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[RF] Down To The Letter

And so went the way of life, to be played out without repetition and at a constant pace, with or without the other players in attendance. Until it stopped. Beau finally found it. It hit him hard, and at the very moment of his seemingly instant clairvoyance he almost fell, leaning heavily on his oldest possession, the cane, which had helped him stand for a good part of his life. He let out an audible sigh, and with his milky blue eyes stared up at the heavens in search of a star that just might be bright enough above the mountain.
The tear was involuntary and alone, climbing slowly down the rigid and wrinkled precipice, which had not seen its like in over a decade, slowly descending only to fall precariously close to Beau’s collarbone. He had loosened his tie and unbuttoned his shirt hours ago in this stifling heat that seemed to only be present in this damned state which he had hoped to never return to. The shirt was still stiff from the amount of time it had hung on a rack; a green sticker just under his lowest left rib still holding on for dear life with a yellow highlighted $2, the tie still with a crease from where it had been folded on a shelf for weeks, just above the pants rack in the downtown thrift shop. His trousers, belt, shoes, and undershirt were the only articles of clothing he was wearing at the current moment that had been in his possession for more than fourteen hours. His glasses were carelessly perched in his tangled and seemingly cognitive mess of stark white un-kept hair; a whirlwind going every which direction all at the same time. He had been standing there for what felt like ages, prying at the fringes of his younger years, digging down through memories buried to be long forgotten. Having never succumbed to any problems with his memory, this actually being more to his detriment than he would have ever admitted; he could remember everything in his life and was not one prone to try remembering a single thing for very long. He had not ventured into many of the items he had attempted to lock away for some time, and for good reason. There seemed to be almost no locks in his damn head, but that didn’t mean he had to visit in the rooms he had wanted to lock, or in this case had. In any case, he finally turned the key. He saw her face completely clear; her eyes like two drops of ocean water on a pale and impossibly smooth face, starkly white with a dash of freckles, lit by the vibrant, yet distant, balls of light in the sky. The left corner of her mouth tilted up ever so playfully. On this very mountain so long ago, he then leaned in to kiss her, never leaving her eyes until they eased closed with his, the distance between them evaporating. He felt her smile as they pressed into each other, her hand reaching up into his thick, brown, and incredibly messy hair, just to grab his glasses and run away giggling. The breeze that night light and cool, he stood there and watched her run for a second, shaking his head in wonder and awe of her. Their first kiss, beneath these very stars which he could no longer see. Back to the mountain of today, only the moon would appear to visit him now. No one had known who Beau was and so he was ignored for some time, which he had more than approved; he didn’t care to talk anyway. The service was incredibly large; he had not been around this many people since his friend Mike had gone on thirteen years ago. When asked about his relation to her, he had simply said he was an old forgotten friend, which was taken as well enough by the son-in-law who proceeded to shake his hand and move on to the next people.
The mountain had changed incredibly little since that night all those years ago; time seemingly staying its hand and moving the brush over other more pressing pieces of the canvas. Like her, it had hardly aged of what he could tell. The location hidden away, only to be truly known by him, and as of 7:26 a.m. on this last Wednesday, him alone. After what had been a lifetime, he had come back to this place only to remember why he had never come back. He finally turned for the descent back to his car, only to feel something turn under his pivoted left foot. He lifted his foot and spent a great deal of effort to retrieve the white and now foot stamped envelope from the leaves on this summit. He pulled down his glasses and retrieved his matches from deep within his left pocket. With the meager amount of light and a gargantuan amount of squinting he made out his name, in a scrawl he had not seen since his late twenties, constituted with the signature line from right to left under it. There was no intelligible thought in his head, only the pure and unfiltered feeling of confusion and disbelief. Opening the flap just before the match decided to share its warmth with his fingers, he spied a single piece of paper folded neatly inside with a glint tucked further in the envelope. As he tried to peer deeper the match brought him back to the mountain in the twilight, and with much profanity Beau in kind thanked it. Turning his back to the water, he knew he had stood there for too long and was now extremely stiff, making the venture back that much more treacherous. He was not one to embark on physically laborious endeavors, much less climbing. His cane had been his friend for well over fifteen years now; a sturdy diamond willow with a maple finish and sleek silver handle, his finger prints practically worn into the metal. He had wasted no expense when he purchased his companion that he would have for the rest of his life. He held the stick firm and with one deep breath began. He hobbled as quickly as he could down the slope and through the hidden path around the trees towards the small piece of the lake that stood on the only corner of the body of water that was uninhabited, and therefore like the mountain, had no light. The path in his mind was almost cobbled with smooth stones, and couldn’t even constitute as a short walk; all he found now were overgrown thickets, juvenile trees that had no respect for where he stepped, and jagged rocks that he could feel through his worn soles. He remembered this trek being without so many twists and turns.
Finding his car parked inconspicuously on the side of the road just where he had left it he found the keys inside his right pocket guarding the letter. With a turn of the key and the air conditioning beginning to blast into his face he caught his breath which he had seemed to have been holding the entire journey back.
He would travel back to his small motel room and read this letter; the only communication he had had with anyone from this place in thirty years. The last time only to find out that his father had finally succumbed to throat cancer. He lit a cigarette and cracked the window, put the car into drive and pulled onto the road that would take him back into town.
With every twist and turn his mind grew ever more cloudy, speculating on what could have possibly been written. Muscle memory of the road took over as he asked himself the questions which may have their answers held in the paper tucked safely in his pocket. Did she know that he still loved her, even after all these years, or that he had been so close so many times, only to never come close enough or to alert her to his presence?
Decades of being away told him he no longer knew the girl he once did, but deep down he knew, even back then, she would never really change. He had changed so much since then; had had more than one time of looking in the mirror and not seeing himself in the piece of glass in front of him. Just a shadow; a specter, of what he once was. That would all change now, he knew it. He smiled. No one in the entire town knew who Beau was, where he was from, or why he was out by the far side of the lake. He never saw the truck at the new stoplight, didn’t seem to even slow down as he was hit hard from the side by a diesel coming down into town.

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[SF] Science Fiction

Fiction dealing with futuristic settings such as futuristic science and technology. It often explores the potential consequences of scientific and other innovations, and has been called a "literature of ideas".

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