I know she's gone. I know that perfectly well. It is all I think about. Night and day, only of her.
The seance is today. It's all I do since she died. I go there and see her. I work only to pay the medium. I don't care about anything else anymore.
I took my coat and went out. The streets were lit with blue lanterns, as usual. Small drops of rain sparkling against the lights. Sounds of them hitting the ground, the small puddles in the dents of the asphalt. She was crying the last I saw her, just like this. I hope she isn't now...
Time to hurry, midnight is prime time to make the connection and the appointment costs accordingly. No one will wait if I miss it, that's just business, I guess. I cannot do that to her, she is waiting for me.
I go down the stairs and enter the apartament. It's a small place, hidden, of coarse, these kinds of things aren't legal, so to speak. I hang my coat, continue on inside. There was the chair, right in the middle of the room. It resembled a dentist chair from the old days. Yes, that is probably what it was, most likely got it from a junkyard or something like that. There was a great deal of medical equipment in the room – vials, syringes, even electronic monitoring equipment.
I sat down and waited, thinking about the procedure ahead. It is a horrible thing, the sight of the equipment, the shearing pain of your heart stopping and the strange feeling after all of it. My mind wanders for days, not being able to comprehend reality. I had done it many times now – I got used to it. After all, it was the only way I could see her, the only way we could communicate. Sometimes I think, is that how she felt when it happened? When her life ended and mine fell apart?
My thoughts were cut short by the opening door at the other end of the room. From there in came a short man, Samuel Tornwell. He was in his mid-forties and already balding. Had one of those unremarkable faces, which is what kept him relatively safe from the authorities all these years. That and his careful manner. Allegedly killed a patient on purpose when he was a doctor. It was some guy he didn't like or something, I didn't much care. Never got charged, though, but still lost his license and ended up working here.
"Right on the dot, just as usual, Jimmy. Let me just get ready here, you go lie down." Sam put out his hand towards me. I poked around in my pocket and pulled out a folded piece of red cloth. Carefully, I took out what was hidden inside – a cheap bracelet. It was pretty much just a chain of fake silver with tiny glittering plastic jewels glued about it. You could also see a small plate with the word "Love" written on it in an involute font.
I gave the bracelet to Sam, laid down on the chair and let my mind wander. The stuffy room changed into a view of city streets. People hurrying to their homes, cars packed on the road, not at all in motion. The sound of rain, footsteps and an occasional car horn created the ambience.
There I was, just like everyone else, taking the usual route, leading from work to home. What was my mind focused on before my life took such a sudden and unexpected turn? I cannot recall, it was important though. Something concerning work, maybe? Still, the mind prioritises, leaving me only the events that followed.
"Excuse me, Miss... Hello, Miss. I think you might have dropped this." I was holding a bracelet I had just picked up off of the ground. The woman turned around to face the person disturbing her piece.
"I've got no idea who's that is, I've never seen it before... Have a good day."
"Wait!" She was turning round, about to walk away. "This is yours for sure, I saw it fall to the ground and nobody else is around." Sudden realisation of my stupidity befell upon me. "Well of course it's not yours, or else you'd have said so!"
"Exactly that. Now, if you don't mind, I'm in a bit of a rush."
"Well, keep it anyway, here."
"Keep what? Oh, the bracelet? Why would I? It's not mine."
I looked over the shiny object in my hand. "Doesn't look expensive, noone will come back for it, I'm sure. Just have it, maybe it will remind you not to be so hasty.
"It's time, Jimmy." I heard Samuel's voice in the distance. "We are ready. Bite on this, so as not to lose your tongue. I'll bring you back after five minutes this time. The call will come a minute before that, so wrap up what you are doing and don't forget to come back. It'll be safer that way. I know it's hard to do, done it myself."
"I know, Sam, you tell me this every time."
"And for good reason! Ok, have fun in there, see you in five minutes."
The room faded away. I stood up, started walking. The black surroundings were twisting, trying to make shapes of some kind. This part was always the same. Some kind of indescribable existence, neither here nor there. All I could do was walk on through this tunnel, connecting the living with the dead.
After walking for a while I found myself by a lake shore. There was a forest all around. It seem like midsummer and the birds were singing their songs all over tall pine trees. The smell of wood and sandy earth felt so real. I was looking round and my eyes caught sight of a cabin on the other side of the lake.
Finally, I saw her. She was swimming in the water by the cabin. I think she was waving to me. Without further thought, I jumped in the lake and started swimming to the other side. This was always so exciting, going to her, finally seeing her after so long. I'm almost there.
Without words, we fell into each other's embrace. The water stood still, the birds quit their singing — nothing was in the way of the two of us. We were in each other's arms for what seemed like an eternity. An eternity, over in an instant.
"I've missed you." I started. "It's been too long since I've seen you. Everything is not the same without you. I need you back with me, not just this."
"I know. And you know that that cannot happen."
"Yes. Yes, I do."
"I've missed you too, though."
We stared at each other with gentle eyes. There she was, right next to me, but also so very far away. Everything seemed strange now, almost fake. A sadness had crept into my heart. I know she felt the same.
"You must go now, the world is calling you back. I don't want you to come back with me. You have to be careful."
"I know, dear, I am. We still have some time." I looked towards the cabin. "This place seems familiar. Where are we?"
"You don't remember? This is our cabin. We used to spend our summers here together."
"We did? Why can't I remember?"
"You don't want to remember."
All of a sudden, the sky turned dark, huge clouds were hanging above us. The trees started bending and creaking from the wind. The lake, calm just a second ago, now turned into a stormy ocean with giant waves. I turned to my beloved, but it was not her looking back at me. The face was smooth as glass, pale. The eyes were open wide and faded. She was dead again.
I wanted to jump away, leave as fast as I could. Before I could do that, though, her body vanished below the surface of the water as if it were being dragged down. I pulled myself together. With the last bit of courage in me I dove in after her. I saw her motionless body going down into the darkness. There was a black hand with long sharp nails around her leg. It belonged to a hideous creature made of shadow and hate. The twisted darkness gave it a most horrendous form. It looked like terror itself, but the worst part were the eyes. Three red holes were staring straight at me, though it felt more like I was being sucked in by them.
I could not let this creature take my wife, even if she was dead already. I swam after it. Going deeper and deeper, everything was turning dark until I couldn't see anything anymore. My time had ended.
I woke up back in the doctor's room. My chest was in a lot of pain and I was hooked up to a medical ventilator. I looked around and saw Sam sitting next to me.
"You didn't leave, did you? I barely got you back. You know what this means, Jimmy, I can't let you go back in. Your heart was in too much stress and I won't be able to bring you back next time."
"It doesn't matter. I've got what I needed. Thank you, Sam... I'll be going now." I gave him the money and left.
I stopped the car and went out through the door. It was just as I saw it yesterday. The trees, the lake, the cabin — all of the memories had come back to me after my last trip beyond. Inside the cabin there was dust everywhere. I walked around, the floorboards creaking from under my feet. I can still feel her here. My June, my sweet beloved June. I could finally remember her name after so very long. I found a picture of the two of us and started crying. I did so for a long time.
She had drowned in the lake. In the very morning of a summer's day she left the house while I was still asleep. Never came back. I searched for her, called the police. After two days her body was found floating on the other shore between the rushes. She was so pale, I barely recognised her. They said she had committed suicide. How could she have? There was no note. And it's not as if we weren't happy. We just had a stupid fight the evening before. Everyone has them, don't they? I know I loved her and I think she loved me too.
After that I stopped going to work, almost stopped eating. No one could help me. Ultimately, my friends brought me to a mental hospital. When I was discharged a year later, they told me, that my mind had gone off somewhere for the majority of the time. I had not said a word to anyone and did nothing for very long. One day I started talking again, eating properly. They talked to me about my wife, but I did not know her at all. The doctor's didn't encourage me to remember, though, they said that it's better this way, or I might revert back to my previous state otherwise. After they let me go, I started to remember her bit by bit. Not enough, though. All I knew was her face and that she had died some time ago. Later on, it started to feel bad, I needed to know more. My mind wanted to remember.
That is when I began researching communication with the dead. That is how I found Samuel. It took quite a long time, though, being such a big secret and all. I was determined. I went there week after week always trying to get back the memories I had lost. She was all I needed in the whole world, and I wanted to feel that feeling again. I wanted to be happy with my June.
This time has finally come. I was standing on the beach, a gentle breeze in the air. Once again, I reach into my pocket and took out the piece of cloth. In it, was her bracelet. How can such a cheap thing be so precious to me? I dug a small hole in the sand and buried it there. It was time to move on.
I began walking into the lake. The mirror-like surface distorted by my movement. I swam into the middle, tried to remember us here together. It was just yesterday we've been here together. No, it was long ago. So very long ago, but I remember now, I remember it all. Some things never change. I still love her the same. My sweet June.
Something grabbed onto my leg. I looked down, saw three red circles in the murk of the water. I nodded and was gently taken in by the deep dark water.
I'll see you soon, my love.