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Changing The Past

By Jessica E Larsen All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Scifi

(Short Story)

-Chicago 1972-

For Twilight the world was a crappy place to live in. Some enjoyed living blissfully in the light, while she and others like her lived in the shadows, but everyone pushed through to survive.

“Hey, Miss, do you want some smoke?”

Twilight threw a glance at the dubious man wearing a light brown coat and smiled. Obviously, the man took it as a sign of agreement and approached her from the dark area of the street. “I’ve got plenty of supply today. I can give a discount if you’ll also recommend others to me.”

“Sure. But is it okay to buy just a few? I’m new here and just want to try.” Twilight faked another smile and reached for the wallet in her pocket, even though all she wanted was to kick the man in his balls and run from this stinking dark alley plagued by people high from things she didn’t even want to imagine.

The man eyed Twilight with scrutinizing eyes but she had a mission, and the last thing she wanted was to have him become suspicious of her. She might not be the best actress, but she could scrape by when it was needed. She’d managed to live eighteen years of her life using what little skills she had and she wasn’t willing to fail now. She stood firmly and behaved as if she wanted to keep the whole thing hush-hush. That seemed to convince him. He fished two different things out of his pocket, one that looked like an ordinary cigarette and the other a packet containing small tablets.

The man started explaining the different effects of the drugs, but Twilight couldn’t care less which one she got, so she grabbed the smoke and paid more than was asked.

She went home, flushed it down her toilet and returned there each night for a week until she slowly got familiar with a few people. Enough so they would think she was no danger to them.

“Gardo, may I ask you a question?” she asked him after paying for the same product.

“Of course you can. What is it? A friend needs help?”

She smiled. “No, actually I was wondering if you ever wonder why I keep coming back here.”

He laughed. “Well, I did. But I figured you must be some troubled rich girl right? I’ve seen lot of them here before, but so far you’re the only one who seemed to know how to hold it together.”

“I’m not a troubled rich girl.”

His face turned serious. “You’re not going to tell me that you’re some undercover cop, are you?”

“No. Actually, I’m looking for someone.”

Gardo ruffled his short hair and tossed his smoke on the ground. “You got close to me after finding out I know a lot, did you?”


“And you never use any of the stuff you bought.”


Gardo grabbed the collar of her blouse and pinned her against the wall. People nearby who were awake enough to understand that something was wrong warily walked off. “Who are you? What do you want?”

“I’m no one you need to be careful with, Gardo. You should know that by now.” He didn’t loosen his grip so Twilight continued, “I’m just a prostitute looking for my brother. His name is Ellio, he’s about ten years old. Bushy brown hair, blue eyes, about this tall...” She lifted her hands above waist level. “According to some people I’ve been asking, they last saw him in this area getting beat up by the Faceless—”

Gardo covered her mouth. “Don’t mention their names here.” He let go of her and signaled for her to follow him.

Twilight followed Gardo toward the largest park in the city, which was also known to be the hangout of people with twisted minds at night. He stopped in front of a dry fountain.

“This is where I last saw him a month ago.”

The blood immediately ran to Twilight’s head. That was when he ran away after having a big fight with her.

“I thought he was just some scrawny homeless kid,” Gardo continued. “I tried making him into my underling, but he refused and asked who the gang leader was in this area instead.” Gardo scratched his head, looking left and right nervously. “I seriously wanted to stop him, but he was an unlucky kid.”

Twilight had a feeling she knew where his story was going, but she continued to listen silently.

“The members of the gang were patrolling that night and butted in on our conversation. They tried to intimidate your brother, saying that he was not worth the time for their boss, but he was a tough kid. Even though he was obviously shaken, he faced those punks, he faced them straight and begged them to take him to their leader, saying that he had information about their enemy, the Crocodile gang. In exchange, he wanted them to free you from their clutches.” Gardo shook his head and it took all of Twilight’s might not to fall. “It was such a foolish act. They just laughed at him and beat him up. I admit that I was a coward. I turned to leave when I saw one of them take out his gun but…”

“But what?” Twilight stared at him, hoping that he would say that Ellio got away.

Gardo frowned and said the most incomprehensible thing. “He disappeared.”

“What do you mean, disappeared? He managed to run away? Is that it?”

“No, really disappeared. Just before they killed him, your brother was suddenly swallowed by the ground, together with all the other Faceless group members.”


A suspicious man passed by and looked at them. “Sorry about this,” she heard Gardo whisper before pushing her off. “I told you already. Pay me either by cash or nothing! I don’t exchange pleasure for my product! Show up when you have more bucks!”

With that, Gardo left and made a respectful bow to the man, who just nodded and looked at her. She avoided the man’s gaze and shamefully lowered her head. Although she was not a member of Crocodile gang, she was still under their grasp. She couldn’t let him recognize her, as being caught by the Faceless group would be worse than death. She needed to hang in there, especially after finding out that Ellio might still be alive somewhere.

“No. Actually, I’m looking for someone.”

Gardo ruffled his short hair and tossed his smoke on the ground. “You got close to me after finding out I know a lot, did you?”


“And you never use any of the stuff you bought.”


Gardo grabbed the collar of her blouse and pinned her against the wall. People nearby who were awake enough to understand that something was wrong warily walked off. “Who are you? What do you want?”

“I’m no one you need to be careful with, Gardo. You should know that by now.” He didn’t loosen his grip so Twilight continued, “I’m just a prostitute looking for my brother. His name is Ellio, he’s about ten years old. Bushy brown hair, blue eyes, about this tall...” She lifted her hands above waist level. “According to some people I’ve been asking, they last saw him in this area getting beat up by the Faceless—”

Gardo covered her mouth. “Don’t mention their names here.” He let go of her and signaled for her to follow him.

Long after Gardo was gone, Twilight was still there, looking at the dry fountain as she sat on the cobblestone, hugging her knees. The night seemed endless as she watched the passersby from the darkness. The feeling of loneliness that she hadn’t felt ever since she found Ellio returned tenfold now that she knew what had happened.

It was silly for her to think that the snotty abandoned kid she decided to bring home with her on a whim five years ago would make her feel so lost. But then again, he was a very loyal boy, mischievous, but a good boy. Although they were strangers, they did live like a family. It was just that she never realized how important his existence had become until he walked out of her house that day after they argued about her job.

I guess I took it for granted that we would always be together, she thought. Now, she realized how wrong she was. I would give my life to be able to see him again and apologize.

Just after thinking that, Twilight suddenly felt the ground beneath her soften. She found herself sinking quickly. Surprised, it took her a while before she tried to wiggle out and call for help, but there was no one around. The ground behaved as if it was quicksand; the more she struggled, the faster she sank.

By the time the ground was up her nose and choking her, Twilight gave up resisting and just closed her eyes, silently wishing that she could have seen Ellio before she died.

The smell of cool fresh air, the feeling of the soft grass beneath her, and the gentle sound of splashing water, as if it were lightly raining in a pond, were the first things Twilight noticed when she next came to her senses. Oh, what a good feeling , she thought, wanting to just lie there and bask in the peacefulness she had never felt before.


Her eyes shot open at the familiar gentleness, yet unfamiliar voice of a man. Twilight sat up and saw the blinding daylight and that she was lying on grass, surrounded by tall green trees. Her eyes first landed on the familiar fountain, except it was now filled with water, a small geyser spraying up from the center of the basin, which then splashed the stones below. She then turned to the presence beside her and saw a pair of brilliant blue eyes.

“Ellio!” she called out happily, but paused before hugging him when she realized that the person with her couldn’t be him, as he was an adult guy, probably more than a decade older than Ellio.

The man laughed and pulled her close. “Twilight! It’s me.”


“Don’t be stubborn, Twilight.” The man set her free and she felt a twinge of disappointment. It was a refreshing feeling for her to be hugged by a man just for the joy of it, not because he needed her for sex. “You know who I am. You just called my name.”

Yes, in the corner of Twilight’s mind, she did have a feeling that the man was right, but the rational part of her refused to accept it; it didn’t matter how much similarity they shared. Twilight let out a small laugh. He did the same. Soon they were both laughing like two insane people, before Twilight furiously stood up and hit him.

“Don’t you dare make fun of me! You’re not my brother!”

“I was never your brother!” The man face turned dangerously serious as he stood up and towered over her. Twilight’s survival instincts wanted her to cower down and apologize, but she stood her ground and looked straight in his eyes.

“You might have thought of me that way, but I never saw you as my sister, Twilight.”

The wind blew his bushy brown hair and Twilight immediately noticed the large scar running from his forehead down to his ears.

Twilight reached up to his face and traced the scar, which he received from the member of the crocodile gang after he tried to prevent them from hurting her when he was seven years old. “Y-You’re really Ellio.”

“Yes, I am.” Ellio’s face mellowed. His eyes flickered just as she remembered.

Twilight brought her hands back to her side. “But how? I mean, you’re supposed to be a small boy.”

“I’ve grown.”

“A ten year old!”

“Yes, I’ve aged ten years and a bit more.”

“You don’t make sense! And where are we?”

Ellio just laughed and put his arm around Twilight’s shoulders. “Let’s go to my place so that I can tell you all about it.” about this tall...” She lifted her hands above waist level. “According to some people I’ve been asking, they last saw him in this area getting beat up by the Faceless—”

Gardo covered her mouth. “Don’t mention their names here.” He let go of her and signaled for her to follow him.

Ellio brought her to a big mansion not far from the fountain. He invited her into the luxurious living room, which was three times as big as her own apartment. After the young maid—who jealously stared at her—served them coffee and biscuits, Ellio sat beside her and told Twilight his almost unbelievable story.

He said that after the incident, which he recounted just as Gardo had described, he found himself sucked down into the ground and woke up in the exact same place she did.

“I don’t know how it happened, but the men who were dragged down with me were dead.” Ellio sipped his coffee and rubbed the side of his lips with his thumb. It was so weird for her to see him as an adult and still have the little habits he did when he was younger. “I wandered around the place for hours, hoping to get to the city, but I collapsed from hunger. By the time I woke up… I was in this house.” A warm smile spread across Ellio’s face. He told her that the mansion was owned by loving couple, who informed him that he was in fact sixty-three-years back in time. “I don’t know if they really believed my story but, yeah, after a while, it was proved that they were right.”

“Wait, so you’re saying that we’re in…” Twilight did the math. “The year 1909?”

“No, that was the time when I was thrown here. That was fourteen years ago.”

“Oh, so then now is…” She tried to calculate again, but her mind was starting to spin.

“It’s 1923.”

Twilight laughed. “Oh right, right.” She’d never been in school, and math wasn’t exactly what she was good at. The small knowledge she had was gained from some generous customers who lent her a bit of their time after sex. She was a street kid before the Crocodile gang took her in and turned her into their slave. “I-if we’re really back in time… w-we’re free.”

“Yes. We are. When I first figured that out, I wanted to return to the future immediately.”

Twilight’s eyes widened in disbelief. “Why?” She looked around them and outside the large windows. “Even a fool could tell that you have a much better life here!”

“You’re right, but you weren’t here with me.” Ellio looked at her in a way that bothered her heart. “All these years, there wasn’t a day when I didn’t visit the place you came from, hoping to get back and bring you back here. As the years went by, I started losing hope, but seeing you sleeping there today was the highlight of my life.” Ellio stood up and put his hands on her sides, trapping her in front of him. “In fact, it’s actually good that you ended up here and now, so I wouldn’t have to make you wait for me to grow.”

“What are you—”

He took her chin and made her look up. “Twilight, I’m still the boy you helped, but I’m no longer helpless. I’m a man now, a man who’s has been waiting to confess his love to you all this time.”

Twilight swallowed as she gazed at Ellio’s serious face. Yeah, he might be the same person as the boy she brought home, but he was no longer the same boy. He looked like a man, talked like a man and moved like a man. Someone familiar, yet also a stranger.

Unable to continue looking at him, Twilight avoided his eyes and caught a glimpse of familiar names that made her tense up. Even just reading them sent chills down her spine. Ellio noticed it too and freed her. He went to where the list was and plopped it down on the coffee table in front of her.

Twilight’s hand shook as she reached out for the paper and saw a strikethrough on the names Alfie and Caldwell. They were the names of the Faceless and Crocodile gang leaders in the future. “W-Why do you have this list?” A horrible suspicion crept up on her, which got even worse after hearing his hearty laugh.

“I killed them so that they won’t grow up and build those gangs.”

Twilight’s stomach lurched as the image of Ellio murdering someone flashed in her mind. She didn’t rescue him from the gutter just to make him into another criminal.

“Is that what you expected me to say?”

“Huh?” A lone tear dropped from Twilight eyes onto the list.

Ellio sighed. He looked hurt as he said, “But I can’t blame you. Even I had that urge when I first met them, but I’m not stooping so low as to murder kids.” He offered his hand to Twilight. Twilight took it and let him guide her out of the living room.

He asked one of the maids where Alfie and Caldwell were and headed to the pool, still holding her hand.

There at the kid’s pool, two boys of three and five were enjoying themselves in the water. The moment they noticed them, the boys waved.

The oldest one hurriedly approached them and studied Twilight with his sharp gray eyes that made her quiver in both fear and anger. He looked unmistakably like his future self.

“Don’t, he’s just an innocent kid.”

Twilight gazed up to Ellio, who gave her hand a squeeze as he restrained her. True to his word, everything suddenly cleared up and Twilight saw that Caldwell had a soft smile as he looked up to her. There was not a trace of the cruelty that she had come to know in his eyes, except for curiosity as he eyed their linked hands.

“Daddy? Is she your girlfriend?”

“D-Daddy?” Twilight repeated but Ellio just smiled at her and answered Caldwell.

“Not yet, but I plan to ask her.”

“Oh, she’s going to be our mom?”

“What? There’s no—”

Ellio’s laughter drowned her words. He ruffled Caldwell’s hair. “Go back to your brother for now, okay?”

Caldwell beamed at Ellio and politely smiled at Twilight, who awkwardly returned the gesture.

After Caldwell left, Ellio once again pulled her away, but this time he brought her up to a room, where he explained the situation.

“So, you’re saying that you adopted them? And planned to do the same to all the names on your list?” Twilight dropped down onto the soft bed and eyed Ellio in disbelief.

“Yes,” Ellio replied. The bed sank down as Ellio sat beside her. “It’s my way of changing the future, and I need you here with me to make it work. Let’s build a happy home with a bright future.”

Twilight gazed into Ellio’s sincere eyes and sighed. “Look, I admire you for doing all this, but I don’t think I can build a family—”

Her words were stopped short when Ellio’s lips were suddenly on hers. A conflicting feeling surged through her as their lips parted as fast as they’d touched. “I won’t force you, Twilight, but think about it carefully. Live with me for at least six months. If you really can’t see me as a man and can’t accept my feelings, I’ll give up and live my life as your brother.” He stood up from the bed and left after saying that the room was for her.

For a while, she just sat there, feeling the breeze coming from the open window. It wasn’t that she couldn’t see Ellio as a man. Rather, she felt herself unfit to be his woman.

Days turned to weeks, weeks meshed into months. The seasons quickly changed and before Twilight noticed, six months had gone. In that span of time, she grew close to the young boys and she would often find herself wishing to be a part of the happy home Ellio had created. However, she knew that her dream must end sooner or later and that night, as Caldwell and Alfie were pulling both of her hands to read some stories with them, seemed to be the time.

“Caldwell, Alfie, could you just give me and Twilight some private time tonight?” Ellio asked.

“Why?” Alfie asked but before Ellio could answer Caldwell was already pulling him away.

Twilight laughed nervously. “He really acts like an older brother.”

“Yeah, and they really adore you as their mother.”

Twilight looked up at him but quickly averted her eyes from his loving gaze. “Could we talk someplace else?”


Twilight’s heart constricted as they walked through the mansion corridor. It was going to be painful but she must break it to him. She had to disappoint him in order for him to find someone better.

They sat down on the wire chairs in the garden. Ellio simply sat silently beside Twilight as she took a couple of deep breaths as she looked around her. She had lived in this decade for six months, a very short time in comparison to eighteen painfully long years in the future, but this place had become more of a home and the time she had spent with Ellio and his adopted sons had become so irreplaceable.


“Ellio, you’re a great man, and I admit, it’s really strange to think about how you used to be younger, yet now I can’t help but feel safe whenever I look at you.” Ellio brightened up but she raised her hand to stop him. “But I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? What for? You love me, don’t you?” He grasped her hand. “I know I might have come on a bit aggressively to you in the beginning, but I’m glad I waited. I promised that—”

“Ellio, I can’t be your girlfriend, wife or whatever term you want to use for a lover.” Twilight attempted to remove her hand but Ellio held it tight.

“Why?” he asked calmly. When she didn’t reply, he let go of her hand and cupped both of her cheeks, making her panic as he chased her eyes, forcing her to feel which of them was older and in control. “Twilight, please, tell me so that I can decide whether to accept this rejection or not.”

“You have to accept it! Because someone like you is better off with someone with a better background, someone more innocent than me.”

Ellio chuckled and lightly bumped their foreheads together. “Background aside, I’ve encountered no one with a more innocent heart than you, Twilight. You’re the purest girl any man could have.”

Twilight opened her mouth to protest but Ellio sealed her lips. A kiss, a long, forceful, but loving kiss that made her knees weak.

“And though I did say that I would live as your brother if you ever rejected me, know that if not you, I won’t have anyone.”

Tears blurred Twilight’s eyes. “Are you sure you won’t regret choosing me?”

Ellio smiled and kissed her again. “Twilight, my only regret is being unable to bring you to my side sooner.”

“I…” she sniffed, fighting hard to say the words she’d been hiding for a long time.

“What?” Ellio asked with triumphant spark in his brilliant blue eyes.

“I love you.”

“You’re just so adorable,” he whispered and kissed her once before scooping her up and carrying her up to his bedroom. There, Twilight spent the most wonderful night of her life and woke up in the brightest daylight she’d ever seen.

“Good morning.”

Twilight caressed Ellio’s cheek and smiled. The world might have been a crappy place but all that changed when he’s at her side.

“Good morning.”

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