William The Conquerer

December 28, 2007
By Jhoana Chan, Palmdale, CA

Will wandered around the old street.

It had become run down with only a street light at the end of the road in working condition, and even it flickered on and off in the distance. It wasn't enough light to guide him. If asked, he couldn't tell you how he maneuvered his way about, only that he remembered.
Perhaps it was his memory. After all, he had traveled along this road plenty of times. Plenty. Of. Times.

He paused, rubbing his weary eyes before burying his hands deep into his pockets.

These pockets had become home for his hands. These pockets in these jeans he wore as often as socially acceptable.

Then he remembered Jack, and realized he should wear these jeans more often.

Will kicked a rock that was lying at his feet before continuing down the road.

He raised his eyes towards the landmarks as they passed by. The places he had grown to love. The places he went to for refuge. The places he thought of when in the dull, dreary moments of his days.

The places that had become safe.

This was Will's road. This was Will's street.

He called it home. It smelled like home. My God, it smelled like home.

Today was different though. Today, it was a strange home. One Will had learned to live without. One he lost the urge to visit. One he lost the urge to miss.
It wasn't his home anymore.

He had tried so hard to bring others here, to show them his home.

Will wanted them to see the roses that grew here. The roses that blossomed and bloomed.

They could never make it past the thorns. They could only see thorns.

Will realized it so long ago. They would never see it. They would never see the roses. Thorns was all they'd get. This was his road. One no one else could travel.

The roses died a while back. They had blossomed and bloomed and Will would tend to them constantly. He would return to this road and see to it they were taken care of. They were so beautiful that roses like them had never been seen before, never been named.

Will named them Hope.

He said it was the only suitable name because they were so beautiful, so gorgeous, so painfully rare that no other name would do them justice.

Will shifted his feet as he stared at the corner where the roses had grown. So lovely, so lovely. They were gone now.

The memory was all that he had. And they were his. No one had ever seen them but him.

He raked his hand through his hair before shoving it back into his pocket.

With a deep breath, he turned on his heel and continued. He could almost hear the echos of the laughs and shivered from the memories.

He was close to the working streetlight now. Twenty paces.

Ten paces.

He stopped. He stopped.

Taking both hands out of his pockets, he rubbed his eyes again. His fingers moved up to his temples grinding against them.

Soon his hands were over his entire face, palms on his cheeks. Through his hair, they ran. He locked his fingers together on the back of his neck and fell on his knees to the dirt.

His eyes flew open as he remembered why there was dirt.

This street had never been finished. It had never been fully paved. He remembered standing with his toes on the break between the blacktop and the dirt rocking back and forth and pondering the completion date of this street.

He closed his eyes again. A single strand fell from his eye and landed on the ground. He watched as it met the dirt and created a spot of mud.

With that, Will gathered himself, stood up, and began the final ten paces.

After the ninth one, he considered turning for one final glance. One final look at the place that brought him such happiness. One final look at the road he thought he could travel forever. One final look at the resting place of Hope.

He closed his eyes and with a deep breath walked out of his street.

The street.

The light flickered and finally, finally gave out.

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