This story is by Albert Dols Ferrandis and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
[Recommendation: Listen to “Last Train Home”, from Pat Metheny Group, while reading this tale.]
At the bottom of a colossal mountain, a car stopped. When its engine shut down, two people got out. One of them took from the car an average-sized bag, which was stuffed for some reason. After checking that the car would not open, they followed a ground road upwards the mountain. Where they left the car, were other unoccupied ones, which was odd: it was not a parking area. Bearing that in mind, the two people started to discuss about it: they knew most of the car’s owners, and they hoped to not get across them. They wouldn’t want to hurt them.
As they advanced through the road, they found two other people, older than them, blocking the path. Their worried expressions made the younger ones feel uncomfortable. As one of the elders started to talk, one of the young people started to cry. The other, who stayed calm, stood with a gentle, sad smile. Although the two elders tried to convince them to not advance any further, the one who was smiling said three words. After that, only the sound of the wind and sobs from the older ones filled the air. When they stopped crying, the elders opened up the road for the younger ones. The young left, and the elders started to follow them, although maintaining a distance. Having passed them, the young people started to talk about the older couple.
As they advanced up the road, a group of people, around the same age as the couple, stood before them, as the elders did. When they saw the couple, they started to shout at them, who hardly understood what they said, because they were shouting at the same time. Realizing that, one of the young couple started to laugh. This made them pipe down: they could not understand why he was laughing. The other one of the couple started to talk to the group, and started arguing with them. The group thought it was an unreasonable thing to do; for the couple, they had no better choice. When the one laughing stopped, he said eight words to the group. Half of them started crying, and the other half consoled them, with tears in their eyes. The young couple resumed their walk. They started following the young couple too, maintaining a distance. As some time passed, the couple continued to talk, this time about how they met the group previously, several years ago.
As they continued the path, the couple came across with another group. This one were from seven to ten people, and most of them were older than the young couple. The couple started talking with them about pointless things. After some time passed, the ones from the group started to argue with one of the couple: they only received a gentle, sad smile that went through their hearts. Then, they tried to apprehend and take him away by force, but the other one from the couple took from the bag a gun, and pointed it to the group. This made them stop on their trails, and abort their plan. Some of them started crying, but this time no one tried to comfort them: they thought that pain is not something you have to share, but to fight yourself. After the couple reunited, the one with the gun packed it back on the bag, and they continued to follow the path, as the group looked at them. Although they saw the old couple and the group of young people following them, the group decided to let them go. As they lost sight of them, the couple started to talk again, about the reason that led the previous group to act like that.
As they almost reached the top of the mountain, an unfamiliar sound started to approach. They turned their heads back, and saw a helicopter approaching the mountain. Taking each other’s hands, they started to rush to the peak, which was not far.
As they arrived, they took a short break, at the same time that the helicopter arrived to the place that they were. Instead of landing, a rope descended to the ground, and from it appeared a very young man. One of them asked for the bag to the other, and took from it a water bottle. The young man made a signal to the helicopter, which picked up the rope and went away.
– Seems like I made it in time – said the youngster, approaching the couple.
– Time for what, my son? – said the one with the bag.
– Dad, you’re not fooling anyone. I did not paid this trip for you to do this.
– I know… – said the father sighing. He could not hide it anymore – I know. And I am sorry for that. But, I did not lie to you: this trip’s purpose was to have a second honeymoon with your mother.
-She is not my mother, dad… And you – said the youngster looking at the other person of the couple – why didn’t you try to stop him?
– I tried, believe me, almost every day. Since I met him, I knew he was in pain. I tried to heal his heart as much as I could.
– It didn’t work, we are here after all – the anger on the youngster’s voice was obvious.
– Stop, my son. She healed it almost completely – said the father as he looked to his other half – and these past years were the most joyful ones of my life. It was just too late. This was my decision.
As his father said these words, the youngster calmed down.
– So why are you doing this? – tears started to fill the youngster’s eyes.
– Oh, son. My precious son. -The father approached his child to embrace him, and they hugged each other. – You are the joy of my life, my pride. I do not regret working at the mine, to pay for your studies. It was all I could do for you. And look, you are now a fine, successful businessman, who has a great family.
The father watched the face of its son, which was full of tears, and smiled.
– You know that I do not have much time left. Will you do a little favour to this dying old man? – he approached one of his son’s ear, and murmured something. The youngster was surprised about what he said, and as the father finished, he stripped until he was only in his swimsuit.
– Will you accept these last words? – the father shouted, and approached the edge of the peak, as he looked through the bag. As he found something, he did not took it out, but instead his hand remained inside. A troubled expression appeared in his face.
– Father… I accept them. – The other one of the couple started to strip, and the couple stayed in their swimsuits. But…
– I am sorry darling. With this, I will have no regrets – the father took the gun from the bag, and shot at one of the legs of his companion. She did not expected this, and fell to the ground, screaming in pain.
– Why are you doing this? You said we would do it together! – screamed the injured one, with tears of pain flowing out her eyes.
– I cannot let you do that now, darling. – The girl tried to move, but the youngster stopped her.
– Why are you stopping me? – shouted the girl to the youngster, trying to resist.
-He knew all along… – said the youngster – my father discovered it a week ago. You were pregnant, but you decided to hide it. He told me… to not let you die now – the youngster was crying, too – that is… his last wish.
Both the youngster and his father’s lover stopped struggling. As the father arrived to the edge, the old couple and the group of the young people arrived at the peak.
– Well, we move to the main show! -the father opened his arms, and looked at the witnesses.
– I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me. My job here… is almost done. Do not cry over something like this: I’ve been waiting for it all my life.
– Go for it, buddy! – said everyone in the group, cheering on him.
– You made us proud, my son – said one of the elders.
– Thank you for everything, dad – said his son.
– I love you, darling. I am sorry – said his last journey’s partner.
Everyone saw him off with a smile. The father threw the gun away, and jumped off the cliff. Although it was certain death, the fall was no more than three or four meters deep. He accomplished his last dream: it was not to live, but to end it the way he wanted. After all, you can only swim in lava once in a lifetime.