The Center of Gravity

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Episode 10: Fantasizing

“Cassius!” I shouted. “I need help!”

I stopped to catch my breath. Night covered the obvious, my only light being the moon. I felt like I was beginning to freeze all over.

Even if I was more than determined to find help for Seth, the dark had struck me with common sense. Just because time stopped, doesn’t mean Cassius existed. I could’ve made that up.

Like the compass.

Like Seth.

Like my life.

I shook the idea from my head, walking a couple steps before I realized where I was. The house Seth and I had visited before. If my life wasn’t actually happening, then how come half of the house was demolished?

It never existed in the first place.

Was Cassius still here? If he knew what I was going through, then how come he wasn’t providing me with any insight?

Your fake friend is going to die without you, a voice taunted, ringing in my ears.

A pang slammed my chest. Seth is going to die. His health is failing him, and he’s bleeding. He can barely stand and I left him?! How did I think that was a good idea?

“He is going to die,” I whispered, the words trembling off my lips. “Like everyone else I cared about...”

My parents had to be alive somewhere. They wouldn’t just leave me and not come back, not if they knew I was alone. It didn’t make sense. If they died, how did it happen? And when?

Could Cassius tell me? He knew who I was, why wouldn’t he know everything else about my life? Was he even real? What if he died from mysterious causes too?

If Seth died...

I opened my mouth to speak, desperation filling my veins.

“He is going to die!” I yelled into the sky. “He believes he can pray to You and he is going to die!”

I fell on my knees, gaze in my lap. A breeze moved my hair. I didn’t know what else to do, there was nowhere else to go.

“Rowin.”

I whipped my face up to see him. Cassius, bundled up in a coat, dark hair, green eyes. His expression was deeply concerned, the depth in his eyes pulling me in.

I said nothing, too shocked to form words.

“Why are you upset?” he asked, crouching about ten feet away.

“You left us to die!” I yelled, balling my hands into fists. “He is sick and weak and bleeding. He can barely stand and he is going to die!”

My words hung in the air, but he didn’t seem fazed. He nodded, cocking his head to the side.

“What is his name?” he asked, standing and walking toward me. I slowly did the same, taken aback by the question.

“Seth..?”

“Interesting.”

It briefly occurred to me that I didn’t know his real name. He never told me.

“How does that help me?!”

“How doesn’t it?”

I locked stares with him, bewildered by his peace.

“How can you stand there and do nothing?” I breathed, angry.

“I believe I offered you help before, but you never came to take it,” he answered coldly, his expression growing hard.

“You have my compass!” I shouted. “You’re torturing me with memories. I don’t want to remember the life I once had! I can’t get it back.” My voice broke and I knew I was yelling lies. I wanted to remember.

“Is Seth gone yet?” he asked, an unreadable expression on his face.

“No! That’s why--”

“Does he know where he’s going?”

“To the afterlife?” I spat, letting my hands fall to my sides helplessly.

Cassius stared at me, and for the first time I saw true anger in his eyes. I became terrified. While his peace made me upset, knowing he could be enraged unnerved me.

“If you had come to me in the first place, you’d never be in this position!”

He took large steps toward me and I backed away, feeling small.

“If you loved him, you would’ve followed my instructions! He is going to die and it is because of you,” he proclaimed, looming over me.

“Is there anything I can do?” I pleaded. “Please help me.”

He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled the item out by the chain. The compass swung back and forth, mocking me.

“No!” I screamed. He looked up expectantly, eyes filled with fire. “I don’t want him to remember anything else! It’s killing him.”

“The very memories that are giving him life are killing him?” Cassius said, his voice raised. The words struck me. Did I care if he remembered God? “Don’t you want to know about him? About Stefen?”

“You can’t do this..,” my voice trailed off as he placed his palms on each side.

“Stefen’s death is your’s to deal with,” he stated.

I clamped my mouth shut in disbelief. Compared to the Stefen kid I met years ago, there was hardly a resemblance between him and Seth. His blue eyes ran through my mind and I gasped.

They were familiar.

I glanced at his tensed muscles, ready to send me into an unwanted experience. I dove for him, feeling my fingers latch onto the chain. He tried yanking it from my hands, but I held on, not wanting to lose my sanity again.

I was about to pull it away from him when I fell into the memory.

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