What Lies Beneath?

By Eric Gommer (Sun Valley High School, Aston, PA)

“And I can’t tell you how many ways that I’ve sat and viewed my life today
But I can tell you, I don’t think I can find an easier way.” 

  – Blind Melon – (“St. Andrew’s Hall”)

Another war of screams could be heard from the sidewalk outside. Ken and his wife seemed to do nothing but fight about the little things. His wife could smell the alcohol on his breath from feet away. Whenever he would drink he’d become such a monster. The night was growing colder and it was a surprise the neighbors weren’t becoming disturbed.

“I’ll do whatever the hell I want,” Ken screamed at his wife, “you aren’t my damn mother, okay?”

She responded nervously, “Well, by the way you act, maybe your’s didn’t do her job so well.”

Ken’s alcoholic rage was growing more intense by the minute. He would never dare himself to lay a hand on his wife but he felt like he would break at any point. Before the situation could get any worse, Ken stormed out of his home into the darkness of the night. The slamming of the door echoed through the quiet neighborhood. 

***

“Where… where am I?” Ken asked himself. The last thing he could remember was falling down a steep hill near the lonesome road. But as he looked around there was no sign of the place he was before. His drunken state had worn off, but he retained a bit of a headache. It was unbearably dark but Ken was able to make out something in the near distance. It was a door of some sort.

Picking himself up from his seated position, he maneuvered closer to the door. Ken looked it over and, though he didn’t want to, figured there was nowhere else to go but inside. When he entered there was a wooden bridge-like passage which he followed to the end. At the end Ken was startled to find he was back on the outside, but it was mid-day. Rubbing his eyes to make sure he wasn’t crazy, he stood in complete shock. He didn’t have a clue as to what could possibly be going on.

“Hello there, sir,” said a voice behind him.

Ken turned around and examined the man in a sort of daze. It was just a normal guy about Ken’s age. But as Ken looked him over he noticed something. The man stood there smiling at him waiting for Ken’s reply. The man’s smile began to fade and he spoke, “Your eyes do not fool you. I stand here on a foot.”

“Sorry… I didn’t mean to stare,” Ken replied.

“It’s quite okay, sir,” the man responded, “My name is Bone.”

Ken wanted to question the odd name, but figured it may have just been what people call him. Although Bone was about the same age as himself, he was extremely skinny and looked incredibly tiresome even in his energetic state.

“Look,” Ken began, “I don’t know where I’m at or how I got here but I want to go home.”

“I know why you’re here, but only once you learn will you be on your return,” Bone said.

Ken questioned what that meant, but Bone said very little. Instead he insisted Ken just relax and stay for a while and that would only pass the time quicker. Bone began to show him around the area. They came across a small bridge with a mini door underneath.

“What’s in the door?” Ken asked.

“All that needs to be said,” Bone responded.

Bone had some connection with that bridge. He kept talking about it and how lovely he found it. Ken couldn’t figure out why, it was just a worn bridge in his eyes.

Bone led Ken to a burial ground. The ground was made up of small chunks of stone and animal-like wooden figures stood around. Nearby there was a ledge way up high. Bone liked it up there because he could stare off the edge and let his thoughts flow out into the sunset.

A moment of silence between the two was interrupted by the sound of two voices walking along the trail. A man and a woman were coming into sight. Ken’s eyes shot wide. The man had three arms! Ken was disturbed by the gruesome look of this man. Yet the woman accompanying him was elegantly beautiful.

“Hey, Bone!” she yelled, running up and hugging him.

Bone seemed nervous and started talking quickly to the girl. He didn’t even think to introduce Ken at all. The woman slipped away before Bone could even finish speaking, only leaving him with a haunting smile.

“Who were they?” Ken asked.

Sighing, Bone said, “The man’s name is Skin and that lovely woman is Chloe.”

Ken sensed a depressive state coming over Bone and asked what was wrong.

“Ken,” Bone began, “you have a lesson to learn here. You thought you knew something about love but you don’t. Your daily life consists of breaking down what you swear to love the most, breaking down what someone else would give their life for in a heartbeat.”

Bone began to tear up, “Chloe was mine once. But you see, three is greater than one… no matter how hard you try to change that… three is greater than one.”

Ken stood in silence as Bone wandered away as the sky grew darker. Ken walked over into a patch of grass with a big rock in the center. He sat against it and tried to digest all that Bone had said and find some meaning within it. But keeping his eyes open was getting tougher by the second. Before he could put together all these thoughts he drifted into night’s slumber. 

***

Ken was awoken by a faint weeping carried by the unsettled wind. He gathered himself together and began to peer into the night. The weeping seemed to be getting worse. Ken decided to follow it. It didn’t take long before his feet had reached the burial ground. At top the ledge that seemed to cover the sky was Bone looking down. Although so far down, Bone was crying so hard that Ken could easily see the tears.

“Are you okay!?” Ken yelled, worried.

Bone could only stare back. He looked physically destroyed and his tiresome looks had only aged. The air was still and an uneasy presence was growing so hauntingly.

Bone shouted down to Ken, “All that needed to be said has been said… and three is always greater than one.”

As the last word slipped from Bone’s lips, he leaned forward and began to freefall off the ledge. Ken’s mind began racing and he didn’t know what to do. There was nothing he could do. He let out a hectic “No!” as Bone plummeted. The fall seemed to take forever but Bone soon hit the stones with incredible force. Ken dropped to his knees and began to sob. Never in his life had he witnessed something so twisted. As he lifted his head he could see Bone’s face. Puddles of blood surrounded his body and his eyes remained open and in a lifeless daze. Ken inched his way over, staring deep into the eyes of Bone. He began to really think about his life and all the things Bone said. In his own reality he realized he was a three armed man himself and had done nothing but abuse it. As the tears streamed down his face, he took a breath and continued to look deep into Bone’s eyes.

“I don’t blame you… I don’t blame you…” was all Ken could utter.

He went into a seated position and turned his head away from Bone. Ken couldn’ bear to look at him any longer. The last few moments started to replay themselves in his head. He thought of the last thing Bone said, “All that needed to be said has been said.” Then he recalled Bone saying something similar about the little door beneath the bridge. On that thought Ken picked himself up and ran to the bridge. He tried to push the little door open but it wouldn’t budge. Ken punched it over and over but to no avail. Then with one swift powerful kick he broke the door in. Dropping to his knees he began feeling around inside. A piece of paper is all he felt so he pulled it out. He unfolded it and started to read:

It’s hard to begin to say these things but they’re all too true. This world is dark and cold. It’s blind to a child’s eyes and too clear to a man’s. It chews away at the weak. The fragile are meant to be broken, and that’s just so unfortunate. I tried to fight it but you can’t fight the inevitable. You can break your back every day and give only love, but the fragile will only ever breathe in misery and pain. Being a nice guy won’t get you anywhere. As much as you want to be that type of person, a nice guy is merely just a fool in a wise man’s game. When a man fights the same war for so long he grows too tired to fight anymore, rightfully so. Selfish isn’t one taking their own life, but is wanting someone to remain in their eternal suffering. We all must meet our demise at some point. If only men like me knew what decisions to make in our youth to avoid tragedy. Maybe we don’t have a chance to avoid it, and that’s also unfortunate. A man can only speak out of the pair of shoes he has walked in before. But I have never walked in a pair. I have only walked in one. That, my friends, is also so unfortunate. With the love I have left, goodbye. 

                              ~ Bone

Ken didn’t know what to do. He had everything in his life made and had only abused it the whole time. Bone was a victim of the world’s cruelty and Ken was practically part of a murder. He sat down and laid his head against the bridge. Tears rolled down his cheek as he thought of Bone. It was there Ken promised to change. He swore he would quit drinking and start cherishing the things he had. Some people could never come close to making out so well in life. After all, three is greater than one. No matter what one can try to do, three is greater than one. 

“So if I see you walking hand in hand in hand with a three armed man
You know I’ll understand, but you should’ve been in my shoe yesterday.” 

– Blind Melon – (“St. Andrew’s Hall”)

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