By Shades of Autumn
Started: Monday 26 June
Finished: Tuesday 4 July
They buried him in the autumn.
October winds swept dead leaves around in never-ending circles. She watched them, eyes dark, mildly interested. She'd already been told off for smiling too much.
The laugh was mirthless, but she was genuinely amused.
Heads turned. A sharp poke in the side that didn't bother her much.
And she went back to watching the leaves.
They clustered by his graveside. Littered the ground around his headstone. It was new, shiny, the words deeply engraved.
As deeply as they were on her heart.
She shook her head slightly, repressing the urge to laugh. She had to stop herself from walking forward and tracing the shapes on the stone. It was something they'd done together.
She never thought she'd be doing it for him.
He'd never been missing before.
He'd never been dead before.
Arching her eyebrows, she raised one perfectly-composed hand to her blood-red lips, delicately repressing the titter. Oh, no, now that wouldn't do.
The priest finished. People started to drift away, pausing in front of the bereaved family. Sympathy and lies.
Why don't I drown them in tea?
She turned away from the sight, suddenly savage.
Oh but you were never a sweetie.
She laughed along to the tune.
She didn't turn, merely kept on staring at the open grave in front of her.
The voice was chocked. "C'mon, Liz."
She turned slightly. His older brother standing, eyes red and swollen, lips parted in pleading.
She turned away her face. "What do you want from me?"
"Liz. It's time to go."
Now she looked interested, perfectly-arched eyebrows raised again. "Oh. Are you death, then?"
"What!?" he sounded more bemused than shocked.
She smiled, red, red lips curving. "That's what they say. Are you here to take me, then?" he had backed away as she took a step closer, hands outstretched, expression uplifted. "Because if you are, that would be great." She heard her voice stumble and didn't know why. "That would be really great."
"Liz." This time it was her so-called best friend. "Come away, hon. Let's get you back home."
"My home is with the dead."
She surveyed them through thick eyelashes, bright brown eyes flicking from one to the other as they exchanged glances.
"Lizzie, come on."
"What? W-why not?" That, of course, was his brother trying to inject a note of sanity into the proceedings. So tragic, but he would fail. And how.
"I've already said." Her back was to the world, her face to the sky. Smiling brightly, but not at them. "My home is with the dead. You should know that by now."
"Come on, Lizzie."
They took her home.
She came at night.
It was dark, all around and inside of her. Her eyes burned like torches, the only light in a sea of night-bright flames.
Dead and dark. Dead and dark. The chant beat in time to her heart. To the blood rushing through her veins, coursing through her body. She whispered it to the sky, the moon, the trees lining the path.
Lining the path to the cemetery.
Tall gates she didn't even glance at. Dark shapes she didn't even flinch at.
She brought a lantern with a candle and a ribbon for her hair. Wide-eyed in the darkness, she skipped around the sliding shadows cast. She shook out her hair and trailed a wrist. Dancing through moonshade, sinking through shadow, until she reached the place where he was laid.
The tombstone glittered in the darkness, light reflected cast back at its maker.
She got her wish, now; bending forward to trace the letters her lovely thick black hair fell forward to hide her lovely pale face, and her lovely thick eyelashes fluttered as she blew a kiss.
"How are you today, my darling?"
Calmly she sat down, composedly she spread her skirt. A garland of roses she plucked from his grave and set on her hair.
"You don't mind, do you, dear?" she smiled softly. "You know how much I love roses."
They came at dawn.
Sympathy and lies.
She couldn't drown them in tea, but she could scald them with it. And so she did.
They left her alone after that.
"Watch her." They had said. "Keep her close; keep her safe."
But still she had her anger to sate
"Watch her." They said. "Keep her close; keep her safe."
In case she tries to slip out the gate.
Only his voice.
Through the shreds
The window was closed.
Pills and potions and hot-dog notions.
The window was closed.
The window was closed.
The stars swung, veiled, behind unyielding glass.
Her breath rasped in her neck; she reached up a trembling hand to her forehead and felt her hair damp and sweaty, sticking to her skin.
She looked back.
The window was closed.
So she smashed her fist into it.
In the bloody mess that ensured she managed to force her way through.
Her right hand lay limply throbbing at her side. She stood on the damp earth and smelt the air. The distant drone of cars. The rustle of the wind in the cedars. The soft splash of her blood on the ground.
While she walked she hummed an old tune.
Figures loomed up at her through the mist, to be dismissed as soon as she passed by. Her skirt flared up around her in the chill wind.
She was burning.
The woods, the night, the mist all blended in beautiful haze.
And she laughed, laughed, laughed.
The lane was rutted. The dirt track twisting.
Her feet pounded the ground like a funeral dirge. She smiled slightly at the analogy.
A few leaves skittered past. Her eyes followed them. Under and over, skipping across the landscape. Free.
She envied them.
But then, was free what she wanted to be?
She wanted something, that was for sure.
And she was going to get it.
She couldn't forget him. Every single second his face was imprinted on her mind. Burned into her skin. With every touch he imprinted himself further. Sinking into her soul. Consuming her.
She knew where to go.
The cemetery gates loomed up ahead. Tall. Imposing. Impressive.
They felt like home.
She felt the best she had since the day of the funeral. Better, even.
At last, they would be together.
Nothing will separate us, my love.
Nothing in this world or the next.
We were supposed to die together.
She smiled ruefully. I guess I'll have to forgive you for that.
She paused in front of his grave. Smiled softly and sweetly as only I she knew how.
All my love for him.
All my love.
She found a spade in the undertaker's hut.
The moon was her lantern. Like a friend, it guided her home. And she danced as she came, danced up the lane, with her shoes in one hand and a black plastic bin-bag in the other.
And she laughed as she danced and the moon shone in her hair until it seemed the whole night laughed with her.
Silently she gained the house.
Subtly she opened it.
Silently she trailed a hand.
My fair lady.
She permitted herself a giggle.
Her steps were light, her footfalls silent as she ran up the stairs. As she smiled. As she closed the door and waved at the broken window.
As she dropped her shoes.
And put down the bag.
As she put it down.
Opened it and reached inside.
And brought him out
And she brought him out.
And she brought him out and set him on and in the glass jar.
And sheplaced it on the shelf by her bed.
And she smiled.
If you enjoyed this, that's good. Since you seem to be a rather twisted, insane individual with a disturbing (but essentially harmless) taste for blood, you might be interested in reading one of my other short stories- either 'Helena' (2003) or 'The Angels Came Tonight' (2005) should satisfy even the most picky of familiars.
If, on the other hand, you did NOT (and you're still around to moan about it?) please do not pester me with flames. I suggest you go and play with your barbies and let ghoulish fantasies belong to the ghouls.
-Shades of Autumn.