Had I come to this again?  I stood outside a structure that I knew like the back of my hand.  I’d only been in it once but I knew ever contour, every faded paint chip, every broken piece of wood, every missing roof tile.  Though the building had only been vacated for fifteen years, it felt and looked haunted and, I guess in a way, it was.  It was haunted, just not by ghosts.  It was haunted in the same sense that humans can be haunted by the past, by their actions.  This house had lost everyone, mainly to death, some violently so; at least one was actually in the house at the time of his demise.

All around me, nature had taken back what was hers.  Tall grass that hadn’t been mown in as many years brushed against my legs.  A gravel driveway now overgrown with weeds lay to my right; trees greeted me slightly farther off.  The main house was up ahead.  Faded green paint, once the color of a pine needle, greeted visitors with a half-smile caused by the sagging of the rotten wood of the doorframe.  A large wrap-around porch stood in front, once grand, now it was dangerous.  Feet would never touch its boards again safely.  At the left corner of the porch, where it ended and no longer wrapped around, a swing lay on the porch, halfway through the railings, the supports having been eaten through by time.

In the distance I could see the second house, a small house of similar design with a much smaller porch.  The father had died in that house.  He’d moved there after his wife’s death because he couldn’t stand to sleep in that room anymore, or so people said.  I guessed the same could be said for the death of his son.  Past that house, there were two stables and a barn.  I could see broken down fences beyond that and overgrown fields for as far as the eye could see.  Trees lined the edges of the property.  If I were a different person, the sight would make me cry.  I’d stopped crying a long time ago for these people, though.

The parents had both died of natural causes.  The mother had died of complications to a heart attack quite young.  She died before I was born.  The father died fifteen years ago, when I was ten.  He died of cancer.  When he died, his two remaining children became wards of the state.  After his son died, there was no one left alive to take them in.  His son died twenty years ago.  He was stabbed in his office.  I still remember hearing the news.  I was five but I still remember being devastated.  He was the one person in my entire short life that had been nice to me, that had actually seemed to care.  It was a sad state of affairs when a child needs the kindness of a stranger to replace the lack of love of a parent.

I looked up at the building and resisted the urge to cry.  Remember, I'm through crying for these people.  God, give me the strength to live.  At that moment, an idea popped into my head.  To this day, I feel that God put that thought into my head because, not only had I repressed those memories, but I would have never thought to use them in that specific way.  My memory was simply this:  I was in the living room of our house, playing.  My mother was in the room on the couch, reading.  The young three year old me looked up, held both hands into the air forming a diamond between thumbs and index fingers.  My mother looked up from her reading and screamed a negation.  Feeling what I felt then, little me spread her arms and between her hands formed a black emptiness.

I’d forgotten all about that.  I’d forgotten I could even do it.  I’d never really known where it lead but did vaguely remember going through one once before.  Was that my answer, my solution?  It was worth a try.  It might kill me but, what did I care?  I had nothing to lose.

Trying to remember and feel what I had once before and feeling really stupid about it, I moved my hands into position, my mind flitting to a time when he’d been alive.  Concentrating, I stretched my arms and just like in the memory, existence stretched in front of me and a black void formed between myself and the landscape.  It was a vacuum in the scientific sense of the word and it was pulling me in as it sought balance between the void and the world.  Okay, let it.  Maybe I’ll die.  Maybe I'll see him again, though I wasn't sure if I was hoping that the void would bring me to him or kill me.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to save the one person that brought light into my miserable little life.  Just maybe.



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