Love In Shadows
rating: +5+x

I’m running away again… Nobody’s chasing me, because I’m running away from myself. There’s a dead silence all around, broken only by the sounds of my footsteps. Silence helps me escape from thoughts, emotions, sensations — escapism, I believe it’s called. What a beautiful thing. It seems that I’m starting to remember everything, even though I don’t want to. I’m starting to remember him. I loved him… I loved him so much that he was the only thing I needed, or rather, the only one I needed. Despite my undying love, something about him — about us — always hurt me to think about. It hurt me to watch him languish in this jumble of non-euclidean spaces. Oh, my love, how I wanted to help you! But he always hid his pain from me, from everyone else; my beloved silently dissolved piece by piece until I completely lost him.

I heard a voice: "Salutations, young man. Do you want to get across the river?"

I looked at the source of the voice. I already knew who it was. This was my salvation, my oblivion… I nodded as I lost the ability to speak after all the sleepless nights during which I was unsuccessfully looking for my love. The old man held out his hand and said "If you want to travel to the other side, I need my payment, otherwise, I will not be able to ferry you." And I knew that very well. And I also knew that I wanted to go to my beloved. I should’ve known. Nothing in this world is free. I’ve been searching for this long, though, and I wasn’t about to abandon this opportunity. I don't know how this ferryman works, but what if… what if I give him a commemorative coin that my beloved gave me a long time ago? With trembling hands, I pulled the coin out from my pocket. This coin is the last thing that my dear left behind… The ferryman carefully took the coin, as if he also understood that this is the most expensive treasure in the entire universe. I felt the emptiness grow inside me because of my loss. The old man saw this and grinned, "You paid a good price for the transportation. Do not be afraid, everything will be fine…" For a moment, I thought the old man’s voice sounded like my beloved’s, but I quickly snapped out of the auditory hallucination. The ferryman gestured me to the boat.

“Finally, after all these years, I can see my beloved again,” I thought. Many thoughts spun through my head as I stepped aboard the old man’s boat.

Surprisingly, the boat floated very smoothly. The measured splashes of water put me to sleep. My vision seemed to almost blur as I entered a state of euphoria, the old man’s voice being the only thing keeping me grounded in reality. "We will soon reach the shore. Good luck in finding your love, and goodbye." A single tear rolled down the ferryman's face. Suddenly, the boat shook, and I was thrown straight onto the shore — straight into the darkness. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a ferryman; he no longer looked like an old man, but he seemed painfully familiar to me. "Goodbye, my love." That was the last thing I heard before I landed on the shore of the gray ocean. I rolled over, looking back at the ferryman.

“Goodbye…” I whispered, tears trickling down my cheeks as I gradually faded into the darkness.

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