Fade Away Creek
Part 3: Homecoming
John looks around, everything looks familiar. He looks at the clock to see that it’s 7:30 a.m. He sighs in relief”oh thanks god, it was just a dream”. He looks to the side of his bed to see that his wife isn’t there. He yells out, “Meredith” He walks into his daughter’s room, she isn’t in her crib. “Meredith”, he yells out again, but still no answer. He walks downstairs, “Meredith”, he yells out once more. Suddenly he hears a knock at the door, he walks over and opens it but there’s nobody there. He looks down and sees the newspaper. He picks it up to see the date, it’s December 23, 2011. He thinks to himself “wasn’t it just the 18th yesterday?” The phone suddenly rings; he walks over to the living room and answers it. “Meredith?” John says a few times. The woman on the phone doesn’t seem to hear John speaking at all. “Meredith? Meredith? Is that you?” the woman says. John yells out, “no it’s me John, can you hear me?” The woman hangs up. John looks down at the answering machine, he sees the red light blinking, meaning there’s new messages. He clicks the button and plays the most recent message. “Hello, Meredith, I just want to let you know how sorry I am for your lost, call me if you need somebody to talk to”. A loud beep goes off, ending the message. Confused, worried and scared is what John is feeling as he listens to the message again. As John is scrambling through the voice messages he hears music coming from the kitchen, it seems to be playing jingle bells. John follows the sound and eventually it leads him to some sort of Christmas box. He opens it slowly; as he’s opening it he sees car keys, a pen and a wallet. It seems to be all of his belongings. He dumps everything out, on the floor lies what looks like a brochure. He picks it up, turns it over and reads it out loud. “In Loving Memory of John M. Alexander, August 18, 1971 to December 18, 2011”. John falls to his knees and begins to cry out “when will this nightmare end?” As he cries, he continues to read. According to the paper the funeral is held on December 23, 2011. John sits down, puts his hands over his face and cries out for his wife. He closes his eyes and thinks about Meredith.
John opens his eyes and looks around, he notices he’s in a church. He sees all the familiar people crying and looks around to see all the pictures are of him. He stands up and begins to walk down the aisle. He closes his eyes and as he gets closer and closer, he feels every emotion possible. He opens his eyes and looks down to see the body of what used to be his own. He thinks about his life and how he feels he wasted it. As John looks at the body he hears a familiar cry. He turns around to see his wife, Meredith. “Don’t cry Meredith, honey I’m here”, John cries out as he walks toward her. He reaches for her hand but every time he does he just goes right through her. Everything now is starting to come together to John, as he closes his eyes he sees the accident, the deer jumping out and the car moving out of control. He sees newspaper articles of the accident, “Man found dead in car”, he hears his wife crying, and he sees the snow falling. He holds his ears and screams out “get out of my head! Get out of my head!”
Suddenly John finds himself on a road. He looks around and sees the sign and notices he’s back in Fade Away Creek. In the distance he sees a truck. The truck gets closer and pulls to the side, the driver walks out. “Hey there John“. John walks toward him in an angry sort of way, “what is going on?” The man stood firm, “This is the afterlife, John. You’re dead and now you’re here”. John doesn’t want to believe it. “That can’t be true; I thought the afterlife was supposed to be beautiful, this place is cold, dark and grey”. The man sighs, “It is for some people, it all depends on when you die. If you die at 3 a.m. during freezing weather, that’s what the afterlife would be for you, there’s no changing it”. John pauses in disbelief “so this is it for me? I’ll be here forever?” The man nods his head, “for all eternity”. John sits down in a pile of snow, puts his hands over his face and wipes his tears. “Can I ever go back again?” The man explains to him, “Only when you sleep, you have the power to go back to the life of the living, but as some sort of ghost of course”. John stays seated, “So what now? Where do I go?” The man starts walking back to his truck, as he walks backwards he yells out, “you wait, for the ones you love will come”. John gets up and walks, he doesn’t know if there’s an end but he walks and never looks back.
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