The wind was so sharp it hurt that day.
The sun was shining yet through thick clouds only icy blue rays caught the heads of the mourners. It stung their eyes, burning away their retinas and chewing on the fleshy white of their gazes.
Their black clothes failed to detract from the pain, the day was refusing to be dull, fighting against the darkness of the scenario and pushing for light to encompass them all in a glowing, burning haze.
If you fell deep down into the final pit of Dante's terrible inferno one would assume it would look a lot like the cemetery that day.
The surrounding headstones were took a grey pallor, the engraved writing seeming to sink further into the harsh stone. Any cracks were only dramatized by the shadows created by the piercing sunlight. The grass was folded and crushed beneath the feet of a hundred sad bodies, a hundred people here to put a young girl to rest. The trees even joined in, bending down to caress the faces of those who wept, their leaves trickling to the floor in a beautiful, ugly shower of auburn and a certain shade of bleak orange the mourners had never seen before. The flowers that were meant to add a sense of uplift to the painful period were pulling away from the bright light, seemingly attempting to lean away from the agony of the situation.
Gluttony was here.
Matthew Gold stood just away from his school mates, his grief silent in tiny streaks of tear tracks that curled down his achingly apparent cheekbones, smattering itself in the hollows of his face. The bones bent out into his skin now, catching the shadows of the day and creating a skeletal impression of a once handsome face. His eyes were sunk into his leathery pale skin, the whites of his eyes taking an unhealthy, malnourished orange tinge in the corners. His suit hung off his shoulders as though only a coat hanger kept it from falling in a heap to the floor. Even the expensive clothing couldn't hide the illness that crept around his flesh and was so horrendously apparent to anyone around him. As those who felt his pain wrapped their arms about his body all they felt was the sharpness of the skeleton sticking back into their flesh.
Envy had not missed the occasion.
Suzy Ainsworth was suitably distanced from her twin sister. The former model's lank brown hair flapped uselessly in the breeze, a curtain to see bulbous cheeks with smatterings of rosacea. Her clothes reflected her facial expression: worn, beaten, drab. A thick black cardigan only highlighted the weight she had gained. Her lack of grades had found her restricted from the University process and in the current economic climate what other job could a young girl invest in than that of her father's fast food business? The model agency had been forced to let her go and in her sad, sad state she turned to comfort in food. Her fingers were thick and curled around her paunch to cling together, her face lowered embarrassingly to the ground, heavy tears falling into the sweaty mess her hands had become. The grass had crinkled and crumbled beneath her chunky heels, and she found herself blushing as she fought with the unforgiving muck to free herself from the muddy hole she had dropped into. But no matter how many times she managed to pull her thick calf from the ground, she would sink straight back down, each time drooping a little further into nothingness.
Greed's response was most unexpected.
Tracy Ainsworth was dressed from head to toe in black, only a filthy yellow bobble kept her hair pulled back from her cosmetic plastered faces. The craters in her weathered faces were full of powder, caked to the brim with expensive makeup that failed to hide the utter anguish enveloping her features. Not all would have paid attention to the former beauty's pained expression, yet if they did they would have seen it was not angled toward the gravestone, yet toward a single man. The girl everyone had dubbed unworthy of their time, unworthy of their respect and dignity had fallen in love. For the young woman who had always got what she wanted had failed to coerce the only thing she'd ever really needed. Conley Tyson. For Tracy Ainsworth had fallen completely, utterly and irrevocably in love. And it was completely, utterly and irrevocably unrequited. Greed had not been vanquished by the loss of money, nor of honour, nor of possessions, but by her own silly heart. A broken heart will do a lot more than a broken bank account. Her tears fell for herself.
Anger was mourned.
Justine Praulin's lay in a beautiful mahogany coffin at everyone's feet. Ironic, the fact that the girl had placed herself so high above her peers and yet here she was, at the bottom, deep in the blackened earth. Around her stood those that had previously held her up, their palms clinging to the strings that lowered her to the ground, slowly letting go of the beauty into her final resting place. Into the place where she would at last lay in peace, the rage that once coursed through her body like an infinite flame stubbed out and dropped in handfuls of dirts and a single flower dropped onto a golden plate with her name embossed upon it. Her anger now only remained in the hearts of her loved ones, those who secretly desired vengeance for a life taken far too soon. But they would not act upon this revenge because they did not have the raw courage of the dead. And the law would satisfy their own need for justice. Justine's murderer, much to what would have been her rage, would not get their comeuppance in a violent way. Anger was absent from this occasion.
Sloth was brought here.
Freddie Joe's wheelchair did absolute nothing to detract from his beautiful face. Although his head remained bowed, as it had been for months prior, it was not his loss of attractiveness that drew in the looks of others, as with the latter Sins. No. With Freddie Joe Shoesmith it was the pure sadness that radiated from his lackluster body. All energy that he had previously retained by doing nothing now drooped from his very pores, dribbling down his tanned skin and into the dirt below his unfortunate body. Sympathy drove itself in waves to rest on his lap from his fellow mourners, but not once did he raise his skull to meet their eyes, his body tired, his brain tired, him, all of him, now just plain tired.
Lust was accompanied.
Daniella Corvitz stood far back from the procession of people when they approached the grave. This was deemed a suitable distance for the police officers that accompanied her. Her hands were bound behind her back in handcuffs hidden from the public eye. Her stunning features were celebrated with perfect makeup and to the outsider, nothing would have seemed different from the Queen that used to strut down the corridors of her college. Until they looked beyond her and saw the entourage the royalty had now acquired, for it was much different to the one she had previously. Although heads turned to stare at the female that lived in a single cell, few stayed after they had seen her genuine tears. She did not cry, however, for the loss of a friend, but as she looked around the grave at familiar faces that snubbed her, Daniella Corvitz sobbed at the loss of her own life. She mourned the future she did not have. The future she was wrongly convicted of ruining herself. She cried not because of a deserved punishment, but of the uselessness of her situation. Innocent until proven guilty had failed this Sin.
One sin was absent from the graveyard.
Sat in a room with four dark walls was Luke Johnson. The pale light in the center of the table in front of him only added to the sharp edges of his jaw lines. A tape recorder entranced his stinging eyeballs into a repetitive, circular motion that sent his brain whirring with the darkest of emotions a male is capable of. His fists clenched, unclenched and clenched again till his jaggered fingernails scraped and drew blood in the palms of his destroyed hands. His wounds were closed, stapled and wired shut yet his fear coursed in bloody droplets onto the wooden slab in front of him. For the third time the detective asked him the events of the death of one of his closest friends and for the third time he sobbed his way through the absolute truth of how his own desire to invoke revenge had gone terribly wrong. He spoke not one word, however, of the one who inflicted such terrible injuries on his pallid skin. His mouth was reluctant to curl it's way around the one name that would relieve him of everything. Simply because his brain was tortured into silence. Pride had been defeated and now failed to vainly save himself. Luke Johnson was scared into prison.
His lack of attendance was noticed by all, but mentioned by none.
Tom Gleddings stood alongside his weeping coworkers, face turned to the sky to stop the truth escaping his brain. His own heart had entangled itself within all the drama of the past year. The new headmaster of Crossley High was reluctant firstly to damage his own position within the school and secondly, well secondly he was reluctant to ignore the pull of his heart. His cousin had come to his house, drenched in the blood of another and teeming with rage. His mind flickered back to the two of them sitting around his kitchen table in almost darkness. He'd listened to every sentence with a tightness in his chest. He knew already of the downfall of Matthew Gold, for he had witnessed it first hand. He regretted not stepping in right there and then but it had all seemed so... tame. Yet then as he clenched his hands around the steel of his chair and heard the truths coming out, he had never felt as pointless in his life. He had fallen for a young female with the darkest heart he had ever known. He listened to the scenario in which led to the crippling of Freddie Joe, to the prison sentence laid at the feet of Daniella Corvitz. To the truth behind the death of Justine Praulins. He had almost thanked his cousin for his harrowing punishment of Luke Johnson in defending the honour of the woman he loved, yet the words died on his honest tongue. He could not condone his actions with one ounce of his body. He hated his cousin when he realised just how obsessed he too was with the devil that took the form of one vengeful little girl.
His lips were sealed.
Laura Polish, however, refused to be silenced. Her moans were the ones that caused lumps to rise in throats they had not previously been in. It was her cries of utter despair that saw tears fill the eyes of the hardest of souls. Her fingers clenched around that of the family's, feeling for any sense of proper reason for this complete tragedy. Her poor heart was crumpling from the outside in, eating away with aching and a need for emotional detachment. She desired catharsis from this pain. Yet it would not come. She had listened as the Priest had spoke of a girl loved by many but refused to be drawn into his words because the truth was nobody had loved Justine as purely as Laura had. Nobody had given a friend their entire heart quite as much as she had. But what hurt Laura the most was the fact that even now, as she watched the coffin lowered beneath her, she couldn't bring herself to forgive the dead. Justine had tried to pry the only thing that she had left in the world, her son, from her arms through social services. And so Laura Polish regretted the stubbornness of her own heart. Her burning eyes cast themselves upwards to lock on Conley Tyson.
Some love never dies.
Conley Tyson felt no guilt. It was never meant to end up like this, this was never his plan, this was never his revenge to commit. He had seen the rightful murderer placed behind bars and everyone surrounding him now knew it. Her family had cupped his face and pressed their lips to his cheeks. Honour had prevailed and Johnson was behind bars, where he deserved to be. Barely any soul there knew of his complete involvement in anything that had occurred and he liked it that way. His shoulders were broadly thrown back, his palms clasped together and his head lowered only out of respect. His cousin would not meet his eyes fully, yet this did not pain the man completely. True, he felt hurt that his confident, his only family refused to stand beside him at this time, yet he had all he needed.
And it was crushing him.
"Thank you for coming."
The wake had ended, and one by one the crowds had returned to their comfy homes to whisper about the day's sad events. To cry in privacy.
Conley Tyson had kindly lent his club to the cause, removing the seedy interior in favour of classy function facilities to suit the funeral party. The food had dwindled as had the people, and only a few family member remained.
One by one, Jenny had watched as the Sins left, she had counted them off with no emotion present on her face.
She had sat with a single glass of vodka while Tom Gledding's raged in a hushed voice. It seemed Conley had let the proverbial cat out of the bag to his dear cousin. But then the conversation had changed. He began to beg her to love him. To come home with him. He promised he'd make it all go away and as she looked into his beautiful eyes she nearly reached out for his hand, for her saviour. Yet all it took was the simple glance at Conley Tyson and her palm was stone beside her.
Tom Gleddings left and Jenny Hander knew she'd never see him again.
Her eyes were irrefutably drawn to Conley. He was talking to Laura for the majority of the afternoon, Justine's family providing the unknowing barrier between them. She had watched patiently as Laura drenched herself in his arms, seeking the comfort he was far too willing to give. And then slowly the family filtered away till it was just him and her. Just them.
Jenny Hander remained sat in the corner.
"I don't know what I'm going to do... I have no one." Laura was cradling her head in one of her palms, elbow resting on the bar top.
Conley's hand was clutched in her free one, "You have your kid, Justine's family..."
She shook her head, fingers interlinking with him, "I need more, I need someone who understands me." She took a deep breath, pretty eyes glittering with tears. "I need you back Conley."
Jenny's heart stopped.
Conley Tyson's shoulders broadened at the boldness of the statement, his skin went almost icy as he heard the five words he had dreamt of for so many nights. His eyes moved across her face, reading her emotions like a children's book. He gazed at her stunning features, at the honesty her heart had, at the pain she'd been through and right then he knew how happy and peaceful his life could be if he responded the way she wanted. He knew he could have everything a lad would dream about. He had it right there on tap.
Yet he couldn't do it.
His palm left hers and hope left her eyes.
"I thought..." Her sobs were resurrecting in her throat, "I thought we were back on track... I said I was sorry, I-I- I just don't understand... What can I do? Tell me?"
Her begging cut through to his bone and he hid a shudder.
His accent was thick once more as he rose to his feet and stepped to the side, "No, Laura... I don't want this. I don't want you and I haven't for a fucking long time. Go home."
Laura stood shakily, her feet threatening to fail her and grabbed her bag. She turned toward him, lips parting in a last ditch attempt at a plea yet she stopped short. Her eyes had accidentally caught onto something behind his shoulder, and when her body froze he knew exactly what- no- who, her eyes had clung onto. "... You?"
Jenny Hander only pursed her lips, inwardly cursing at this turn of bad luck and began to calculate her way through possible lies in her head.
"Why are you here?" Laura began to move quickly toward the table Jenny sat at. "You're the woman from social services... Why would you come today?"
"Laura, leave it."
Big mistake Conley.
Jenny could only sigh inwardly and stand up.
Laura's head flew back in her beloved's direction. Her entire body turned hard and she found herself glued to her spot in disbelief. Slowly, her face turned back to Jenny, then back to Conley. Her beautiful features crumpled into the ugliest vision of rage either of them had ever viewed.
"Her? The woman from social- Wait." Laura began to slowly move toward Jenny and she almost bristled, yet pulled herself back.
Don't react, Jenny.
Don't you dare.
"You're not from social services are you?" Tears of pure rage began to drip down her cheeks with no rhythm, no pattern, no rules. "You set me up... You set me up to believe you that Justine would- of course she fucking wouldn't... What kind of sick bitch are you, who the fuck even are you?" And as she got closer it seems the face of the devil was far too familiar for it not to be realised.
"You're... You're Jenny Hander aren't you... Your brother... Him and Justine..." And one by one all the pieces began to click into place for Laura Polish. "Your brother rap-"
A hand clenched over her mouth.
Jenny had moved so quickly barely anyone saw her do so.
And now, any monster from any horror film you've ever seen could not rival the terrifying look that had contorted the face of Jenny Hander. "Don't you fucking dare finish that sentence, bitch. You will leave. You will leave this club, this town, this fucking city and you will not return. Or God help me I will see to it you never see that boy of your again." This threat was about as empty as the Grand Canyon, for the girl would never stoop as low as separating a mother from her son, yet the beauty in front of her did not know of this and the fear coursing through her muscles could only make her nod and believe.
As Laura Polish backed up, her arm grabbed her small bag and she ran to the exit, stopping only once to glance back at Conley Tyson. She sobbed once.
And then the door slammed shut with a heavy thud behind her.
A silence fell for the first time that day.
Conley Tyson stood facing Jenny Hander.
Their feet were placed apart, their arms hanging limp by their sides.
Their eyes were stuck on each others.
"What now Jenny? What will you do now you've won?" Conley was the first to break it, her voice deep, growling at her.
She didn't reply and for that next minute they could only stare.
For right at the second it clicked in head that her vendetta was complete.
Those who had hurt Christian had been duly punished. It was over.
There would be no more.
If it was possible to see a thought, Conley felt sure he'd seen hers at that moment.
Her face seemed to fill with colour, the pale look that had slipped over her in the past few months dissolved and gave way to a glow he hadn't seen since the first time she walked into his club in that killer fucking grey dress. Her eyes began to shine with a glow he hadn't seen since she'd sat on the back of the pick up truck at the beach. Her body began to straighten like it had been when he'd first seen her, all those years ago, walking down the steps of Crossley High.
The exact moment he knew she'd be the only thing he'd ever want.
Before she even knew he existed.
He began to move toward her, and she matched his movements.
His fingers rose and slipped into her blonde hair, rolling the straight strands beneath his fingers and reveling in the softness. Her palms felts on his strong shoulders, moving softly till they cupped his cheeks and brought his lips slowly down to hers. They both stood, breathing so heavily their hearts pumped desperately and their lungs fought for air. And then slowly, ever so gently, the lips of two demons met.
His arms carried her to the floor with a patience neither of them had known existed. Both reluctant to give up the perfect kiss, never wanting to break the contact that seemed to fuse them together. Her fingers unbuttoned his crisp white shirt, eyes not even opening to marvel in the deep tan of his shoulders, nor the deep contours of his stomach as the clothing was discarded. All she could do was revel in the glorious feeling the kiss was permeating through her body. The deep heat that was moving through both of him, hearts falling and rising too fast, yet their hands moved slow, undressing each other.
His mouth fell to kiss her neck, to worship the skin of the girl beneath him in her total nakedness. The only sound in the air was breathing, the sound of lips pressing against body. His hands rolled up her torso, thanking God or any other fucking deity for the feeling he had as he moved beneath her legs. He slid into her, biting softly on his own lip to mute the moan, yet it came anyway, and her throat replied with a whisper of a cry. Her arms slid up to encircle his shoulders and her brought her slender body into the tightness of his hold, her legs slipping to clutch at his back, her body being move by his grasp till pleasure was all they felt.
Their skin was hot, damp and glorious as they moved as one finally.
"I love you."
Neither was quite sure from whom it was spoken, yet in the clutches of a passion neither of them had ever felt before, they both knew the feeling was completely, utterly, irrefutably mutual.
Later, they laid alongside each other, still unable to break that contact, eyes attached fully to the one person they had never hated, nor loved more in their lives.
It would never be peaceful.
It would never be honest.
It would never be perfect.
But it would always be theirs.
Jennifer Hander returned to the graveyard.
Only meters away from where the mourners had previously been she now stood at one singular grave. A beam of sun had split through the crowded clouds and flung itself upon shiny black marble. The ground had previously given way beneath her feet and she felt herself tumbling forward, till her knees hit the hard grass and her hands rested on the edge of the gravestone. Her fingers slowly smoothed across the gold lettering that read her beloved brother's name. Her face was pointing at the ground, yet this was only to hide the complete and utter smile that flew across her features. Unlike the previous years, this smile held no malice, no darkness, no danger, but instead was a grin of relief, of love, of emotions pouring through a person who had no idea how to handle them. Her body felt completely weightless. The wind blowing gently through her hair cooled her warm cheeks and threaded through her body till she felt as if she was floating. Her eyes sparkled so much they almost reflected off of the shiny surface that held Christian's name.
"A beloved brother." She read in hushed tones, before falling back to sit on her ankles and moving her fingers over the soft dirt that covered where he rested. "I never got the chance to say this, because I could never bring myself to come here." Her hands moved to cup away the tears that dripped from her lids. "I never felt I was truly worthy of saying a proper goodbye to you. Because the truth is, I should have been there for you. I never should have let them hurt you so much, my beautiful Christian. Every night you're in my dreams, every day you're in my head and every second I breathe, you're in my heart. I never got the chance to tell you all of this, you went before I could tell you just... just how much I loved you. How much I needed you in my life. How much I need you now. I'll never get the chance to see you again, you're gone, you'll always be gone and no matter how much I pray to a God I don't fully believe in, no matter how many candles and stars and clovers I wish upon you're never going to come back. You're never going to be there to hold me. To be with me at my wedding. To see my children. I didn't just lose a brother, I lost the only person that would have ever loved me unconditionally. I lost you because I ignored your cries for help and every day for the rest of my life I will punish myself for that. My heart will never heal, Christian, there's always going to be a you-shaped hole in my life. How can you replace the best thing that's ever happened to you? I need someone to tell me and fucking fast because I hurt like I've never hurt before every single day and all I want is for this pain to end and for you to fucking be here. Come back to me, please. Please Christian. I need you. I love you."
A silence descended and all she heard was her own sobs back in the air.
"All I can see in my head is your face, your smile, your laugh and every time I get cold and lonely that's all I remember. You were the light in my life and when you left so did the colour. So here it is Christian. Here's my final goodbye. Because once I leave this graveyard I can't come back. It will end. Here's my goodbye, here are the words I never got the chance to say but will always wish I had. I know you'll always be here somewhere, always looking out for me and always hating when I bend the rules. I know you'll have turned away at some of the things that I did but I also know that you'd understand that I needed to do them, because you knew me better than anyone. With you I was just Jenny. We were just us. And now I'm just me. And I'm lonely because you've left me, and my heart hurts. I hurt. But I know you're truly in a better place now. I know this because the only place you belong is among angels. You were too good for this place. I'm hurting, but I'm going to be okay. Because you're not in pain. And I'll see you again Christian, I know you'll be waiting for me. I know that one day I'll come to you and we'll be us again and it won't be just me. You'll be waiting. You'll be back beside me. You'll be waiting for me. But for now, I'm going to wait for that. My life will never be the same without you."
Jenny Hander stood on shaky feet.
"Good night Christian. I'll love you till the sky falls down."
a five thousand word finale, aren't you lucky?
now seriously, just wanted to thank you all for staying loyal to sabotage, and to me.
this chapter, well the end bit, is very close to my heart, as you can probably tell, and before leaving this story that i fell so hard in love with i decided i needed to put a person stamp on it. so there you go. the hardest thing i've ever had to write, just for you.
once again, thank you.
you don't know how much i appreciate you all.