Your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful.
Do you know? You know I love you so.
You know I love you so.

-Coldplay, "Yellow"

"My sweet, I'm home," Zhevouehn rasped, closing the screen door of the house with his hip, a large package balanced carefully in his hands. An excited groan was his wife's reply, it seemed as though her condition had deteriorated a little since he'd left her only a few hours ago. He frowned, slipping his shoes off and setting the package, wrapped in brown paper, on their kitchen table. The table was covered with a tablecloth, a cheery red and white checkered print his wife had chosen only a few months ago. He walked into the livingroom tentatively, fearing the worst, but his wife sat where he had left her, in her favourite chair. He moved to her side, tenderly stroking her papery cheek, feeling the coolness of her skin. She mewled softly, leaning her head softly to his hand, her delicate fingers clasping his wrist lovingly in return, she bit softly at his fingertips, adoration in her eyes.

"Now, now, precious, I know you're hungry, and I've picked you up dinner, but is that any way to say hello?" He smiled teasingly, straightening the lace collar on the dress she was wearing. The dress billowed out around her frail body, it almost looked like an old-fashioned nightgown. His wife reached forward to stroke his cheek, her mental state seeming to be rather clear today, and she grunted softly, trying to stroke the soft dark tresses of his hair he had pulled back into a ponytail behind his head. She managed to get a few strands loose, and she stared at them with the simple fascination of a child. "We shall dance before dinner, my princess," he murmured softly, lifting her gently from the chair onto her unsteady feet. She stood where he left her as he went to set a record to the record player, a slow, sweet female voice whispering out jazz lyrics to the melodious tune of a trumpet.

Dominique, Zhevouehn's wife, gasped suddenly, and began to sway her thin hips in time with the music, as though she immediately felt better. "Yes, my sweet one, this one was always one of your favorites." He took her hand and began to draw her into his arms delicately, like a husband with a blushing bride. "Come, and we shall dance together."

He took her papery hands delicately in his, and began to dance in the warm darkness of the room, his cheek pressed against her head, in her dark locks. Her hair smelled faintly of gardenia, and he smiled, nuzzling her hair. "I know you don't remember this, but you are the singer on the record, you were once a great jazz singer. Jazz was our life, my sweet, I as your trumpet player and you with your siren's voice. I would give anything to hear you sing once more," his deep, rasping voice whispered to her ear. Dominique nuzzled closer to him, enjoying the warmth of his body, her skin feeling cool to the touched. Zhevouehn frowned, he mustn't delay her dinner longer than necessary, no matter how much he dreaded it. With every dinner came tears, and the same questions he found so hard to answer.

"Come, my sweet, the dinner hour presses upon us, and I know how hungry you get," he murmured, picking her up and cradling her to his chest, as he brought her to the kitchen, setting her at the table in front of the package. He took a fabric napkin and set it to her lap with a flourish, to catch bits of food, and he turned her slightly so she was facing him. Dominique looked at him with adoration, her lips dry and cracked. Zhevouehn noted that her skin seemed to be more pale than usual, and he sighed heavily. He could do nothing to stop her condition, he was no miracle worker, after all, but he loved her and he wanted her at his side for as long as he could have her.

He opened the brown paper package carefully, the crinkling of the paper reminding him of her skin slightly, and he frowned apologetically at Dominique, who sat with single-minded determination. From the package, he drew his own dinner, and then hers, underneath. He set them both on the table as his wife elicited another excited grunt. He smiled weakly at her, his stomach turning slightly as he unpackaged her meal. It looked like it had gone cold, the rubbery meat staring up at him. He broke a small piece off and offered it to her. Dominique grabbed his wrist and sucked at the meat, a soft moan of pleasure escaping her lips as she did. Zhevouehn repeated the process with several smaller pieces of the greyish, gelatinous meat, until she seemed to have remembered how to feed herself, and clumsily started putting morsels into her mouth, chewing with determination.

He stood up, and went to wash his hands at the sink, scrubbing them as though trying to get the distasteful feeling of the cold meat off of his hands, when suddenly, her sugary voice curled around his ears.

"Zhevouehn?" She asked softly, the bedroom purr of her voice reserved only for their evenings alone together in her voice. A ripple of pleasure ran through his body, and he stood up straight, his fitted black suit looking somewhat funerary in their cheerily lit kitchen. The herbs she tended to were leaning against the waning evening sun, as though trying to get the last few precious minutes of sunlight before their world became darkness for another long evening.

"Yes, my princess Dominique?" He said, turning back to her as he dried his long-fingered hands with a tea towel. He set the towel onto the varnished wood of their countertop and moved to begin to massage her delicate shoulders, trying to impart some warmth into her cool skin.

"Where am I?" She asked softly, looking up at him with her inquisitive brown eyes, resting a delicate hand on his. His stomach lurched, this was the part he hated the most, having to remind her.

"You're at home, my sweetest one," he murmured softly, moving to kiss her hand, he took his place beside her, holding her hand. She frowned, as though trying to work out her surroundings again. He allowed her a few minutes to work this out, stroking her small hand as he began to eat, watching her carefully. She gazed to the tablecloth she had picked out, to the summery curtains waving softly in the breeze of the open window. She gazed to the kitchen where they had made much more than food, and she gazed again to the table, scowling.

"Why do I find it so hard to remember?" She asked softly. Tears welled in Zhevouehn's eyes, and he squeezed her hand so tightly he heard the cartilage in her fingers pop. He immediately released her hand from his grip, patting it lightly.

"Well, my dear wife, you had an..." He paused, trying to figure out the best way to word the delicate situation, "unfortunate accident. It makes it hard for you to remember things, and sometimes you don't feel very good. I love you very much, my sweet pet, I want you to remember that, above all else."

Her gaunt face broke into a bright smile, and his heart melted for her again. This was the hard part, knowing that she'd always forget, and that there may be a time when she'd never remember again. "I love you too, Zhevouehn, that's why we got married. I couldn't stand the thought of being without you."

"Nor I, I can assure you of that, my sweet." He rasped softly, stroking her cheek. He braced himself for the inevitable question, taking a small sip of water to wet his lips. She paused for a moment, looking at the meal in front of her.

"What sort of accident was I in?" She said finally, and a tear rolled down Zhevoeuhn's cheek. He couldn't help it, he had tried so hard to protect her from the truth, but he would never lie to her.

"You... choked, my sweet. On our wedding cake," he said, his voice breaking slightly as he told her. "I tried so hard to revive you. Oh, god, you turned blue in my arms..." He pressed his hand to his mouth, tears rolling down his cheeks, unrestrained now, he sobbed softly into his hand for a moment. Dominique went silent for a long moment, and then she looked to the small bundle tied to her wrist, a few feathers, a small pouch, some bones and a wilted gardenia, and it seemed to dawn on her for the first time.

"This is a gris-gris. I'm... I was... I am... dead," the zombie said softly, the words sounding awkward and wrong in her mouth. Zhevouehn nodded, not trusting his voice at the moment. Tears rolled down his cheeks as he looked at his wife. She looked almost as she did in life, perhaps a little more pale and a little thinner, but she was still Dominique.

"I'm so sorry, my princess. I tried everything I could do," he said softly, gritting his teeth as he watched her begin to cry. "I love you, I couldn't leave you rot in the ground. I promised I would never leave your side, and I have not. I feed you, I tend to your needs, I keep you safe." Her shoulders hunched and she covered her face with her bony fingers.

"How long will I remember?" She asked him, sniffling a little as he drew her into his lap, curling her up close to him, wrapping his jacket halfway around her.

"Sometimes it is a few hours, sometimes the whole evening. Precious moments, my pet. I savor them always, in those moments you are my lovely Dominique again." He rocked her comfortingly in his arms as her small body shuddered, she clutched tight to his frame.

"Please, Zhevouehn, don't leave me. I don't want to be alone," she said softly, her voice quavering a little as she spoke. She always sounded so frightened when they came to this point in the evening, and it broke his heart. He loved her with every fiber of his being, and she seemed so lifelike in these moments it broke his heart to remember she would soon degenerate to her former forgetful state.

"Never, my sweet. You will be with me always." Zhevouehn promised her, kissing her forehead as they sat in the rapidly darkening kitchen, the twilight fading into dusk.

And all I can taste is this moment,
And all I can breathe is your life.
'Cause sooner or later it's over
I just don't want to miss you tonight

And I don't want the world to see me
'cause I don't think that they'd understand.
When everything's made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am.

-The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"