I had watched her.
I had been her convoy in the past, untouched and pure. When her prudence was all gone, absolved from her spirit like a withered plant, I was there.
Many could not comprehend her, but her mind was more or less an adaption to my own senses. Lien was one unfathomable to our population, a drifter that simply existed without any overt interests. Throughout the years, I felt compelled to wander nearer and nearer to her strange aura, a tentative movement she nonchalantly accepted without comment.
I was drawn into her atmosphere. I had given up my decent popularity to quench my curiosity of her. With her, I observed the dynamic congregation that had forsaken us.
We were two microscopic neutrons among a world of unstable electricity. No charge, no effect on the environment around us.
It was a simple relationship that held so much.
My lungs burn for oxygen, forcing me to pull away unwillingly. Lien straddles on my right leg, pressing her hands against my chest. There is no genuine feeling in her pale blue eyes, only stimulating arousal. In the recesses of my mind, I know this, but I love her too much to comply with reality.
In the console sits overturned bottles of alcohol, their smell lingering in her breath. She meets my gaze, and for one moment, my heart pounds with desire, that she'll stay here, enveloped in my embrace. But she quickly draws away. Sometimes her eyes flash years of pain in front of me. We both know she can't escape, that the temporary pleasures mean nothing if the next day is all the same.
She rests back in her seat, propping her legs on the dashboard of my car. Her eyes are bloodshot, streaming hot tears that fall from her wan face and delicately touch her breasts.
She exhales, satisfied, and grabs a pack of cigarettes from the compartment. Lien breathes out the smoke, gazing at the cloud like a vessel of departing memories.
"Take me home."
I start the engine, combing my hair behind my ears as I examine my reflection in the hoisted mirror. It seems every day, my vitality fades along with Lien. Sometimes, I question if I'm even a woman anymore. I feel more like a hungry entity, aimlessly wandering for an impossible rectitude.
"Start driving." She urges.
Lien stares at the sky with solemnity, her face red from her slight intoxication. The moon is full, adorning the sky beautifully, but neither of us can enjoy it. The moon is pretty amazing for a floating ball of rock. I've always wondered if it was strong enough to sway oceans, if it could somehow pull people apart, too.
The ride is the usual quiet.
Her home is a dingy apartment in the slums. The place is under my name, as I pay the rent. Although I could afford to house myself in a residency of more quality, I choose to spend most of my time here.
This is a place where the shunned convene. Here, we can relax in our obscenities. No push or pull.
As we approach the neighborhood, the familiar noises accompany our ears. Emancipated dogs howl and bark, struggling with their restricting chains; contemporary music of all kinds booms into one odd medley, showing that this place is a diverse mesh of rejects.
The nighttime air is crisp and cool against our exposed skin. Lien tosses her cigarette carelessly to the ground, the faint embers glowing portentously against the brown grass. As she walks up the stairs leading to our apartment with a drunken sway, I find myself extinguishing it beneath my shoe.
I fumble with the keys in the dim light, Lien slumping on my shoulder lazily. I open the door. Immediately I become aware of another presence. I grit my teeth irritably at the aroma of burnt carpeting, the putrid combination of sweat and booze. The man is near naked, lying on my couch with no acknowledgement to my arrival. Lien tumbles inside in her drunken stupor, rambling mindlessly as she falls on top his body.
"Blue." She mumbles seductively. "Put some pants on." He says nothing.
"That's okay. I don't like pants either."
"Get out." I command, but he lies there, dazed in a different world. I pick up the disposed cigarette that singed my carpet and fling it in the trash bin.
Lien grows bored with the unresponsive slob and heads into the bedroom, most likely to collapse until noon or so tomorrow. How he manages to gain such loyalty from abusive sex and violence is beyond my comprehension. With his only protection gone, I smile mischievously, walking over to position my foot forcefully into his crotch.
Blue bolts up like he's had a shot of epinephrine, dramatically swinging his head at his surroundings. He swears heavily, only adding to my enjoyment.
"Get your pants and get out of my house." I repeat with a stifled snicker. Realizing I'm the perpetrator, his face turns violent red, but he obeys, grabbing his strewn articles off the floor.
"Bitch." I hear him mutter under his breath. He reaches the doorway, turning to face me unexpectedly. He touches his scalp like it's a foreign texture. "My head..."
I share no concerns for the fool, nor do I pay his conditions any mind, but I find myself curiously glancing upwards. I let my mouth gape in disgust; a gruesome mass, reddened and bleeding, rises from his head.
"She..." He begins, but he obviously doesn't have the mental capacity to finish his thought in his current state. Not like he could do much better sober.
His affairs no longer humor me. "Out." I bark at him.
He slams the door with a few choice words, his anger tearing out from disorientation. The origins of his lunacy still remain in the dark, but I worry Lien catalyzed this particular outburst. I sigh contently at his departure, my overpowering contempt fading. There is a reason for such exasperate emotion.
Blue was the reason. Every single tear that streaked her face, every dark and churned thought that came to her mind resulted from him.
She never asked to be driven to such a cruel standpoint.
Their bond was contorted and illogical to any outsider; he was a rogue stepfather playing his authoritative card to gain sexual accesses, and yet she accepted these terms with a coy smile. Then, she would retreat away into the dark, into the numbness, to silently cry until the pull of the moon forced her from my arms.
I walk into our bedroom. Lien is already locked away in her drowsiness, murmuring to herself. Her arms hang over the edge of the mattress humorously. Smiling, I lovingly position her stray limbs, pulling the untamed sheets over her body.
"I'm sorry." She whispers distantly. Another tear sneaks its way down her cheek.
"Don't let him in again." I flatly repeat, knowing there will be no revelation in her damaged mind. I figure this nothing, though her apology is rare and unusual.
"I'm sorry." She says again, her voice carrying more pain. "I'm so sorry. Sorry...sorry…sorry..."
I can feel her hand trembling against my own.
"What happened?" Normally something I would never ask, but I fear her thoughts will overwhelm her.
It takes her a minute to respond. Her lips quiver at the effort to form words from her hellish memories.
"I let him in last night." She starts tentatively, as if Blue was hiding among the shadows. "I hit him."
I raise an eyebrow at her. It explains Blue's gash, but the fact she even admits it is shocking.
"I don't know. I just wanted him to stop. I was…tired."
Then, sensing my overbearing concern, she tries to switch the atmosphere of our conversation.
"I didn't think it was possible to be sick of sex." She joshes with a heartwarming grin.
Lien's smiles are always fake to a certain degree, but it's overt as to how she keeps her trials hidden from public. Her devilish smirk could draw anyone away from their questions.
I know she is hiding something, but I carelessly put it off as an exaggeration. I shut the door gingerly, hoping for the better tomorrow that never seems to arrive.
"Goodnight." I catch her faint voice behind the door.
My heart suddenly floods with adoration. "Goodnight."
There was a point when Lien could have been saved from it all. I arrived at her breaking point, too late to stop her downward spiral.
A haunting regret I will always carry.
There was a certain irregularity in her breathing, a certain flicker in her eyes that should have made me stay. But money didn't pop out of nowhere as easily as Blue did asking for it. I had to leave her ten hours a weekday for the workforce.
My office was never a place of refuge, but that day, it was a torture chamber. The walls seemed to compress my anxiety for her into a suffocating prison. The telephone rings with its consistent, annoying tone. I pick it up with a reflex of second nature, pumping exaggerated enthusiasm into my greeting, but it is not a business call.
The moon could have very well ripped my soul from my body right then.
The road is a blur of colors and sounds as I rocket through traffic with immeasurable speed.
Shit. I know he's done it; he's gone over the edge. That motherfucking bastard. He's dead. I'm gonna kill him. His blood is mine.
Bruises line my hands and arms in an agglomeration of black and blue. I continuously pound at the steering wheel viciously, as if my happiness, my life as it once was, is somehow trapped inside.
Damn it. Please don't be real. A mistake. Dream.
My vehicle is brutally ignored as I pull into the complex, banging its sides against God knows what. The engine is left running. The door remains swung open in my apathy.
There is a crowd of people lined all around our apartment. Neighbors whose names I never bothered with rush to me, spouting apologetic bullshit I automatically ignore. I simply shove them aside, shove anyone aside that doesn't look like they can tell me what's really happened.
Cops stand guard at my door. Their faces are stiff and expressionless, as if tragedy no longer fazes them. Blue sits on the ground, handcuffed, accompanied by two armed men. At first, I am immobilized with disbelief. His clothes have been replaced with throwaway police slacks, such a pseudonymous addition I would have laughed my ass off if not for the situation. I bite my tongue and order my way inside.
Somehow they were already aware of my identity, addressing me with information about my property and regulations of evidence. Once their lecturing is over, they allow me in with an escort. The woman is not a cop, but probably a criminal investigator. Her bony hands grip a clipboard. Occasionally, she ducks her head to jot something down on it. She poses herself like she is above all who surround her; she cringes like my presence appalls her.
I follow her unwillingly.
My home is alien to me. Random people are roaming about, snapping photos and rummaging through my neatly organized shelves. Blood stains are prominent, decorating the walls and floor with subtle markings. The trail of crimson rests at the bedroom door, my adrenaline pulsing angrily inside me at the silent dread. With a gloved hand, the woman ushers me inside.
Lien's body is limp, slumping against the bed like a discarded doll. Her hair is clumped as if wet, but dark blood dyes her once beautiful hair. Her torso is bare aside from a knife that protrudes from her neckline. Her playful eyes are now unblinking, motionless, unchanging.
The emptiness I feel is terrorizing, inhuman. I am no longer of this society, of this world.
I am something else.
My only concrete thought is to hold her. I kneel to her level, my vision blurred from my watery eyes.
The woman suspects my intents. "Ma'am-"
I subconsciously reach to wrap my arms around her, praying that she only needs comfort, my words.
Stay here. You're alright now.
Instead, my shaky hands touch her chin, the last shard of hope shattering at her cold touch.
This is death. There is no return.
Stay with me, Lien. I can help you.
"Ma'am, you are defiling criminal evidence." The clipboard woman irritably states.
Some inhibiting barrier dwelling in me breaks at her words. She's just criminal evidence. No longer anything to feel over. An object. People grow tired of objects. She's soon to be nothing after that, I realize. My sadness fades around that point. It turns to hatred.
Clipboard woman calls out for assistance. A sturdy man interlocks his arm in mine in a submissive fashion, politely but firmly leading me out of the house.
My perspective of everything had twisted. As I step outside, all I see is witlessness. Their curiosity, their gossiping, all the trivial matters that humans had pieced together now meant nothing. All who neared me could sense my odious disposition, wary of stepping in my sight.
Blue remains in the same spot as before. He nonchalantly shrugs his shoulders when he sees my despair, mouthing the word bitch with a subtle twinkle in his eye. I could feel my face heat with blaring rage.
I don't remember lunging. I don't remember my nails digging as deep as I could force them into his throat. I don't remember the resonating cracks of his skull against the concrete as I repetitively smashed it.
That's what my attorney wanted me to say to the jury. Play the insanity role. Make them believe I was so stricken with grief I didn't realize what I was doing.
Like hell. I remembered every grim detail. I savored every second.
Blood, his sweaty, cuffed hands attempting foolishly to pry me off. His yelling, begging me for redemption he doesn't deserve. I wanted to feel his life slipping away in my hands; I wanted to see the look of pain on his stupid drunken face as the angels of death pulled him away on their flaming chariot.
There was no defense. It was clear I had no remorse. But I did have the truth.
So I told them. I told them our pain. I didn't want Lien to be buried underneath Blue's murder. They still had to understand. I wanted to tell the world how intricately designed we were as humans, how weak and pathetic we truly are until some other force intervenes. We are nothing without force, emotion. Until then, we remain without spark, without motion. Unchanging.
A couple jurors' eyes glimmered with moisture and sympathy. Most drearily stared at me.
An object. People eventually grow tired of objects.
So they did to me what people do to broken, imperfect things.
They threw me away.
I went to see Blue's cheap grave they engraved for him before they took me away. In their haste to leave the whole misfortune behind them, they misspelled his name and left him crappy plastic flowers as atonement. I looked around the graveyard, the early day still blanketed in a heavy mist. I hoped to see the world in some sort of normality one last time, but found it impossible.
But then again, was it ever normal to begin with?
I'm sure the people will forget about us, of Lien and me, and carry on with their lives. Meanwhile, I mock their ignorance as I ride above society in my flaming chariot.
Lien would have genuinely smiled at that, I like to think.
Heh. See you in Hell, bastards.