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Introduction:

The scene at the ice cream shop turns tragic.
“WELL WELL WELL, WHAT A BIG FUCKING COINCIDENCE THIS IS!”

We all turned in the direction of the voice and saw that same asshole that would just never go away. We knew who he was unfortunately and by the look of disgust on Ashley’s face when she turned and saw him she knew who he was too. This fucking guy just happens to show up? Really? That must be the theme this week, everything you hate shall come in bulk.

“My three most hated motherfuckers all gathered in one place, what are the odds?” he said.

“It’s no surprise someone else hates Ashley,” I caught myself saying out loud.

“I call myself asking her out in front of her friends and the bitch flat out embarrassed me, treated me like trash and laughed in my face!”

“Because you’re trash!” Ashley jumped in. “Prime example right here of a piece of shit man, a fucking waste of a body. Why don’t you go drown in a bathtub.”

“Come on man, can we do this another day, we’re not in the mood for any shit today,” I said.

“Well I say you are, let’s all sit down and talk a while.”

“Look you fucking creep, we’re not in the mood so go fuck off somewhere else!” Rita said.

He grins at Rita and walks toward her. “You have a mouth on you, where’s it been all this time? If you’d been a little nicer to me I would’ve put it to good use,” he grinned.

That last comment pissed me off. “We don’t have time for your bullshit man just get the…”

“I DON’T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR! YOU’RE ON MY TIME NOW, AND YOU’RE GONNA DO EXACTLY WHAT I FUCKING SAY!”

Ashley huffed and crossed her arms. “Hmmph, typical loser.”

He turned and glared a hole right through Ashley. “What did you just say?”

“You heard me, typical fucking loser. Nobody wants you so you have to force your way onto them, you’re the lowest kind of man out there. It’s kind of pathetic really.”

He started getting red in the face. She’d really pushed his buttons saying stuff that kinda resembled her a little bit, but it had a bigger effect on him. “I’d watch it bitch.”

Ashley decided to press her luck and walked up to him, right in his face. “Or what? You’re gonna keep getting all red in the face? Please. You aren’t gonna do anything, you’re nothing but a little boy acting like a man. I don’t know why I even waste my breath on you.”

Ashley turns to leave and he grabs her arm before she gets too far. “Don’t walk away from me!”

With lightning quickness she spins around with the other arm and slaps him clean across his face, the sound echoing over the few cars driving by as he staggered back and cupped his face with his hand. “DON’T YOU EVER FUCKING TOUCH ME!” Ashley yelled.

As if his face wasn’t red enough, now he had a handprint on the left side of his face. That definitely pushed him over the edge. He grabbed her arm again (this time her right one) with more force and yanked her back in front of him. “Bitch, you’re gonna pay for that.”

She goes to hit him again but freezes when he lifts up his shirt and pulls out a knife. Both Rita and I are locked on him in horror as he puts the knife against Ashley’s chest.

“You scream, and I’ll stab you right fucking now.”

The scene escalated in a matter of minutes from just arguing to all of our lives being in danger thanks to Ashley. Her constant need to belittle someone finally came back to bite her in the ass, and in the worst possible way.

“Yeah bitch, you wanna get quiet now that your precious life is in danger.”

Rita locked her arm in mine and was standing halfway behind me. I could feel her shaking she was so scared. Ashley on the other was an entire different definition of scared. She was absolutely horrified, to the point where it looked like she was gonna cry. I myself was definitely scared, I mean he had a knife, and he was crazy, but I told Rita I would risk my life for her without hesitation, so my protective instinct overrode my fear of the knife, that and him pulling a knife around Rita got me a little pissed, so my adrenaline started to flow.

“Really man? Why would you bring a knife out here, we’re at an ice cream shop! There’s cars driving past us right now!” I said.

“Yeah, but there’s only one problem, it’s the fucking suburbs. Noone in this fucking town stays out late unless they’re working, and even then they’re just worried about going home, not kids fighting at a fucking ice cream shop! Not a single car is slowing down, or even acknowledging I have a knife. The people in the ice cream shop aren’t even doing anything, they can’t even see it. For all they know, we’re just having a really heated argument,” he replied.

Unfortunately he was right. He had Ashley’s body blocking the knife from the front and his was blocking it from the back, noone would even know he had a gun, not unless he stabbed her…

“Now that I have your attention, what should I do?” he asked noone in particular.

“You could let us go, look at them, they’re scared to death man!” I said.

“Good! Finally they fucking know the world doesn’t revolve around them! She gets all bent outta shape because I grabbed her ass, and you wanna be big
fucking hero boyfriend and cause problems, and this bitch right here deserves everything she fucking gets, fucking president of the feminists of America, I don’t
even wanna get into the things she did to me, or I’ve seen her do,” he said as he yanked on her arm.

“That’s what this is about? You’re mad because she, like any other person, doesn’t wanna be groped in public by someone they don’t know, and I’m bad for defending her? I don’t know what Ashley did to you, and knowing her it was definitely bad, but come on man, stabbing her doesn’t even the score.”

Ashley was absolutely terrified. She wouldn’t take her eyes off the knife. She tried frantically to shake her arm free but he wouldn’t let up, and when he had enough of her struggling, he back handed her, hard, and she dropped to the ground, bleeding from the mouth. I don’t know what was worse, that I kind of enjoyed her getting hit after all the shit she put us through, or that noone, in cars, the ice cream shop, or passerbys, stopped when they saw her fall to the ground. I felt guilty for enjoying seeing her in pain for once, even though she deserved it.

“Come on man was that really necessary?” I found myself saying.

“And everybody wonders why I’m like this,” Ashley said holding on to her bleeding lip.

“You’re like this because you’re an evil spiteful bitch who’d walk over anybody to your way, yeah but that shit ends today, one way or another,” he said running the knife through her hair so she knew what he meant. “Now stand the fuck up!

Out of nowhere the most unexpected thing happened, I mean completely unexpected, Ashley started crying. That was something I never thought I’d see happen, ever. This wasn’t just a tear or two she forced out, she was really crying, tears were actually streaking down her face. I guess it finally clicked in her head that her life was really in danger.

“Please, let me go, please!” she pleaded in a breaking voice looking up at him from the ground.

“You see this? It takes someone holding a knife on her to finally show some fucking emotion, and even now she’s still selfish, she only asked for herself to be let go, not you two!”

She hung her head and turned it to the side out of everyone’s view when he called her out. Even though he had a point, I was willing to let it slide on account of the knife he had at her chest, she couldn’t think straight, hell I was surprised I was lasting this long. Rita gripped my arm tighter and I stood directly in front of her, determined to get her out of here unharmed.

“Can you blame her? You have a big fucking knife aimed at her threatening to stab her!” I said.

“Don’t fucking defend her! You probably hate her just as much as I do don’t you? DON’T YOU?”

I thought for a quick second, I had to choose my words carefully, if I said the wrong thing I could set him off, and I wouldn’t put Rita’s life in jeopardy like that. “I’m not gonna lie, after all the shit she put us through, practically ruining our lives, I hate her, I really fucking do.”

Ashley dropped her head and wiped her eyes, reality of what she’d done finally setting in I guess. “See! She’s a fucking problem that needs to be dealt with!”

“Even hating her though, I wouldn’t pull a knife on her, that makes me no better than her!”

He tightened his face to let me know he’d caught my hidden insult. “You wanna reword that?”

I decided to take a chance, but still kept Rita directly behind me just in case. “You’re just dropping to her level man, having to force someone’s hand to get what you want out of them.”

“You know what? I’ll give her one chance. I’ll ask one question, if she gets it right, I’ll leave, and everybody goes home, if she gets it wrong, well you can figure it out.”

“Ok man, that sounds fair, she answers one question we all leave,” I repeated.

He looked down at Ashley who in turn looked back at him with makeup running down her face from crying. He squatted right in front of her and looked her in the eyes. “What’s my name?”

Her face almost immediately went pale. She tried to search in her head for an answer, but it looked like she kept coming up blank.

“Come on ASHLEY, what’s my name?” he demanded.

“I don’t know, I never… you never even…”

“Wrong answer! You see? Doesn’t even take the time to learn the guys names who she degrades. Selfish fucking bitch. I guess you’re coming with me tonight!”

Fuck. I didn’t even know his name. We never got that far, it was instant problems from the moment we met him. Ashley dropped her head again and tried again to pull from his grasp, but he wasn’t having it.

“Stop fucking struggling! I gave you a chance with the simplest question possible and you failed miserably! You’re all coming with me, we’re gonna take a little ride.”

I heard Rita suck in air in horror as she squeezed my arm. “And go where? To some back alley or abandoned building so you can stab us? No way man. Come on, just let us leave. These bullshit arguments and insults aren’t worth getting stabbed and going to jail over, we can work this out another day, look at them, they’re both scared to death man!” I said.

“Let you go? Yeah so you can go straight to the cops? I don’t fucking think so,” he replied.

“With what? We don’t know your name, we don’t know where you live, we don’t know your friends or family, there aren’t any cameras around here, we can’t describe you to the cops without you sounding like every other person in the city, we have nothing man, just let us go.”

“Do you think I’m fucking stupid! Nah, there’s only one way this is gonna play out…”

In a last effort Ashley used all the strength she had, and while he was distracted she yanked herself free from his grasp and pushed him away, and he stumbled into one of the tables nearly falling over, but caught himself with his free hand, and dropped his knife in the process.

“That’s it bitch!” he yelled as he turned his attention back to Ashley, who was pressed up against the enclosed gate she most likely forgot was there.

He picked up the knife and went to point it at her, and at that moment I could see my life flash before my eyes, and he wasn’t even looking at me, but Ashley was cringing against the fence waiting for the inevitable, so there was no doubt the same thing was going through her mind. I hated Ashley, I did, but pulling a knife on someone doesn’t even the odds, especially when they’re as defenseless as we were. I had to do something, and I had to do it now.
He picked the knife up and charged at Ashley, but before he got there I lunged myself at him and knocked him back a few steps, making him bump into a few more tables. He didn’t fall, he caught himself again and gave me a death stare, and I didn’t feel comfortable having them run while he still had control of the knife, too risky. I directed Ashley to get behind me, and she slowly walked over, still scared out of her mind, but grabbed on to my other arm for dear life.

“Randy…” Ashley said in a still shaky voice.

“Not now, we’re not out of this yet.” I responded.

“I wanna go home Randy, please let’s just go home,” Rita cried.

“He still has the knife, if we try to run he’ll definitely catch one of us, we have to get it from him first, then maybe SOMEBODY WILL CALL THE POLICE ON THIS GUY TRYING TO KILL US!” I yelled.

He threw the knife between both his hands. “Biggest mistake of your fucking life!”

He charged at me with the knife up and I moved forward to get away from the girls, he came down from top and I was able to block it, but he cut my arm in the attempt. I winced but still held on, trying to knock the knife out of his hand, without success. He had a free hand and used it to punch me in the nose, and when I stumbled back, he slashed across at my chest, cutting through my shirt and drawing blood again. Again it only hurt for a second I’m guessing because of the adrenaline, but I wasn’t trying to make that a habit.

“Call 911!” I yelled to noone in particular while I had a chance to say something.

Before I had a chance to do anything else he was on me again, trying to push the knife into my chest. I was scared to death as I held him off with both my hands, but he was getting closer to my chest and my arms were starting to give away, so I did the only thing I could, I headbutted the shit out of him, hurting myself in the process, but at least it hurt him just as much. While he was dazed I grabbed the hand with the knife in it and slammed it across the table until he dropped it, then I punched him as hard as I could in the face. Immediately after I hit him I tackled him into a table and some chairs, but that gave him the upper hand because we rolled off the table and hit the ground with me on the bottom. He had position on me, and took advantage of it by smashing me with fist after fist, trying to blacken my eye, bust my nose, break my jaw, crack some ribs, whatever he could do to inflict more pain he tried it.

“Stop it! Get off of him!” I head Rita yell.

“Shut up bitch, you’re next,” he said as he looked back down at me to continue hitting me.

Him talking like that to her made me incensed. Even though he was still hitting me, hard, I got this sudden wave of energy, this burst of adrenaline, like I was becoming super saiyan or something. I used my arms to block his next flurry of punches and slung him off to the side, and immediately started pounding his face into the ground like he did me.

“You bitch! You fucking bitch! Fuck you!” I screamed as I hit him with punch after punch, each one feeling stronger than the last, kinda like when John Hartigan was bashing in the yellow guy’s head at the end of Sin City.

I punched him until I couldn’t punch anymore, and when the adrenaline wore off, I felt extremely weak. I looked up from his bloody face to see Rita clutching her phone in her hand and Ashley huddled up next to her. I could finally see some other people after what seemed like forever, but they were a good distance away, us four were still the only ones in the area. I slowly got up and went looking for his knife, stumbling around as I did on account of the beating he gave me. Since my shirt was already ripped and cut up I took it off and used it to pick up the knife so I wouldn’t leave my fingerprints on it, thank all the million cop shows for that. I tried to stand back up but dropped down to a knee because I was so battered, I felt like Shepherd looked at the end of Mass Effect 3, and that’s not a good feeling. I staggered over to Rita and Ashley who were still frozen in the same place since all this started.

“Did you call the cops?” I asked Rita weakly.

“Yeah, they’re sending someone,” was all she said in a scared, but controlled voice.

“Good,” I replied holding my ribs.

I looked over at Ashley who was still shaking, and unable to make eye contact with me. She was trying hard to fight back saying something or fight back tears.
“I still hate you,” I said, not knowing if I was serious or not. “I could’ve gotten stabbed to death, luckily all he brought was a knife.”

“Hey fucker!” I heard him weakly yell from behind me.

I had forgotten for a second he was still there, biggest mistake I ever made. I turned around and watched as he reached into his waist and pulled out a gun.

“Always have a plan B.”

“No!” I screamed as I took my beaten body and slid over to Rita and Ashley. I pushed them both to the ground out of harms way, then I turned around to go after him and...


BANG! BANG!


............................................................................................



I felt two jolts of extreme pain hit me in the chest and surge through my body, making me go limp, then hit the ground on my back, cracking my head on the ground in the process.

“Raaanddddddyyyyyyyy!!!!” was all I could hear as I stared up at the night sky while struggling to keep my eyes open.

Rita’s face suddenly came into view above me as she had this look of horror on her face as she looked back at me. Her face almost instantly welled up with tears as she started panicking, not knowing what to do next. I could hear a lot of rustling and a crowd of people around me, but it was like I was pinned to the ground, unable to move for the life of me.

“Oh my god oh my god oh my god! SOMEBODY HELP ME! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP ME! The ambulance is coming Randy please stay awake!” Rita cried, tears falling down her face.

It was getting harder to breathe by the second, but the pain was intensifying, to the point where I could feel exactly where it was coming from, my left shoulder and around a foot under it. I tried to say something, but all I could do was try to catch my breath, me hitting my head on the ground didn’t help much either as I was borderline passing out.

“NO! Don’t you do this to me Randy! YOU LOOK AT ME, YOU FUCKING LOOK AT ME!” Rita yelled as she grabbed the sides of my head and made me look directly at her. “GIVE ME SOMETHING TO PUT UNDER HIS HEAD! YOU AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE YOU HEAR ME! YOU’RE NOT GONNA LEAVE ME BY MYSELF, I NEED YOU!”

Ashley popped into view and she took her hoodie or whatever from her and rolled it up and put it under my head. My vision was getting blurry, and my eyes were getting really heavy, I tried to fight it, but the more I did the faster it seemed to take me under. Even with all the pain and screaming, everything seemed to quiet down, to the point where everything around me was silent. I tried to focus on Rita, as blurry as she was, but I was overcome by my body, and try as I did, I kept fading, and fading, until finally, I went under.

…………………………………………………………………….

“His eyes are open! His pulse is coming back! Let’s move people!” I heard someone say.

My eyes opened and focused just enough to see that I was inside an ambulance with a crew of maybe three people working on me to save my life. I could see Rita at the back of the truck watching helplessly, crying her eyes out. I tried to make a move, any kind of move, but my body felt heavy as a boulder, unable to even lift my arm. Every move the paramedics made, whether it was giving me a shot, putting pressure down on my shoulder, or moving my head, Rita never took her eyes off me.

“Give me the… no not that one, the other one, hurry,” some guy said pointing at needles.

He gave me a shot of something, but by now I couldn’t feel anything, I was just there, in the truck, not knowing if they gave me something to help relax me or if I was slipping away. All seemed to be stagnant for a second, until I started to feel pain again, and it was coming fast, in waves. The blurriness in my eyes came back along with the shortness of breath, causing me to panic. They had the breathing mask over my mouth but I felt like it wasn’t working, like I would be able to breathe better without it, but I didn’t have the strength to lift either arm to take it off. Then out of nowhere a sharp pain shot through my entire body and seemed to loop over and over, and soon I’d lost what little control I had over my body.

“He’s going into shock! Hold him down! We have to move fast…”

“DO SOMETHING!” Rita screamed at the top of her lungs.

“He’s fading! Collins, get me the scahiuihjfhd fgtgvbt tvtrtvtvercr veverferf…”

I couldn’t fight it anymore. As much as I tried to stay conscious, my body wouldn’t let me. I shook and gasped for air for as long as I could, but the pain was too much to bear. Just like before, my eyes got real heavy, and my breathing shortened, and with my last bit of consciousness, I watched as everything around me, the emt’s, the inside of the truck, Rita, became a blurry mess, then slowly disappear as everything faded black until there was nothing. I’d lost consciousness again, and by the way I felt before I did, I didn’t think I’d wake back up.

…………………………………………………………………………………………….


I’d woken up, I was sure of it. My eyes were open and I was up and about, and I didn’t feel any pain, the only problem, was I didn’t feel like I was in my body. I felt smaller, like pre-puberty still in grade school playing with toy trucks smaller, but it was dark around me and it wasn’t like I could just look into a mirror. As I thought that everything started to light up around me, and when it did, I almost shit my pants, I woke up to find myself reliving a moment of my childhood, literally. I somehow had reverted back to when I was four when we went to the beach for the very first time. Being that was a big day for me, I remember everything fondly, and it all looked exactly the same as it was the day we were actually there, down to my tiny toon adventure swimming shorts.
“Randy come on! Let’s go play in the water!” Rita’s equally young self yelled back at me as she charged towards the water, making dad chase after her.
I remembered this moment exactly, it was one of the best days of my life, but why was I here? What meaning did this day have on the rest of my life? Was there something I didn’t know about? I had so many questions, but before I could answer any of them, the scenery around my changed, along with my body, and I was warped to another part of my childhood.

The first day of school. Again I remember it like it was yesterday. Rita and I were so terrified the other kids wouldn’t like us that we almost didn’t go, but we sucked it up and went in proud with our power ranger lunchboxes and had a great first day. Then once again once that memory was complete I was transported to another part of my childhood, mine and Rita’s thirteenth birthday. That day was special because it was right around the time puberty had kicked in for both of us as well as signaling we were becoming young adults, and mom and dad made plenty sure we were gonna enjoy the hell out of it, giving us every single thing we asked for that day, which wasn’t much, but they still did it. I would rank that in my top five for best days ever, behind the beach, and the first day of school, and… before I could even finish that thought I was being transported again, and to my surprise it was right to the thought I was just having, the first time Rita and I made love. There I was lying on the bed with her again after we’d come back from our birthday dinner, just holding her and feeling her soft skin against mine. That was the day I knew I’d found the love of my life, and I would do everything in my power to make her happy. But then, something different happened, not like how I’d been transitioning before. Just as quick as the last memory came, it was gone, faded out into darkness like a horror movie right after someone just died a gruesome death. I started to teleport again, in pitch black this time, and where I ended up was anything but a happy memory for me.

I’d gone back to when we went trick or treating when we were five. It was the first time we’d ever gone, and was almost the last. Mom and dad took us to this haunted house on accident, I say that because it looked normal on the outside, but the set up was you had to go through the house to the back yard to get candy, us being kids we didn’t care we just wanted the candy so in we went, big mistake. Once the door closed the lights went off and all manner of werewolves, ghosts, boogeymen and anything else that could scare a child came out of nowhere, scaring us half to death and making us run out of the house without candy. I was shaking and Rita was crying, and we vowed never to go trick or treating again, until Aunt Lisa changed our minds. That was not a good day.
I transported from that to the day when Rita had to go stay with our grandparents for a month when we were nine, it was the first time we were ever apart, and for such a long period of time we were both seriously upset. I don’t remember why she had to go and why I couldn’t go with her, but it was definitely one of the worst days of our life, I held her as she cried all the way up until it was time for her to go. I left that memory and was taken to another, but this time there was a sharp pain in my chest as I was being transported to it, it didn’t hurt too bad but it was strong enough for me to notice. I arrived at the time we tried horse lessons, it was our first and last time. The horse Rita was on went crazy and threw her head first into a tree, knocking her unconscious and causing me to hate horses forever. She got away with a concussion, but it could’ve been much worse, it was safe to say we weren’t getting on another horse again.

I quick flashed to the day we met Ashley, and by now the pain I was now feeling has doubled. I flashed back to that day many times in my head wondering what I could do differently so that we never met each other. Even on that day she was a complete bitch, luring Rita away from me with stuff that was “for girls only” according to her, then laugh behind my back and taunt me whenever Rita wasn’t looking. That was the day that started Rita hanging out with girls, and since it was new to her, I wasn’t gonna be an asshole and interfere, as much as I wanted to, but it was important to her, so it was important to me, I just wished it had been another girl instead of Ashley. I didn’t wanna live through any more memories, good or bad, the Ashley one just pissed me off extremely, knowing she was the reason for all of this, but you know how it goes when you want something, the exact opposite always happens, and this time was no different.

It went dark again, but the pain from before was gone, I don’t know why, it was just gone. This time felt different, not because of the pain, but something was just, different. Instead of flashing to another memory like usual, this time I felt like I was floating off the ground, hovering in place almost as if I was levitating, and then the lights came back up. If I already wasn’t unconscious, I’m sure I would’ve been now just from the shock of what I was seeing. I was in my body, but I wasn’t in my body, and I was looking at myself as I lay on the street after being shot. I was reliving my now worst memory, the time I’d gotten shot and ended up paralyzed, ended up in a coma, ended up dead, I don’t know, but I was not hoping for any of them, let alone the last one. Unlike the other flashbacks, this one seemed to be stuck on repeat, from the moment the guy pulled out the gun, to me hitting the ground and Rita screaming, this moment played over and over until I knew exactly what was gonna happen at what time. It’s said that your life flashes before your eyes before you die, and mine did just that, with the good memories and the bad. I didn’t think I’d go this soon, but apparently life had different plans for me, and there was nothing I could do about it. My only regret, is leaving Rita the way I did, with us fighting and not being able to make up, all thanks to Ashley. I knew one day she would be the death of me, I just didn’t think it would be literally. I sat down, realizing there was nothing I could do, and waited, waited for the scene in front of me to stop playing over and over, waiting for everything to go dark around me again, waiting to die.

I wasn’t sitting there long before something started to happen. The scene of me getting shot over and over started to spin around like water does in a toilet, and all the light gathered in one spot. I stood back up, not knowing what I was looking at, but was intrigued all the same. The light started to compact itself into a smaller form, but it was getting so bright I almost couldn’t look at it, so I covered my eyes. It sped up the spinning, and the brightness went down enough for me to look at it, only to see the light forming I the shape of a person. I stood there, in sort of awe, as the light materialized in front of me, coming to a big flash of light, temporarily blinding me, and went I looked back at it, I couldn’t believe my eyes, there looking back at me in the form of light, was myself, right down to the detail.

“W-wh-who are you?” I finally managed to get out.

“I am you, your conscience, I am everything you are,” he said back in my voice with an echo.

“How am I talking to you?”

“Certain circumstances allows for this meeting to be possible, on account of your actions.”

“I can talk to my conscience while I’m unconscious?”

“Sort of, it’s very complex.”

“All those memories, why did you show them to me?”

“Because you needed to see them, the good and the bad, for what they were.”

I was scared to ask the next question. A-am I, dead?”

“Not yet, fortunately for you, but you’re really close, which is why I’m here.”

I took the biggest sigh of relief possible. “Am I able to leave, whatever this is?”

“That isn’t possible, at least not right now. Your mind cannot reenter the real world in the condition it’s presently in, the outcome would be disastrous.”

“The condition it’s presently in? What does that mean?” I asked now getting scared.

“Your ongoing fight with Rita, your hate for Ashley, the strain of trying to fix everything, then on top of all that, getting shot and smashing your head on the ground. There was too much stress and conflict going on, your body couldn’t handle it all, so your mind was sent here.”

“Where am I? Where is here?”

“You’re in limbo.”

“Limbo? What do you mean limbo? Why am I here?”

“I don’t know, why are you here Randy?”

“Because I got shot! You know what I mean, why am I really here?”

“You’re here because life decided to test you to see if you’re capable of going back.”

“Going back? This isn’t gonna be like in the movies where I get a certain amount of questions that I have to get all exactly right is it?”

“Yes and no. it’s more like make your time count. You only have so much of it here.”

“Why is life testing me? Is it testing Rita or anyone else?”

“I can’t speak for anyone else, I’m only your conscience, but as for you, the reason you’re here is because you were in a situation you were never supposed to be in.”

I was utterly confused. “What? What are you talking about?”

“You were never supposed to be at that ice cream shop, that scenario wasn’t supposed to happen, but it did, and now that mistake has altered your path.”

“I’m confused, what do you mean altered my path?”

“I’ll give you an example. Say you’re an angel, and you see a little girl about to be hit by a car, it isn’t fair that she go so young, but it’s her time to go, so it has to happen, only you don’t have the heart to let it happen, so you intervene and save her. You think all is good because you saved her from death, but you’re wrong. That car that was supposed to hit her, since it had no reason to be at that spot because it didn’t hit the girl, kept on driving, right on through a red light, causing a six car pileup, and killing fourteen people, including six kids. The little girl from before was saved, but saving her caused another accident that wasn’t supposed to happen.”

I was at a loss for words for a second, but eventually I got it, I think. “At least my situation wasn’t as bad as that one, I didn’t affect anyone but myself really, I mean damage wise.”

“That would be the only bright side of all of this, maybe.”

“Maybe? What’s maybe?”

“If you were to die here, we don’t know how that would affect everyone you know, they might act out, fall into depression, maybe try to hurt themselves…”

“No! don’t even think that! Don’t even think about anyone else right now, just focus on me! Be straight with me, why am I here and how do I get out of here?”

“You are here to find out of you get a second chance at life. If you want to get out of here, you must successfully encounter and conquer the two obstacles that put you here, as well as the two you need to get yourself out of here.”

“And what happens if I’m unable to do this?”

“Then I hope you have a nice gravestone picked out, you’ll be stuck here, in limbo, forever.”

I got a little scared. “You’re my conscience, you should be able to help me get through this.”

“That’s just it, I’m your conscience, not an angel or a future being, I only know what you know, nothing more. I can’t give you the answers, it doesn’t work like that, but I can guide you as best I can to try and lead you to the answers.”

“That sounds like a bunch of crap. If you wanted to help me you could, but since it doesn’t affect you, you probably could care less about the decisions I make.”

“I’m your conscience, I am a part of you, if you die, then I die along with you. I cannot exist without a body, so it wouldn’t be in my best interest not to help you as best I could.”

“Then help me! Give me something I can use!”

“You’re already on the right path, Confusion is the first obstacle you need to overcome. Before you can fix the problem, you need to understand it, and before you can understand it, you must first be confused by it.”

I don’t know how, but something finally clicked, what he said made perfect sense to me, and he must have sensed it by the nod of approval on his, my glowing face.

“I see something I said finally clicks with you it seems.”

“Took long enough. Basically this is all mental since it’s in my head, which means I need to figure out something for my mind to set itself right, like a meaning of life thing or something.”

“That’s close enough. There’s a message you need to figure out, and to do that, you have to do things you’d never thought you’d do.”

“Can you help me with it?”

“That is something you must figure out for yourself. You’re off to a good start, you’ve just conquered the Confusion part of the obstacle, only three more left. If I were you, I’d make good use of my time, this place has a way of messing with your head the longer you’re here.”

As he finished his sentence his figure started to disappear, spreading light to all corners of the room before he disappeared.

“Wait! Will you come back and help me again?”

“As long as you make progress, I’ll be here…”

The last of his light faded off and I was once again standing in a pitch black room. He said I’d conquered confusion, but he didn’t tell me how to get to the next obstacle, which ironically left me confused. I didn’t know where to pick up, and sitting alone in a dark room didn’t help. I got the feeling o would be there a little longer than I expected.

I don’t know exactly how much time passed, but it felt like days upon days of me trying to figure out my next move. Nothing much had really happened after he left, except my left hand felt warm, not hot, but noticeable, and it didn’t seem to be going away. I had to figure this out, and from what he told me I had to do it quick, my mind was already in trouble enough, I didn’t need my mind getting warped inside my mind, if that makes any sense. I replayed everything in my head over and over again, starting from where the problems stemmed, and it always came back to the same place, Ashley. No matter how I went about it, it always came back to Ashley as the source of this whole mess. Just thinking about her name stirred up anger inside me. Yeah that asshole did shoot me, but it was Ashley’s fault I was there in the first place, I wouldn’t be trapped in my own mind if it wasn’t for her. I hated her. I’d said it before I came to this place and I’m saying it here, I hate her, and I’ve never said that about anyone in my life. The thing that bothers me though is that as much as I hate her, I still protected her, why? I couldn’t make sense of it. I could die at any moment, and knowing that I never made up with Rita, and argued with Ashley then saved her and Rita before getting that chance to make up made me even more angry. I was so mad at Ashley by this point I was hoping to wake up so I could find her and choke, her, slap her, punch her, anything so she could feel some kind of pain and so I could feel a little better about having been here. All of a sudden I felt by body being jerked around like I was moving really fast, then I came to a stop in another room, lit up with the good memories from my childhood. I smiled a little as I relived my young glory days again, making me if only for a second forget where I was. Then as quick as they came, the memories faded out, but not calmly, they left with the illusion of being set on fire, like a metaphor of my life going up in smoke. I was incensed. To be teased with my life like that only to have it ripped away? Why? Why was I being punished? I did nothing to deserve this! I was so mad, and the fact that I had nothing to kick, throw, punch, take my anger out on didn’t help me in the least. I went into a frenzy, grabbing chunks of my hair and ripping it out, stomping on a ground I couldn’t see, punching a wall that wasn’t there, I’d lost it. I threw a tantrum for who knows how long before I just gave up, worn out, and sat down on the floor, full of hate. There was no way out of this, in all that anger I’d realized that, and I threw in the towel. I was trapped in my mind with no way to get out, no possible way at all to get out, and though I was too angry to admit it, I accepted it. My life was now over, there was nothing I could do about it, nothing to do but wait for my clock to expire.

I sat there for what felt like an eternity before that familiar light came back into the room and gathered together again, and once again I was staring at my glowing conscience.

“May I ask what you’re doing?”

“What’s it look like?”

“It looks like you’ve given up.”

“Then you would be correct.”

“Can I ask why?”

“You’re my conscience, you can ask anything you want.”

“This isn’t you Randy, this isn’t the way your life was supposed to end up.”

“What’s it to you? Don’t act like you give a damn, almighty fucking conscience! If you care so much, where were you the night of the party? Where were you the night I went to the ice cream parlor? Shit, where were you when Ashley first came into the picture? Nowhere that’s where! Not so much as a sound. Now you show up out of fucking nowhere and you wanna give me life advice? Fuck off.”

“This isn’t you Randy, you’re letting your anger get the better of you, don’t.”

“Why not? What else could possibly go wrong?”

“A lot of things could go wrong. You’re being fueled by the second obstacle, Anger, remember you’re supposed to overcome it, not become it.”

“It’s not the worst thing I’ve done, you should know that.”

“People tend to make illogical decisions when they’re fueled by anger, you are no exception.”

“I’m basically dead anyway, there’s no getting out of here, things can’t possibly get any worse.”

“They can get a whole lot worse when you go completely under, trust me, this is nothing.”

I shrugged him off, not wanting to listen to any more speeches. “Yeah whatever.”

“I’ve never known you to be a quitter Randy, you were always a fighter, even from a young age, but now you’re ready to quit on the most important decision of your life?”

“Haven’t you been watching? My life is already over! That bitch Ashley ruined it the moment she came into our lives. You’d know that if you didn’t have your head up your ass!”

“Is that what you think? Your life is over?”

“Rita shunned me from her life because of everything Ashley did. Rita! My Rita! Do you know how bad that hurts?”

“From what I saw she was crying her eyes out hoping you wouldn’t die, that doesn’t look like she shunned you from her life to me.”

“Of course she doesn’t want me to die, I’m still her family, but it’s not like things will go back to the way they were before all this happened, you can’t unring a bell.”

“I can recall Stephanie offering words of forgiveness, you don’t think Rita will do the same?”

“Stephanie is different than Rita. We’re not related, we’re not twins, and we weren’t in love, she and Chris just finally admitted that to each other. With Rita, everything was real, it was perfect, she was everything I ever wanted, and all that was taken away in one night.”

My anger had finally started to die down a little as my head cleared and I thought about the situation. My mind didn’t feel clouded as much anymore, and I still thought I was making the only decision I could make.

“It’s not over Randy, you can still fix this, you can still get your life back.”

“What life? Rita doesn’t trust me anymore. I don’t wanna go back to a life where I can’t be with her, not after everything we’ve been through, I can’t do it.

“So you would rather stay here and wither away, is that it?”

“It’s not what I prefer, this place is no better, the only thing remotely good about here is that my left hand stays warm, which is nothing at all to brag about, but being here beats being around Rita and not being able to be with her.”

“Death is never the better option. No matter the situation. No matter whose fault it is.”

“IT’S ASHLEY’S FAULT! THIS WHOLE THING IS ASHLEY'S FAULT!” I yelled, a small bit of anger coming back to me.

“Even if that may be the case, it still…”

“There is no even if, it is her fault! She took Rita from me and she put me in this place, double fucking whammy. I hate her, I hate her so fucking much.”

“You hate her, yet you still stepped in front of a bullet for her with no hesitation.”

“Yeah tell me why I did that, because I have no fucking clue why I did.”

“You did it because regardless of your feelings for Ashley, it was the right thing to do, plain and simple. You took control of that situation. Trust me, that made a big difference.”

“Not big enough. Look around, she put me in my grave.”

“That’s only true if you make it true. Don’t lose the will to fight, it’s not over yet.”

I dropped my head. “For me it is. I have nothing to go back to.”

He stood silent for a second and gave me a disappointed look as he started to fade off. “Get comfortable here, because if you continue to think like that then you’re already dead.”

He disappeared again and I was left along again in the dark with my thoughts, which is what I wanted at that moment. I didn’t feel like talking about it anymore, I just wanted to sit there with my thoughts and wait for whatever was gonna happen to me to happen. It wasn’t like me at all to just concede like this, but I honestly thought I had no better option. Sometimes death is easier. Why would I wanna live a life where I have to be around the one person I wanna spend the rest of my life with, but I can’t have? Not to mention if she starts dating other guys and bringing them to the house around me, that would just eat me up inside. It was better this way, for everybody, it might not seem like it now but down the line everyone will see it differently.

It’s hard to keep track of time in a place that’s so empty, so I had no idea how long I’d been sitting in that spot for. Without the need for food or water here, and besides the pain when I was being shown the memories, there’s not much cause for anything to be wrong, so I just sat there, a paranoid prisoner trapped in my own mind, waiting for something, anything to happen. I was beginning to think nothing at all would ever happen, that I would just stay in this dark room forever since I’d basically agreed to it anyway, but then out of nowhere I heard something, something faint but it was definitely there. It wasn’t like the sound my conscience makes when he reappears, this sounded like, if I heard right, an actual person. I sat quiet and tried to focus on the noise, which started to get louder and closer the more I paid attention to it, it was definitely a person, a girl, and by the sound of it, it sounded like she was crying. There was no other sound, just the continuous crying playing over and over on a loop, or at least that’s what it sounded like. I don’t know where it came from, or how long it would last, but it definitely made me curious, seeing as it was the only sound I heard in who knows how long other than myself. I started to get a little antsy, and almost right on cue, I heard that familiar whooshing noise along with all that light gathering back into one spot, my conscience.

“What’s that noise?”

“That’s your life Randy.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“That’s what you’re leaving behind.”

My enthusiasm dropped. “Oh. Figures it would only lead to more pain.”

“You don’t get it do you?”

“Get what? I don’t see what I’m missing.”

“You’re so blinded by anger that it’s killing you, literally. If you’re that intent on staying here, in this black empty space in the back of your mind forever, then I can’t stop you, but you’re making a huge mistake thinking your life is over.”

“Trust me, it is. If you saw the look on Rita’s face you’d know too.”

“I did see the look on her face, and it wasn’t a look that showed any distain towards you.”

“Then you must’ve been looking at another Rita, because my Rita hates me.”

He stood silent for a second. “I see. It seems you’ve made up your mind, and no matter what I seem to say against you, you still won’t change it.”

“It’s easier this way, for everyone. I know what I’m giving up.”

“Do you? Ok. Since your mind is made up, I’ll leave you alone and you’ll never hear from me again, but before I go, I want you to see exactly what you’re giving up.”

He points his hand out to a random spot and a rectangle of light starts to form. It’s fuzzy like how a TV screen is but it starts to clear up, and when it does, the image that shows up on screen completely caught me off guard. It showed me, laying in a hospital bed, hooked up to a machine with all sorts of things in my arms, and sitting in the chair next to my bed was Rita, holding my hand, wearing the exact same clothes from the night I was shot, bloodstains and all.

“That doesn’t look like a girl who hates you to me. She hasn’t left your side since you were shot, hasn’t left that room even to change her clothes. She barely eats, barely sleeps, and washes the dirt off of herself in the sink with a sponge, and when she’s done, she always goes back to that chair and holds your hand, which is why it feels warm all the time.”

I was floored. I didn’t know what to think. I looked down at my left hand and closed my eyes, trying to fight back tears. I didn’t know what to think of myself at that moment. Before I had time to let anything sink in he turned on the sound, and immediately I could hear the crying again. The crying from before was Rita, as she was doing now on the screen before me.

“Randy please wake up!” Rita cried as she put her hand on my cheek. “I love you so much, I need you here with me, I can’t do this by myself!”

She put her head on my stomach and continued crying. It was hard for me to keep watching because I hated to see her like that, in so much pain, but I forced myself to, after all the choices I was about to make I had to watch, to see what my killing myself would do to everyone around me, to see how it would affect them.

“Please Randy, come back to me! Please!” Rita said, lifting her head off my chest, still crying.

I continued to try to fight back tears as the screen faded back into darkness and my attention was brought back to my conscience.

“So, you still think you’re better off here, or have you finally come to your senses?"

I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. I sat down and cried, thinking about how stupid I was, and how I was about to make the dumbest, and last decision of my life. I actually preferred dying over seeing Rita again. Words couldn’t even begin to explain how stupid I felt. I was so overcome with sorrow and guilt I didn’t even wanna look at my conscience, I was ashamed. Here I was thinking my life was over and Rita wanted nothing to do with me, when the whole time she stayed right by my side begging me to come back to her. I needed to be slapped in the face, hard. Really hard. Multiple times.

“Why didn’t you show me this before?”

“I didn’t think I needed to, but when anger clouded your mind, it became clear that I had to. It’s not the best way to overcome Anger, but you did it…right?”

“After seeing what I put Rita through, definitely. Man I’ve been so fucking stupid, who knows how much time I wasted…”

“You’ve definitely wasted a good amount of time, but you still have enough left to fix this.”

It’s always funny how things become clear after the strangest situations. “I finally get it I think. My confusion led to my becoming angry, and my anger almost got me killed, lucky for me you showed me what I was giving up and snapped me out of it, even though I feel like shit about it. It’s amazing how simple it seems when I’m not a raging testosterone head.”

“It’s the stress that does the job, it feeds off the anger, but now you buried it, and in the process conquered the next obstacle, Sorrow and Understanding. There’s just one left to go.”

“Ok, I understand that I shouldn’t react with pure anger, but what? Do I just forgive Ashley for what she did? She played a big role in all of this, am I supposed to just let that go?”

“As hard as it may seem, yes.”

I was a little put off to say the least. “I don’t know if I can do that. You’re asking me to forgive in a situation where it shouldn’t even be an option. She’s the reason I’m here, remember?”

“And she’s the one who can get you out of here.”

“If it were you, would you be so quick to forgive?”

“Considering what happened I wouldn’t be quick to forgive no, but I would forgive. So much time has been wasted here just being mad, it’s time to let it all go. Nothing good would have come from all this suffering if someone doesn’t learn from it.”

“I doubt she’ll learn anything, you know first hand what kind of person she is.”

“You might be surprised, having a gun in your face tends to change people.”

“Umm, this is Ashley we’re talking about, not any other person on the planet.”

“Yes, the same Ashley who minutes before the incident you told you hated, but still protected when the guy pulled a gun on her, a person just doesn’t forget that, not even Ashley.”

I sighed. He was making too many good points and if I kept trying to find a loophole it would look like I was trying to go against him, so I caved. “Ok. I’ll give it a try, but I’m only doing it for Rita, not Ashley. But I have another problem, what about the guy who shot me? I hope you don’t expect me to forgive him, because that is definitely not gonna happen. I will never forgive a person who intentionally tried to kill me, no matter what you say.”

“I would never ask you to forgive him, nor would I expect you to, but don’t dwell on it. it happened, and there’s nothing that can be done about it. Don’t let it crawl its way back into your life and eat at you, besides, he won’t be seeing the light of freedom for a long, long time.”

“This won’t be easy.”

“I suspect it won’t, you’re in the home stretch, but it’s worth it in the end once you walk through the door. You have one more obstacle standing between you and your freedom.”

“I’m guessing you saved the best for last huh?”

“That’s always how it seems to play out, but you’re ready for it.”

“I hope so, I’d hate to have went through all that for nothing. So where do I go from here?”

“You’ll figure it out. Just go wherever your feet take you. I’ll be waiting.”

He faded off again and once again I was standing there alone, but I felt different this time, noticeably different. I felt like I had enough energy to do the iron man three times in the same day. I still couldn’t see, but I could feel my left hand still radiating that warm heat, Rita, still sitting at my bedside, waiting for me to wake up. That was all the inspiration I needed, I wasn’t a quitter, and I was gonna prove it and get out of here if it was the last thing I did.

My conscience told me to go wherever my feet took me, and for some reason my feet told me to just get up and go, don’t think about it, just go, and that’s what I did. Even though I still couldn’t see anything, I looked off into the distance and started jogging, not knowing if I was going in a straight line or not, I was just going. Slowly my jog built up speed until I was fully running, not knowing where I was going or if I was even going in the right direction, I just kept running, not even getting tired or anything like that, I was running full speed to I don’t know where. I closed my eyes and ran, the whole time I kept thinking about Rita, and what it would be like to see her again, to hold her, to kiss her, to tell her I loved her, anything, I just wanted to see her face again, and I was gonna do whatever it took to happen. I must have gotten distracted for too long because I opened my eyes and saw myself coming up on a big white hole in the floor. I stopped and looked down into it, but couldn’t see anything. I looked around the rest of the room and saw the usual blackness I’d grown accustomed to, so I figured this to be my destination. I took a deep breath and jumped in, hoping this to be the way out, and I was now anxious to get back to my life.

The effect of me falling felt like I was hovering in one spot. There was no noise, no wind, no anything, just me falling or floating or whatever I was doing for a while, until I finally felt my feet touch down on something solid. I gathered myself and as I was doing so the room lit up bright white, and it showed itself to be about the size of a racquetball room, with no doors or windows, just four walls and a ceiling. As I said that, a path that led to a slideshow of all my happy memories lit up on the floor, and the door from my dreams, the chained door with the A on it lit up across from it, still as tightly locked as it was in my dream. I walked to the door with the A on it, all the locks were tightly secured and wouldn’t budge, even a little, and then I walked over to my memories, which weren’t locked or had a gate or anything, in fact they seemed to glow the closer I got to them. They weren’t just childhood memories, there were also memories after Rita and I became an item, like the beach, lying in the back of the truck, the cabin, everything good. There were even things I didn’t recognize, like new memories or something, memories we haven’t made yet, because I don’t remember eating dinner in the park at all. Maybe it wasn’t just memories; maybe it was also the direction my life was supposed to go in, me looking into the future, showing me my life as it was supposed to happen.

It seemed like the obvious choice, if not the only choice, the locks were still on the A door and according to my conscience I did everything right up to this point, and the door was still locked, so what choice did I have? I walked up the path to the memories and it continued to glow as I moved closer, but something just didn’t feel right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something about this was wrong, like it was too easy, like I missed something. I backed off the path and walked backwards so I stood between both walkways. What was I missing? I did everything right, so why were the memories even there, and why was the door still chained? I was beginning to think I would never get out of this hellhole, that no matter what choice I made it would be the wrong one. I thought hard about everything, anything I could have missed or overlooked, but I had nothing, nothing but a locked door and a path that looked too good to be true. I was truly in hell.
Hell. Hell! HELL! It dawned on me, with that one word I’d managed to figure everything out, the entire game I’d been playing became clear. Heaven, hell, and the real world. What is heaven, at least the way it’s associated with us? Bright lights like the path when I walked on it, and good memories as it showed on the screen, only the good memories I might add, meant to look perfect, but actual life isn’t perfect, which means that path doesn’t give me my life back. And what is hell? Hell is pain, loneliness, that small glimmer of hope of escape only for it to be engulfed in darkness. I was living my hell right now, being trapped in my mind, going through everything I went through to get to this point, it was hell getting here, and Rita was my small glimmer of hope for getting out of here. That leaves the door, the door to the real world. It’s still chained for a reason, and that reason is Ashley. Even though I said I would try to forgive her, I didn’t completely mean it, in fact I’m still a little angry at her. The door knows I didn’t mean it, it is my mind after all, I can’t trick myself, not in this place. That left me with a small dilemma. Would I truly be able to forgive Ashley, I mean truly forgive her for everything she’s done? I want to say yes, but I don’t think I could. Could I forgive a person who damn near ended my life? I needed a reason to, and it occurred to me I had one, the best one of all, Rita. My love for Rita far exceeded the hate I had for Ashley, and I told myself I would do whatever it took to get back to her, and I meant it. I took a deep breath and thought about every rotten thing she’d ever done to me, down to every detail, mentally locked it in a box, and threw it out of my mind. Clean slate. As of right now none of that stuff happened. Like my conscience said, if I ever wanted to see Rita again, I would have to do something I never thought I’d do, and this was it. I walked to the door, stood straight up, completely focused, and with every good and true intention, I let all the anger I had left for Ashley go and spoke from the heart.

“I forgive you Ashley.”

Not long after I say that I can feel air push through my lungs, and I felt a lot of stings of pain, and my mind felt at ease, I felt alive. The plain white of the room filled with color and all types of doors with pictures and phrases from memories and everything on them along with stairs filled the room as it expanded way beyond the small room I was just standing in. The door with the A started to glow, and one by one each lock broke off in a glowing light explosion until there was nothing left but a doorknob. I had done it, I’d figured out the riddle for my life, and I solved it. I smiled to myself, proud of my accomplishment as the familiar light surrounded the room and gathered itself in place right in front of me, and when it formed my conscience was standing there, smiling back at me.

“I knew you would figure it out.”

“Took me longer than it should have, but yeah I did. I had to sift through a lot of mistakes.”

“Everyone makes mistakes, at least you learned from yours.”

“I had a little help. If you hadn’t shown me the image of me in the hospital, I don’t know what I would’ve done. I probably wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

“You definitely wouldn’t, but it all worked out for the best.”

“Wait a minute. You helped me! That almost slipped right past me, you literally helped me!”

He laughed a little at me. “Don’t tell anybody.”

“I thought you couldn’t help me, that I had to do it on my own?”

“Technically speaking, I am you, I am what makes you, you, so I didn’t break any rules. I was allowed to help you once, but only once, and from where I stood you needed it.”

“What about showing me all the memories and everything? That doesn’t count as helping?”

“That was already planned. You needed to see that even at a young age, even as bad things were happening, you took control of your life. That was one of the lessons here.”

“Yeah it all started to make sense. All the images, all the riddles, and the last door, all lead up to me seeing if I was worthy of a second chance, if I could have a change of heart.”

“That was your final obstacle. You had to do things you never thought you’d do, like completely lose your temper, stoop so low that you never thought you’d get out…”

“Completely give up on life?” I added.

“That wasn’t supposed to happen, but you overcame it and forgave Ashley, thus redeeming yourself, Forgive and Redeem, the last obstacle, something you never thought possible.”

“I made it look easy huh?” I joked. “Just wish I didn’t take so long on the Ashley door.”

“That one was definitely the trickiest. You’ve never experienced real anger until Ashley came into the picture. By not knowing how to deal with it, it grew until it was no longer in your control, and it forced you to make bad choices. While it took some unusual circumstances and a huge amount of character on your part, you were able to let go of that anger. You were willing to forgive the cause of all your problems for the one you love, to get your life back, which was the lesson you needed to learn. Anger can get you killed, don’t let it get the better of you, take control of your life and never relinquish it.”

“So literally every choice I made was crucial in some way. No second chances, this was the fight to see if I got a second chance, so to screw up here would’ve been the nail in the coffin.”

“Exactly.”

“So if I missed something and chose the path of memories instead, what would’ve happened?”

“You would have died. If you hadn’t beaten your anger earlier you would have been stuck in that dark room, and if you’d have walked the path of memories, you would have been stuck in an endless loop of the best times of your life, while time passed in the real world with you not getting better, until your family decided to pull the plug. You breaking the locks showed you didn’t run away from your problems, you faced them and beat them, and your mind recognized that and opened the door. Your life quite literally depended on what you did in this room.”

“So in a nutshell, I was fighting with my mind to wake myself up.”

“Yes. Your actual body is still in the hospital bed. This has been a sort of out of body experience, like in the movies, but this one took place in your mind. Now that your mind is healed you’ll be able to wake up, once you walk through the door.”

I looked at the door, lock free and waiting for me to walk through it. this nightmare had finally come to an end, but before it would, I had a few more questions for myself. “Before I leave, I have a few more questions to ask you.”

“I’ve answered so many, but hey, you’ve earned it, what’s a few more.”

“Ok. You’re my conscience right?”

“Yes I am, your conscience and your conscience alone.”

“And being my conscience, you’ve been with me my entire life through every single moment, including when the entire thing started with Rita?”

“Yes.”

“Why didn’t you try to stop me from kissing her?”

“Because that kiss was meant to happen, just like you were meant to get a second chance.”

“Wait so you knew what was gonna happen all along?”

“No, but I had a feeling you would make the right choice. That was more than three questions, don’t you have somewhere you should be right about now?”

“Will I see you again?”

“Most likely not, but after this would you want to?”

“Under better circumstances I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”

“We’ll cross that bridge if we ever get to it again, which hopefully isn’t for a long, long time. Enough questions, get out of here and back to Rita, she’s waiting for you to wake up.”

I stepped right up to the door and took one last look around my mind, all the color and architecture made it look so functional compared to the dark pit it was before. I watched as my conscience smiled at me one last time, and the light that made him up began to break off and spread itself around the room, dropping light fragments on everything it touched.

“I’ll be watching.” He voice said as the light dissipated from view, giving me reassurance.

The path to the memories evaporated into nothing, and the A door began to glow around the outside, signaling I only had one move left to make. I wasn’t ready to die yet, I still had a lot to live for, I found that out the hard way, but at least I found it out. I grabbed the doorknob and took a deep breath, “Rita here I come” I thought to myself as I exhaled and turned the knob and opened the door. Just like in all the TV shows and movies, when I opened the door I couldn’t see anything but a bright light looking back at me. I gathered myself and walked through, engulfing myself in the light, eager to get back to the real world, eager to get back to Rita.
36 comments

Anonymous readerReport

2014-10-22 05:07:13
So, Randy died?

Anonymous readerReport

2014-09-05 09:54:58
Fkn wow... probably the deepest and most heartfelt chapter ever published. Thank you

Anonymous readerReport

2014-09-04 03:13:09
PLZ BRING OUT 25 SOON I LOVE THIS WHOLE THING U HAVE GOING ON AND I WOULD H8 FOR IT TO END

Anonymous readerReport

2014-09-04 03:02:52
PLZ BRING OUT 25 SOON I LOVE THIS WHOLE THING U HAVE GOING ON AND I WOULD H8 FOR IT TO END

Anonymous readerReport

2014-08-29 10:59:28
That was awesome man.!! Can't wait for the next instalment. Bring it on dude.

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