"So, I stopped by the [[attorney's]]. Everything's all settled."\n\n[[That's good.]]
You can feel the droplets of her lingering red mist glistening with resentment, can hear them voicing their outrage at your betrayal. You can't bear to look, [[can't bear to let her look]].
[["We're going home."|We're going home.]]
Then, through the void, you hear a voice. [[Her voice]].
You close your eyes and half-squeeze the trigger, an ounce of pressure away from exciting the hammer. But no, this isn't right. You [[let it rest]].
Though you still can't look at the screen, you know she hasn't heard your plea, hasn't moved an inch from her final state.\nYou are home... a reality where the love of your life is [[gone]].
"Haven't you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God because he owns it." [[(1st Corinthians 6:19-20)]]
Sure, you saw Inception. What would Leonardo DiCaprio do in this situation? Perform ultra sexy heists, endanger Ellen Page's life, and then exuent stage left, with only an ambiguous ending in his wake. That model hardly seems to help you now.\n\nSo you turn to the one place that always holds the answers: [[The Bible]].
<html><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/55649316?badge=0" width="800" height="450" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/55649316">Going:Home (Ending #2)</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/scottalmendinger">Scott Almendinger</a> on Vimeo.</p></html>
\n"Then He said again to them, "I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come."\n[[(John 8:21)]]\n\n<html><img src="http://www.pengypooproductions.com/cover_final_small.png" /></html>
The will was the last nagging thing on the 'to-do-before...' list.\n<<back>>
Skype 'doop dee doop doo doop das' into life. You're right on time, and Meredith's already online, awaiting your [[call]]. \n
"I just really think I should be there with Father."\n\n[[He's going too?]]
You return to the table where the facts remain in a bloody heap. You begrudge the high definition of today's webcams. The pain continues to blare, but the clarity remains. This pain... this is real. This is where you need to be. If only you could make her see that now... but you feel you must say it, regardless.\n\n[[I am home.]]
You trim the scruff currently engaged in its latest attempt to envelop your face. A splash of cold water [[excites and soothes]] the scorched earth left behind. You lather your hands with a mysteriously viscous product and attempt to redirect your hair's gravitational pull to [[each side]] of your head.
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You spent a few months alone in Morocco, so this certainly won't be your first skype date together. It may be the last, though.\n<<back>>
The college textbook owner would never do such a thing, in fear of not receiving a full return.\n\n<<back>>
The exertion and emotional release eventually takes its toll. At least something good comes of it: you fall [[asleep]].
"Yeah.\nHey, I'm sorry I won't be here with you. Are you [[sure]] it's okay?"\n\n[[Ya, ya... it's fine.]]
[[Watch your story unfold.|Ending2]]
The thought is drowned out along with all other sounds. Your focus is suddenly drawn to the only thing that seems to matter: the steady \n<html><blink>drip</blink></html>\n\n<html><blink>drip</blink></html>\n\n<html><blink>drip</blink></html> \nof the shower [[faucet]].
Brriinnng. \nFor a moment, you think she may bail on this appointment after all. [[But then:]]
You suddenly raise the pistol and shoot, shattering the display into [[blankness]].
You leave your seat, walking directly to the sink. You twist the faucet, and the dripping blissfully stops.\nA single second of calm and [[clarity]].
"Hi, sweetheart."\nYou adjust the laptop screen to get a better angle for the camera. Good enough.\n\n[[Hi.]]
You hear her footsteps before she even reaches the bathroom, the door still closed. She has the loudest [[footsteps]] of anyone you've ever known, in spite of her slender stature. You hear the bathroom door open as she comes in and peels back the shower [[curtain]] (the notion of 'privacy' never beared much weight in your marriage).
3.\n\n[[Do nothing.]]\n[[Pull the trigger.]]
[[Or at least try to.]]
The thought of Meredith browsing a gun store, carton of 9mm slugs under her arm as she talks the ear off of the owner, almost makes you giggle out loud.\n<<back>>
"Okay, we'll do this together, on the count of three."\n\nYou put the gun to the [[base of your skull]].
"Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the Earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God Who gave it" [[(Ecclesiastes 12:5-7)|The Bible]]
You're not. But you think it's for the best, either way.\n<<back>>
"Yes, that's good. [[Ok.]]"
The hot droplets of the shower rain on you like hellfire from above, cleansing your sins. You're [[sitting]] in the tub, surrounded by ceramic, the water careening off the curtain and wall, shrouding you in a blissful mist. You look up to heaven, letting the shower's stream hit you in the face. The near-scalding water stings and caresses you, the perfect mixture of pain and pleasure. It feels... [[real.|Love Approaches]] Doesn't it?
Some men prefer a cold beer in the shower. You prefer sitting. It amuses Meredith to no end, but you don't mind.\n<<back>>
"I came naked from my mother's womb," he said, "and I shall have nothing when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were his to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." [[(Job 1:21)]]
"//Coming with us?//"\n\nA slip of the mind and tongue. A crack of uncertainty bleeds light onto your incomplete grasp of the reality of the situation.\nYou attempt to rectify...\n\n[[...Ya, coming with us.]]
But it's not coming easily. You toss and turn, hoping each time that the slightly new angle, the different placement of the arm, a new pillow configuration will bring some perspective. An answer... The Answer. But coffee-stained bedsheets and half-asleep forearms know nothing about the concepts of reality, life, and [[pursuits]] thereof. \n\n
Even as you come to this conclusion, you hear the gunshot. Perhaps your trigger finger was an ounce too eager after all. The fact that you manage to open your eyes discourages that theory. But you immediately regret their opening. Your eyes lock onto the screen, staring at the [[mess that was your wife]].
"Yes. Ok, I better go. I'll see you [[online tomorrow]]. I love you."\n\n[[I love you.]]
"It's time to find out where we belong. I can't wait to see our home."\n\n[[Smile.|You smile.]]
A sound cuts through the chaos. A single, nagging\n<html><blink>Drip.</blink></html>\n\n<html><blink>Drip.</blink></html>\n\n[[Drip.]]
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You catch a glimpse of something in her right hand as it parts the curtain. You decide not to guess what it is, but do anyway. She notices that you're not standing but squatting in your aquatic pew. She shows a hint of concern but [[smiles it off]].
You let her voice ring in your head as you pull the trigger. You feel heat on your temple, immediately followed by the sound of a gunshot. You're unsure if it was hers or yours. \nHer voice, God's voice, and the bullet all ricochet in your brain, mixing and combining into a deafening cacophony until there is only [[silence and blackness]].
You don your [[favorite]] suit. You have to admit, you look pretty damn good, at least for a man ungifted and unwelcoming to pleasant features. And now, the final piece: you slip your crucifix into your breast pocket. You'll need it. \nBut now, you're [[ready]].
The water slowly but surely returns to where it belongs, so confident of its rightful place. But where do you belong?\n\n[[Sleep.]]
Water is frequently the bearer of both pain and pleasure.\n<<back>>
"Father says it's time. Are you ready?"\n\n[[Yeah.]]
[[Watch your story unfold.|Ending1]]
"Oh, right... I also went to the [[store]]. I'll leave yours here."\n\nYou hear the harsh clink of metal on ceramic as she sets it on the edge of the tub. Deafening footsteps retreat from the bathroom. You wonder if she loaded the clip in it [[for you already]].
And only.\n<<back>>
You browse the pages like the shelves of an ideals warehouse, looking for an applicable passage to pilfer. Desperately, you find a few and [[read]] them aloud, mumbling the words in an attempt to osmose their connotation into your [[moral pool|internal pipeline]].
But connotations and interpretations are ever in gaseous form... resistant to osmosis, force-feeding, and injection. You flip frantically through the pages like a last-minute college exam taker. You [[tear the pages]] and fling them to darker corners of the room. You collapse into your pillow, gasping the sobs of a man [[unbound]].
You've never heard birds sing the song of morning so loudly. Nor have the rays of sun ever illuminated your room so shamelessly. Are they celebrating the event to come? Or simply reminding you of what has been here all along? Today is the day. You want to look your [[best]] for it.
"No... put it up a little higher, like this."\nShe places the gun to her temple, a direct route to her Human HQ.\n"It's more certain that way."\nYou follow suit, repositioning your gun according to her example.\n\n[[Here?]]
by Scott Almendinger
It's repulsive. Such a lovely creature, reduced to such... \nIt's repulsive that you both would...\nYou can't bear to look at the screen. Words, thoughts, burned images all swirl and collide in your mind, neutrons forming [[a bomb]].
Normally her footsteps sing to you, the sweetest notes from a piper's beckoning melody. Their reverberations usually echo your longing and anticipation of her approach. Today, you're not quite sure.\n<<back>>
"You look nice."\n\n[[Thanks. You too.]]