You see it, don’t you? Right there between the wisps of fog. The unnatural glow of the tower walls reflect off its white surface. It’s a hand, waving at you, beckoning for you to follow. You came to this place of eternal resting to visit a grave. A grave of someone dear to you on the anniversary of that person’s death.
Before you knew it, the world around you changed; the bright pastel colors of flowers left by the rounded gravestones were suddenly monochrome and lifeless. The stone walls and carved rocks guarding the graves began glowing with an unearthly white light. You should have seen your face! My, you have many questions. Who am I? Where am I? You should worry about yourself rather than me. I am merely an observer, after all.
Never mind that, look! Behind you the shadows of the departed creep towards you, dark arms grabbing for your soul. See their eyes, how they shine with an empty white light? They think that by taking you away, they will be able to return to life. A pointless sentiment, it is.
One of the shadows is about to touch the sleeve of your shirt. Shivers of pure fear pass through your body, turning your blood to ice. The static of the dark creature makes your hair stand up. So what will you do now? I see you glancing timidly at the white hand. It might be trying to help you, you know. Well now, don’t trip over your own feet by running after it. It appears to be a patient creature.
Observe how it glides backwards at a steady slow pace, still waving, still beckoning. It knows the shadows are unable to keep up with a walking pace, so it leads you on through the maze of gravestones. You whimper slightly as you watch shadows pulling themselves from their earthly resting ground.
The white hand continues on, unfazed by the apparitions. It stops and points you to the stairs that spirals up to the higher floors. You crane your neck, eyes searching for the next floor, but the darkness and churning gray fog prevents you from knowing how far up the stairs climb. The only way to find out is to go up them and see for yourself. Watch your step; the stairs are crumbling around the edges and there is no rail to catch you.
You look back down from the first couple stairs. The white hand has already gone. It vanished into the fog while you weren’t watching. It’s not too late to turn back. You may have over-looked the exit. I can see the frantic thoughts in your mind. You must find it odd that it wanted you going up where the chance of escape is lower. Compared to the other creatures in this tower, it is the only one that doesn’t completely terrify you, though. I see you have made the decision to go up.
I believe this to be the wisest choice at this minute. The shadows have made their way to the staircase, arms extended and fingers grasping the air. As you climb up the stairs, the dark creatures fade out of sight in the fog that has been thickening the higher you travel. The floor is no longer visible as well. I can see that this makes you slightly relieved. Are you afraid of heights? A break? Yes, you have been walking up these stairs for quite a long time. Your legs are shaking, but from fear or exhaustion? You can’t tell either, can you?
The shadows have already caught up to you. They are stepping clumsily up the stairs, some falling off when another bumps them. You have been sitting for far too long. Those tears streaming from your eyes have not helped you at all. They only serve to sting your eyes and blind you from the danger coming. Trembling, you rise to your feet and continue on. You must be wondering when you will reach the next floor, or if there even is one. A singing voice is echoing from above you. The words are too muddled to understand, so you push on, now a little faster at the hope of seeing another human. Higher and higher you climb, the gray fog dancing in your wake. Do you hear it? The words are clearer here. The voice is familiar, isn’t it? Finally, the stairs end and the melody is hushed.
You try to peer through the darkness to find whoever was singing. You are unsuccessful. The fog prevents you from seeing anything more than a yard away. Oh, well if it isn’t that white hand again. It waves for you once again, but quicker and more hastily. Your heart is pounding, I can hear it. For some reason, you are scared to keep following the hand.
In your guts, you know that if you keep following it, something horrible will happen. But what choice do you have at this point? The shadows will come any minute. You walk forward, limbs heavy and head spinning. You hear the song again. Someone is humming its calm, yet unsettling tune. You’re clutching your head in pain and your nose begins dripping blood. Is that song causing it, or are you having another panic attack? Even so, your legs are still following the white hand.
It stops and a soft chuckle is heard… Taking your limited focus off of the hand, you look beyond it. The white hand is attached to an arm and body. You know who this is, don’t you? It’s your friend that died ten years ago on this day. He floats above the ground, just as young as you remember him before… before you killed him. Your eyes are widening and you try to yell, but it’s caught in your throat. His eyes are crimson against the colorless world. He grins and looks into your eyes.
You remember your rivalry with the boy when you both set out on an adventure. Although, you were jealous of him, you actually really wanted to be his friend, didn’t you? Even after the tragic incident on the cruise ship when your partner died due to your rivalry, you weren’t mad at him. When your journeys ended at the place only champions go, you both started being great friends. Traveling the world and seeing new things with a friend was much better than being alone. Even when for those couple of years that he stayed in the mountains to train, you felt happy that you knew he would return. And return he did with a new passion to become stronger.
You both explored your home region as best friends, sharing stories of victory and losses. That was until you returned to the regal town where your partner was buried on the top floor of the tower. Your friend came with you to visit the grave. You were crying. Sobbing, even, as you looked upon your partner’s grave. Your friend… You heard him sigh at you and tell you to move on already.
That’s when you snapped, wasn’t it? You stood up abruptly and punched the boy square in the face, making him stagger and fall off the side of the stairs. It was his fault that your partner died, so he had no right to tell him how to feel about it. When the rage left your sight, you realized what you did. The boy had fallen all the way down to the bottom floor and died. The guilt made you return each year to lay flowers by his grave that was located next to your partner’s.
Now he is standing before you. What will you do? The only thing that is coming out of your mouth is stuttering apologies. Your friend grins his familiar grin that you missed so much and opens his arms, still humming that unusual song. Maybe by now, he is not angry anymore. You run forward and try to wrap your arms around him in a hug. What a fool you are! You pass right through him and feel yourself falling. The fog of the room is lifted and colors return to the tower.
You just jumped yourself off the side of the staircase. Your friend is watching you fall, laughing at your stupidity. You hit the ground and feel your bones crack in unnatural ways. Your vision is fading to black. That song he was singing is the only thing remaining in your head right now. Shall I sing it to you? Since you can’t answer anymore, I will anyways. Slowly, gently, close your eyes and rest now. The morning’s light will not wake you again. Think of stars and sweetly dream a bright dream. One last time recall a life you once lived…