Aces

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic


five people are thrown into a place where title is everything and a mere game of cards is more than it seems.

Submitted: June 26, 2018

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Submitted: June 26, 2018

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A match sputtered to life, eagerly taking on to wick of the four candles on the table. The five players winced to the sudden flare of light, then turned back to the game at hand. The first man took off a pair of high dollar Oakleys. They had a silver frame with gold tinted lenses that practically absorbed the candle light. A cane and top hat rested on the back of the hardwood chair he was in. The three piece suit was made up of a dark overcoat with gold trim and stitching, not exactly black, perhaps a dark navy blue, but his undershirt was a silver white. His black tie bore a gold insignia of his trade. The Ace of Spade. His pants were of similar color and he had dark leather boots. His dark eyes reflected the embers of his dying cigarette, the steady flare of light illuminated his high cheek bones and taunt face. He was no stranger to gambling, for that's all he considered life. Across from him sat a young man who wore similar attire, but didn't nearly match the sharpness of the Spade. His dark green vest hung loosely over his white long sleeve undershirt. Similar dark green shoes caressed the legs of the hardwood chair and khakis covered his ever moving legs. His lips were turned almost into a playful smirk as he studied the cards before him, soft brown eyes taking in all around him. His dark curly hair fell in waves around his face completing the image of an innocent young man. On his left breast pocket an emerald pin of a clover, or Club, sat and reflected the candle light, throwing convoluted beams of light into the darkness beyond the table. Across from Clubs sat yet another man who seemed the most at home. A blood red fedora sat on his head, hiding his face in the shadows made by the candlelight. His matching red button down shirt was almost a maroon in the flicker of the flames. His black undershirt was the perfect background for the plain gold chain that intertwined itself to look like a golden rope cord around his neck. Black jeans were held up by a plane red leather belt and on his feet a pair of cowboy boots rested with ease on the wooden table as he reclined in his chair. On his right wrist, peeking from the cuff of his long-sleeve, was a gold Rolex watch with a black face that ticked the seconds away. On his left hand, on the ring finger, a plain ring sat with a classic Bicycle diamond cut from the very stone. A rose hue was added to give the red diamond it's life. Light brown eyes emerged from the darkness beneath the fedora and studied the cards at hand. A successful gambler by trade, he knew when to make his move. Now was not his time. The fourth player by far stole the show. Her blond hair fell around her shoulders, the light curls at the end were dyed a deep brown, almost as if it was fading into the background. She wore no makeup on her face, yet she still radiated a natural beauty that softened the environment. Her light skin was slightly tanned at the shoulders, which showed from the sleeveless dress top, and her hands were covered with white gloves that reached all the way to her elbows. The dress itself was a deep red, not the Diamond’s blood red, but a softer, more elegant color. The end of the dress reached as far as her knees, which were crossed under the table, and her feet were covered with red high heels. The only jewelry she wore was a single earring on her right ear. A ruby heart glittered from its place on high. Hazel eyes studied her fellow players rather than her cards. She believed that the secret to winning was getting what she wanted from the others, not the cards. I, a player as well, sat and looked at the cards at the table. But who was I fooling? These people have surpassed me and I now stand in the shadow of their passing. I shuffle frantically through my cards trying to find one that will bring me back on track. I knew them. Once. Long before they took the rolls of the Aces. Before they became masters of their craft. Clubs turned to me. “Come on,” he said turning back to his cards, but not before his gaze gripped mine, “Don’t lose hope. At least, not yet. You can still catch them.” He spoke to me as one speaks to a well respected partner. Or perhaps family. Spade watched our exchange in a knowing silence. Hearts ignored, or maybe never heard, the comment. Diamond turned to me. “You can't let them get to you. It's a gamble. That's why we’re here. To make mistakes, to learn from those mistakes, and to be able to avoid them again. We've been friends for a long time, J, if you should trust anything I have ever said this is it.” I leaned back in my chair, staring at the beams that made up the roof of the building. Big slabs of wood stretched at crossed at many points, yet they somehow still managed to hold the roof on this place together. The construction was planned. None of those beams was an accident. “Bets need to be placed,” whispered Spade. A deep, calm voice. Nothing extra said, just what needed to be done. Hearts looked up. “I've never been good at bets,” said biting her lip, “I'm just absolutely appalled by the chance of ruining my reputation.” Not a voice I expected. Not a seductive voice,but more of a “go getter” tone. Diamond, shifting to sit correctly, put his hands on the table. “Gambling with cards is one thing. Taking chances with another’s life isn’t a game at all,” he hissed, glaring at Hearts. “You know, as well as I, that this is no game.” “Only depending on your perspective,” Clubs interceded, not wanting a fight to come between them. “You must understand, it is not just your life we are manipulating. And even then, manipulation is a strong word. I like to think of it as ‘reflecting on our past’ yes?” Spade turns to Clubs, flicking the butt of his cigarette away. “You don’t believe that, do you? That this is just a reflection on our past mistakes?” “No,” he sighed, “No I do not.” Diamond turned to Spade. “This is far more than that,” he whispered, the others leaned towards him to hear what he had to say, “This isn't some regular game of cards, where bets are placed and money is lost. Everything we lose here, is gone forever.” The others nodded in understanding, but I was still confused. “What do you mean?” I asked him, “What do you mean when you say ‘this isn't some regular game of cards’?” “You, of all of us, should know,” he said from behind his hand, “After all, you were the one that called us here.” “Don't listen to Dale, J.” Hearts said glaring at Diamond, “He can be difficult sometimes.” “What did he mean?” She placed her cards face down on the table and gazed through the candle flames to look at me. “You called us here. You have either a direct connection to us, or we have influenced you in some way, or both. Why I'm here I have no clue.” She laughed, although I'm more than positive that she knew. “Like Saul said, it's almost like looking at our past and righting our wrongs. We are all connected through you. Without you we wouldn't, we couldn't, be here.” “You think we started like this?” she asked gesturing to her earring, “You think, before we came here, we represented the Aces? That we held such importance, other than to you?” “But why?” I said, “Why do you, and the others, mean so much to me?” “I know.” We all turned, surprised, to look at the young Clubs who shuffled idly through his cards. “Well speak up. Don't keep us into the dark,” Diamond beckoned, now leaning forward in his chair. “Yes,” Spade said, “Do share with us.” Clubs turned to me, his usual smirk no longer on display. “It's what you fear,” he whispered, turning his gaze away from mine. “And what is it that I fear? What is it that called you all back?” “You fear being forgotten.” I sat, stunned at what he implied. I turned to my cards, not seeing at all, and tried to swallow what he said. “So,” I whispered, voice quivering slightly, “You are all here because I want you to remember me?” “No, we are here because you want us to never forget you in the first place.” Spade replied, placing a card on the table. “Exactly, Job,” Clubs said placing his own card, “You fear, J, that since you faded out of our lives, that you will fade out of our memories. We are all part of your past. I am a more recent addition, but these three,” he shook his head, “ They have been holding on to you, and you them, for quite a while now.” Hearts delt her card. “This is all about us remembering you, or rather, like Job said, never forgetting you?” she laughed, “That's ridiculous! Why would we forget you? As we have impacted your life you have done so to us. Isn't that right Saul?” Clubs nodded, “Reneé is right. It seems you have impacted them as much they have to you.” My head spinning, I stood from the table, the hardwood chair scraping against the wooden floor. I noticed the others in the room for the first time. They were all immersed within their conversations, within their own worlds. Not all were playing cards neither. There was a pool table in the corner of the room with three people at its edges. One man wore a leather jacket with a stitching of an eight on its back. A bar lined the farthest wall from them, bottles gleamed in the faint light and the bartender rushed from side to side, trying to satisfy his customers. Barrels lined the the bottom of the bar with taps that sprouted over the counter. There were three doors that I could see, one on each wall of the four walled bar. Due to this set up I assumed there was another door behind the bar. “Please,” Spade said gesturing back to my chair, “Sit. The game is nearly finished.” I reluctantly took my seat, slowly descending back into the game I have created. “So now that your here,” I said gesturing to each of them, “Why cards? Why this game? Now that we can all say that we won't forget, why are we still here?” “You are fascinated by cards, hence our titles,” replied Diamond as he shuffled the cards. “Why we are still here,” he shrugged, now dealing cards, “I can only assume we have to finish this game.” “And the objective is what?” Spade slammed his hands on the table. “Damn it, J! Do you not know anything?” he growled, causing the candlelight to flicker. “Calm down, Job. He's just disoriented,” Clubs said looking like he may have to stop a fight. “You can’t tell me to calm down!” he roared, now standing. “You know damn well why we’re here!” Spade yelled pointing at me from across the table. “You can't just keep us here. I have no need to change my past! I don't regret my decisions! You are just a dramatic coward! You cry over change!” I looked out the window directly to my left, just realising it is there. It was dark outside. And it was raining. “Your right,” I whispered, turning back to the furious Spade. “I am a coward.” With this realisation I looked at what I was wearing for the first time. Slick black loafers stuck out from under the bottom of dark green, custom jeans. A light green shirt covered my torso. Bright red splotches dotted my shirt with no rhyme or reason. A chrome trim lined the whole outfit and a silver tattoos of ‘Ha's ran across my knuckles. My dark brown, almost black, hair was long and nearly crawled into my eyes and completely shadowed my ears. A cane lay across my lap. A small set of bells ran across the chrome pole. A polished knob of Oak wood sat on top with the golden name written in fluorescent letters. Joker. A small breeze flowed through the room, causing the flames to nearly sputter out. A chill ran through me and the Aces that sat before me, each subconsciously shivering against the cold. Spade closed his eyes and took a deep breath, calming his anger. He opened his eyes and I saw, just briefly, what had caused the outbreak. Pain filled his eyes and was doused with a single tear as he turned away. None of the others seemed to notice. “Take your hand, J.” I took the five cards before me, still faced down. As soon as I touched them, a card wiggled its way to the front of the stack. I stared in confusion at the card, the four of clubs, and then it started to buzz. A small buzzing at first, I thought I was imagining it, then I realized that it was not buzzing rather than voices. The first voice was yelling something I couldn't understand, but the second voice I understood and I knew who it belonged to. “Why? Why do you want to leave,” whispered Clubs, emotion clearly evident in his voice. “I have to,” someone replied their voice oddly familiar. “This isn't my home I have to go back.” “But Add-” “No,” replied the voice. “I told you that isn't my name anymore.” “I don't give a damn what your calling yourself now!” hissed Clubs. Then he said, voice softer now, “Please don't leave me, Addam. Your family.” “I told you, Saul. My name is-” Diamond tapped my shoulder, pulling the voices away and ripping me back to the table. “Place a card?” he asked sweeping his hand over the table. “No,” I croaked, still digesting what I heard. “Pass” The game resumed. I reached into my pocket, feeling something there. From my pocket I pulled out a gold coin. It was the size of a half dollar with a green letter J imprinted on one of the faces, and on the other a black J rested. I looked back at the four of clubs, now silent, and turned over the next card. The two of spades stared me in the face and I was swept from the room. I was standing outside of a house. People were behind me talking and laughing. The smell of a fire was floating from behind as well. Behind the gait of the lawn there was a car that had pulled up. The grey metal reflected the firelight into the night. A young man got out of the driver's seat and walked towards the gait. He couldn't have been older than sixteen, but he swung the keys to the car back and forth on his finger. He was about six foot with a fair bit of muscle ripping across his body. His close cropped black hair was slightly disturbed from the days events no doubt. He wore a sad smile as a new character entered my view. The young man that entered the scene seemed surprised by the other’s appearance. “What are you doing here?” the young man said, the same voice from the conversation with Clubs. Addam I remembered. “I heard you were here,” replied the driver, with a voice I associated with the Spade. “Well, regardless,” the other said, embracing the Spade, “It’s good to see you.” Spade pulled Addam closer, a fierce sorrow shadowed his face as he whispered into his ear, “I don’t know how I’ll do it. To not be able to see you everyday in the halls, to see you grow up.” Tears now started to fall from the Spade’s closed eyes. “I don’t know what I’ll do without you.” “Its ok,” Addam said obviously uncomfortable, “It’s fine. I’ll still visit.” “It’s not that,” he whispered now choking on his words, “I see you as a younger brother. I won’t be able to do anything with you so far. Your brother…” Sobbs broke through his sentences. After he got a hold of himself he continued, “Your brother left too soon, that broke me. He was like an older brother. Now I feel like I’m losing you. My younger one.” They stood there, holding each other for a while longer. Finally Addam replied, voice breaking slightly, “There’s nothing I can do.” The world shifted, like paint running off a canvas, and I was thrown back into the bar. “Are you okay, J?” asked Hearts, looking at me with concern. “Yeah,” I coughed, turning to look away from them, “I’m all right.” “It is a lot to take in at first,” she said shuffling through her cards. “Yes, but what are they?” I asked, voice quivering, “What do these visions mean?” She looked up, surprise clearly written on her face. “You don’t understand yet?” She nodded slowly eyes glazing over, “Of course you don’t…” I looked at my cards, another coming to fore. A glistening queen of hearts stared at me, and once again the world fell away around me. I looked around and saw I was inside of a truck. I looked outside to see a paved road parallel to the vehicle I was in. Fields stretched out as far as I could see, occasionally broken by the random house dotting the countryside. Some form of country music was playing on the stereo. I turn, now, to the inside of the truck and I see beside me is Addam. He looked sad and, at the same time, nervous. Now, in addition to his new mood, he wore black framed glasses, which he pushed up the bridge of his nose nervously. The driver turned down the radio, and turned to look at her passenger. “What's wrong?” Addam sighed, not daring to meet her gaze. As she watched him, I studied her, momentarily stunned by her appearance. She was beautiful, there was no other word to describe her. Hazel eyes, usually full of laughter, and joy, and everything nice, were now filled with concern. Her arms were slightly tanned all the way up to her shoulders, and her blonde hair was tied back in a ponytail. Her fingers danced on the center console as she waited for a reply. Addam finally looked up, and I could see that she had caught him as well. His eyes took in her appearance, as if trying to memorize everything so he could never forget. He sighed, “It's fine. I promise nothing is wrong.” Something was obviously wrong. He seemed to deflate, almost wilt, at her presence, at her attention. She watched him for a while longer, not quite looking like she believed him. “Alright,” she laughed, pushing her doubt aside, “I’ll believe you this time.” I sat up, suddenly realising that the young woman before me had to be Hearts. All of the other cards matched up with their counterparts, and there was nothing different about this one. The scene shifted; a leaf caught in the rapids. I was back at the table, slightly shaking from my experiences. It was all starting to come together, but one very large puzzle piece was still in the way. I looked up from my cards, scanning the other four “players”. Each one held representation to each person I had seen and heard so far. When the next card found its way to the front I already knew what it was. The ten of diamonds fell onto the table as I was swept into a living room. It was a comfortable room, furnished with a corner couch, ottoman, and TV in front of an unused fireplace. Brown carpet stretched from the front door to the house, up a few steps onto another spare room, and stopped at a hallway and an entrance to a kitchen. A boy of about twelve was sitting on the couch with a large plastic basket in front of him. The basket was turned over and was being used as a table, on which a chessboard sat. I walked over to where the game was being held, and the boy looked up. I was shocked, for no one during these visions have ever acknowledge my presence. I was revealed when I realised he was looking at something behind me. Another young boy, probably the same age as the other one, was walking down a pair of steps that looked like it led into a laundry room with his head bent over a Poptart in his hand. “About time,” the one sitting said gesturing to the game, “I was about to move again.” The other boy looked up, and I clearly recognised his face. He was the same young man I’ve been seeing in each vision. Although he was younger in this one, he still held some of his future qualities: lanky brown hair, skinny figure, and smiling eyes. “Sorry, Dale.” he managed to say between the Poptart, “I got kinda hungry.” Dale is Diamond, I thought, But who is this kid? The young Diamond laughed, “Your always hungry, Addam. Get over here already so I can beat you.” “Yeah right.” He smiled, sitting down on the ottoman. I sat down on the side of the couch that was parallel to the chessboard and pulled out my coin, letting it roll across my fingers as I watched the two friends. As the game progressed, they started talking about school, movies, and which comic book character would win in a fight. Finally, there were a few pieces left on the board, kings, queens, and bishops only remained. “Next year is gonna suck.” Diamond looked up from the close game. “What do you mean?” he laughed, “This past year was probably one of the best years we’ve had.” “Yeah,” Addam sighed, looking back at the board, “I don’t know how long that’s gonna last.” “Dude, you need to stop being so vague with me,” he said moving his piece. “Check.” “My mom wants to leave.” Diamond cocked his head. “Like as in divorce?” Addam shook his head Diamond sighed in relief. “It’s much worse. Check.” “How so?” he said moving his piece. It looked like he wanted to ask more, but he kept quite. “She wants all of us to move away.” Diamond looked like he had been slapped in the face. “What?” he asked, voice slightly cracking. “Yeah.” Addam said, not meeting his friend’s eyes. A few seconds passed, Diamond looking at him the whole time, then he threw back his head and laughed. Addam looked up, obviously surprised by his friend’s reaction. “You seriously almost got me that time, Addam,” Diamond said between giggles. When he saw Addam’s face and his smile died. “You can’t be serious?” “Unfortunately, I am very serious,” he said quietly. Diamond looked down on the board, but he, obviously, pondering what Addam had told him. He asked, without looking up, “And do you want to go?” “Hell no,” he muttered, “This is my home, and you guys, my family.”Addam got up and walked away, leaving the finished game behind him. I looked at the game and saw Addam’s king trapped, and captured, in a corner. I was, once again brought back to the bar, and was greeted by the stares of the Aces. I could see them in a new light, in a very new way. Instead of the intimidating figures I made them to be, I saw Dale, the young boy who lost his best friend. Reneé, the beautiful young woman who, unknowingly, trapped a young man in his already crumbuling mind. Job, the man who was losing his family faster than he could recover, leaving him broken. Saul, the younger cousin of someone who is ungrateful for what he has and has to help keep him from falling apart. I sat there, flicking my coin up in the air and catching it. I finally understood everything I needed to. I knew who these people were, I knew why they are what they are, I even, kinda, knew where we are. Yet, I still held one unturned card. I didn’t know what it could possibly be for. I knew all the important details. Right? I turned the card over and was shocked to see the Joker laughing at me. The world seemed to burn, glowing brighter and dropping in and out of focus. The bar before me melted away, resembling that of wax flowing down the sides of candles. I felt like I was burning. My skin was on fire and my screams tore through my blistering lips. Then it stopped, all at once. The flames died away, the burning ceased, and the sceams fell silent. I looked around, confused on where I was. The room had changed. I was sitting on a couch, to my right I could see a small kitchen and table and to my left the door to a bedroom. The front door of the travel trailer was before me. There was no one else in the trailer that I could see. I got up from the couch and walked to the first bedroom. It held a queen bed with small closets on either side. There wasn't anything spectacular about it, so I turned to go to the kitchen. There was a small oven and sink on the left side and on the right a table sat. There was another slide door, that I opened, that led into another small bedroom and a smaller bathroom. Judging from the size of the trailer, it would probably hold four people comfortably. This, by far, was the strangest vision that I've had so far. There wasn't anyone here, I was able to actually move stuff, and it seemed like I was really here. I walked back to the couch and saw a phone lying there. I picked it up and turned it on. There wasn't anything stunning about it, it just seemed like a regular cell phone. As I was going through the contacts, I noticed something. I was able to find the four aces with each of their signature emblems as the background pictures: Job, Saul, Dale, and Reneè with the symbols Spade, Club, Diamond, and Heart. Confused, I started to go through text messages. I was shocked at what I found. They were all talking to Addam. And not just them, as I went through all the other lists I could see that this was Addam’s phone. So if this is his phone, I thought, then this is his house as well? I sat there, confused at these puzzle pieces that didn’t seem to fit. Why was I able to move things here? What's the difference this time and the other visions? Unless… I got up and ran to a mirror above the bathroom sink. It took a while to sink in, but I finally realised what I was seeing. When I looked at the mirror, the person I had come to associate with Addam was staring back. It was a hammer blow to the face. There was no possible way that I was Addam, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. The ‘visions’ I'd been having with him in it were not visions at all, but memories. My memories. I went back to the phone and scrolled through the pictures. Pictures of myself, and ,what I could only assume were my siblings, were there staring back at me. I sat back, taking all of the facts in and putting them together in truth. The Aces are directly connected to me, to Addam, by the ways I had thought. The world started to spin. I willingly gave up control to the change. The change from Addam to the Joker. I opened my eyes to see the interior of the bar and the four aces immersed in their cards. “Okay,” I said, bringing their attention to me, “now that I’ve gone over my memories, how do we end this game?” Each of them grinned, glad I was finally up to speed with them. “From what I can tell, out of the five cards you have, you have to, at least, put one memory in,” said Diamond, singling out a card. “You will forget the memory,” said Spade, “Not the people within, just that moment in time.” “It’s a good thing that all the memories I have with you, J, are not all that great,” laughed Clubs. “Yeah,” I said, picking out the four of clubs, “good thing.” When we were ready, Spade started us off. He placed one card and said, “Was one I could spare.” Diamond went next, placing a card down. “Wasn't the best of times, J.” Hearts placed two cards. “We’ve had better moments,” she smiled. Clubs put down one card looking at me. “You're family.” I went last, giving away my argument with Clubs. Then we sat back and waited. The six cards spun on the table, each one growing faster and faster. The five of us were mesmerized. The cards were spinning so fast it was a blur. Suddenly, one of the cards burst into flames and one by one the others followed suit until only ashes remained in their place. Each of us blinked, the memories leaving us forever. I sat back looking at them. I knew we gave up the memories, I just didn’t remember the memories themselves. The others looked around, looking the same way I did. “I'm assuming it worked?” Spade asked looking around. “Well can you remember what you forgot?” Diamond laughed. Spade smiled. “Course not.” The table seemed to shift, startling all of us. In front of each chair, an indention appeared on the table. None of the spaces looked the same: Spade’s looked like a small kite, Clubs’ looked like a small clover, Diamond’s looked like a ring insert, Hearts’ looked like, well, a heart, and mine looked like a circle. “What are these supposed to be for?” Spade asked, looking at his indention. “Well mine is obviously a heart,” Hearts said looking at hers. “It’s not very big though. What’s supposed to go here? Looks like maybe a small pebble in the shape of a heart could go here.” I sat there, looking at my circle. It looked plain, not very deep. Probably about the size of a half dollar. Thinking of this, I took out my coin. When I pulled it out of my pocket it caught the candlelight. The green J staring me in the face. I looked from my coin to the indention. It looked like it would fit. “Guys,” I whispered. Then I cleared my throat. “Guys,” I said louder. They looked at me, and I realised that they had been arguing over what the impressions were for. “I think we are supposed to put something here for us to go home.” “But what?” Clubs asked, “What could this place possibly want that we have?” I placed my coin in the impression on the table. As the coin sat there, I saw the wood around it to grow and seemingly hold the coin tighter. I went to pull the coin out and I found that there wasn’t even a line where the table ended and the coin started. The others stared, dumbfounded at what just happened. I looked up. “I wasn’t the only one that saw that right?” They shook their heads. One by one, they took off their symbols: Spade removed his tie, Clubs took off his clover pin, Diamond pulled his ring off his finger, and Hearts unclipped her heart earring. The put the objects in the grooves and the wood grew around their objects as it did to mine. Nothing physically changed, but we each felt the same thing. A warmth had spread through us, filling our wills and our souls. I knew it was time to leave. I got up from the table for the last time and went to my friends and helped them up. We stood there for quite a while, looking at the table where we had spent all, yet no, time. “Well,” Saul said looking and giving me a hug, “I won’t forget you, or this place for that matter.” “Agreed,” Dale said hugging me as well. “I’m your best friend, Addam. I’m always here if you need me.” “And if friends somehow fail you,” Job said, pulling me away from Dale and staring me in the eyes, “Family will never abandon each other.” “Believe me, Job,” Dale laughed, “I won’t fail.” I pulled away from them, leaving them to their bickering. “Well, that was an experience.” I turned to Reneé, who was looking at the table, the candles no longer lit. “Yeah,” I replied, mentally kicking myself for such an intelligent answer. “I’m sorry that I pulled you and the others into all of this.” “Are you kidding me,” she said turning to me, “This was an amazing experience. I'm glad I was a part of it.” “Why wouldn’t you be?” I asked, staring at my coin in the table. “Part of it, I mean.” “Well, Dale is your best friend and Saul and Job are your cousins. I don't know I just feel a little out of place.” She looked at the others who were laughing at one of the doorways, “Why am I here?” I sighed, still not looking at her. I remembered how I felt in the truck, all those years ago. I loved being with her and talking to her, but I knew for an absolute fact that she was my friend. Almost my sister. I knew that's as close it would get. “Reneè,” I said looking at her, “You mean a lot to me. You have helped me, listened, and cared about me. I am forever grateful that you never walked out on me. I…” I hesitated, then continued, “I consider you one of my best friends, maybe not as close to me as Dale, but pretty darn close.” “Awww thanks,” she smiled and gave me a hug. I gingerly returned the gesture. “Now, I don't know about you guys,” she called to the three by the door, “but I am ready to go home.” We all agreed with her and we one by one walked out of the door of the bar. I was the last one and before I closed it, I turned and overlooked the bar one more time. People were still at the bar and the single pool table. None of them seemed to acknowledge our presence or absence. “I hope you find your ways,” I whispered and closed the door to the bar. I turned around and took a deep breath. The rain had stopped and the sun was rising in the distance. I exhaled, coming to peace with myself. I looked at the sign above the door, reading the name of the place we had remembered. “The Place Between,” I read, and laughed at its truth. “Maybe I'll come back,” I whispered to no one in particular. But I'm sure The Place understood. “Maybe I will.”


© Copyright 2019 Apollo Addams. All rights reserved.

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