He walked in a few students behind Carol Jean. He watched the high heels of her black shoes tap across the uneven sidewalk as they walked. He heard her laugh and joke with the people around her.
Soon, they would all be dead.
Soon, he would be with Carol Jean. He would have her all to himself. They would be in hell together.
Exactly at the moment when the graduation was complete and students around him were laughing and some were tossing their caps into the air, he detonated the bomb. He didn’t remember anything else after that.
Now he assumed that he was in hell. Where else did people go that created bombs for graduation? It wasn’t quite like he imagined though. It wasn’t like cartoons with flames and devils with pitchforks and horns. It was a quiet gray room, sort of like a train station and there were doors on one end that looked almost like elevator doors.
As he stared at them, waiting for something to happen, they opened. A short man with glasses perched on his nose who wheezed when he breathed and seemed agitated walked with urgent steps out of the elevator and toward him. Behind him, trailing behind with sort of a dazed expression was none other than Carol Jean.
“Charlie Anderson?” the little man asked. He puffed out his cheeks and wiped his brow. He didn’t wait for Charlie to confirm his name. “We’re late,” he said, “There was some sort of mix up and you were misplaced.”
“Misplaced?” Charlie asked.
“It happens,” the man said impatiently, “It’s just really annoying. Now come on. Follow me.”
Charlie didn’t know what else to do so he followed behind the man, next to Carol Jean.
“Wait,” she said, looking at him, “I know you. Engineering, right?”
Charlie looked down, “Yes,” he said.
“I think we’re…dead,” Carol Jean said. “I have no idea what happened.”
“It was a bomb,” Charlie said, for some reason he felt really terrible. He’d never felt like this before. What had he been thinking? Looking back on his life seemed like an odd and strange dream. The more time passed, the more twisted and confusing it seemed. Somehow it seemed like Carol Jean had been significant to him, before. Now he realized that he didn’t know her. He remembered the bomb with increasing remorse and he had a vague feeling that his conduct toward Carol Jean had not been right.
They walked into a room. There was a group sitting around on folding chairs. A woman with a clipboard was seated too and seemed to be part of the group.
“Charlie,” she said, “Please, find a seat.”
Charlie looked around and realized he knew everyone in the circle.