Writers (in order): Eman Hussain, Sophie, Joyce Lee, Eileen Hung, Sadie Hicks, Alyssa Tang, Arkin Sawhney, Brendan Lin, Andrea Esparza, Surya Saraf, Keiss Chan, Neeral Bhalgat, Trishla Dedhia, Irene Tsen, Myah Robbins, Langston Wu, Eman Hussain, Myah Robbins, Hunter King
Editor: Irene Tsen
White roses or red roses? I contemplated, standing in front of buckets of bright flowers at a booth in the farmer’s market. I picked up a few white roses tied together with an elastic band and a bunch of red roses, so I had a bouquet in each hand. Well, white roses are certainly more elegant, but these red ones are really beautiful. I bit my lip and exhaled loudly through my nose. Maybe I should just get both?
I looked up to the cashier, having finally made my decision. I opened my mouth to speak but—
“You need to run right now,” interrupted someone in a low voice. I whirled around to see a person, slightly out of breath, standing directly behind me.
“Oh…” Their eyes flicked up to a small scar I had above my right brow, and they winced apologetically. “Wrong timeline. My bad.”
“Huh? What the hell do you mean?” I questioned, the firmness of my voice almost making me sound hostile. I had a sudden suspicion. “This isn’t some goofy Doctor Strange type–stuff, right?”
The perplexed person, who looked like he was ejected from the screen of a Marvel movie, blinked rapidly. His serious demeanor dissipated completely.
“Who?” he asked earnestly, crooking an eyebrow. “You must be mistaken! My name’s not Doctor Strange. It is Patient Ordinary.”
What… ? There was a collective silence as everyone within hearing distance paused.
“Ah,” he said, clearing his throat. “You know what, never mind. Could we talk in private?”
“Um, no,” I replied firmly, leaving the roses back in the buckets and backing out of the booth. “I have to leave.”
“I can explain,” he called after me. “And are you sure you don’t want these roses?”
“I’m good,” I retorted, shoving the door open. Before I left, I took one last glance back at the store. The person stood there in his weird costume, scratching his head.
I thought that was the last time I’d see him.
Fate soon proved me wrong.
The very next day, I was walking bleary-eyed into my kitchen, when I heard that same voice speak up from my dining table.
“You know, a bouquet is usually bought for other people, but you just really like plants, huh?”
It took all my willpower not to scream as I slowly turned and saw the questionable man holding my English ivy.