Frank Makes a Big Decision

“What is she talking about, Frank?” David asked. “Why is there a horn on your head?”

“It’s a long story, David,” I replied. “Just know that what I’m doing, I’m doing to help all of you.”

“You’re doing it to help you!” Tilly said.

“Look at your father.” I pointed at Jamal, gesturing at his body. “Isn’t life better for him this way? He was lonely and unhappy. Is that what you want for him?”

“What do you mean?” Jamal asked, clearly very confused by this conversation. I had the feeling he was just going to get more confused. “Unhappy what way?”

I took a deep breath. This could get complicated. “You were in an accident. Your body wouldn’t survive, so we put your brain in a raptor.”

“Excuse me? That’s insane.”

“Yes. It is. And it’s better that you’re like this. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“Then a dinosaur? Yes.”

“And, Doc, aren’t you happier that your father is alive?”

“Of course, I’m happy my father is alive,” she said. “But why’d you call me, Doc?”

“It’s a nickname…that I guess I never gave you…”

“And what is she even doing here?” Tilly said. “If David didn’t die in the accident, then you never had to call her. And if you didn’t call her, then she never made the Quantum Chamber. In fact, she shouldn’t even be here. She should be off doing whatever it was she was doing before you dragged her into this craziness.”

“How many times do I have to explain it to you?” I sighed. “I didn’t change time. I changed reality. Doc is here because this is where she belongs. This is where we all belong. We’re family.”

I could see I wasn’t convincing Tilly. “But there are going to be repercussions. There are always repercussions.”

“I’m willing to risk it,” I told her and I was. For my friends, for my family, I was willing to risk everything. I had been handed this gift. I wasn’t going to waste it. “Jamal deserves his own body. Doc deserves to have a father. They shouldn’t suffer for my mistakes.”

“I told you this was really about you! This is about your guilt! About making you feel better!”

She was starting to really annoy me. “It’s about fixing things!”

“Yeah! About fixing things you feel guilty about!”

“Hey! You’re the one telling me to not think bigger, so back off!”

“Don’t yell at my daughter,” Jamal said, stepping in. “I don’t know what is going on here, but you both need to chill out!”

“Yes,” Jennifer said. “Maybe we should all just sit down and talk this out.”

Tilly rolled her eyes. “Is no one listening to me? I already told you what’s happening. He’s changing reality with that magic horn he stole from another reality. What’s so hard to get?”

“She’s right,” I told them. “I am. I’m fixing reality. I’m making up for my mistakes. There are things I was responsible for that I can now fix. So why shouldn’t I? David shouldn’t be dead. Jamal shouldn’t have lost his body. And I…I shouldn’t have to be the Quantumly Unstable Man!”

“What!?” Jennifer exclaimed. “What are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with who you are, Frank.”

“No?” I asked. “I’m forced to go into a box every couple of days so that my molecules can be stabilized with the side effect of changing my entire body. You don’t think there’s something wrong with that? That seems pretty damn wrong to me. Why wouldn’t I fix that if I could? Why wouldn’t I decide to never go through that pain again if I could? Why wouldn’t I choose to not be forced to switch bodies every few days? Why wouldn’t I choose to get to stay in one body like everyone else? Why wouldn’t I choose to get to be me, the real me, the real Frank Clay, if I had the chance?”

“Because it would change history,” Tilly said. “It would change the timeline. It would affect so much. Like me for instance.”

“Fine. I don’t have to change the past then. I was this person. It happened. But I can stop it now. I can be something else now. I can end this instability, end this weird life, and go back to a normal one. I can be myself again. I can change it so I am me and only me.”

“If you can end it,” Jennifer said, “and all the pain associated with it, then I say go do it, Frank. I don’t see why you shouldn’t.”

“Exactly. All it brings me is pain. What good is there?”

“You’ve done good,” Tilly said.

“And we can still do good. We’ll just do it without me having to change…”

And then suddenly a new person appeared in the room. “No! Wait, Frank! Stop! Don’t do it!”

to be continued…

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