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Noah Hill Isherwood

          Bang! Darkness instantly engulfed the young man’s senses.

          With a noiseless flash, light reestablished itself, even more instantly than the darkness had come. This light was different from the sepia tones before the bang. It had a clarity that the young man could not comprehend, a brightness he had never experienced before. The light surrounded him, penetrated him. It was warm. Blinking rapidly, he took in his surroundings.

          He first noted that he was upright. Logically, he knew that he should be prone right now because…well, that’s how physics work. Secondly, he observed that his aforementioned surroundings seemed to be nonexistent. He occupied an intensely bright, white void, seemingly alone. There were no sounds or smells, nor was there any object to feel, not even what he was standing on, if indeed he were standing on anything at all. There was just the mysteriously warm white light.

          The young man was alone for some time, if time is measured in that place. Whether he had spent a second or a year just existing there he couldn’t tell, but at one particular moment, he ceased being alone. An older man approached him from the void.

          “Hello there,” the older one said.

          “Hi,” replied the younger.

          “You too?”

          The small question was asked with no context whatsoever, but the younger man knew precisely what was meant. He nodded slowly and lowered his head.

          “Well, what’s done is done. They sent me to greet you. I know what you felt,” said the older man.

          The younger man looked up again. Locking eyes with the older man, he instantly knew that it was true: they both knew the same pain.

          “It just got too….” The younger man’s voice drifted off.

          “Heavy. Yes, it got too heavy for us. And here we are. What’s done is done.” The older man paused. “They miss you, you know that right?”

          “Yes, I know,” replied the younger man. He knew he should feel guilty, but he didn’t. He couldn’t.

          “They’ll get on without you. They have to.”

          “But what….”

          “Don’t ask; you won’t get answers, not yet at least. This place isn’t really about what could have happened, though you will learn about those possibilities…sometime.”

          “When?”

          “God knows. We have to be patient.”

          “So this is…this is it?”

          “Not It, so to speak, at least not permanently, but yes. This is it for now.”

          “What about home? The family?”

          “They’ll get on without you, like I said. They got on without me. Though we made it harder for them you know. We made it sudden, shocking, violent. They’re dealing with that now.”

          “I’m sorry.”

          “Me too. But being sorry isn’t what this place is about either. This place is about rest.”

          “I could use some of that.”

          The older man chuckled.

          “I know you could George.”

          “How’d you know my name?”

          “Same way you know mine.”

          “So you are Scott? I wasn’t just thinking that?”

          “Nope. I’m Scott. Pleased to meet you.”

          “Are there others here?”

          “Yes. A lot of people have been waiting for you.”

          “Really? Like who?”

          “Everyone son. We’ve all been waiting with bated breath. We knew you’d come eventually, just not when. Now you’re here.”

          “I’m here alright. But where exactly is here?”

          Scott smiled and reached up to ruffle George’s blondish-brown hair with his firm, calloused hand.

          “Home.”

Fall, 2019 Issue