Was his at death. He could move on, leave this world behind. Finally stepping from this physical realm of normalcy into the unknown beyond.
The dark entity that had appeared before him had presented him another choice. It had turned back to him, a wicked cruel smile panning across it’s grayish lips.
“You can choose one item. One thing in this world to shackle yourself to… Forever.”
He hadn’t given pause, he didn’t even blink. He thought of his guitar, his wife, his life. He couldn’t let go. And this is how it all began, a spiritual anchor that shackled him between two worlds.
And so began his eternity of rotting in a loveless basement, where there was no light. The used guitar was settled nicely on a shelf in the storage closet. She had placed it there after the funeral, tears splattering the used wood and pooling at the bridge of strings. Her shaky arms fighting not to drop it before she hid it away from the world’s prying eyes.
He paced, night and day… His steps resounded hollowly in his ears and they drowned out his dark song. His voice would call to her from below. A ghost repenting for a life he had thrown away so carelessly, for the moment of weakness that had brought him to his knees.
Then, one day the basement door was opened.
She never came downstairs that day, but, he could feel her there. Her hesitation at the threshold. Hear her sorrowed sobs.
What was she doing?
Finally, her plan began… the clean-up. That was the moment he started to fear his seemingly endless days in the basement were numbered. All at once, she was there. Hurriedly bustling about, her hair tied up in the gently waving knot of blonde.
He loved her this way. There were moments where he could almost touch her.
How he longed too.
The air was filled with a deep cinnamon smell that emanated from a candle on the desktop in the darkest corner. It flickered in a room that almost mimicked an ominous field at dusk. A place where animals stood on edge, their ears twitching at every sound. But, it was at this time of day when the grass tasted best.
He watched as she wiped the stringy cobwebs away from the ceiling, standing on dainty tiptoe and cursing under her breath. A crooked smile spread across his face, and he leaned with arms crossed against the wall to admire her work.
His head snapped to face the doorway above as his nonexistent heart raced. He looked back to her, grasping for the moment that he had just been in… wishing it had stretched on forever.
She was gone.
A flash of blonde hair and the beat of tiny footsteps and she raced off to greet an unknown being, disappearing into the light.
He stood at the last step. He was gripping the stairwell railing with an invisible hand, clinging to a world that couldn’t see him.
He waited there, desperately trying to catch an unknown conversation with a faceless visitor.
They appeared. Her beautiful slender legs coming into view, an old pair of baggy jeans beside her.
He was tall, slender, with scraggly hair that hung past his shoulders and a beard that never ended and was never tended. He had dark eyes and an almost devilishly kind smile, and they talked excitedly as they approached him.
It happened so fast. He had practically blinked and the closet was sharply pulled open.
His guitar was exposed, shining in the light of a dying candle.
He begged, harder than he ever had in his living years. He began to plead with her. His hands trembling as he grasped at an unfeeling shoulder, his shaky words falling on deaf ears.
No, no… I can’t leave you.
You… you can’t do this.
The man shook hands with her, despite noticing the breaking look that was so blatantly flashing in her eyes.
The deal was made.
He cried out, falling to his knees again and knowing that there was no way out this time. No moment of weakness could save him from the pain now.
He held his head in his hands as they passed him; scared of what this meant but completely unable to move.
He heard chuckling and the loud slam of a door. He was standing now, suddenly, and it was uncontrollable.
An urge overcame him to start moving, and he knew it was time to go.
He walked up the staircase slowly, the light overtaking him from a door that hadn’t been opened in weeks and now never seemed to close. His pace was slow, but, he couldn’t stop his feet from moving as tears streamed down his translucent face.
He was walking to her now.
She was curled up against the front door with her head against her knees. As he came closer, he was desperately struggling to stop. Aching to wipe away her tears. He had to hold her. He had to tell her everything would be okay, but, she had sent him away unknowingly and he couldn’t pause.
He couldn’t stop the inevitable.
He passed through the door into a world he could never leave.
But, one where he could no longer bare to stay.