Falling

A Story of the In-Between

I looked around the dark musty room. All around there were broken windows, torn curtains, dusty shelves, and shattered picture frames. I was confused to say the least. This was definitely not how I had left my house. When had I left my house? How long ago was it? I couldn't remember at all. It felt like maybe a day ago, then again it felt like centuries. And where was my family? I went to the dusty stairs, paint had chipped off the railing in little flakes. But, I paid no attention because I had to find my family. I started up the stairs but was stopped; images popped into my brain, blinding me from the room I was in. The images were of me at the top of the stair, stairs that were no longer chipped and flaking. I looked around my house, everything was spotless, just how I had left it. Then there was my husband, wearing a shiny black suit with a blue tie. I was smiling at him.

"I'll be home kind of late so don't wait up for me," he said. My smile faltered, I was getting angry. My husband used to do this all the time. Or still does, I was still not sure how long ago this was, but I knew it was the past. 

"What do you mean? You told me you wouldn't work late this week," I said trying to keep my calm. But he just shook his head and tried to walk past me, so I pushed him back. At this time I could tell I was no longer calm, as he continued to ignore me. 

"You're not going until you talk to me!" I screamed. He still tried to get past me, but I pushed him back again.

"I have to go or I'll be late!" He yelled back.

"I don't care; give me a reason why you'll be late again after telling me last week how you would make sure to be home for dinner all this week! Tell me!" I was hysterical at this point. He had promised, this I remember, and our two boys were really excited about that.

"Fine, you know what! I'm not working late, I've been seeing someone else. There, you happy now?" He had screamed it so loud that I would be surprised if the neighbors didn't hear it. At this point I was shocked, and that's when I lost it. I started swinging at him frantically. However, to my surprise, he hit me back. Then he started pushing me backwards until I could feel my heel at the stair's edge. One last shove and I went falling down the stairs. At first I floated over the first three steps, but then I hit hard on the fourth. My arms and legs flailed as my body tumbled over itself hitting every single step. My head hit hard on the floor, and then my body lay still. I hadn't remembered this part at all. Then the house faded away and the image changed. I was in a graveyard, but I could only see one gravestone. I walked up to it and dusted the dirt off the cold stone. It read: "In Loving Memory of Madeline Parley." It was my name. I was dead. 

The image faded away again and I was back in my withered house. Now I understood why my house looked like this. Nobody lived here for who knows how long. But I still didn't understand why. Where were my children? I had to find them, so I walked over to the door and tried to grab the handle, but my hand went straight through it. I tried again but got the same result. Then I tried walking straight through the door but ended up in front of the door once again. It was so disorienting that I just gave up. I was so upset I would have cried if I could, but instead I just paced. I walked around the couches, chairs, tables, and then heard a crunch. I looked down; I had stepped on a picture frame. It was a broken picture of my two boys Henry and Alex. I stood there staring at it remembering that day. Suddenly the shattered pieces began to put themselves back together as my house, once again, began to change around me. The room settled again and the picture was now sitting on a shelf. I was in a different house this time, one that seemed familiar. Then behind me I heard:

"Boys, it's dinner time." I whirled around to see that the voice came from my father. He had gotten older since the last time I saw him, a little more silver was in his hair. I was so surprised. I couldn't imagine how long it had been. That was until Henry and Alex came running into the living room. They looked so different, at least five years older. I felt the urge to run after them and scream that I was here, but there was no use. So instead I followed them into the kitchen, where I saw my mother. She was cooking their favorite meal, macaroni and cheese. She had aged the same as my father. They both had a sad look in their eyes but I could tell they loved the boys very much. I was happy that they were in good hands. And with that thought the room began to melt away. By this time I was used to it, and once again I was back in my old house. Most of my questions were answered but there was still one more left. What happened to my husband? I didn't know know how these visions worked so I started walking around again. I walked up the stairs to my now dusty deserted old bedroom. I looked inside wondering what life would be if things had gone differently that day. I shook my head and turned to walk away, but in my path was a bright yellow light. I thought to myself that this was just like the movies, and I knew what I had to do. So, I closed my eyes and walked through. When I finally opened my eyes I found myself in my bed. Standing by the window was my husband opening up the curtains to let in the morning light. Everything had been a dream. I was full of relief as I got up and straightened my husband's tie.

"So, you're coming home early tonight?" I said as we walked out of the room.

"Actually, the boss has me working late tonight," He answered back. Suddenly my dream came back to me.

"You're a liar!" I yelled as I flailed my arms at him. He started to hit me back, pushing me backwards with every blow. One last shove knocked me back and I felt my heel at the stair's edge. I felt myself float over the first three stairs, then hit the fourth one hard. I felt myself hit every single stair as my body tumbled over itself. My head finally hit the floor hard, then my body went still.

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Falling
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