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The Travellers' Story
The aged wooden door swung open, hitting the stone wall behind it with a thunderous crack. I ran out, hot tears already searing at my eyes. As I sobbed, I ran into the living room and jumped into the comfort of my pink love seat, smothering my face with one of it’s decorative pillows. It was black and hard and scratchy, making my eyes feel like wet paper being rubbed by sandstone.
“I’m leaving now, Lena.”
Jake’s sharpened voice echoed menacingly down the hallway, his words making me shiver. There was a moment of white silence, and when I did not reply, my best friend’s feet could be heard stomping up the hall and out the front door. He did not shut it behind him.
That was three days ago. I sit here still, on my love seat, just staring out the window, the ash grey clouds mesmerizing me with their subtle wickedness. I am trapped in a cage, with nothing to do to pry my mind away from the ghost-like memory of the words that were said in that room. The first thing he had told me was that he was a Traveler, that he could jump from year to year, week to week, day to day, without ever growing older. He told me that he could walk time as if they were roads, each named according to the rank of it’s importance, and that he could see things before they happened.
I didn’t believe him. I thought it was a joke, until I saw that the dry and worried expression on his face was failing to shift. I ran out, crying, not knowing what to think, what to say, what to do. It was ridiculous. Stupid. How could he possibly expect me to believe such an insulting lie?
The second thing he told me was that he had to go, back to the people who gave him the gift of travelling, and that he would then disappear. Forever. That’s when I started crying. But it was the third thing he told me that made my heart leap forward and press uncomfortably against my rib cage.
I could go with him, receive the gift, and live free from age and death. Forever. That’s when I started to understand. He needed me. His eyes had pierced mine, begging me to come with him, and the look I gave him in return was one of anger and unbelief. No wonder he left upset.
Lena didn’t get it. I was so afraid this would happen. For weeks I had been pacing, wearing down the soles of my favorite shoes, just thinking of what I was going to tell her. The Travelers had given me the gift, so many years ago I can’t remember, but for only so long. My time was now up, and unless I found someone else willing to receive the gift and travel with me, I would disappear. Forever. That’s when I realized that Lena didn’t understand what I was telling her, since she began to cry. Never the less she was my only hope, she was the only one I wanted to share the gift with. There was no point in living otherwise. But yet I left her house angry, how could she not care? I wanted only what was best for her.
I take a deep breath. Each one now gets more and more painful. My body is deteriorating, worn out from the countless shocks of a travel. I’m not build for this, like the Travellers are. I try to make myself appear more animated, so this isn’t too much of a shock for Lena, but I know my efforts are in vain. She’ll notice the dark difference. I wonder about what the Travellers are going to say when they see that I’ve brought another human. I try hard not to imagine it. Twyledon might enjoy the fact that she gets ‘curse’ someone.
I should stop procrastinating.
This is now the second time I’ve done this, but I think a three day wait is enough for the cold reality to sink into her. I knock on her door.
My tear stained daze is broken by a sudden noise. A knock on the door. Thankful for the interruption, I cautiously get up and walk into the hallway. My heartbeat quickens, and suddenly I get the feeling that it’s him. I don’t want to open it, but a voice inside my head tells me I should. I take a deep breath, and turn the door knob.
After three days of not seeing the face that I used to see so regularly, I almost expected to open to a mythical creature, Hollywood’s version of a time traveler, an inter-dimensional being. But no, it was still him, the same old Jake that I’ve always known.
He walked in, looking tired and desperate.
“Lena,” he says. I almost flinch at the exhaustive tone in his voice. I’ve never heard his like this before, and I start to worry.
“I’m sorry for the other day. I shouldn’t have gotten angry when you. . .”
He runs a hand through his dishevelled brown hair and lets out a pent up breath.
“Well, I know what I told you is hard to believe. But you’re my only hope. I want you to live forever. With me.”
I just stare at him blankly.
“Please come with me,” he says quietly, reaching for my hand. I jump, stumbling back and away from him, watching as his hand slowly returns to his side.
He looks crushed, and I regret the unbearable silence I had created. How long could I stand to look into such a grief-stricken face?
“I’m going to miss you, Lena.”
His final warning set me free of my cage. Why was I doing this? Jake needed me, and all I could think about was myself. Slowly and cautiously I reclaim my step, taking his hand. Jake looks at me and I can see the smile in his eyes as he nods in acceptance of my choice.
We drive for almost two hours. Once I attempt to ask where we are going, but Jake cuts me short by a weary shake of his head. I can sense that he is too worn out to explain. Suddenly the car stops. We are in what looks like a ghost town, sucked right out of one of those western books that used to inhabit the fair majority of my book shelf. I look out the dusted window and at a bordered up ice cream parlour, and then into Jake’s eyes questionably.
“This is it.” he says.
We got out of the car. I had never seen Jake so nervous, his dull blue eyes kept darting this way and that, as if he was catching glances of someone following us. I trailed his glance once, but saw nothing. His hand, which I am holding, begins to get clammy.
We walk for a while, down the gloomy stone streets and passed an innumerable amount of vacant buildings. I wish desperately to know what is going on in Jake’s mind. He’s beginning to scare me. He stopped me in front of the splintered wooden doors of an abandoned school, and then motioned for me to open them. I reach for the handle, and the door swings open.