“You came back,” Anthony said in disbelief. His throat tighten as the emotions ignited inside him. It had been a year since his visit to the edge. Jasmin wasn’t scheduled to return until next Fall. They had spoken over hololink two days earlier and she hadn’t mentioned a trip home. She looked perfect, maybe a little older, her hair was short now and red, that natural red she had always covered up. Jasmin didn’t speak, her knees felt like they would buckle. She looked around, confused. She was back at campus, in the lawn south of the library. The entire sky was blue, the Empty was no where in sight. “Jasmin,” Anthony asked, snapping her gaze back on him. She took several breaths and managed to whisper, “Toner?”
They rushed to embrace. She pressed her cheek to his chest, clutching his back. His arms surrounded her as he kissed her forehead. Time felt like it had stopped. Neither let go. Jasmin looked up into Anthony’s eyes. “I love you! I’ve always loved you. I wish I had told you before you died!” Anthony laughed, “I love you too, Jazz! And I don’t plan on dying anytime soon.” Her eyes widened. She pulled back, placing her hands on his arms, “It’s ok, I know this is just…” A rock hit the ground a meter away and tumbled towards their feet. She glanced at it just as it came to rest, recognizing the black shine and thin silvery veins running through it. Hadn’t she thrown this rock into The Empty? She blinked.
Jasmin was in bed. Her chest still felt warm from Anthony’s embrace. Dog was sitting in the doorway, ears pulled back, the tip of his tail wagging slightly. Her eyes filled with tears.