In the end, we're all strangers to each other. Travelers coming, lingering, and leaving again. Our journey is a slow one. Here and there we find joy, dam the river, and linger awhile. But the motion just below the surface is constant, and it all snaps back eventually.
When he moved through the house, the tags on his collar tinkled like falling ice. His was a nervous energy. Almost like the heart of our house beating.
It's quiet now.
When he was young, I saw the life flood into him day by day. I knew that it was only borrowed, that it would drain again before too long. But we're very good at forgetting hard truths.
I bore witness to the joy he took in simple pleasures. As if somehow a part of him knew better than any of us just how fleeting it all really is.
To know that all that life and all that joy is just gone now is a thought that's hard to bear. Both for his sake, and for mine. A large part of my time, my energy, and my love, inevitably goes with him. We like to perceive these things as inexhaustible, and most of us are lucky enough to have a great wealth of them to give away. But another part of us knows the truth. These things are finite. It's hard to see that truth coming.
The tags he wore tarnished quickly. Cheap metal that bled into his white fur, turning a small blossom of curls on his chest grey.
I picture him sitting outside. He squints a little as he looks up toward the sky. They clink together gently as his nose twitches, snatching at a stray scent on a passing summer breeze.
"Look at this," Jake said with a snort, lifting the neon-pink jacket up to inspect it. "It's even my size. Should I try it on?"
Meg laughed, nodding at him. "Check this one out," she said, holding up two separate pieces of clothing, equally red. "Holy crap. I should(more) wear this in one of the trials."
"And get yourself killed?" Nea asked, rolling her eyes but kneeling beside Meg to inspect the clothes. "Yikes."
"It's like my old track uniform!" Meg said. "Reminds me of...before this."
The silence was quickly broken by Ace shouting wordlessly. He turned around, holding out a fancy red robe. "Not like my old one, but wow! The quality's not too bad, either." He tugged it on over his current shirt, flashing finger guns and a wink towards Bill. The older man scoffed. "Anything in these chests isn't worth my time," he said, turning back to the campfire.
While most of the campers found a few clothes they enjoyed, others didn't trust the 'gifts' the Entity had bestowed upon them.
"When has it ever done /anything/ nice for us?" Quentin asked, having taken a seat beside Bill. Laurie nodded, though even she cast a longing look at a shirt Claudette picked up off the ground.
"Hey," Quentin said suddenly, rising from his seat. He headed towards Claudette and took hold of the shirt in her hands before pulling something from the back of it.
"They have the tags on," he said, squinting at it. "This-this IS from the outside world."
"Was it taunting us?" Meg asked, staring up at the night sky. "Giving us that stuff?"
"I wish I knew," Tapp muttered, having looked through every piece of clothing and see if there was more to them.
"Maybe it's just trying to make us remember."