A shattered dream.
A lost memory.
End of the line.
I was screaming, but I couldn't move. I could see the blood. Was it mine? Glittering shards of broken glass blurred together to create a million rainbows. Then I remember falling and the rainbows were vanquished by darkness. Silence came. Deafening silence. I was nowhere.
Who am I?
I closed my eyes. If this was death why am I so alone? Could it be that everything I thought I knew was wrong. Had I wasted my short life? Was my time on earth for nothing?
Opening my eyes I realised some form of light had returned. I was inside an endless room. Now walls, just blank space where there should be boundaries. I could have walked for miles and never found anything.
When he called my name for the second time, it seemed to register. I spun around and he was right behind me. How could I not have noticed?
"Ariadne" he said for the third time. "Are you okay? Can you talk to me?"
"Who are you?" I asked and for some reason I was scared of the answer. He looked shocked at my question so I gave him a quick once over to see if I could slot him in anywhere in my jumbled up head. He had dark chocolate hair that didn't seem to be styled in any particular way and reached down to his collar. He was about two inches taller than me and much wider in the shoulders. His brown eyes seemed to shine from within in an oddly familiar way.
"It's me Ariadne. You know me." He was beginning to sound desperate, but something about his voice seemed to strike a chord in my melancholy of memories.
Arthur. It was Arthur. The name floated to the top of my ocean of memories all clamouring for attention. His hand guiding me through a maze. Making paradoxes. Chasing dreams. Stolen kisses in hotel hallways. Him rescuing me from crazed projections. And the last day. The day I lost him. The day I had to forget. The day he died.
"Arthur what's happening to me? Why am I here? I can't remember my life."
"You remember me, and that's enough for now" he said "now take my hand Ariadne. Trust me." He looked at me with his shining brown eyes and I took his hand without hesitation. The white room of emptiness disappeared and suddenly I was somewhere else. A place I recognized almost instantly. Home. My small little flat in Paris, looking the same as ever. Clothes strewn everywhere, books piled on the floor. But what was I doing here. What did this mean?
"Pay attention Ariadne" Arthur said. He gave me one last look before he disappeared taking his brown eyes with him. He left me alone. What was I supposed to do? "Arthur, no come back" I yelled at the top of my voice. It made no difference. He was gone. My front door opened. "Ariadne sweetheart, you home." A tall blond man called as he walked through my living room and dumped his keys on the sideboard. Tommy. My boyfriend. "Ariadne?" he called again. "I'm right here. Are you blind" I said. He didn't answer. I twigged that I was invisible when he walked straight through me as though I was a ghost. This made sense considering I was dead. I was haunting my own past.
Then I watched myself walked through the door. "Tommy" I saw myself say "Are you ready yet. We have to be there in ten minutes". I remembered this day. It was my mum and dad's anniversary. I laughed as I watched myself run around the living chasing Tommy as I tried to convince him to let me staple together the hole in his trousers. This was six months ago. But what was the purpose of this? Why was I here? Time jumped forward to the actual party. I remember we arrived late but mum didn't mind. I stood outside in the musty street watching the party through a window. Tommy walked outside wearing a navy blue shirt I remembered coercing him into. There was a strange woman leaning on the wall wearing a tight red top and a much too short skirt. Tommy walked right up to her and kissed her as though he had known her for years. I saw red. I was so angry. What a sleaze bag. He was very lucky I hadn't walked out and seen him at the time. When I was alive.
Arthur was back. His shiny eyes bored into me. "Do you understand now Ariadne" You have a choice now. I just wanted you to see the truth first. You can change the past, but you can't stop yourself from dying. I thought this was the right moment to change. You can make it so you did see him kissing this girl. You can make yourself happier for those last few months. Being free from him."
"Is that the only thing I can change" I asked
"No, when you die you can alter the past in whatever way you want, except for stopping you own death. I just thought..."
"You were wrong".
I closed my eyes and focused on where I wanted to go. Ridgeway Park. November 1st 2018. I opened my eyes and let the rain fall from the heavens. I remembered this day. How could I ever forget it? The man with the gun, with its muzzle flashing like death. Arthur and I standing together for the last time. The bang of a bullet. Arthur's blood on my hands. The man vanishing into the shadows. My best friend died in my arms that day. I watched the events unfold again.
"I want you to live" I told the Arthur by my side. Even as I said the words time began to change. The Arthur that was dying began to heal and the ghost Arthur that stood next to me began to fade, the last thing I saw was his shiny brown eyes, and the half smile he always had. The images of the past left with him and I was in the endless white room once more. For eternity? Still I wondered what did Arthur choose when he died. What event of the past did he change? Even as I asked myself these questions I felt the darkness threatening to overwhelm me.
I was falling again. The room snapped like a promise. Splintered. Silence came back but only briefly. I could see rainbows again. Suddenly my eyes opened to the world again. Lights, sounds, colours. Everything was back to the way it was.
"Are you all right Ariadne" said the man in the fluorescent jacket with Ambulance written on the back. I could hear him perfectly fine and there were sirens in the background. I could feel the heat of burning concrete on my back and smell the rusty salt of my blood. But my eyes were drawn like magnets to the man behind the paramedic. The man with shining brown eyes smiled my favourite smile and spoke a word that sent my heart singing a prayer.
Silence can be broken.
Dreams are fixed.
New memories can be made.
And who said death lasts forever.
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