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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Other · #2293285
Follow up to rising tides
On a small, distant island lies a meak looking town that quietly goes about life in an unwavering routine. Late in the evening there's a figure slowly making its way down a sidewalk, steadily walking forward. They have now clear destination in mind but all the same are determined to reach it.


For a good amount of time now I've been walking amongst the people here. I still don't exactly feel like I belong, but I'm getting used to the presence of others around me. I could go as far as to say I've made a friend or two, but that might be wishful thinking at best.
Tonight however, I find myself walking down a dark street without a soul in sight. Times like this always give me a sense of foreboding yet I try my best to ignore it and press onwards. How far have I gone by now? My legs are going numb and it's getting hard to breathe. The street seems to stretch on forever into the night. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, not much further.
I've said this eight times already, again and again I stop then press forward again. My lungs burn as the air hits them, my legs give out. I hear footsteps coming towards me. A hand is extended to me. I look up and the one reaching to me is..me?

I don't know how it came to this-now here I am, nine people stand around me and they all look and sound just like me. At first all they did was sling degrading comments at me, one after another. Then crude comments about those I knew, where I've gotten myself to, what I've left behind, and more. Now they're just standing there in silence, gazing at me..glaring at me. "You tell yourself you've been moving forward." It starts.. "In reality you might as well still be standing out on the forsaken waterfront." Shut up. "You walk among all the others but still keep a generous amount of distance from everyone." Stop. "Hard to breathe when you're still drowning within yourself. Isn't it?" What?

I began to cough violently, I can't breathe. Bubbles rush forth blocking my view. Wait, bubbles? I feel heavy, but as though I'm floating as well.. no, I'm sinking. Deeper under the water I go. I tried to swim back to the surface but something was pulling me down. Nine sets of hands had a hold on me, pulling me down. Laying on the ocean floor they stood around me once more. "This is where you belong. You can't escape it."
"You can't escape US. You can't escape yourself."

I give up. No matter what I try, I end up down here.

Around me I see the bodies of my few friends floating by, lifelessly. This is why I stay away from you all.. the dark I carry with me is too much to share with others. No matter how hard you try to walk through it with me, you all get swept under the current with me, and in the end I'm the only one left standing. The nine of you..you're all me aren't you. If other people can't bear this burden, then we'll split it with ourselves.

I didn't know at the time..I was sealing my fate by fracturing my mind. Split nine ways, there's no way to maintain stability.

The road in front of me is split three ways. I don't know which way to go. Down one road I see someone standing, the next I see a building, the last there is nothing in sight. I took a few steps towards the road with the person standing in it. As I got closer I could hear a cracking sound. I stopped, feeling a sharp pain coming from my chest. I know who that is..she shouldn't be here. Or anywhere other than the ground. I turn away as the memories rush back, the sound intensifies. Then silence. Turning back around there's someone next to her, it's me..but a large part of his chest is missing. Something cold runs by my feet.


The middle path..go to the middle path. It's getting hard to walk, like my feet are stuck to the ground. As I got close to the middle road, however, the ground immediately came to an end. A large chasm stretched out before me with the strange building far off in the distance. Seeing the large gap, for some reason, filled me with an immense surge of regret and loneliness. Just move. Keep moving. The third road. Must be the way.

The path ahead looked rugged and worn. Numerous holes could be seen dotted along the way forward, no lights guiding the way either. Looking at my three options; walking with the ghosts of my past, standing watch at a place I'll never be able to reach, or walking down an obviously dangerous path… not much of a choice when you think about it.

There is technically a fourth.

Another me was standing beside me, this one had nothing past the shoulders. "Look behind you."
Ah, that is a good point. Turning back the way I came is also an option. "If you can take it, walking back that is."
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