I'm sprawled out on the ground outside of John Tyler Elementary. The grass is wet with morning dew and the sun burns hot and high up in the sky. Birds chirp and bees buzz by.
I am in John Tyler Elementary's field. I've played soccer, I've ran around, and I've messed around, on it. Nostalgia surged in through my fingers touching the grass and crept up my spine. It refused to leave there, and I felt like the past was colliding with the present.
I get up from the ground and walk slowly over to the bleachers. I sit down upon them, and try to think. Why am I here, what's happening, what am I doing.
I'm there for what seems like hours, just sitting there, alone. I eventually start to feel a bit lonely, but I don't mind it. Loneliness is something I've learned to deal with in my life.
Then I see her. Anna, out in the field. The sun beats down upon her face and I realize that Grey was never the sun but she was and I try to reach for her.
I'm always reaching for the sun. Always. Not just Anna. I never reached for the moon, because I always had it with me. But I'm never able to grab onto it. It always either burns me, or I don't have enough strength to stretch for it.
What am I rambling on about.
I get up and walk over to her. Her smile is radiant and her hair is pushed gently away from her face by a soft wind. Her beautiful eyes greet my dark, boring eyes.
I'm nothing compared to her.
She opens her mouth to speak, but no sound comes out of it. She cannot talk. And then she starts to disappear and I try to grab onto her but she is nothing but a phantom in the Spring air and I'm nothing but a dead man walking, destined to be buried underneath the oncoming Winter's snow.
In that moment, I saw everything Anna could have been, without me. She would have grown up in a spectacular fashion, living out the American dream. She would have gone to an incredible university after high school, she would have gotten a high paying, and fun, job, she would have been so happy.
But instead she died screaming for someone, anyone, to help her. I still remember the blood.
And I remember the parents. They blamed me at first, but they knew I couldn't ever do such a thing to her, or cause something like that to happen... funny thing is, I did cause that to happen.
Everything about this is all my fault, I'm the only one to blame, I'm so so sorry.
I didn't want anything to ever turn out this way, I'm so sorry. If I could take it all back.. that's what I wanted to do. I want to die. I want to die. I want everything to end and I don't have the strength to go on because Anna was my everything and without her everything is so dull.
But my death won't bring her back. Of course not. I know that. It won't ease any of the suffering it's caused. But it will stop me from feeling this burden. I want to stop carrying so much weight. I'm responsible for the destruction of Portsmouth. I let my own hometown be consumed by evil.
I'm no worse than Grey. I am not a good man. I tried so hard to be, but I can never be one.
And I'm the only one who could have saved Anna. And FUCK. Fuck, I failed.
And the worst part Steven lost his best friend too.
Steven... he's always been there for me...
And Anna's death affected him too, didn't it?
His body shaking at the mention of her name.
Him crying at her funeral.
Sometimes I wondered about that.
Maybe he loved her too.
...he did love her too, didn't he? He wasn't comforting Anna. They were kissing, back then.
This didn't hurt me like it did back then.
He was there for her when I wasn't.
I was such a bastard back then. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I acted so much differently than I do now. Looking back at The Shower Scene...
Steven loved Anna and I was in the way of that. They loved each other. He would have been the high school sweetheart. They would drift away after school, but they would always have that spark between them...
The spark that never existed between Anna and I.
And Steven is so much stronger than I am. So much braver. He wouldn't falter when Grey would use Anna's body. He would keep on keeping on.
Unlike me. I'm useless. I'm weak. I'm stupid.
As these thoughts clutter up my head, I fall to the ground. I bury my head in the ground, repeatedly hitting it against it. I wanted everything to just end. Kill me! I don't even care anymore!
My entire life has been a failure, a disappointment, a wreck!!!
Everything I do... it...
I'm a failure, by design, seemingly. If there's a God, he set me up to fail.
The clouds cover over the sun. I look up to the sky and just... scream. I want it to rain. I want it to rain so I could pretend I could still cry. I couldn't cry at that point. I had run out of tears. My head hurt.
I was at my lowest point. Past the point of suicidal urges and lowered moods. I was at the point of just completely losing it.
My faith, my sanity, my life; all destroyed by one miserable eldritch being. Everything, in shambles.
And I look up. The clouds move away to reveal a tiny sliver of sunlight. It falls to the ground, revealing Anna, again. She was still there?
"Anna!" I call out to her.
She approaches me. I... I...
I get up, and hug her. She's solid. She's not a ghost anymore. She's there!
"Anna, I'm so sorry, I-"
She slaps me. Hard.
"Aghwhat the fuck! What was that for?"
Her beautiful eyes say it all, but she talks anyways.
"Stop the fucking pity party and get out there!"
"But it's too late, Anna. There's no use...."
"No it's not! Don't even DARE say that to me until you drop dead! Nothing's too late!"
"Okay, fine. What if I suddenly somehow get some sort of heroic resolve and try to rescue Portsmouth? What then, Anna? How do I escape this hellhole?"
"You don't escape. You rise above it. You don't let it beat you."
"I don't follow..."
"Look. Owen, listen! What happens if you give up? Tell me!!"
"Portsmouth's dead, then. But that's going to happen even if I"
She punches me this time.
"No!! No no no!! OWEN!! YOUR FAMILY, YOUR FRIENDS, YOUR NEIGHBORS, EVERYONE YOU'VE EVER KNOWN IN YOUR LIFE ARE GOING TO DIE! Stop being so goddamn selfish and stop drowning yourself in blame! Get up now and fight! Fight until you're dead! If you won't, then I'll kill you, I swear. What happened to the boy I dated?"
She was right. I... tears finally began to come out.
"Yes. You're right. I'm sorry. What... what am I doing? Why am I so weak, Anna?"
The anger in her face seems to fade away, and she smiles.
"You're not weak. You're strong. Far stronger than anyone I know. And you're definitely not selfish in the usual sense of the word, nor are you uncaring. It's just... I get it, things start to pile up after a while. So many people you know have died... it's like there isn't anything left to fight for. But there is, and you know it. Cosette, your little sister; she's with your grandmother right this very instant, isn't she?"
I get up off the ground and dust off my jeans.
"Thank you, Anna. I'm sorry things turned out the way they did for you."
"Stop saying sorry. Start saying thank you and your welcome more. I told you that when we were dating, and I'm telling you now, bub!"
I laugh. She was as feisty as ever.
"Hey, a question though: How are you even here right now?"
"Listen. When Grey kills someone, or even nearby, they don't just... die. Their souls, their entire being, are absorbed into him. They become one with him. It's not... not exactly a purgatory or a hell. We stop feeling, stop being conscious. But Owen... you still have a connection to Grey. A small one. A bridge. He tried to burn down that bridge a while ago, but it did not work.
You are both one still. You are both in Unison. So the souls that he's absorbed... they can resonate inside of you. Even when you're far away from Grey. Right now, you are in a maze. You're inside of the forest, but incredibly deep inside of it. You've been sealed in, just like Grey was.
But you can escape. I don't know how, but you can. I think the escape will reveal itself in time. Just.... keep fighting, okay? Promise?"
"I promise. For you. For Steven. For me. For the world."
We hug. She kissed me on the cheek, and she starts to fade away.
"My power belongs to you. My entire soul..."
It surprises me, and I tell her not to do it, but before I can, she's already gone. Inside of me.
I can feel her soul converting into energy inside of my hands. Sparks flicker on the hands, bouncing and twisting between my fingers.
Her sacrifice would not be in vain. I would honor her last words.
For Porstmouth. For all my friends. For all my comrades. For my neighbors. For the strangers.
And for the world. Grey would not escape this place.
A golden fire appears inside of my right hand. I realize it's Degausser.... I had an upgrade.
Instead of gray energy, I had golden energy.
I feel it flowing all throughout my body. I make it flare up in both of my hands...
I had an idea. I knew how to get out. It was crude, but effective.
It would be like popping a balloon. After I poked a hole in it, all the air would go rushing out.
I held my hands up high, arced my body... and then dived towards the ground, both hands crashing into the grass, degausser blazing hot. The contact between the balls of golden degaussed energy and the ground caused massive amounts of dirt to push up towards me. I ignored it, and released all of the energy I had inside of me.
I don't know what happened next. All I remember is a golden flash.
For a moment, I appear in some sort of purgatory. It felt like a dream. I was looking at someone, who was sitting in the John Tyler field. Only John Tyler wasn't on the horizon, it wasn't even built yet, it seemed.
It was Norman, only younger. What-
I'm somewhere else. I have no idea where.
And also it appears that I've been typing this entire time. I don't even know how I got this laptop.
I feel like I'm in a dream.