A man named Charles goes through the five stages of grief through a metaphorical journey after the loss of his family.

“This isn’t how it ends.”

Charles repeats to himself for the fifth time.  He’s alone in a dark room that seems almost like a cellar.

“They’ve taken everything.  They can’t take my life from me.  They… They just CAN’T!”

He yells while beginning to cry.  His sobs echo through the dark hallways that await outside the room he’s in.  There’s nothing protecting him from what might be in the hallways other than bars that are eight inches apart.  He curls up into a fetal position while crying.

“They’re not gone.  They can’t be gone, I just saw them!”

He continues to sob.  The cell seems to get smaller and smaller around him as he extends his arms and legs in a panic as if he could stop the walls from closing in on him.  By the time the walls stop shrinking, he’s right up against the bars of the cell looking out into the pitch black hallways.  He sees nothing and hears nothing, but emptiness.  The hallways seem to be hypnotising as he watches them intently waiting for something to happen, something to be out there, something else to be in this horrid place.  His sobs ease as he gets more and more hypnotised by the elusive and dark hallways.


He says quietly.  Even with him saying it as quiet as he did it echoes through the halls.  He goes to sit down realizing how truly isolated and alone he is here.  That’s exactly when he hears it.


He hears from inside the hallway.  He looks up to see a woman shrouded in the darkness that surrounds her only barely visible except for her pale face.  For a moment he stands in shock and fear until he looks at her face closer and realizes who it is.


He calls out to see her lightly smile.  It almost seems to be a smile of pity.  He extends his arm through the bars as they slowly tighten around him.

“I knew you were here Ava!  I knew it!  They told me you weren’t, but I knew you would be here!”

Slowly her smile fades into a frown and she begins to cry as she lowers her head to view the ground.  Charles’ smile begins to fade as well.

“Ava?  AVA?!”

He yells as the bars tighten quicker around his arm.  He pulls his arm back to see her fade into the darkness as the cell grows farther and farther away.  He watches the hallways fade until he’s in utter darkness.  The room slowly grows back to it’s typical size as a light glow grows from underneath the cell.  His crying eases up again and his breath becomes shaky and unstable.  The light grows and grows higher and brighter as his eyes turn from sadness to anger.  He closes them to push out the last of his tears, and opens them once again to see the entire room is engulfed in flames.


He yells out as the flames grow higher and hotter.  He begins to sweat as he screams out in an utter rage.  He grabs the wall and begins throwing his fists towards them.  After he pulls both of his bloodied and battered hands away he looks upon the wall to see it cracked and beginning to be dismantled.  He falls back into the center of the room and stares at the cracks in the walls.


He whispers again.  His voice trembling and his hands healing.  The fire begins to dim down as his eyes turn once again to a sad light.

“I’ll do anything.  Just come back.  If I hadn’t have been gone.  Just please let me go back!”

He yells as his voice echoes once more in the isolated cell that stands in the black void.  He brings his knees in and wraps his arms around them to try and gain some form of comfort.  He rocks himself while looking up towards the ceiling.

“Won’t you help me?  Won’t you let me go back?  Won’t you let me change things?”

He asks as he continues to stare towards the ceiling which slowly begins to open up and reveal a night sky that calms him slightly, but brings a small tear to his eye.  He tries to wash it away by rubbing his eye with his hand only to have more begin to form.  The night sky gets clouded over as light rain falls into the cell.  He removes himself from his fetal position and lays down as tears begin to roll down his temple into his hair.  The rain only increases as his mood begins to calm more and more into a state of depression.

“I shouldn’t have left.”

He says to himself quietly.

“What about the others?  What are they going through now?  What if they need me and I’m locked up here?  What are they to do?  What are they to do if they have an issue they need me to solve?”

He asks himself continually as he thinks to himself for a moment.  All the thoughts of his loved ones running through his head as he lies on the floor, tears still rolling into his hair and rain soaking his clothes.

“What if they’re in just as much pain as I am?”

He asks himself as everything else around him seems to go quiet.

“And I’ve left them.”

Everything is silent.  The rain stops.  He closes his eyes as a few more tears are pushed out.  He opens them once more to see Ava standing over them.  His lips tremble slightly as he stands up to face her.  She opens her arms allowing him to walk into them.  He enters her arms and wraps his own around her while letting out the last of his tears.

“I miss you.”

He whispers to her.

“I know you do Charles.  I know you do.  But you must let me go now.  This is not your doing and you must forgive yourself.”

She says to him as he continues to get his tears out.

“Now let me go, and know that I am here with you.  Though I am gone physically I will live on forever with you as a memory.  A memory of times that you laughed.  A memory of times that you smiled.  A memory of times that you stood tall and let nothing conquer you.  Let others allow you to make more memories.  And one day we will surely meet again.”

She says to him before letting him go and fading away.  His eyes are closed once again as he lowers his arms.  He feels a light breeze and opens his eyes once again to see that the crack in the wall is now a hole.  He walks through it feeling the autumn air across his face.  Suddenly he is standing in a field of flowers.  Once again tall and proud.

Submitted: October 30, 2015

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