Awesome was fumbling with something. Wires? Rope? It was too dark to see anything. Suddenly there was a spark in the darkness, and something buzzed. One at a time, strings of lights started to light up the big room, decorated with posters. A radio in the corner. Stacks of books in the other. A beanbag with cat-head cushions.
He stood to observe it all. The blue lamp on the desk, the assortment of Japanese washi tape and mechanical pencils. Most of all, the pictures. He looked up at the wall above the desk. Frames full of fun-filled times. Awesome and Tomato at thirteen years old, Awesome with his ridiculous fringe and black clothes, Tomato the nerd with his huge black glasses and awkward collection of hats and T-shirts.
The next frame pictured them at age ten, each one playing video games on an ancient TV. Snickering coming from Tomato, who was acing the game, and frustrated grunts coming from Awesome, who was better off singing or attempting to play the piano.
Awesome's eyes drifted to the next picture on the wall, both of them at age sixteen. He still had the ridiculous fringe, Tomato with the glasses, T-shirts, and hat. They were both riding their near a forest, Tomato near trampling a bunny. It was funny, since Awesome had a look of amusement on his face and Tomato had a look of terror.
Then three years later. They were both nineteen. Book club, with Tomato's younger brother Spaghetti, who was sixteen at the time. They were sitting on the couch, reading a book titled Galaxyfur. Spaghetti had invaded the cookie jar and was munching on a chocolate chip cookie, while Awesome glared at him from behind his book. Tomato was obviously reading out loud, hence the open mouth in the picture.
Awesome was twenty now. Tomato wasn't here anymore. Moved away, he had said. To the city. No longer the suburbs where they both had adventures. To the big city, Kitland. Businesses and buildings and lots of people. Shows, shops, tourism. That city.
Awesome spotted the radio, and glumly walked over to it. He played the CD still inside. Vessel, by Tomato's favorite band. The radio started up, and Tomato had obviously paused it at a point in the song. Awesome held his breath as the drum beats sounded in the air.
"I'll stay awake. 'Cause the dark's not taking prisoners tonight."
He picked up the books and started setting them on the bookshelf.
"Why am I not scared in the morning? I thought I heard voices calling. I must've kicked them out. I must've kicked them out."
The first book he put on the bookshelf was The Phantom King. Tomato's favorite.
"I swear I heard demons yelling, the crazy words they were spelling. They told me I was gone. They told me I was gone."
The next book was Deadly Competition. Awesome's favorite book.
"But I'll tell them, 'why wont you let me go? Do I threaten all your plans? I'm insignificant."
Tears welled up in Awesome's eyes as he picked up the next book.
"Please tell them, 'you have no plans for me. I will set my soul on fire, what have I become?"
Galaxyfur, their favorite book. The one they read every three years.
What was the point of hiding the truth? Tomato was dead.
He never went to the city.