More of A Few More Sentences
It was a place like no other he had ever seen before. It was dark and light, seamless and joined all around him with no clear ending or beginning. Existing at the same time, hot and cold, black and white, a place where time didn't seem to hold stable, where time stopped or slowed depending on it's own whim. There was no sensation in this void, only a feeling of being. For the longest time, he didn't think or even seem to be aware of his surroundings. He couldn't remember coming to this place, only that he had been here forever. What he was before didn't matter now, only what he was. And he was alone for the first time, all alone in this void.
His conscience mind drifted like the wind, going through his memories at a rapid rate. He was astonished at what his mind would linger on. Events that seemed small when they happened, his mind dwelled on them for the longest period of time. And yet, the events that were huge and self-changing, his mind briefly paused before continuing on it's journey. A journey that he wasn't in control of, but merely like a passenger on a cross-country train ride. A bystander of his memory's every whim.
He wasn't aware of when it stopped, or when he awoke to an empty room. It was sudden, he was there and sitting alone in a chair. His eyes wandered around the room, taking in the strange sights and sounds. It looked to be a circular room about twenty feet across, and all around him was darkness. Not a darkness that he could see, no, not this darkness. It was more like a darkness he could feel in the depth of his soul.
Suddenly, a loud noise began echoing around the room. A single beat that reminded him of a heartbeat, a wounded sound that seemed to be faltering with each passing moment. His nostrils filled with a smell, a smell that he could only associate with death. It filled his nostrils, causing him to gag with each ragged breath.
Yet it was the sound of his own breathing that brought him to his senses.
'Where am I?' he thought.
Standing up, he looked around, trying to find a door, something to tell him where he was being held. But the room was empty except for the chair he had awakened in. Standing up, he walked around the room, finally making his way back to the chair in the center and sat down.
"Where am I? Is anyone there?" He shouted out.
But there was no answer. He didn't know how long he sat there in that chair, but it seemed like days. He had all but given up hope that he would ever find out where he was. He had accepted the fact that he was going to die in this room...alone.
Yet, finally, out of the darkness, a voice said, "I've been waiting for you, welcome, Scott Taylor."
"Who are you?" Scott managed to stammer out.
Looking around the room, he tried to find the speaker, but the room was empty save for that blasted chair.
"Who I am is not the question." The voice countered. "But who are you?"
Turning to face the direction of the voice, Scott saw a cloaked figure standing in the center of the room. He took a hesitant step towards the figure but stopped, and said, "What do you mean? You know me? You said my name."
"Who are you?" Scott asked. "What am I doing here? Am I dead?"
"Questions that need answers, every one. Questions that I might answer, but for now, answer mine. Who are you?"
"Stop it, what is this place?" Scott demanded, approaching the figure.
But once he was two steps away from the figure, it vanished before his eyes. But he heard this statement as the figure disappeared, "When you are ready, you will know."
Running to the center of the room, he called out, "Wait! Don't go. Where am I?"
But before he finished, the room dissolved and became a narrow corridor that seemed to go on forever. Looking in both directions, he pondered what path to take. Suddenly, in front of his eyes, a sign appeared. Taking a deep breath, he studied the sign. It was an average ordinary sign, one arrow pointed one way, with a single word, 'Beginning'. And another arrow pointed the opposite direction and read, 'Confusion'.
"My god, where am I?" Scott pleaded to the darkness, sinking to his knees, and hugging himself tightly.
"Choose." The voice thundered inside his mind.
Reeling back in fear, he backpedaled across the corridor, running into the wall. Even as the voice kept repeating its cryptic instructions.
"Why are you doing this? What do you want from me?" Scott screamed, pleading with the voice inside his head.
"Choose." The voice repeated, this time harshly.
Scott started running down the hall, in his haste forgetting which path he fled down. He ran for what seemed like days, his body racked with pain, his throat burning from lack of water, his body drenched in sweat. And finally, the end was in sight. A bright light, intense and burning, stopped his mindless run.
Walking out of the tunnel, he entered a house. Suddenly and quite unexpectantly, his senses were overloaded. He knew this house, that smell of leather furniture mixed with cheap pipe tobacco. He had smelled that for over half his life.
"Welcome home Scott, you chose wisely."
Startled, Scott turned his head and saw the figure standing next to him. He tried to look beneath the hood that veiled the figures face, but failed. It was just too dark. "How's this possible?" He asked in wonder, staring at his parents as they sat in the den reading different parts of the evening news.
"Everything is possible. I've been waiting for a long time to get you here. So, now, it begins."
"Who are you?" Scott begged, reaching out in his desire to know the figure under the cloak.
Turning to look directly at him, the figure replied, "Whom do you want me to be?"
Scott stammered, disbelief on his face. He asked, "Roy?"
The figure dissolved, and in its place, stood Scott's long lost cousin, Roy.
Backing away from the figure that had stolen his cousin's face, he yelled out, "You can't be here, you're dead."
"No." The figure/Roy said in a sad voice. "You keep me alive."
Falling to the floor, Scott cried out in pain. His fragile mind couldn't comprehend these circumstances. Laying on the floor, he began murmuring to himself, rocking back and forth on his heels.
"There is much work to be done."
"No!" Scott screamed, clawing at his eyes. Trying anything to block the vision of his long lost cousin from his sight.
His scream was still echoing in the void as his surrounding changed and once again, he was back in the circular room with that damned chair. For an eternity it seemed that he screamed. When he was out of breath, he slowly looked around. Standing off to one side, his cousin stood, staring at him with a burning intensity in his eyes. Again he heard that sound. It sounded like a heartbeat, but it was getting fainter with each passing second. He stammered, "How is this possible? Am I in hell?"
His cousin, laughed out loudly for a few minutes before saying, "Hell? You've been in hell for seven years. Not only do you live in hell, but you put hell into your body on a daily basis."
Gliding over to where he was hunched down on his knees, Roy grabbed his arm and showed him the track marks that covered his arm. "I never thought you would turn into a junkie. You were always better than that. Better than this."
"How do you know about that? You're dead."
"I know everything about you," Roy asked seriously. Adding, "And who says I'm dead."
"I saw you die." Scott yelled out. "You died in my fucking arms."
Roy laughed. "If I'm dead, how is it that I can do this?"
Roy punched him in the face, causing the confused boy to fall backwards onto his back.
"You hit me!" Scott screamed, a stunned look on his face. "Why?"
Rushing over to where he lay, Roy sat on his chest, preventing the boy from getting up. Saying, "Yes I did. You know better than to do that. We made a pact, remember? No matter what happened, we'd never do that. You broke that promise." With each word Roy spoke, he punched Scott in the face.
"You said we would be together forever. You lied to me." Scott screamed out, trying to block the blows raining down on his head and face.
"I fucking died," Roy screamed.
"And it was all my fault," Scott replied, breaking down in tears.
Standing up, Roy reached down and hauled his bleeding cousin to his feet. "It was not your fault. It was no one's fault."
"No!" Scott denied, blood pouring from his face and running into his eyes.
The sound of the heartbeat growing fainter still.
Roy's face saddened at the denial of his cousin. As he began saying something, his face dissolved again and the figure with the dark cloak returned.
"Wait, come back." Scott pleaded. But it was too late, Roy was gone.
THe figure spoke, "Who are you?"
"Fuck you!" Scott screamed. "I'm sick of this, I want to go home."
"Home." The figure said. "Do you remember home?"
Scott stopped in mid-sentence. Did he remember home? It had been years since he had been back there. But the memories came flooding back. He said, "Yes, and I hated it. My parents treated me like shit."
"Then why do you want to return there?" The figure asked.
"I don't know..."
"Yes, you do." The figure argued, approaching Scott. Reaching out a cloaked arm, he grabbed Scott's head and whispered, "Remember."
Scott started to shake and convulse, his memories returning un-aided. Memories of his father, picking him up and carrying him to bed when he was just a little boy. He could see the love in his father's eyes as he tucked the half-asleep boy safely into his bed. He could feel his father's lips on his forehead and a deep voice whispering that he loved his only son.
He remembered his mother singing him to sleep. He remembered the way she would wash away the blood from his scrapes and the way she would kiss away the pain. He remembered the way she would stop doing the dishes or whatever she was doing just to ask him how his day went. He remembered the times his mother would get up in the middle of the night to fetch a drink of water for her scared little boy. Memories upon memories of the selfless sacrifices that both his parents made for their only son. A son they loved so fiercely and unconditionally. He couldn't deny the love he saw in their eyes.
Trying to fight the memories, he screamed out, "No! They hated me."'
"They loved you," The figure countered, drawing out more memories.
Trying to block out the images, Scott screamed, "Love is a lie. They never loved me, love doesn't exist. They hated me and they stopped talking to me because I killed Roy."
The heartbeat grew fainter.
"You stopped talking to them." The figure said, taking a step towards Scott. "You pulled back, it was you. Never them."
"No! They blamed me for his death. You don't know, I was there. YOu're twisting it all around."
Pulling Scott to his feet, the figure stood face to face and said, "So was I."
Scott reached for the hood and threw it back. HIs eyes widened as he saw for the first time behind the mask. He screamed out in horror as he realized he was staring into his own face.
The heartbeat grew slower, fainter, until finally there was silence. It had stopped beating entirely.
Scott lay on the floor clutching his chest and gasping for air. He knew, he could feel it, that any breath could be his last. He tried to get to his knees but the pain became to intense. He stopped struggling and gave up as he collapsed on the floor, staring up into his own face.
The figure in black, his other self, looked down in comtempt as he raised his hand in a silent plea for help. The figure said, "Oh, are you in pain? All ready to give up?"
"Help me!" Scott pleaded, turning away from his other self.
"There you go again, running away. Always afraid aren't you, never willling to face the truth."
"Help me, I'm dying." Scott begged.
"Help you? Why should I?" The figure stated, laughing loudly. "When you won't even help yourself."
"I am you." Scott said, his voice a whisper. "You are me, if I die, you die."
"Really," The figure said. "Maybe that's for the best. You don't even know who you are. You are pathetic, complaining about your problems, no one loves me, no one cares. Boo hoo, poor little Scott," The figure now mocking the dying boy.
Grabbing the figures arm, Scott tried to pull himself upright. But his fingers slipped, he was too weak. He said, "Help me."
Even as he argued with his mirror image, he could hear someone speaking to him, though it sounded far away. It sounded just like Garet's voice and he was...Scott couldn't make out what his friend was trying to say.
"Do you hear that?" The figure said, cocking his head to one side. "Do you hear what you are doing to your friends back there?"
"I can't understand you," Scott shouted out to Garet. "What are you saying?"
"He's yelling at you because you gave up." The figure said, laughing. "Your body is dying in that bed, and all you can do is lay on the floor."
"I don't want to die." Scott said, staring at his mirror self.
"Why not? Love does not exist. Nothing is ever good enough. Why not just lay down and die." The figure countered. "Get it over with."
"I don't want to die," Scott spat out. "I'm scared."
"Finally." The figure said, taking a step back. "You admit it."
"What?" Scott asked, trying again to sit up.
"You admit it, you are scared. Do you know that out there," The figure said, waving his arm, "Garet is scared because he loves you."
"No." Scott denied, shaking his head.
"Yes, he does. Listen to him, he's telling you in so many different ways." The figure said, bringing his hand to his ear. "He's begging you not to die, he loves you, just like your parents do."
"Just like Shelia does."
"Just like I do."
"How can you love yourself?" Scott demanded, clutching his chest in pain.
"Because, that is the only way you can exist." The figure said, his voice filled with sadness. "You are me, and I am you. I am everything that you used to be, everything you wanted to be, and I am everything that you are running away from right now."
"I'm not running away," Scott said in between gasps for breaths. "I"m right here along side you."
"You left me a long time ago, but I never forgot what we used to have." His other self pleaded. "Just stop running."
"What am I running from?" Scott begged, his breaths a bit stronger than before, the pain a bit softer.
His cousin, Roy, appeared next to the two Scott's and whispered, "From me."
"NO!" Scott yelled. "Never from you."
"And from me," His other self stated in a gentle voice.
For the first time, Scott really looked at the figure that had his face. It was his, but it wasn't. Even though the face had a sad look, the eyes were so bright, full of life. Not like the stormy eyes he normally saw in the mirror. His face wasn't the same either, it was more youthful. He realized he was seeing himself long ago. Long before the drugs, before the guilt, before the death of his cousin.
His eyse shifted to his cousin's face. Roy looked the same as the day he died. Scott asked, "How can you be here?"
"You won't let me go," Roy said sadly. "You cornered me off in your mind, you won't let me die. You can't find peace until you forgive yourself."
"I can't, I love you," Scott cried, the tears streaming down his face. "It's all my fault."
"No," his other self shouted. "It was not your fault, it was not God's fault, it was just bad luck."
"It was my time," Roy said, reaching out to the tortured boy. "Let me go, I don't blame you. I forgive you."
Scott broke down and cried. This was not sad tears but more tears of acceptance. His breaths became harder, crashing into him, threatening to swallow and consume him. He grabbed out to Roy, like he was the only thing that could save him.
Roy looked down and said, "Let me go."
Scott's mirror self said, "If you want to finally be free, just let go."
Scott held onto his cousin, crying as the weight of guilt pressed him down. His heart felt like it would burst from the pain that he had put himself through. HIs mind ached from the emotional turmoil that had racked his spirit for so many years. The pain in his chest returned, and somehow, he knew that he was dying. And he was tired of feeling all this pain, all this guilt. He wanted to finally be free of it all. So he did something he had never done before. He squeezed Roy tightly one last time, and just let go.
As Roy began to fade away, Scott heard him say, "I don't blame you, and I will always love."
His other self grabbed him, hugging him close until they were touching every inch of their bodies. And yet his other self squeezed even tighter until Scott felt the two bodies begin to merge. At first he fought this sensation, but finally he surrendered to that part of him that was everything good and pure and right. His mind exploded with forgotten feelings of love that he had run so hard to escape. His heart stopped hurting and his breathing returned to normal as he embraced what he had fought so long to deny.
And then there was only one Scott.
As the darkness slowly dissolved into pure light, and as he passed the point of no return, Scott heard a voice whisper, "Finally, it's over."