Rachel MacReady on GOALS

… my lead character Rachel MacReady speaks in a series of essays.  This one is in response to the question, “What are your long-term and short-term goals?”

Okay, confession time.  I suck at questions like this.  My cousin and best friend, Brannon, wrote my university entrance essay because mine was such a joke.  So I turned to her for some help and here’s what she told me to say:

Short-term goals: graduate university with honors, pay off Mazda, find a part-time job in the art world while arranging for my first gallery showing.  Long-term goals: gain serious recognition for my art, marry a man who respects my career and have happy, healthy children.

After Brannon wrote that, she got some graph paper and constructed a timeline.  I’m penciled in for marriage at twenty-five.  It’s the same age she scheduled me to earn an NEA grant to fund my painting, so I guess I’m in for a busy year.  Seriously, though, Brannon’s schedule was so perfectly her and so totally not me, I stayed up till three am writing my own.  Here goes:

Short-term goal: find out how I died in 1870.  Long-term goal: keep from dying the same way in this life.

Okay, I’ll admit that’s a little sparse.  But my life is changing so fast, and things are moving so rapidly, it seems best to mentally travel light.  Before the car crash that unlocked my past life memories, not to mention my telepathy, I thought I had things figured out.  And yeah, my imaginary future looked a lot like Brannon’s plan.  But the crash did more than show me who I used to be – Cassandra Masters, part of the Order, a steampunk secret society that controlled Victorian Britain.  It reunited me with key players from that lifetime.  Brannon was once a pyrokinetic named Lucy.  Josh Strickland, a bit of a slacker in the present day, had been a pyrokinetic, too, and one tough hombre.  Zach Miller, handsome, smart and sexy in the present day, had once been Dominic, Cassandra’s handsome, smart and sexy 1870s boyfriend, or “beau.”  And Hayden Cross, driver of the silver Porsche that collided head-on with my Mazda, had once been Ted Harrington – badass telekinetic, accused murderer and a man Cassandra found at least as attractive as Dominic.  The details are still hazy, but I know for sure that the five of us banded together to stand up to corruption within the Order.  Banded together and died – if not in the rebellion, soon after.

Revised short-term goal: find out if I had some role in the deaths of my friends in 1870.  Revised long term goal: make damn sure I don’t get us all killed in this life.

Hopefully my life will go back to normal someday.  But it’s hard for me to worry about future gallery showings and domestic bliss when a new version of the Order seems to be rising again.  It might sound like an ego trip, but I have the strangest feeling that I’m back, reborn in this day and age, to stop it from rebuilding.  So there’s my goal in a nutshell: stop the Order.

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