I walked down a flight of stairs onto a dry, sandy cliffside. The hospital was nowhere to be seen. Behind me was the set of stairs with a hollow doorframe at the top. Across from me, at the edge of the cliff was a dock. It was metal, with steel beams molded into curves and organic shapes that held up a platform anchoring something like a ship. It was a ship that looked as if it should’ve sailed the oceans during the 18th century, but here it was, not in the ocean, floating alongside the metal dock.
At the edge of the dock was a Young Man. He looked familiar, but I knew that I’d never seen him before, or at least, not like this anyway. He looked strong and healthy; his body adorned with a tan uniform and his hair cut close.
“David! You got my letter!”
I walked over to meet the Young Man. As I walked I became aware of another presence behind me. There was another door that had appeared in the middle of this plateau atop the rocky cliffside. I felt drawn to it, but for all the world, and like everything else as of late, I didn’t know why.
“I’m glad you made it, I was starting to get worried.”
“What are you talking about?”
He furrowed his brow at me, “Didn’t you get it?”
“What are you…” I thought for a moment, trying to remember what letter he was referring to. Why couldn’t I remember what he was talking about? What letter did he send me?
“Here, I think I’ve got a copy of it. I’ll let you take a look.” Said the Young Man, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out an envelope. I took it in my hand and turned it over. The handwriting was (burning my mind) familiar, and there was a picture of a (hisssssssss (Wait, that doesn’t sound like a-) ) snake on the postage stamp.
I broke the seal on it. When opened, the envelope let out a cloud of ash (hissssssss) and scraps of burnt paper. Catching the wind, they drifted off into the sky.
“Oh. Right.” He said, disappointed, “That’s why you don’t remember it.”
“I…” I started, my hands trembling. The sky was turning a deep orange and dark crimson color. On the horizon I could see other ships floating through the air. There was the sound of cannon fire and splintering wood. The sky looked like it was on fire (hissssss, YOU SET IT ON FIRE! DISLOYAL BASTARD! ).
I felt the pull from the door even more now.
“You burnt the letter. That’s okay, I understand. You were angry with me. But you’re here now! You can come with me. We can go together.”
I stared at my hands for a moment. They were still shaking. I turned my head and looked at the door. It was calling to me.
“Ah. I get it.” He said.
I turned and opened my mouth, but he cut me off.
“It’s okay. Seriously, don’t worry about it. You’ve got your life. Don’t let me hold you back.”
I looked at him, hopelessly lost at what to do. My mind felt like there was a heavy fog clouding it.
“Go on, it’s time for you to open the door.”
I nodded, still in a daze. Walking over to the door I saw that there was an inscription upon it.
With my hand on the door knob I looked back at the young man. He was boarding the ship and setting sail for the skies. As his ship turned to face the fires I caught sight of the side where there was an inscription similar to the one on my door.
1994 – 2018
At long last I remembered it all, the fog lifted from my mind. This would be the last time that I’d see him. Once that ship flew off into the distance I would never see my friend again. Not alive anyway. I ran for the edge of the cliff, just as the ship began to sail off for the horizon.
“WILLIAM!” I called out as I reached the edge, “Will! Don’t go! You won’t make it back–this is it! You can’t go!”
As it turned out, in spite of my pleading, he could go. And for the second time in my life he did go. Into the fray he would sail, and while his body would return, this would be the last time I would ever talk to my Best friend.
The familiar emptiness filled me. Losing him again was just as incomprehensibly terrible as the first time. I walked back to my door and grasped the handle. I didn’t want to continue, not in the slightest, but what else was there to do? I didn’t have much of a choice.
Turning the knob, I pulled open the door and walked through the portal. Immediately I regretted the decision.
I should’ve stayed on the other side.
I should’ve just thrown myself off the cliff.