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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Microstory 1207: Cheryl Bradley

Cheryl Bradley was a good mother, and a good wife, who did the best she could with the hand she was dealt. She had two children, though due to a temporal anomaly, was ultimately only able to recall the latter. She loved Escher while he existed, but once he was removed from this dimension, there was nothing anyone could do to help. Her and Tyler’s second child, Hogarth was always a bright and promising student, which would actually prove to be Cheryl’s downfall. As a single parent, who was pretty much doing this on her own, Cheryl gave Hogarth everything she possibly could, and then some. What she didn’t realize, unfortunately, was that Hogarth would become obsessed with dimensions, and time travel, and all other related topics. She would gain the education necessary to actually do something with these phenomena; harness them to her advantage, and disadvantage. When she disappeared, Cheryl didn’t know what to do with herself. She had reconciled with the father, but all of that progress was undone in one day. Because while both of them could remember Hogarth, their memories had been corrupted. They couldn’t recall the last time they had seen her, or where she had gone. Most missing persons investigations can start at least somewhere, but they didn’t even know if she was in Topeka at the time. She often traveled for work; they knew that much. When they reported her missing to the authorities, they did not look innocent. Their inability to pinpoint Hogarth’s last known location was extremely suspicious, and they could not be treated as reliable witnesses. The only silver lining to this was that there were no lasting records that Hogarth ever existed, according to the rest of the world. Her high school had never heard of her, and neither had either of the two universities she had attended. The cops eventually had to consider them both mentally unwell, and close the investigation completely. This made everything for Cheryl and Tyler so much worse, because they were acutely aware that this child of theirs had indeed existed. Even though recent memories were hazy, older ones remained quite clear in their minds. Still, they had to surrender to the fact that something had happened to Hogarth beyond their control, and that no one could help them. After about a month of only having each other, they went their separate ways, and Cheryl never saw her ex-husband again. She sought psychological help, and following years of therapy, was able to mostly accept that her memories of Hogarth were some kind of shared delusion. She still felt like the life she remembered could have been real, but she did eventually let it all go, and moved on with her life as if nothing had happened. She never found anyone else to be with. She was a little overbearing and protective of her daughter, so there was no time for relationships then. She was distraught when Hogarth disappeared, so she still wasn’t interested in a relationship. Even with the therapy, she never figured out how to climb out of her depression. She died of age-related causes, empty and alone. Though she was not a time traveler, and in fact, didn’t really ever see that such things were real, Quincy Halifax decided to bury her in the special transdimensional cemetery, where her plot would be preserved for eternity.

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