Author: General von Maniac PM
I want it to be realistic without being self-indulgent, I want to be honest without being grim, I want to be blunt without being bitchy. I can achieve this, with work. I want you to still be here next to me without anything else keeping you there apart from wanting to be next to me, I want you to be alive not dead, I want to fix you without making the effort. I can't achieve that.Rated: Fiction M - English - Words: 1,262 - Published: 06-26-12 - id: 3036226
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The body of Cassandra Marie May Drake was found at approximately 9pm, British Summer Time, on the first Thursday of June, 2015.
She was found by a small search party between the ages of seventeen and forty-five. And they were heavily unprepared for the simple and blunt deadness she revealed to them.
One of them had the severe misfortune to be me.
Sandy was found at the bottom of a steep hill, and the best they – the police, the paramedics, the journalists - could make of it was that she'd tripped and fallen and started tumbling. It made sense; the top of the hill was a very secluded area we all had visited frequently, so it made sense she would go there. The hill was bumpy, with jutting rocks and roots; it was very easy to injure yourself on it and when it's dark it can be more difficult to stop yourself falling. Really difficult, it's amazing how much a lack of sight disorientates you.
Happened to me in a tunnel slide once, I was quite wee for a seven year old and I ended up forward rolling down the entire thing. It was a long way down but I probably wouldn't have been too badly injured. But you add a particularly hard tree trunk to it and suddenly there's a split head. You add the stinging, blinding pain of nettles to that and suddenly you're just a tumbling, bashing ball of agony and confusion. And then you will abruptly end in a small ditch at the base of that great, big hill, with a snapped vertebrae and a rib fragmenting into your right lung.
She'd have been confused, cold, and alone. The conclusion was tragic accident, which is more accurate of her life than her death. She'd always been those things. Not to be a sentimental arsehole, but I'd not exactly treated her with the sympathy and understanding she may well have deserved that night. I'd grown pretty fucking sick of her to be honest, that time. I mean, it probably wouldn't have fixed anything if I had followed her, it was always going to end like this really. You never get a good ending to this shit.
At the time I didn't feel like this, and at the time I loathed myself.
Despite the humidity, we were dressed in long sleeves and thick trousers – for the nettles, see. Sandy didn't seem to mind them much right now. Sandy had bigger problems. As I said, we were unprepared and stupidly trying to help as people always are in these situations – largely out of guilt, in my case. We carried unused torches, mobiles which couldn't detect a signal, and bottles of water. Sandy still clutched at air, but she no longer screamed. She didn't look too happy to see me.
It was still warm outside, and trees filtered the sunlight onto her face. I would like to say that even in death she presented herself as a beauty, like Snow White after consuming the poisoned apple. It's how, deluded by fantasy and youth, I always imagined she would look. That she would lay there on her back with her legs relaxed outwards and her arms at her sides. That her head would tilt to the side, red lips agape and eyes closed as if sleeping, and I'd be overcome by an urge to touch her skin and wish her farewell, crying gently.
And if I told you it was even anything remotely like that I would be a fucking liar.
I had some shitty weed once, a few years back. Well, more than a few now. It was so cold and damp outside that it wouldn't stay lit for more than ten seconds, even with the good lighter. But, with perseverance, it did the trick. The bonfire lights vibrated, my heart felt uncomfortably big in my chest, and my mouth became painfully dry. Then, out of the darkness, the naked body of a beautiful dancing woman approached me. Her face was concealed by darkness, but she span so beautifully and gently, with such grace that I was mesmerised nonetheless. Her skin was a flawless olive shade, and her hips curved smoothly into a pair of strong, impossibly long legs. And then she tilted backwards, as if her unseen dancing partner was the only thing suspending her in the air. I no longer noticed my heart, my mouth or the lights. Just her incredible form balanced before me, frozen in mid-air.
And when I blinked, the stillness shattered. She became a blunt, heavy log just a few feet away from the bonfire, ending the cheap and impossible illusion I had wholeheartedly – for just those split, tiny, minuscule seconds – believed to be true. And I noticed my heart, my mouth and the vibrating lights once more. I was here, solid, lonely, cold, hungry and with no solution to any of these problems. Just a fucking log in front of me that a few seconds earlier I'd been prepared to elope with, ugly and without a single shitting trace of the utter perfection it had once held.
It was like that
Sandy wasn't how I had thought dying looked. Her arm, the one she'd landed on, was bent the wrong way at the elbow. That was the first thing I noticed, then her legs. Her legs were weird, not lying right. Her mouth wasn't agape, it was slack and the protruding tongue was like a thick, purple slug. And her eyes were open. I've been looking for a word to convey how that looked, but the only one I can think of is 'scary'. How you'd describe your nightmares to your parents as a kid. More than vacant or blank, they actually seemed to take vibrance away from whatever looked at them. Like big, leeching, blue holes. And her tanned skin wasn't pale either, like I'd expected. It was greying, blueing, bruising.
Nothing could've made me ready for that, staring at something so heavy and dead. Her face wasn't hers, not really. In that instant, converse to what I had been saying to myself in the hours prior to this discovery, I didn't miss her when I looked at it. I didn't feel confusion; I didn't feel sadness or a longing. I felt that this was a corpse, an empty vessel that anything resembling Sandy had left long ago, which I had no compulsion to get anywhere near to.
But the torn and bloodied clothes, they were Sandy's. The stupidly tight jeans and crop top. And I realised. And then the grief came. I launched myself at her in a blind panic, the rotten smell burning my lungs and nose, clutching at her hair and her arms, screaming. More with pain than shock, I think. These throat ripping, terrible screams which tore right through my ears.
Tears didn't fall gently, they didn't fall at all. I just knelt there next to her, frantically touching her face and hair in a vain attempt to wake her, in between the high-pitched screeching. I began to hyperventilate in between the great big fat hiccups and the hurling out senseless words. No one around me had any idea about what to do, but someone ran back to the base. The rest of them eventually saw the need to get me away from it.