The Link

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes you just do what feels right, and in the end, you find that even in death, who you were may protect those you love.

Submitted: February 07, 2017

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Submitted: February 07, 2017

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I had always watched the stars as a child. Such a strange anomaly really, no one could ever explain to me why they rose from the ground. Every night I would climb to the hilltop, and sat in the unkempt grass and gazed out over our small city. Some wouldn’t even call it a city really, only twenty or so people living there. Some nights, as the town bell rang at midnight, stars would rise from the ground. As a child, I leapt at them and watched them disappear at my touch. No one knew why, but I never really cared. It was my little game and I loved it.

As I grew older, this little game was more of an escape, the quiet of the town relaxing. I eventually brought by boyfriend, Frank, and he watched me touch the little stars, a smile on his lips. Then it became our escape. Never in our wildest dreams could it have been any more than a getaway from our lives. We were both twenty-three, no one worked, no one worried, but the stars gave life wonder.

I woke with a start, an older female I had never seen before sat at the edge of my bed. I sat up and looked at the stranger, who seemed to glow in the moonlight filtering in through the window. Her hair was white with age, her skin pale and thin, I knew she was aged well beyond my own years.

“Who are you?” I asked, voice showing more confidence than I actually felt. In a town where you knew everyone, a strange face can be unnerving. There was something about the small town, no one in, no one out, and now a stranger. Something was wrong.

“I am just here to retrieve you, it is best that you not be left attached if you are to come with me.” The woman spoke, her voice younger than her appearance. “Come over here please.”

I looked at her silently, not completely understanding what was going on. The sound of footsteps down the hall urged me out of bed and beside the woman, my grey sweat pants and white tee shirt hung loosely around my body. I watched as Frank poked his head in, a gentle knock at the door in an effort to get my attention.

But I am standing right here; can’t he see that I am not in bed? I glanced over at my bed to see my sleeping figure still lying there. Baffled, I watched as he walked over to the bed, and laid his hand on mine. He knelt down and held my hand in his, before his gentle look turned to one of fear. He shook my arm, then my shoulder.

“Emma, Emma wake up! Emma, please!” His voice was cracking with every word. The sadness in how he called my name made me rush to his side, my hand on his back.

“Frank, it’s okay, I am right here. Something is going on, but I am right here, perfectly fine.” I tried to console him, but he continued to frantically try to wake me up, my words not even affecting him.

“He can’t hear you Emma. I am sorry” The woman spoke up, sadness in her eyes as she watched the scene before her. “There will be a time for that, come back here.” Her words were so gentle, but somehow they still made my stomach knot up, my heart in my throat with pain. I joined her side, my eyes stinging as fear overwhelmed my emotions. I leaned against the wall as a few of the people who lived in the same hall as us ran in to help. The visitors ran over to the bed, one moving to check my pulse. I watched this and slowly reached my hand up to my neck, and felt as they did. My blood ran cold in my veins as I realized that they would find what I did, nothing. My heart dropped as I watched Frank lift what I now knew was my body into his arms, a tear running down his face as he pulled me close. I watched in horror, eyes burning until finally I fell to my knees in tears.

“Come with me” The lady spoke, but I stayed still, watching as they forced Frank away, laying my body back onto the bed, pulling the thin blanket I used during the summer over my face. The group of people lifted the old mattress and carried it out of the room, my covered body riding on top. After they left, only Frank remained there, slumped over on the floor in tears.

I approached him, wrapping my arms around him, but he didn’t even move. I place a kiss on his cheek, leaving my lips salty with tears, what felt like the mix of ours. After laying there another minute with him, I stood, my hand lingering on his shoulder before I walked over to the woman who had now moved towards the door. Without any words, I followed her out of the small building we had been staying in, and up onto the hill I had spent so many years on.

At the top of the hill though, there stood a metal box, no larger than a port-o-potty. The surface shone silver and stood out against the tall grass that after all these years all stood stomach high grass. The only low spots were a small ring at the top of the hill where we had always sat on late nights, and a pathway we followed up and down on. As we neared the box, the stranger’s glow became a shine, as white light seemingly emanated from her skin. At last I noticed that I had my own glow, as a light blue light emanated from my own skin.

“Here” The woman whispered as the door to the box open. Once on the inside I could see that the back wall was actually glass, and I can see the whole of my town below, now illuminated as word of my death spread.

“Why are you doing this?” I begged, my voice break giving away how close to tears I was again.

“I have brought you to peace.” She said with a hand on my back. “You have a very special gift that has been given to you, and I come bearing it.” I look at her to see a smile, her teeth with a glow all their own. It took everything in me not to attack her.

“Do you think this is funny?” I asked, my blood boiling “Do you like the death of someone? The loss felt by friends and family?” I could feel my voice raising as I was on the brink of tears again.

“Not at all.” She said simply, smile vanishing “Tell me, why have you always chased the stars that rise from the hill?” My anger faded to wonder as she asked me this.

“I don’t know it just felt right. You aren’t from here, so how would you know?”

“I have always known, and I have always been here. You may think of me as The Link, and you may one day take my place. Those stars are your link, and you have a strong connection now. Each star you touched made you stronger, your future brighter. Now you are here, ready to ascend. Do you wish to say farewell?”

I stared at her, now quite understanding what she said, the words ringing in her head as if it were only a riddle. The one part that stuck out was saying farewell, to which she nodded numbly.

“I figured as much” The Link said “You have been given visibility and touch so that you may visit one person to settle their heart.” I looked at her longer before leaving the small metal box and began down the hill, the glow subsiding as the distance between the box and I grew.

I made my way to a small kitchen and dining area where Frank sat there, staring out the window up at the stars, a glass of water in his hand. I willed myself to move, but felt cemented to the floor as my heart broke again, watching him there. Finally I knocked on the half wall, his head slowly turning to face me. He stood up, facing me, his back now to the window, eyes wide.

“What are you doing here? How are you here?” He asked, voice quiet but forceful. My heart dropped at the edge of anger in his voice. I came around the wall and rushed towards him, just wanting to comfort him, but he moved backwards. His flight made me stop.

“Frank, it’s me.” I said to him, my hand outstretched to try to touch his own that was up defensively to block me. “Frank, please. I am Emma.”

“No, you are dead. I found your body; I was going to ask you to go to the hill with me. I wanted to watch you case stars again.” His hand fell, eyes glazing over as he recounted in his mind the events that he had watched, that I had watched. I went to him and caught him in my arms as he began to weep. I pulled him to a small wooden bench that sat below the half wall, holding him close as he cried in my arms.

“I am sorry Frank, I am so very sorry.” I felt as he finally pulled me into his own arms as well, and I rested my head on his shoulder as his breathing finally stabilized. We sat in silence, finally relaxing as we held each other, never wanting to let go.

“This is not goodbye.” The Link spoke up. I had no clue how long she had been there, but Frank must have heard her too because he looked up, tears dried on his face.

“I am dead though, I am saying farewell I thought.” I asked, tightening my grip on him not wanting my time to be up, not wanting to lose him.

“Yes and No.” She said kindly “Yes, you are dead, but your years of collecting stars have given you a gift. You have not been banished from this world, but wave simply gained a new life in another. Even so, you always have a Link now.”

“Spit it out!” I shouted at her, Frank pulling me in protectively and linking his fingers with mine. He always did that when I got angry, he knew it would calm me down.

“You can visit” The Link said calmly, unfazed by my anger “You are to live among new and old friends, but you may return here if you wish.” Frank and I looked at each other and back to her “I will be on the hill when you are ready.” The Link walked away as we watched, before looking at each other again.

We held each other tightly, my head on his chest, and his chin on the top of my head. The silence that consumed us in our embrace, revealed the sound of the small wall clock that lay on the wall beside the window.

“It is 11:42” I could hear Frank murmur. I nodded against his chest, not wanting to do anything more. He stands up, pulling me with him. Standing in the middle of the dining area he looks at me. “Do you love me?” He asks, stunning me with the worry that he may think that I didn’t.

“If course I do” I say quietly, his eyes with an almost mystic glow as the moonlight shone in his eyes. I leant up and placed a kiss against his cheek as I had done earlier, the salty taste still lingering. I then rested my forehead against his temple, his face rough from the young growth of facial hair. I could feel him pull me closer and decided to kiss him again, peppering kisses along his cheek and chin.

“I know. I have always known” He smiled and kissed my forehead before looking up at the clock. “11:47, I want to take you up to the hill” He smiled at me, and I couldn’t help but put my head on his chest as a tear rolled down my cheek, not wanting to say goodbye, even if it wasn’t forever. I felt Frank hold me tight before holding my hand and start walking. I followed his lead, never breaking his grip as he led the way up the hill as we had always done.

We walked in silence, under the cloudy sky. There always seemed to be a veil of clouds, but it never quite covered all the stars. A breeze blew through the grass and giving me goose bumps and Frank pulled me closer. At the top of the hill we were met with The Link again, she stood beside the metal box, my glow now returned, the pale blue reflecting off of Frank.

“It is time” The Link said, her eyes gentle but aged. I turned to Frank who gave me a half smile and held onto my hand as he helped me into the box. I turned to him to speak again, but was met with his hands on my cheeks, his eyes bearing into my own.

“Just promise me you will come back sometime.” He said, a tear trailing down his cheek despite his smile. I wiped away the tear and returned his smile.

“I promise” I said, placing my hands on his. He kissed my forehead as the town bell struck midnight. He let go as The Link placed her hand on his arm, backing up as she joined me in the box. As the door shut, she vanished. I looked out the window to see Frank standing at the wall, his hand on the glass, Placing her own on to match his.

I caught myself as the box moved, watching as my love fell away, the box rising into the sky. I saw as stars started to rise from the ground as they always had. He touched one, making it disappear on contact. I felt a tear roll down my cheek as I watched him below, witnessing her ascent among the stars that once filled their evenings.

When I reached the clouds, I watched as the box breached the barrier, the view of Frank gone, but a new one filled in its place. I watched as hundreds of boxes, much like the one I rode in all travelled in the same direction. It was only a matter of minutes before a city came into view. It was far larger than where I had lived in, where I had left behind, but I watched the buildings and people pass by below, living out their lives as if they were still alive with all they knew. Suddenly my box was taken off the main road and slid into place in the side of a small building on the edge of the city.

I heard the door open and stepped out into a small one room studio style apartment, about three times the side of my old home. I poked my head out to find a long hallway with six doors including her own, and a common area in the middle. I went back in and sat on my bed, looking around the room. On the night stand stood a picture of Frank, beside the old photograph of my parents I always kept close. Shocked I began to search the room to find all of my belongings there. I sat on the bed again with my journal, I had never really written in it, it was only half full, but now is when I should use it the most.

As I started a new entry, and documented the events of the evening, I found that there was a strange peace. Looking at the box, which lay open, the windowed wall facing the street, I knew that one day I could return, and here I could make new stories. It was time to live a new life, in the afterlife.


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