Part 13: TWO IF BY SEA (anti-box ending)
PART 13: TWO IF BY SEA (anti-box ending)
I stared at the box for what must have been hours, but it felt like three weeks. It was getting darker and a chill breeze fluttered through the trees.
I waffled agonizingly back and forth between what I wanted to do and what I should do. This wasn't her handwriting or her paper.
I had no reason to think she wrote it or that she was even alive anymore. My imagination had started to get the best of me and I could clearly envision all the hideous things that would be staring back at me from the box's depths; a ruptured organ, a severed head. I couldn't imagine anything good being in the box. It was too much to take. For the first time in my life I made the responsible decision. I wouldn't let Nook get to me like this.
I returned the lid to the box, picking it up gingerly by the sides. My legs were heavy as I walked down to the shore. In one swift motion I flung the box out to sea where it sputtered on the waves, dipped, and sank beneath the depths. I said goodbye to Penny. I suddenly felt very tired. Instead of building my raft I stood on the shore watching the clouds.
The sky was cloudless that evening and the only thing worth mentioning was a funny putter in the distance, like somebody was receiving a very loud raspberry, but it soon ended. Eventually the other residents began to return to camp. They looked tired too and a little distant. Nobody said a word that evening, which was perfectly fine with me.
The next few days were long and dreary. I would sit on the shore, intently watching where sky met sea and thinking of Penny. As hard as I tried to stay positive I couldn't keep the images out of my head. A stray vision would flash behind my eyes, of a sad girl, tears streaming down her rosy cheeks, missing an arm and a tongue and who knows what else. Or I would find myself imagining how it had happened, the horror she had felt waking up to find herself in pieces the way I had when I lost my eye. I imagined her misery and fear mixed with the boundless optimism she would always display in her letters. She was the bravest person I knew, but now she was dead. Dead. The word had only begun to sink in. Permanently gone. It was a concept I couldn't fully understand. Who would be brave for me?
I stood on the shore again that night, crescent moon above me.
The tide rolled in and out again but made no sound. In the distance the waves flattened out to a black ink, as though the ocean were made of hardened oil. Before me, the sea shimmered oddly in the moonlight, catching my attention.
A gash erupted from the oily plane, draped in a black dress almost indistinguishable from the surrounding landscape. It began to slide toward me. I rubbed my eyes, terror creeping into my skin and planting small bumps along my arms and neck. The form was coming toward me faster now, and arms formed from its sides, stretching toward me in the dim celestial light. As it neared I could make out its shape, the silhouette of a young girl now moving at terrifying speed toward me. Her face was an inky mask but lips unexpectedly formed on its blank canvas. I was frozen in place, petrified as the featureless face paused scant inches before me.
In an unearthly whisper, she breathed: "Why did you throw me away, Billy?" The voice sucked the breath out of my lungs and I choked violently for air...
I awoke in a cold sweat. The nightmare was overwhelmingly lucid. Dawn was breaking and I went down to the shore slowly, tentatively, as if expecting to see Penny's ethereal visage beckoning to me in the soft morning light. There was nothing but the rolling waves and I watched them suspiciously. As time passed they became mesmerizing.
I didn't know if it was the influence of the gyroids or an overwhelming depression that had dug itself into me with a parasitic fervor, but I stared over the side of a small ocean cliff into its inviting wake breaking on the rocks beneath me, dreaming of release.
The desire to end it, everything, was starting to feel... right...
Without warning I had fallen into the water, as though I had been pulled in and the tide was dragging me out to sea. I made no effort to stop it. I stared down into the murky sediment and could see no more than a foot below me, salt water stinging my wounded face until even that went numb. I secretly reveled in a vision as close to nothingness as I had ever imagined. Somehow my sight had gone even darker.
I'm coming, Penny. I love you.
A foggy vision came to me. Maybe this is what it feels like to see your life flash before your eyes.
When I woke up the second time my head was doing cartwheels. Was my mind playing cruel tricks on me? I suddenly thrashed to my side and vomited, salt water pouring from my gut. I hadn't been dreaming? What the FUCK what going on? I grabbed my axe and headed downstairs, anxious to return to the shore but was waylaid by an unexpected visitor.
The dirt near my front door burst forth and a resident I had never seen before shouted at me:
He abruptly burrowed away from sight, like he had never been here at all.
They had... saved me from dying? RESCUED ME? FROM DYING? This was it, this was my life. I couldn't escape. I was alone. They wouldn't even let me die. Why, so some sick fuck could feast on a malformed carcass?
I hear ya, figment of my imagination... No rational thought echoed in my head. I felt an unexpected physical and quite literal snap reverberate through my skull and my body felt different. I may have lost my mind. It kind of tickled. I giggled and looked at my axe, gleaming in the sunlight. It was shinier than I remembered. So pretty.
Let's all go to the Nook n' Go. I was happy to see Tom, even if he looked funny today. He was wearing a bandage on his head. What a goof! He had to meet my new friend, Mr. Axe. As I burst into the store, Tom was shouting something at me.
I think it was:
WAIT, STOP! LET ME EXPLAIN...
But I know Tom Nook is a liar, so I really don't see how it mattered. All I wanted to do was introduce him to Mr. Axe. I think they became good friends.
I don't remember what happened after that very well. A bunch of animals came to join our party. They took away Mr. Axe. They dragged away Nook. They held me down. I don't remember...
I'm writing this story because she asked me to. She said it would help her a lot and make the island a better place for everyone, and I'm just glad I can help. She had all kinds of good news! I was finally starting to fit in around camp! We just got a bunch of new guard dogs... and they caught a terrible thief that was terrorizing camp!
Don't worry about me, I really do feel better now! Oh, did I forget to tell you? I finally met Penny! She's very nice.
She said I shouldn't hurt people, even liars, but she said after I write this for her she wants me to come to her house for a special party, just the two of us. I'm very excited.
A few days ago, she told me that we'd be getting someone new in town. I can't wait to meet him.
I think we'll be best friends.
THE END. AGAIN.