On the train home, Skylar gets a mysterious notification on their iPhone that says, “You have 1 unread prophecy.”

Skylar took the first available seat with the least amount of people near it on the train. Thankfully, there were only about a dozen other passengers. Skylar had enough of people today when they got doused with a cold brew coffee by some “Karen” for being too cold. On the bright side, the owner promptly and unapologetically kicked the rude customer out. Skylar already thought their boss was the best with how he loved and accepted everyone, including Skylar, but the way he handled the situation further cemented the title. Another customer, a woman with long, blue hair, dropped a $20 in the tip jar after witnessing the incident, further restoring her faith in humanity.

Skylar took a glance at the sun setting on the Atlanta skyline before turning to their phone to find funny memes. Upon unlocking the iPhone, a new notification popped up: “You have 1 unread prophecy.”

Skylar re-read the message several times. They had never seen such a notification and had no idea what app it could’ve generated it. Curious, they tapped the alert. A message expanded on the screen to warn: “At the next stop, the man in the black suit carrying a black briefcase will get off the tram. A woman in a flora sundress with a red purse, silver bracelet, and sunglasses will follow him. The woman will stalk and kill the man for this briefcase.”

Skylar discreetly looked around the tram car and found the two individuals matching the prophecy’s description.

“This is super freaky,” Skylar whispered so softly that no one could hear. “Those descriptions are way too specific to be a coincidence.”

The train came to a stop. As predicted, Skylar watched the two exit. Skylar hastily debated if they should follow or go home, but just as the doors were about to close, Skylar bolted out. As the train went to the next station, Skylar scanned the area, finding the woman following the man with the briefcase while staying several yards away.

Skylar put up the hood from their Legend of Zelda hoodie and proceeded after them. Skylar wasn’t sure what to do if–or when–the attack happens. Skylar kept their phone out, ready to record, but pretended to be scrolling social media like a typical millennial. It seemed to work as no one paid attention.

A few minutes of stalking, they all arrived at the Atlanta Underground. The historic shopping and entertainment center had little to offer that interested Skylar other than the rare concert. Most of the places were vacant or under construction, which equated to a lack of visitors this Wednesday evening. The man with the briefcase pulled aside a sheet of plastic tarp and entered a construction site. The woman glanced around the area, peeked inside, and cautiously pursued.

“Okay, this is suspicious,” Skylar admitted. Skylar looked around the empty tunnel. “You got this, Skylar. Just stay back, film, and get justice.”

Skylar started recording the video and followed inside. The area with its modern furniture made Skylar suspect it would be an office space for a trendy startup or a coworking venue. Neither the man nor woman were in sight. 

“About time,” a deep voice grumbled in the distance.

“This took longer to make than I calculated,” the briefcase man replied.

Skylar kept low to the ground, staying behind desks, quickly reaching the conversation’s source. Using the phone like a periscope behind a cubicle, Skylar saw into an unfinished room with various wires hanging from the ceiling. The man with the briefcase stood professionally in front of a bald man in a brown suit with dark red, reptilian skin. Skylar covered their mouth as their heart began to race. Skylar tried to hold the camera steady as they trembled from the sight of the alien.

The man opened the briefcase. All Skylar could see was a green glow and a smile from the alien. An icy blue bolt of light struck the man, causing him to drop the suitcase on the concrete floor. Before the alien could react, another bolt hit him, dropping him to the ground. The women in the flora sundress walked over to the briefcase and looked inside.

“Contraband secured,” she reported into her silver bracelet as she slammed the briefcase shut with her foot.

Freaked out, Skylar decided to sneak out, but immediately in their haste, tripped over a paint can. The woman readied her weapon, and attentively walked over. Skylar gave up the stealth plan and ran. She fired her gun at Skylar, paralyzing them. The woman rushed over, keeping an eye out for anyone else.

“Sorry, kid,” the woman apologized as she bent down. “You were just somewhere you shouldn’t be, but you’ll forget all about this.”

The woman picked up Skylar’s phone, tapped on it with her bracelet, which unlocked it. She deleted the video and found the prophecy alert. The woman let out a frustrated sigh.

The woman spoke into her bracelet. “We got another innocent human getting one of those ‘prophecies’ to our operations.”

You have 1 unread prophecy - art by An Thuy Vu at Design Pickle

This week’s story was my take on a simple writing prompt about a phone buzzing with a “You have one 1 unread prophecy” notification. As of right now, I’m almost at 18,000 words from all of the short stories I’ve written every week this year!

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I’ve written another story about a different person that also gets a prophetic warning in You Have 2 Unread Prophecies.