The Friend Who Wasn’t in the Park (Part 4)

 

Hello darkness, my old friend

I’ve come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the sound of silence

-Simon & Garfunkle

 

Quickly, Simone ran after Darkness. He didn’t appear to walk any faster than Simone, yet somehow he managed to gain more ground. People walked the streets paying them little to no attention. That seemed strange, even for a city as big as LA where no one would give you a second look if your hair were on fire.

She hurried down the road after him. Thankfully, when he reached the park across the way, he finally slowed.

“You’re never going to get anything done at that pace,” he told her offhandedly as she came to a stop.

“I can’t go any faster,” she replied catching her breath.

“Well not with that attitude,” he replied and turned to the three ghostly figures behind him. “Now for you three.”

The figures looked dismal and worn as they shuffled in place before him. Two stood fumbling with little shiny objects.

“Hand it here,” he called to the apparitions.

Reluctantly one of the figures sighed with a strange echoey sort of sound and handed over the small rock. Almost immediately the creature began to glow, brighter and brighter until its form blurred. Simone shielded her eyes, but then the brightness went out. A faint gust of wind rustled her hair and the surrounding foliage.

The creature was gone.

The gust rustled the clothes of those milling about in the park, but they didn’t so much as slowed in step.

Raising his arm, the other apparition tried repeatedly to hand over his shiny object, but pulled back each time Darkness moved to take it.

“Come now. Can’t take it where you’re going,” Darkness told the tragic thing.

Seeming tortured, the creature forced itself to drop the shiny bit of glass into Darkness’s hand. A moment later the figure shone bright and disappeared like the creature before it.

“What did they give you?” Simone asked, looking at the things in Darkness’s hand.

“Just junk,” he replied, dropping the rock and glass to the ground before turning to the last of the three apparitions.

This creature held no object and merely smiled at Darkness, as if in thanks, and began to glow until its light extinguished too. A gust of wind fluttered about them in its wake, leaving a thin fog in the air. Darkness just waved it away and turned to Simone.

“Ok, lets go,” he told her, heading further into the park.

“Wait a second, what just happened?” she yelled hurrying after him. “What did you do to them?”

“Some need a little push to cross over, otherwise they just hang around here for all eternity.”

“So they died?”

“A long time ago,” he chuckled. “Now they’re where they’re supposed to be. Namely, not with the living.”

“Why didn’t they go in the first place?”

“So many questions,” he groaned at her and finally stopped. “Denial is a powerful force,” he replied simply.

“Well why didn’t anyone notice what just happened?” she asked looking around at the parkgoers.

“What the living? They wouldn’t notice if I came up behind them and braided their hair.”

“What about me?”

”What about you?”

”Why can I see you?”

Silently, he ran a hand over his face in frustration. Perhaps she was being a bit too pushy.

“You’re different,” he replied, slower now. “Only the dead, those who are close to death, and those that have been close to death can see me. Even in those last two situations its rare, but it happens.”

Simone stood staring at him a moment. She had been in and out of the hospital a lot. “So— I can see you because I’ve been sick?”

“A little more than that,” he replied, furrowing his brow slightly. Her eyes meet the two black pools of darkness that were his eyes.

“I nearly died?—Or are you saying that I am dying?” she knew her athsma was bad. It always had been, but she couldn’t imagine being close to death. She felt just as she always had. In fact her lungs felt clearer than ever.

“Ok lets try something different here,” he sighed exasperated. “What color is your hair?”

“My hair?” she asked. “I don’t know, sort of a dirty blond color. What kind of question is that?”

“Skin tone?”

“I’d consider myself tan.”

“And your eyes?” he continued plainly.

“Well some say brown, but I’d like to think they’re more gold.”

“Mhmmm,”

“Why?”

“Might want to look down there,” he told her and motioned to a small pond beside them. She hadn’t even noticed it.

With a roll of her eyes Simon looked down into the glassy waters of the man made watering hole to find darkness looking back up at her.

“It’s you,” she called in surprise.

“Look again,” he replied, now lounging on a nearby park bench.

Confused, Simone looked back down into the strange image. It was darkness’s eyes, skin color, and even his black hair. Although, now that she studied it, the dark hair was longer, and the face slightly more feminine. Same sort of dark grey suit though definitely cut for a woman, if even a waifish one. Then all at once, it struck her. The shape of the eye and lip was especially familiar. She knew these features, for they were her own.

Just then Darkness’s reflection appeared in the pond next to her. “Denial is a powerful force,” he sighed.


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  1. Pingback: The Friend in the Yard (Part 3) - April Wahlin

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