They Will Forget
Authors Note: Yay, a new story. Finally. I know. This is going to be my new series, which I'm hoping to update biweekly (don't hold me to that, okaies?) Now, it may not be entirely obvious why this has been categorized under horror, but I promise you that things will come to light soon enough. Prologues are only meant to demonstrate a catalyst, aren't they? Well, consider this the event that sparks everything this story is to become.
Remember to R&R, I always love to hear everything you guys have to say.
"Eternal God and Father, look in mercy on those who remember Joshua before you. Let not the manner of his death cloud the good memories of his life. For Joshua the trials of this world are over and death is past. Accept from us all that we feel even when words fail; deliver us from despair and give us strength to meet the days to come in the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord."
"Amen," I felt myself whispering with an automatic monotony into my clenched fists, an echo of a hundred other voices some distance behind my own. Even after the prayers I couldn't bring myself to unclench my hands, finding an abstract comfort in the fact that I could not feel the pain of the nails digging in there.
Perhaps it is a sin to tune out the speakers of a church service, but I didn't care, barely acknowledging the words of a poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye being read by a half sobbing young woman I didn't want to recognize. Of course I couldn't help it though. Joshua would have married her had he lived long enough to buy the ring he wanted to propose with, everyone was sure of it. Everyone was looking rather forward to it actually, excited to think that the boy would finally be settling down. Everyone was pleased that there was someone in this world willing to deal with him, a wonderful woman currently crying with a controlled hysteria on the casket that held his empty shell.
I wasn't sure how it happened exactly, though I'd been there in the very same room as him, sleeping not three feet away. That was the fact that had me numb from the neck down, only from the neck down because I could feel every puff of breath, every stifled sob brush against my surely paled cheeks from every direction. It bothered me that she was reading a poem that most definitely did not show Joshua's person.
I didn't need to hear her airy words to know what the poem said, I'd memorized it during a rather emo phase in the eighth grade wherein I stepped straight up to the deceased in question and demanded the horrid thing be read at my own funeral. In response to the demand, the boy laughed straight in my face, told me the poem was "crap" meant only to make the "living friends and relatives feel better with blatant lies." He was quite adamant that once one was dead, one was dead. Joshua was also quite clear about the fact that death was in no way similar to sleep.
"Solo," was hissed into my ear, breaking me from my reverie suddenly. Matt. My best friend from way back when our mothers were still pregnant with us, the old bats always claimed that we synchronized our kicking. He was born exactly forty five hours before me, and was presently unclenching my hands for me. "It's your turn to talk. "
Talking out of the side of my mouth I muttered, "I don't want to."
"And yet you'll never forgive yourself if you don't," the young man sighed. He turned so he was facing me, squeezing both of my hands protectively, lovingly, before saying, "Solo, you love him - present tense - you just have to let everyone know that."
"Yes you can," he assured almost violently. "Now go!"
As soon as I'd been shoved from my seat, and was forced to stand in lieu of cracking my teeth on the pew in front of me, I couldn't make my feet stop approaching the pulpit from the last row in the church. Every teary, sympathetic, nauseating eye in the room was on me. I didn't want, and I certainly didn't deserve any sympathy in the matter at hand, but still I turned beside the casket, ignoring the well lit pulpit, wanting with an almost horrifying desperation to be close to Joshua just one last time.
The whole room was riveted to me, probably rather shocked that I was the least hysterical person in the room - not counting the preacher - though I should have been the one sobbing, trying to climb into the coffin with the man. I was well aware, more so than anyone else in the room, that I was more than just a regular old orphan now. My brother was dead too. Standing there, bidding what was my only living relative farewell, I knew that I was completely, and totally alone.
Someone in the crowd cleared their throat when a minute later I hadn't spoken, so I waited two more minutes before even cracking my mouth open just on principle. Matt looked terrified when I met his eyes, obviously fretting what I was about to do, because he knew that whatever it was it was going to be frowned upon heavily. He certainly knew me well enough to cover his eyes and groan loudly when I lifted my shoulder bag up and open, pulling out a big, fat, black Sharpie.
The room gasped loudly slamming feet to the floor as loud marker squeaks reverberated off the walls of the beautiful church. The casket had cost at least five thousand dollars, I'd been told by the four friends who'd paid for it without my asking. They weren't my friends, they were Joshua's friends, and they refused to listen to reason when I told them that the boy would spin in his grave if he were to know they were spending so much money on a coffin. Especially since his body was to be cremated in the end, anyway. I figured I'd ruin the damn thing so they couldn't possibly get their money back. After slamming in the final period, I smiled, rereading what I'd written:
Dads death: $4000 funeral, and a second mortgage.
Moms death: Government paid funeral, and seven years in a foster home.
Demonstrating to a room of gawking spectators that no words could possibly sum up exactly how I feel about Joshua: Priceless.
"Joshy was the best goddamned brother I ever could have asked for," I whispered to the dumbstruck room, noting that a handful of men were on their feet, probably prepared to rip me off of the casket, and several women were sobbing even louder than before. "His life is worth more than I could ever say," I spoke louder, realizing that my words were about to upset a room full of mourning people, but my conscience sat idly to the side, staring in a sort of horror at the bitter monster burrowing deeper, and deeper into my soul with each passing minute. "His life is worth more than any of you pretentious fools could ever even dream of affording. If any single one of you idiots believes what the fucking cops are telling you about the circumstances surrounding his death, you obviously knew nothing about the beautiful man lying in this over stuffed box right now."
In the suffocating near silence of the church the only sound one could hear were the smacks of my sneakers against the cherry wood panels. I think I may have knocked over a pastor on my way through the front gates, but all I cared about then was the icy wind slapping against my face, and getting as far away from the house of worship as I possibly could. I hadn't stopped for my coat, and knew full well that I could die out in the cold darkness in nothing but my black slacks and silk cowl neck.
Unfortunately that little nugget of knowledge didn't bother me a smidge.
The sobbing child inside me wanted desperately to be with Joshua again.
Even if that meant dying.