courtyard, hands folded between his knees, staring at me.

I came back with some coffee and she was still in bed. I nudged her but she didn’t wake. Just about never does.

“Who wants coffee?” I whispered to myself and sighed.

I pulled open the hatch to the basement to check on the machine. Still there. The time wars won’t come if I don’t give it to them. But Laurie… I can’t figure it out.

I heard a commotion and she was dead by the time I got back up the stairs.


We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm that lulled me into false hope.

Years ago, I had tried to destroy the time machine. That day, Laurie still died and we still woke up in the gymnasium.

“Okay,” I shouted towards the back door. “Let’s talk.”


I slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The rain coming in through missing parts of the roof splashed on my face and woke me. Laurie wasn’t there.

Author’s notes

This story is for the Master Class over at Sinistral Scribblings, and the first sentence is the same first sentence from the classic, A Handmaid’s Tale.

I wanted to specifically NOT have the old gym in a post-apocalyptic world, or situated in some natural disaster. Just seemed too obvious.

Also, Groundhog Day just passed and got me thinking about the movie. I read somewhere that the director was trying to convey that it had been about 30 years that Bill Murray’s character was stuck in the loop before he learned his lesson. That’s amazing. I think he would have actually gone totally batshit crazy by then.

In this loop, our protagonist can either prevent the mysterious “time wars” or he can have a fresh, new morning with his love, but watch her die every day. For a long time, he chooses to be with her, despite the terrible consequence, but ultimately breaks.

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