She arrived home and hesitated to enter. It was a place of shadows, abandoned and desolate. But something inside of her made her reach out and open the door. To her surprise, there was her Dom, standing there with his signature charming grin and a bouquet made up of the most colorful flowers, picked at random. She'd always loved that he never bought her the conventional roses. They were overrated, anyway.
"Dom, I thought you were dead!" she cried, rushing over and throwing her arms around him. He hugged her back for a brief instant before pulling her gently away.
"Don't cry, a ghra," he muttered, running his fingers over her cheeks to dry her tears. But something wasn't right. His hands, they weren't soft at all. They scraped at her skin.
Her eyes snapped open and she screamed, tearing herself away from him. This monster, he wasn't her Dom at all. This skeleton in her living room, he was just some cruel joke. His hair was the same, and his clothes. But the grotesque remains of skin hanging off of his body marked him as something entirely other.
She screamed, sitting bolt upright and clutching her sheets around her, shivering.
The darkness enveloped her. She switched on her lamp, the better to see that her dream hadn't been reality. But what she saw in the light wasn't a comfort at all.
Sitting on her little table was a bouquet of flowers just like the ones from her dream.
She was scared out of her wits for a few moments before she remembered that he'd given her those last week. They were already wilting. But that didn't stop her trembling.
She, against her best efforts, was a wreck. It was a nightmare, and that was completely normal, she reasoned with herself even as she half-ran to her fireplace. Mechanically, she lit it, holding her hands over the small flame without much hope. She hadn't been truly warm in four days, since his death.
She could feel a breakdown on its way, and wished beyond hope for a storm. Nothing and no one except Dom had ever been able to calm her like raging weather could. It had never once failed her.
Some kindly spirit must have taken pity on her, because rain started pouring down and she rushed outside, almost running into the doorframe in her desperation.
And then she was standing in the pouring rain. It didn't make her feel like it normally did. She could feel her tears still pushing at the dam she'd put up against them, though in all of her years, she'd never once been able to cry in the rain. There was something healing about it, almost like therapy. She'd learned early on that when the heavens are pouring out their grief, it's easier to bear your own. But what she was feeling now, it was like nothing she'd ever known before. Even the rain couldn't push back her sorrow.
And so she let her tears flow, the first since the policemen came knocking at her door and her world came to a screeching halt. She lifted her face to the sky, letting the rain mix with her tears, letting it share in her grief. She felt liberated.
But now that the block she'd put up against falling apart was down, she couldn't stop. She sobbed so hard that it hurt her chest, hurt her face, ravaged her throat. She fell to her knees and sat helplessly in the mud, hugging her arms tightly around her body, trying to pull herself back together.
In an unconscious effort to keep her grip on herself, her fingers dug into the ground, heedless of the muck they got coated in.
She cried until she had no more tears left in her. She didn't feel better, exactly, just exhausted. Empty. Some part of her, buried deep down but nonetheless there, thought, 'How can anyone cry a river? All I cried was a puddle of tears and I feel spent.' A hysterical laugh bubbled out of her, and she snapped a hand over her mouth, shocked at herself.
The wind howled, though whether it was laughing along with her or mocking her, she didn't know.
The bit of control she'd regained after her crying spell had ended vanished again, and she looked once more to the sky and let loose a ripping scream, one that had been building in her for days. After all, her worst nightmare had come true. He was gone, gone forever.
She repeatedly told herself that, because she had to make sure that she realized once and for all that it had really happened, that he was never coming back. That he'd never hold her in the safety of his arms again. A northern wind carried her scream up and away. Maybe it took it to the heavens, and Dom could hear it.
She clutched this thought close to her. He'd loved her, she knew. He'd loved her and wouldn't like to see her suffering thus. As the storm died down, she calmed and, cradled still on the muddy ground, felt a strange sort of peace come over her, one that she'd forgotten was possible.
He was gone, she reminded herself, and realized that the words weren't ripping the hole inside of her open any further, not anymore. Maybe the rain had worked its magic on her once again. Maybe now she could start healing.