Vaughn found himself walking along an empty boulevard. He didn’t know how he got there; he only knew that he had to keep going forward. It was dark, save for the occasional street light, and a thin fog had closed in on the road, blurring the sight of the distance. He could feel the wind blowing from behind him, pushing him, guiding him, and his mind felt free from troubles and pain, but he also felt mildly confused as to why he wasn’t thinking of anything or anyone. So, his state wasn’t exactly blissful, just empty.
He looked around briefly, suddenly curious as to why he was here, walking to an unknown destination; but something inside of him wanted to quell that thought. Whatever this feeling was, it was strong, it was certain, and it told him that there was a purpose to this journey, however long or seemingly pointless it presently may be.
The path continued straight for some time – how long, he wasn’t sure, because wherever he was, time was immeasurable, and there seemed to be no end to the fog. Despite his instinct, he couldn’t help but wonder where this path was leading or why he was here alone. He wanted a real answer this time, so he stopped walking and looked at his surroundings again, turning around a few times so that he could be sure that he wasn’t missing anything. Still, there was no information to be gathered from the fog and the empty pathway. So, he examined himself, glancing down at his shoes, bringing his gaze up his pants to his tee-shirt and jacket. Still finding nothing unusual, he glanced over his shoulder to his back, and when that turned up nothing, he stretched his arms out in front of him and brought his attention down his shoulders to his hands. That’s when something caught his eye – a ring. His brow furrowed as he examined it more closely.
In the next instant, though, his eyes widened to their fullest and his heart tried to beat out his chest as he suddenly remembered that night… the night when his wife died and when a darkness began to overtake him. He was reliving it vividly in his mind, and now he could remember how much it felt like a dark fog had just swallowed him up, dooming him to a place with no beginning and no end.
The vision ended, and he gasped for breath as he tried to remember what happened after that night. Try as he might, he couldn’t think of anything that happened afterward. Did that mean that that painful night happened recently, even yesterday? If so, why had it taken him so long to remember? No, he was fairly certain that that night took place quite some time ago because presently, he was feeling no real pain or remorse over his wife’s death. Even during the flashback, he was only reliving what he had been feeling, he wasn’t presently grieving. But if that was true, how much time had passed since then, and why couldn’t he remember any of it? And if enough time had passed for him to not feel pain over his wife’s death, then why was he still wearing a wedding ring? Was he now married to someone else? To Sydney?
As soon as the idea popped into his head, he felt a long, strong gust of wind come up from behind him, and suddenly the fog ahead of him cleared, and Vaughn found himself at the entrance of two tunnels. One was dark, and the other was illuminated, and from what he could see, they led in opposite directions. So, he really had only one choice to make.
Right or left?
As simple a choice as that would seem, Vaughn stayed glued to his spot, unable to decide. Though he was naturally drawn to the lightened tunnel, he couldn’t help but wonder what was down the dark one. He knew that the dark tunnel would very likely be more dangerous, but there was a possibility that the light in the other tunnel was a lure to a trap… Maybe he was just being paranoid, but for such an apparently simple decision, there seemed to be a challenge in making the correct choice because there were still so many unknowns for each. Who knows where each tunnel led? Who knows what perils may have existed along the way one and not the other? Vaughn always had the choice to just turn back, but what was the point of returning to the fog and to a beginning that he couldn’t even remember? It was obvious to him that he was meant to be here to make this decision, so he continued to weigh one tunnel against the other.
Suddenly, however, the wind picked up from behind him again, so strongly this time that it made Vaughn have to set his feet to keep from being blown forward. The wind was blowing so hard that it began to howl, and Vaughn could have sworn he heard a howled word.
Vaughn almost wanted to growl back that he couldn’t make a choice while nearly being knocked over, but the wind didn’t pay any heed to his annoyance. It continued to blow and repeatedly “howled” the word. So, Vaughn gritted his teeth and looked back at the tunnels, thinking simply, right or left?
Right or left?
“Lauren or Sydney?”
Vaughn blinked several times at the light streaming in from his bedroom window. He sat up as he yawned and thought of bits of the dream he had. The more he tried to remember of what he dreamed however, the more the thoughts eluded him, until all he could remember was what he muttered as he woke up.
Lauren or Sydney?
He sighed and shook his head as he let himself fall back down to the pillow. He rubbed his face with his hand and told himself that he was going to drive himself insane if he kept this up. He got out of bed, changed clothes, ate a light breakfast, and went out for a run to clear his mind.
When he returned home, he decided to call his mom to tell her that he wanted to visit her.
“Maybe some time with her will keep me from losing it any more than I already have,” he scoffed at himself as he picked up the phone.