The old man refused to open his eyes, for the lights of the sterile and lifeless hospital room brought him to a horrid place, worse even than his deathbed on which he now lay.
But his mind could only entertain him for so long, and he sighed and opened his eyes. Sitting at the edge of the bed was young man with a fedora and a crisp black suit. As the old man's vision cleared, he noticed that the man simply had empty sockets for eyes.
However, he already knew who it was.
"You again," the old man rasped.
"Yes, me. How've you been? Ah, the time goes by so fast, doesn't it? All those years, all those people you saved with your tactics in the war, and yet here you are, alone. To say it in the words of today's people, karma's a bitch, eh?"
"Leave me alone," the old man growled, but his voice was nothing more than a whisper.
"But why? So you can mope to yourself about the war? I'll never leave you, Owen. I've always been by your side."
"You've done nothing but trip me and lie to me."
The empty-eyed man looked hurt. "I've done nothing of the sort."
Owen broke into a wheezing laugh, one that racked his lungs until he could no longer hold it together and the frightful noise that came out of his mouth spluttered to a halt.
"I have never lied to you, Owen. I told you the war could not be won, and yet you ignored me. You sprinted off to fight your home country, where your brother was a civilian casualty. A casualty caused by a bomb you placed."
The old man's eyes went wide, because even though his body was frail, his mind still seemed whole to him. And he knew that young man spoke the truth.
"I told you not to go into the forest, and yet you did. The bullet that ripped though your lung that day was one that I tried to prevent. And now, here you are, deathly afraid of hospitals instead of guns. Isn't that just strange?"
"You told me that just because you knew I would never listen to you!" The last word of the old man's sentence was punctuated by a racking cough.
"Oh, if only you knew then what you know now. You used to be so brave, Owen. The man of the hour; the one who led the most winning battles. You were the bravest lion, the fiercest wolf. And what do you have now? A broken jaw."
"Get out of here! Get out of this room, get out of my head, get out of my life! I don't want to even-"
"I could just kill you, you know," the young man said quietly. "It would certainly be less painful that whatever's mangling your body right now."
He moved off of the bed and leaned on the wall, near the old man's head. Owen craned his neck to meet his gaze. The young man may have had no eyes, but by now Owen had grown used to his mysterious ways.
It was a few minutes before the old man spoke. "I refuse to accept any help from the likes of you," he wheezed, "No matter how much I need it."
The young man's face lit up. "Finally, you realize that I've been trying to help you all along. Why not take this last gift, and we'll call it even? No hard feelings."
"Suit yourself. I'll be right here if you change your mind. Like I always have been. I've always been your friend, Owen. And I always will be."
"You're no friend of mine, and even if you were, you would have left as soon as I told you to. My mind is my only friend."
The young man smiled, and the old man's thinly reserved disposition snapped.
"What sort of sadistic pleasure do you gain from my troubles? Asshole! I never want to see you again as long as I live and forever beyond that! When will you learn-"
The doctors outside shook their heads. General Owen MacEvans was screaming to himself again.