Monday, November 18, 2019

Microstory 1236: Sanela Matic

Sanela Kolar was born in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929, though the borders and national identities were a little more complicated back then, so she identified as Croatian. She immigrated to the United States in 1941 with the rest of the Four Croatian Families: the Matics, the Petrićs, and the Horvatinčićs. Three of the families would settle and thrive in the Kansas City area for generations to come, while the Horvatinčićs pushed westward after a few years, and spread out along the coast. Sanela found herself drawn to a member of the Matic family who was a couple years younger named Marko. He was mysterious and broody, but it was another few years before young Sanela realized what was particularly different about him; he never looked anyone in the eye. His teachers would punish him for being rude and distant, but Sanela could tell that there was more to it. She did everything she could to make sure he knew he could trust her, and then one day, he apparently realized she was being sincere. He revealed that he had a special ability that he didn’t understand. He couldn’t see the future, per se, or witness people’s deaths, but he could sense when it was they would die. With one look, he could pick out the exact date someone would leave this universe, and he was never wrong. What Sanela came to realize herself was that Marko never decided he could trust her. It was just that he could see she was different too. He didn’t have much control over his time power, and accidentally making eye contact with other people was a regular occurrence. He evidently discovered, after having done this more than once with Sanela, that she was destined to die at different points in time. Sometimes she was going to die in the future, and sometimes the past, indicating that she wouldn’t always be experiencing linear time, like everyone else did.

After a little while, Marko grew used to being around his new best friend, and he stopped being able to detect her death date passively. If he wanted to know when it was at any given moment, he would have to concentrate on it. She taught him that he could come out of his shell, and exercise more control over his curse, so that it didn’t force him to avoid other people. They started courting each other, got married before too long, and had three children. But their life together could not last forever. Marko died of tuberculosis in 1968, soon after the birth of his daughter, Daria. However, things only got worse from there. The Petrićs had to step up when Sanela found herself jumping all through time; a bit of a late bloomer, really. She couldn’t change the past, but she could watch it unfold. With practice, she learned to control when and where she went, but not before witnessing her son and daughter grow up without her. They both became fine people in their own right, and were ultimately conscripted by the powers that be to save hundreds of people. Mario did this throughout time and space, while Daria was the Savior of Earth, who helped strangers all over the world. The two of them clearly had no control over their patterns, but Sanela’s situation was a little less clear. Did she have a power, or was she bound to a preset pattern? The funny thing was that not even Sanela herself knew whether she was a salmon, or a chooser. The Delegator had never asked her to do anything, but she also never traveled by her will alone. She always ended up wherever her instincts led her. She didn’t have that much interest in witnessing history herself, but she enjoyed helping others. She found it rewarding to let people see important moments in the past without risking changing these events. Though many others had the ability to access an observation dimension, she traveled exclusively in this manner, and was most famous for it, so they chose to call her The Screener.

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