By the time I came back, morning had turned to noon. Frozen by the image, noon turned to evening. Hearing her and seeing her, the vision was sharp as a blade, even thinking about it only remotely hurt me. My mind kept flashing back to it, each time a cut, a new wound. After deciding to eat something, if only to distract myself. Evening turned to night, I practically crawled back to the bedroom and cried myself to sleep.
I woke up as the light flooded the house. The fog was so thick that there was nothing I could see outside, only the light grey of this mist. Just looking at it, my breathing felt heavy and the air felt thick. I entered the hallway and there too the view was obscured, only the thick mist remained, it felt as though this house was disconnected from the world at large. I entered the living room and the diffuse light hurt my eyes, it was strangely bright.
With a big sigh I reclined on the couch and watched the fireplace, I feared any new vision, I feared what it would do to me. Though what Helen did, it could not escape me. The thought of her still hurting me deeply. I was restless and decided it was hunger. I ate a sandwich, the taste bland, the whole experience unsatisfying. The pain turned to anger. Why did she do this? It felt so selfish. Seeing the whole vision now, the drugs, the laughter, this was just a party and she just chose to do this, to end it. I was angry at the fire for showing me all of this. I was angry for her spirit leading me here. I was pacing, around the house, up and down the hallway. My mind racing, my heart too, angry with how this could have happened. Angry because I didn't know why.
"Arthur…. don't be angry Arthur, you haven't seen everything yet." Somehow this made me all the more furious, I cried out; "What?" "What are you talking about? I saw everything I needed to see, how could you do this to me, just invite me out and show me this horror. I love you, no, I loved you! Do you have any idea what this is doing to me." Silence followed and my rage calmed, it felt like a relief. "I'm so sorry Arthur, but you need to get closer to the fire, you're seeing only small bits and pieces."
"Jezus Helen, what the hell do you want me to do? Are you going to come back or something?"
"Arthur, you need to decide…"
It was the afternoon that my temper subsided, though the fog remained. I couldn't ignore what she said, I lit the fire and I got closer to it. So close that the heat was almost hurting my face. I looked and I saw Helen, the vision of the rock was replaced and I found visions of her in car crashes, electrocutions at home, slipping in the bathroom and simply heart attacks. All on the same day, there was no changing her fate.
I cried out "Oh god, what is this horror?" "Arthur, this is what I saw and I saw this coming for years. Until I saw this house, my time was up and this was my way out."
"Helen, what the hell are you talking about? What do you mean with a way out?"
"Arthur, get closer." I got closer, my face hurt, my eyes hurt, but then I saw it.
"Helen, you're here, you're actually here, where is this, what is this?"
"Yes Arthur, I'm here and this place is, for lack of a better word, it's limbo. It's a sidestep from reality.
Now Arthur, I know this is a very difficult thing to do, but you need to decide whether you want to come here too. You probably have a few days left and you need to find what you want. You still have so many paths ahead of you and it's impossible for me to ask anything of you, but please consider what you want."
A moment later I'm washing my face, cooling it. As best as I can I write down what I can. Limbo, sidestep from reality. I struggle to wrap my head around what she wants. Does she want me to join her? What even is she any more? Were those the voices, was that simply her? Another day passes and I get a visitor. The refrigerator is stocked with new sandwiches. And then the question comes:
"So do you know what happened yet?"
I sigh deeply, I think I do, "this was essentially just a series of suicides. That's all I could find, people voluntarily overdosing on drugs."
"Oh crap, that's pretty intense, are you okay though?" I shrugged, "I'm fine, it's a lot to take in, but it's fine. Would you all mind if I take another day to wrap things up and process a bit?", "well okay, take another day, we'll pick you up and finish this tomorrow around noon."
I spent the rest of the day to finish my notes. I ate dinner, put on the fire, layed out a table in front of me and spent the evening looking at various implements capable of ending my life to join Helen. I was surprised with myself, with how mechanical things felt. I knew what I could do, there was no fear, for a moment then and there life felt overwhelmingly rational. I thought about spending the rest of the afterlife with Helen, I thought about living on my days here.
Evening went by and morning came, I slept on the couch and woke up again in the same spot. The tools to implement my decision at hand. I smiled and cleaned everything up, put it away.I went there and watched the fire, I imagined one last dance with Helen. The door opened, "Good bye my love, good bye Arthur." "Good bye Helen" I whispered back.