A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart
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Iris Thompson, editor in chief of the Saloon 19 Newspaper for about thirty years, reclined in a plush chair and sighed. A cigar was in her hand, and she bought it up to her mouth to take a long, pleasurable puff. The smoke dissipated into a million trailing paths, there one moment, gone the next.

She looked around at her office. Little had changed since she’d received it from Maria. Lot less booze now, but mostly unchanged. In fact, Iris still remembered the day she got it…


It was a hot day. The sun was bright and high up in the clouds, as though it was happy to see the old drunk bastard being put into the grave. Maria Jones may not have liked being called that, but Maria Jones was dead as dust, and the funeral was just as full of enemies as it was of friends. Iris did not consider herself a friend.

Still, it was a somber day. The funeral was covered in a blanket of simmering heat, adding salty sweat to salty tears. Iris sat through the event, not adding in any words or condolences. Maria would’ve understood.

As she was leaving among a crowd of solemn faces, she was stopped by a tap on the shoulder.

“You are Ms Thompson, yes?” A frail, grieving woman asked.

“That’s correct.”

“My sister, Maria, wanted you to have this.” She held out an envelope, bound with the signature wax seal of the Saloon 19 Newspaper.

Iris took the envelope, confused, as the woman returned to her sister’s grave. What could Maria possibly want now, of all times? Was it another request, a lead, some unnatural creature lurking in the night? If so, it was impeccable timing, as always. But that’s not what she found as she opened the letter back at the saloon.

The first thing that left the envelope was a key. Iris didn’t recognize it immediately, so she pulled out the letter and began to read Maria’s wispy, shaky handwriting.

Iris Thompson,

You always were one tough son of a bitch. I honestly don’t know how you’re managed to pull off living this long with everything you’ve seen. Probably because of your powers - don’t think I didn’t know! But regardless, whatever I threw at you, you took and made a hell of an article. Why else do you think you got all the hard leads, the dangerous cases?

Over the years you have been my best reporter, and it’s because of this I have given you this key. It’s to my office. It’s yours now, editor in chief. Think of that: Iris Thompson, editor in chief of the Saloon 19 Newspaper! A younger me would’ve laughed at that for hours. But now that I’m older, and slightly more sober, there’s no one else that makes more sense.

This country has always been at the crossroads between the old and the new. The traditional and the unknown. And when it comes to the unknown, most run back to their caves and hide until it’s become normal enough that they don’t have to fear it. You’re one of the few who doesn’t do that. You rush headfirst into the unknown and your fear has never clouded your judgement, never turned into hate or prejudice. That’s the type of person that leads this world into new ages.

So that’s why you’re now the new editor in chief. Because you don’t hate what you don’t understand. Use that clarity and shine a light into the darkness.

For the last time,
Maria Jones

Iris stared at the letter for a few minutes, then neatly folded it and put it back into the envelope. So it was all hers now. Editor in Chief of the Saloon 19 Newspaper, able to run whatever stories she liked. She climbed the stairs up until she reached the front door of the office, but hesitated for a second before pushing the key into the slot. It all felt so…wrong. She half expected Maria to be waiting behind her desk again, a freshly-opened bottle of gin and a shit-eating smirk on her face.

But the first thing she saw when she entered the office was that same old brown desk, now empty. By all accounts it was a fine office, with its large, sturdy desk, its wooden walls, and its grand window which overlooked the town. It even had a liquor cabinet (of course), still filled with bottle proudly displayed on shelf upon shelf.

Iris tentatively sat down at the desk and examined the papers. They were all hers, all of Iris' notes from the past few years.

She opened the cabinet, poured herself a drink, and made a silent toast.


It was the thirtieth anniversary of Iris' promotion to editor in chief, as well as Maria's death. Iris stared at the door, debating on whether she would want to go down. It was her party! But Iris had this small feeling in the back of her mind that told her to lie down.

She glanced at the cot behind her. Maybe she would come down later. After all, the night was young, and these parties usually lasted until four in the morning.

Iris reclined on the cot, and fell into the realm of dreams.


Tommy faced Iris, looking at her with his young face and his sad, brown eyes.

There was a few minutes of silence before Iris spoke.

"You.. tried to kill me." Iris swallowed hard.

"You killed me. Twice, in fact." Tommy smirked.

"I-Where are we?" Iris gestured to the dreamy white landscape they were in. It looked as though they were in a room made of clouds, stretching on and on into the infinite.

"We're in your dream. Or rather, you manifested me in your dream to talk to me."

"I.. had no intention of talking to you."

Tommy smiled again.

Iris continued talking. "I didn't kill you either-"

He scoffed. "You didn't fucking kill me? You killed me twice. Once, when you decided to restart that shitty mountain, and twice when you left me behind."

"I was forced to by the Confederates, and Maria decided to save me instead of saving you-"

"Oh, yeah, blame it on everyone else. But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is who died."

Silence enveloped the two.

Finally Tommy spoke.

"You don't remember, do you?"

Iris' head snapped up. "Of course I fucking remember."

"Well, you don't act like it." Tommy moved forwards, hand extending. The moment he touched her, Iris could see a barren field.

Several confederate soldiers littered the ground, and she could faintly see a young man being pulled away. Iris could also see a young woman on the ground. It looked like.. her.

The young man screamed as he got punched, and the woman on the ground yelled to him.

"Tommy!"

Iris watched as the other Iris reached up towards her brother, but fell unconscious. She turned and saw Maria Jones running towards Iris, and she hesitated.

Maria looked at Tommy, then at Iris, and made a decision.

She ran at the unconscious Iris and started to drag her to safety. Maria could see Tommy getting beaten, a soldier pulling out a silver pistol and aiming it at his head. He pulled the trigger.

Iris gasped, and she was back in the cloudy room with Tommy, watching her. She looked at him. "What.. What the hell was that?!"

Tommy shrugged. "I guess you needed a reminder."

"I still think about that every single fucking day. If I could have done anything different-"

"Spare me. I know you’ve forgotten."

Iris shook her head. It wasn’t true. She could never forget.

"Not a single day has gone by where I haven’t been tortured by the thought of what happened to you."

Tommy sighed remorsefully.

"Look, Iris. I'm.. sorry. For trying to kill you. I was consumed by anger because of my death and I blamed you. I shouldn’t have."

Iris looked at Tommy. "You’re sorry?"

"Yeah. I.. I'm sorry, Iris."

"..I'm sorry too, Tommy."


Iris awoke. She breathed slowly, and somehow felt calm. She felt.. at peace.

Iris heard knocking at the door and turned. She quickly sat at her desk, did her best to look professional, and said "Come in!".

A young man poked his head into the office.

"Uh, Ms. Thompson? There's a man here to see you.."

He pushed open the door and another man stepped inside. He wore a large hat covering a face that was both young from age but old from experience.

He extended his hand. "Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Thompson. My name is Edward Kelly, from the GOC."

Iris nodded slowly. "Welcome, Mr. Kelly. Why is someone from the GOC here?"

"Ah, I retired long ago. But, I do have some information for you. About some…things that I encountered long ago."

Iris took out a paper and a pencil.

"What kind of things?"

Kelly smiled slowly.

"Anomalies."


Iris and Tommy stood there, unsure of what to do next.

"Tommy, I-I miss you."

"I know."

"And I want you to come back."

"But you know I can’t."

More silence.

"Then can this moment last a little longer?"

"Of course."

Iris held Tommy, embracing him closely. For a moment they just held each other, and said nothing else.

And in that moment, Iris Thompson found peace.

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