Zero Hope

Finnley positioned the empty bookcase on the dolly with a heaving grunt. He did not have to clean the basement by himself; his brother-in-law offered a hand but Finnley refused. He wanted to take his time. Cleaning out the last of his wife’s belongings was his way of saying goodbye. He took a moment to rest and leaned on the bookshelf. While he caught his breath he noticed the shadow on the wall that was behind the bookcase.

Brilliant golden sunlight streamed in from the small rectangular windows behind him. The light cast a shadow of the bookcase on one side of the wall but the part in front of him remained completely black. He tried taking a step to one side to let the light land on the wall but it remained pitch black. He stared at the dark wall, the uniform blackness reminded Finnley of a hole. The idea grew on him until he stepped forward and tried to touch the wall. His hand pushed into the hole, but it felt like it came out on the other side. He closed his eyes to concentrate on his hand. He felt a cool air current like from an a/c vent. The comparison was easy to make; he had a vent blowing frigid air at the back of his head. Finnley pulled his hand back and considered his next step.

He glanced around the basement; Elena’s basement. This was her workspace. She liked the silence she found down there. In one corner, under the garage, she had a large wooden desk set up with a microphone and musical keyboard. She decorated the walls with posters of her favorite bands and included artwork from her own albums. There was nothing in the room that didn’t remind him of her; he hated it. At that moment he realized he did not want to move on without her. He shrugged and chuckled to himself about how easy the decision was made. She wasn’t there anymore but now he had somewhere else he could go. Without worrying about what might be on the other side he walked into the hole.

The first thing he noticed on the other side was an a/c vent blowing cold air into his face. He blinked several times until he pulled his face out of the air current then looked around. It looked almost exactly like his basement. Elenas’ recording setup was in the same corner and he recognized the posters on the wall.

“What the hell?” Finnley asked himself and turned around. The black hole he came through was still on the wall and he poked his head into it. He stared right into the sunlight and pulled his head back. He didn’t really see anything but he confirmed that his basement and this one were two separate places. He heard the door open at the top of the stairs and looked up. He panicked for a moment but he had nothing to lose. He heard heavy footsteps before he managed to see who was making them.  A tall brown-haired man came into view as he descended the steps. He looked exactly like Finnley. The look-alike reached the bottom of the steps and looked at Finnley. He jumped slightly; startled that someone was there. He recovered quickly and shook his head.

“You won’t find her here. Mine died three years ago.”

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