The Choice

19 4 5
                                                  

Jimmy watched as Couch Man disappeared into the dark fog spreading from the door like a disease. Soon, hot moisture escaped from within, and as the heat invaded Jimmy's body, he crumbled under the pressure of the decision, unable to even think clearly.

"CHRISTIAN! BEN!" Jimmy screamed into the open door, as his yells echoed off the walls seemingly closing in on him.

He scooted closer to listen for any response when the door let out a breath, creaking itself open just wide enough to reveal that something was there. Like a fleeting nightmare, he appeared, rocking in the door frame—an Indian. His headdress and meticulously woven braids laid on the ground as blood trickled down his mouth.

Are you okay? Jimmy wanted to scream, but no words came out of his mouth. Instead, he stared at the juxtaposition of such a reverent man disregarded on the filth of the floor. Why isn't anyone helping him?! Jimmy yelled in his shell-shocked mind. But not even Jimmy's caring nature could move his body frozen in fear. And before Jimmy's brain could fire any rational connections, his eyes adjusted to see something new—a light. Fait and steady, it illuminated the Indian just enough for Jimmy to see that it wasn't an Indian at all—it was Christian.

Jimmy stammered towards the door but stopped just outside its frame, the words from the sign reverberating through his mind: Warning! You might not come out alive! Instead, Jimmy steadied his hands against both sides of the door's frame, screaming out in agonizing fear. Jimmy spent most of his life afraid, afraid to fail, afraid to be successful, afraid of change, afraid of possibilities, but here and now, the fear Jimmy felt was unknown to him.

Suddenly, Ben appeared, lurching his way through the dark smog. He hunched over, unaware of Jimmy's presence, with a single penny gleaming in his hand, only to collapse next to Christian.

"HELP!" Jimmy screamed in protest, knowing damn well there was no help other than him. WHY? Jimmy thought as his hands gripped each side of the door frame tight enough for him to be present with Christian and Ben, but also tight enough to keep him from falling to them. There wasn't any help coming, Jimmy knew it, and he knew he had a decision to make.

Couch Man's words entered Jimmy's mind as he watched Christian, and then Ben twitch slowly, the life draining from them before his eyes. What Jim are you? It repeated like a broken record. What Jim are you? What Jim are you? What Jim are you? What Jim are you? What Jim are you? 
 
And as it played, Jimmy thought of all the infinite possibilities of who he was and could be. Each and every Jimmy, each and every decision, each and every possibility twirled around like a carousel of infinite perceptions.

"STOP!" Jimmy screamed, clenching his eyes shut, halting the carousel to a grinding stop. Nothing is a coincidence was the only thing left spinning in Jimmy's head. Couch Man's words. And that's when it all clicked. Nothing is a coincidence. Not the door. Not the fog. Not the Indian. Not Christian or Ben. Not the fucking Couch Man. Nothing.

Jimmy opened his eyes to see a still Christin and Ben. He couldn't save them. Jimmy thought, remembering the fateful conversation. And with those words in his mind, Jimmy let go and turned to walk away from the door, away from his friends, away from the fog, away from the infinite perceptions. Because after all, nothing is a coincidence. 

Riders #NAContestWhere stories live. Discover now