[Chapter 5] Butterfly Effect

**AN ALIEN FRIEND**

10 years ago

Canny was sitting two tables over during the lunch period, sketching in her little notepad. She noticed a guy from her math class pass by, she had heard he was repeating his twelfth standard here. The face of a typical green alien with beady black eyes was hanging from the bag of the new guy. Canny didn’t know what got into her after seeing that alien key chain,

“Hey, cool alien,” she said, semi-standing up.

George looked back, Canny was looking directly at him. He knew the word had gotten around that how somehow he had failed every single subject last year and still hadn’t opted out of the tough subjects. Every adult in his life had been adamant about his decision to continue studying Physics and Maths. He hadn’t had a good enough moment in this school, and this was the first time he remembered smiling on the premises.

“Thanks.” He took one step closer and noticed the sketch, “You like aliens? The sketch is amazing.” George tried hard to not sound too excited about the drawing, but it really was so good. He knew this was the one which would go harmoniously with his article, maybe she would draw two more for the introduction and conclusion as well.

“Like, is a strong word”, a simple smile escaped Canny’s lips, as she extended her hand, still black with charcoal. “I am Camille, by the way.”

George took the small palm in his hands, she had a few rings on her long bony fingers and instead of metals, they were like rubber. He liked that she was different.

“I am intrigued.”

“Sorry?”

“The aliens, I am intrigued by them. George Hitch.”

Like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe? Canny wanted to ask.

“Nice, I have a few more, I would like to show them to you.” Then she glanced at her watch. She dreaded this action, as George had noticed this little loss of attention and had looked down at his watch too.

“Surely, thank you.” He had said before waving off.

Canny did do the 3 illustrations for George and secretly one more, which she had been waiting to show him for weeks. But after their twelfth standard exams, she had gotten busy preparing for college entrance exams. She was sent to her aunt in the neighbouring state to get her mind freshen up for the exams.

George had not tried to stop her, he knew he was a bad influence, he needed to keep her distance. But her existence was important, without her he wouldn’t have ever landed his first story in a local Science Mag and Blog.

The alien head was still hung in the Miles wall, dated November,5, 2007. The first day he remembered meeting Miles. Her mother had come to his father’s store with a 7-year-old Miles. The store’s senior assistant, the junior being George had given him the responsibility of overseeing Miles as her mother had gone shopping more around the corner.

Miles was sitting on the counter playing with the belt on her yellow summer dress.

“Hello!” said George as he closed the accounts he had been checking.

“Hi.” Miles looked at him for a second too long and then went back to the buckle. Her little legs kicking air off the counter. 

George had had a very bad summer so far, he would be restarting his twelfth grade again after a few weeks here. He unknowingly clutched his fist, just thinking about going back to school. He knew he was smart enough, why did he have to prove to all the other people? Answering every question on that paper was quite shorter than the given three hours, but that was the problem. The three hours, the time pressure kept getting to him every time. And everyone around him had just thought he was lazy, and didn’t really care what happened to his future. The truth was quite different, he knew every answer, he had even taught his friends the concepts, but making them time-based and not giving enough space for students to think about? That was a torture chamber, he had to move to think, his mind was quite fast, but it needed breaks, he couldn’t run it with a clock at the back. 

Miles backed up a little and tapped George’s shoulder, “don’t be sad.”

And he realised how he had again fallen into a spiral of overthinking. Miles smiled at him, so innocently, he gave in, he smiled back.

“Everything is good.” He replied.

“Good.” She said, now focusing back on her buckle.

George wanted to talk more, he wanted her attention somehow. He stood up and got a plastic scale which could be moulded into wristband when struck to the hand. It was green and had aliens and UFOs on it. It was the only one left. Aliens….they were an interesting topic. 

“Hi, I am George. This is for you.” He said as he demonstrated the wristband magic of the scale on his other hand. And then he placed it into her hands. 

“Wow. Does it talk to them?” Her eyes had started sparkling. “My name is Miles Mortan. I am seven years old.” She replied in a very prepared kindergarten way. 

“It can if you want it to.” He replied smiling. 

“No, it can’t.” She kept trying to make it bend, but she was just so scared to do it she couldn’t.

“And why is that?” Now he was genuinely interested in knowing. He took her hand and struck his other hand, the wristband bent over. 

“Because it doesn’t have a computer. It’s just a scale.” She looked way serious now. Like George was the dumb one in this conversation. 

“Yeah right.” He said and then sat back and just kept looking at her.

 

She kept tapping the scale on her own hand and then after almost the 8th try she closed her eyes, breathed in and struck her wrist with all her power. Her skin got red on the sides but the wristband had bent. Miles smiled satisfactorily.

This interaction on aliens had started running George’s mind. He was unto something real this time around. Every waking minute was spent on researching about aliens. Every TV show or movie with vast distinct portrayals of these out-of-the-world species was fascinating for him. He was sucked into this vortex of getting to the bottom of very acknowledged fact.

It had now been a whole week after his first real interaction with Miles, the one who had changed his life. He believed that the meeting had to be the reason his journey towards the core truth had started. The classes at his new school were also in the full bloom. He was at the shop less often.

Jenna had come at three o’clock one afternoon with Miles after school. Miles had been clutching onto a green alien faced keychain in her hand. Peter, Jenna’s husband had bought two string attached keychains, another one being a UFO. After Miles’ sudden interest in planets and stars after her conversation with George, had made Jenna buy two packets of glow in the dark moon stickers. Miles had insisted on giving the souvenir to George in person, and she had cried when she had found out George wouldn’t be meeting her.

George’s father wasn’t very happy about this little friend of his son, she had made him start dreaming about extravagant and false occurrences to prove weird theories he had read on the internet. He just kept the keychain under his desk and informed Jenna that his son had left the city and started school elsewhere. Miles had been heartbroken but Jenna had convinced him that she would again meet George soon enough.

Bob, never wanted to give this keychain to George, so as not to encourage him further. He just hung it onto a screw in the storeroom. And that day itself, George had brought EMF detector to check out some alien landing sites and he hoped that the storeroom of the shop would be his best bet to keep it hidden for a week.

George had accidentally dropped his flashlight and when he bent to pick it up, he says the alien keychain hanging between the gap in the door and the shelf next to it. He got up and took it. And somewhere deep within his heart, he knew it was from Miles. She was his miracle.

**********************************************

Aged 22, George Hitch

George had run away from his mother’s apartment. After his father had passed away almost four years back, he had tried to keep it together and help out his mother and grandfather. But when his mother, asked him to quit his dreams of becoming a science-and-supernatural journalist, a job he had clearly made up and start pursuing a real job, he had lost it. Now, he was sharing a one-room apartment with two other guys and working as a newspaper classifieds writer. He was still doing his blogging thing on the side but it wasn’t going as well as he had hoped.

Miles wrote the most outrageous poem ever in 6th standard. When George’s mother used to teach her as an English teacher.

The merchant’s fault:

The world won’t understand the value of the pearl unless to tell.

But it’s value in my head will then fell,

It will become public and out for critique

Won’t that help it achieve it’s prized peak?

Needless to say, she was not a poet. But Mrs Hitch told her son that day on the phone call about this girl who had written words beyond her age. The topic had been beauty and Miles had described the dilemma of a merchant who wants to sell the pearl for the money but doesn’t want the world to tread on and judge it’s worth. Mrs Hitch then told her son to do what he must do, the world might judge him, but he can’t know for sure how they will take it unless he tells the world what he believes in.

That was the day George Hitch became “The Guy Who Knew”, a pseudonym he had been given by the whole community on the social network. He posted an intricately detailed analysis on how college funds fraud you with a pinch of government and private sector meddling. George hadn’t gotten into any college, he had struggled with putting words on paper not because he wasn’t smart enough, he just got bad anxiety with time-based testing. Short deadlines were never his thing, long spaced out ones were possible to achieve. His papers and assignments were always spot on and test results equally bad that his teachers had constantly doubted him, maybe he was copying someone but there wasn’t anyone better at this in his class. His mother finally had to intervene when board exams became a thing for him in the 10th standard. There was no way he could have passed them and there was no assessment based marking like the time Miles gave it after nearly a decade.

Mrs Hitch made George solve all the papers she could find and told him to do it. He did them, according to his time with breaks and drawings and shooting hoops. By the end of the year, he had done 70% of all the questions they could ever ask him. Wenda Hitch let him then give the exams, he somehow completed them. And then during 12th board, it became impossible to solve all these questions for the whole year and George simply became not too interested in these things and much more occupied by making theories of his own. He had to repeat the year due to all this and then finally got it over with when he was allowed to move around in an attachment ground for thinking. He wrote the 3-hour paper only for 30mins in total, rest of the time he was just wandering about. And when the last paper ended with him getting passed, the contract between George and Wenda was over. She would no longer force him to give any more exams and George became more content with his life. He took up a shared apartment with three more of his friends who would definitely describe him as the go-to smart guy for any stuff and also the most internet addicted one.  

 

 George opened his journal. He always wrote anecdotes of his life which proved that there was a miracle behind his existence as the odds of being alive are astonishingly low.

I believe that there is a hidden miracle to each of our existence. A singular event or thing that kickstarts the process that makes who we are and what we are going to become. In my case, it was a person, it was Miles. She made me who I am today but there is one more piece of the puzzle. I am going to focus more on the man from now on.
Mission: The man who saved me.

George sat back on his window-bed and looked out, still not believing where he had gotten. From the scared 17-year old who started believing in the infinite mysterious possibilities of the Universe, to the 22-year-old who started believing in himself to a 25-year old who was mentoring others to do the same. The overthinking was making him tired and slowly his eyes started closing.

**MILES MORTAN**
Aayan and Miles were planning a Lord of the Rings movie marathon as Miles’ father went off-station to a social worker’s meet and her mother would not be coming till late night. It was a relief not having her parents ask and talk while the movie was on. But Aayan had invited Laura, and Miles had no idea why, but Laura had agreed.

Miles was getting lukewarm to Laura, she didn’t care if she was around in the normal days of studying, but now this, this weekend was a little too out of character for the perfectionist she was. Miles was determined the second Laura asked the question of who was who, she would be done with her.

Laura knew Miles wasn’t going to let go of their past this easily. But she had been studying hard all week and she needed to let it all out. What subject you ask? Lord of the Rings. She had seen every video related to these movies and was almost half-way done on the first book. A map of the kingdoms was also saved as a PDF on her mobile phone. There were so many steps left for her to gain complete knowledge required for viewing these films.

Aayan was setting up the sound system he had brought from his room. Miles was making sure that all movies were present and not corrupted. Laura came in wearing a knee-length light green summer dress while Miles and Aayan were wearing a maroon T-shirt with jean shorts and a ring attached to a necklace metal chain. Laura had feared to overdress herself but Aayan who had opened the gate didn’t seem to mind. Two bean bags were positioned right in the front of the projector and the sofa set was at a ninety-degree angle. Aayan took the icecream Laura had brought and come back with a bowl of popcorn. Miles came in last with the pen drive and the movie began. 

**AN ALIEN FRIEND**

10 years ago

Canny was sitting two tables over during the lunch period, sketching in her little notepad. She noticed a guy from her math class pass by, she had heard he was repeating his twelfth standard here. The face of a typical green alien with beady black eyes was hanging from the bag of the new guy. Canny didn’t know what got into her after seeing that alien key chain,

“Hey, cool alien,” she said, semi-standing up.

George looked back, Canny was looking directly at him. He knew the word had gotten around that how somehow he had failed every single subject last year and still hadn’t opted out of the tough subjects. Every adult in his life had been adamant about his decision to continue studying Physics and Maths. He hadn’t had a good enough moment in this school, and this was the first time he remembered smiling on the premises.

“Thanks.” He took one step closer and noticed the sketch, “You like aliens? The sketch is amazing.” George tried hard to not sound too excited about the drawing, but it really was so good. He knew this was the one which would go harmoniously with his article, maybe she would draw two more for the introduction and conclusion as well.

“Like, is a strong word”, a simple smile escaped Canny’s lips, as she extended her hand, still black with charcoal. “I am Camille, by the way.”

George took the small palm in his hands, she had a few rings on her long bony fingers and instead of metals, they were like rubber. He liked that she was different.

“I am intrigued.”

“Sorry?”

“The aliens, I am intrigued by them. George Hitch.”

Like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe? Canny wanted to ask.

“Nice, I have a few more, I would like to show them to you.” Then she glanced at her watch. She dreaded this action, as George had noticed this little loss of attention and had looked down at his watch too.

“Surely, thank you.” He had said before waving off.

Canny did do the 3 illustrations for George and secretly one more, which she had been waiting to show him for weeks. But after their twelfth standard exams, she had gotten busy preparing for college entrance exams. She was sent to her aunt in the neighbouring state to get her mind freshen up for the exams.

George had not tried to stop her, he knew he was a bad influence, he needed to keep her distance. But her existence was important, without her he wouldn’t have ever landed his first story in a local Science Mag and Blog.

The alien head was still hung in the Miles wall, dated November,5, 2007. The first day he remembered meeting Miles. Her mother had come to his father’s store with a 7-year-old Miles. The store’s senior assistant, the junior being George had given him the responsibility of overseeing Miles as her mother had gone shopping more around the corner.

Miles was sitting on the counter playing with the belt on her yellow summer dress.

“Hello!” said George as he closed the accounts he had been checking.

“Hi.” Miles looked at him for a second too long and then went back to the buckle. Her little legs kicking air off the counter. 

George had had a very bad summer so far, he would be restarting his twelfth grade again after a few weeks here. He unknowingly clutched his fist, just thinking about going back to school. He knew he was smart enough, why did he have to prove to all the other people? Answering every question on that paper was quite shorter than the given three hours, but that was the problem. The three hours, the time pressure kept getting to him every time. And everyone around him had just thought he was lazy, and didn’t really care what happened to his future. The truth was quite different, he knew every answer, he had even taught his friends the concepts, but making them time-based and not giving enough space for students to think about? That was a torture chamber, he had to move to think, his mind was quite fast, but it needed breaks, he couldn’t run it with a clock at the back. 

Miles backed up a little and tapped George’s shoulder, “don’t be sad.”

And he realised how he had again fallen into a spiral of overthinking. Miles smiled at him, so innocently, he gave in, he smiled back.

“Everything is good.” He replied.

“Good.” She said, now focusing back on her buckle.

George wanted to talk more, he wanted her attention somehow. He stood up and got a plastic scale which could be moulded into wristband when struck to the hand. It was green and had aliens and UFOs on it. It was the only one left. Aliens….they were an interesting topic. 

“Hi, I am George. This is for you.” He said as he demonstrated the wristband magic of the scale on his other hand. And then he placed it into her hands. 

“Wow. Does it talk to them?” Her eyes had started sparkling. “My name is Miles Mortan. I am seven years old.” She replied in a very prepared kindergarten way. 

“It can if you want it to.” He replied smiling. 

“No, it can’t.” She kept trying to make it bend, but she was just so scared to do it she couldn’t.

“And why is that?” Now he was genuinely interested in knowing. He took her hand and struck his other hand, the wristband bent over. 

“Because it doesn’t have a computer. It’s just a scale.” She looked way serious now. Like George was the dumb one in this conversation. 

“Yeah right.” He said and then sat back and just kept looking at her.

She kept tapping the scale on her own hand and then after almost the 8th try she closed her eyes, breathed in and struck her wrist with all her power. Her skin got red on the sides but the wristband had bent. Miles smiled satisfactorily.

This interaction on aliens had started running George’s mind. He was unto something real this time around. Every waking minute was spent on researching about aliens. Every TV show or movie with vast distinct portrayals of these out-of-the-world species was fascinating for him. He was sucked into this vortex of getting to the bottom of very acknowledged fact.

It had now been a whole week after his first real interaction with Miles, the one who had changed his life. He believed that the meeting had to be the reason his journey towards the core truth had started. The classes at his new school were also in the full bloom. He was at the shop less often.

Jenna had come at three o’clock one afternoon with Miles after school. Miles had been clutching onto a green alien faced keychain in her hand. Peter, Jenna’s husband had bought two string attached keychains, another one being a UFO. After Miles’ sudden interest in planets and stars after her conversation with George, had made Jenna buy two packets of glow in the dark moon stickers. Miles had insisted on giving the souvenir to George in person, and she had cried when she had found out George wouldn’t be meeting her.

George’s father wasn’t very happy about this little friend of his son, she had made him start dreaming about extravagant and false occurrences to prove weird theories he had read on the internet. He just kept the keychain under his desk and informed Jenna that his son had left the city and started school elsewhere. Miles had been heartbroken but Jenna had convinced him that she would again meet George soon enough.

Bob, never wanted to give this keychain to George, so as not to encourage him further. He just hung it onto a screw in the storeroom. And that day itself, George had brought EMF detector to check out some alien landing sites and he hoped that the storeroom of the shop would be his best bet to keep it hidden for a week.

George had accidentally dropped his flashlight and when he bent to pick it up, he says the alien keychain hanging between the gap in the door and the shelf next to it. He got up and took it. And somewhere deep within his heart, he knew it was from Miles. She was his miracle.

**********************************************

Aged 22, George Hitch

George had run away from his mother’s apartment. After his father had passed away almost four years back, he had tried to keep it together and help out his mother and grandfather. But when his mother, asked him to quit his dreams of becoming a science-and-supernatural journalist, a job he had clearly made up and start pursuing a real job, he had lost it. Now, he was sharing a one-room apartment with two other guys and working as a newspaper classifieds writer. He was still doing his blogging thing on the side but it wasn’t going as well as he had hoped.

Miles wrote the most outrageous poem ever in 6th standard. When George’s mother used to teach her as an English teacher.

The merchant’s fault:

The world won’t understand the value of the pearl unless to tell.

But it’s value in my head will then fell,

It will become public and out for critique

Won’t that help it achieve it’s prized peak?

Needless to say, she was not a poet. But Mrs Hitch told her son that day on the phone call about this girl who had written words beyond her age. The topic had been beauty and Miles had described the dilemma of a merchant who wants to sell the pearl for the money but doesn’t want the world to tread on and judge it’s worth. Mrs Hitch then told her son to do what he must do, the world might judge him, but he can’t know for sure how they will take it unless he tells the world what he believes in.

That was the day George Hitch became “The Guy Who Knew”, a pseudonym he had been given by the whole community on the social network. He posted an intricately detailed analysis on how college funds fraud you with a pinch of government and private sector meddling. George hadn’t gotten into any college, he had struggled with putting words on paper not because he wasn’t smart enough, he just got bad anxiety with time-based testing. Short deadlines were never his thing, long spaced out ones were possible to achieve. His papers and assignments were always spot on and test results equally bad that his teachers had constantly doubted him, maybe he was copying someone but there wasn’t anyone better at this in his class. His mother finally had to intervene when board exams became a thing for him in the 10th standard. There was no way he could have passed them and there was no assessment based marking like the time Miles gave it after nearly a decade.

Mrs Hitch made George solve all the papers she could find and told him to do it. He did them, according to his time with breaks and drawings and shooting hoops. By the end of the year, he had done 70% of all the questions they could ever ask him. Wenda Hitch let him then give the exams, he somehow completed them. And then during 12th board, it became impossible to solve all these questions for the whole year and George simply became not too interested in these things and much more occupied by making theories of his own. He had to repeat the year due to all this and then finally got it over with when he was allowed to move around in an attachment ground for thinking. He wrote the 3-hour paper only for 30mins in total, rest of the time he was just wandering about. And when the last paper ended with him getting passed, the contract between George and Wenda was over. She would no longer force him to give any more exams and George became more content with his life. He took up a shared apartment with three more of his friends who would definitely describe him as the go-to smart guy for any stuff and also the most internet addicted one.  

 George opened his journal. He always wrote anecdotes of his life which proved that there was a miracle behind his existence as the odds of being alive are astonishingly low.

I believe that there is a hidden miracle to each of our existence. A singular event or thing that kickstarts the process that makes who we are and what we are going to become. In my case, it was a person, it was Miles. She made me who I am today but there is one more piece of the puzzle. I am going to focus more on the man from now on.
Mission: The man who saved me.

George sat back on his window-bed and looked out, still not believing where he had gotten. From the scared 17-year old who started believing in the infinite mysterious possibilities of the Universe, to the 22-year-old who started believing in himself to a 25-year old who was mentoring others to do the same. The overthinking was making him tired and slowly his eyes started closing.

**MILES MORTAN**
Aayan and Miles were planning a Lord of the Rings movie marathon as Miles’ father went off-station to a social worker’s meet and her mother would not be coming till late night. It was a relief not having her parents ask and talk while the movie was on. But Aayan had invited Laura, and Miles had no idea why, but Laura had agreed.

Miles was getting lukewarm to Laura, she didn’t care if she was around in the normal days of studying, but now this, this weekend was a little too out of character for the perfectionist she was. Miles was determined the second Laura asked the question of who was who, she would be done with her.

Laura knew Miles wasn’t going to let go of their past this easily. But she had been studying hard all week and she needed to let it all out. What subject you ask? Lord of the Rings. She had seen every video related to these movies and was almost half-way done on the first book. A map of the kingdoms was also saved as a PDF on her mobile phone. There were so many steps left for her to gain complete knowledge required for viewing these films.

Aayan was setting up the sound system he had brought from his room. Miles was making sure that all movies were present and not corrupted. Laura came in wearing a knee-length light green summer dress while Miles and Aayan were wearing a maroon T-shirt with jean shorts and a ring attached to a necklace metal chain. Laura had feared to overdress herself but Aayan who had opened the gate didn’t seem to mind. Two bean bags were positioned right in the front of the projector and the sofa set was at a ninety-degree angle. Aayan took the icecream Laura had brought and come back with a bowl of popcorn. Miles came in last with the pen drive and the movie began. 

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