I’m in a long distance relationship once again, but this time the distance could only be measured in grief.
Before we moved in together, I would always carry Annie around in my pocket, waiting for her messages to buzz through. Now she rests in one of the dirt-filled pockets of this hellish city, and the only messages I get are from our etched memories. Distance is finally enjoying its revenge.
Every day has been the same robotic routine for survival. I always wake up to the same damn thing. I’m sick and tired of it, but I have to keep pushing through. I have to keep fighting, because I know one day it will finally happen. It has to.
I go out every day on supply runs with hopes of being killed, so I could join Annie. But I won’t just give up and let the dead take me easily. I’ll die fighting, like I promised her. Death has already flirted with me on more than one occasion, but its flesh-lusting teeth could never pierce through my skin.
It’s funny, when you really want something to happen, it usually doesn’t. But when you fear something will happen, it does.
I’m not afraid of death or its mindless followers. I hear them pounding outside right now, turning the house into a beating heart that’s about to explode with terror.
I think I’m going to let them in.
Despite the distance between them, life and death used to share a special relationship. Life would always send gifts to death. Death would cherish each, and planned to keep them forever.
This is what happens when the relationship between life and death ends: death returns life’s gifts, that used to be safely buried, and we suffer because of it.
Many of those gifts are now resting in pieces around me.
The floor and walls that once framed the beautiful memories I shared with Annie have cried blood. They’re splattered with nauseating pieces of mangled flesh, guts, and brains.
My axe’s head now has a face, paralyzed in a tortured expression, slowly sliding off. Blood-clotted hair has grown out of its steel scalp, thanks to the amount of times it’s been dug into the empty graveyards that have replaced brains that were once fully functional.
How am I still alive? The dead had swarmed the entire house. They had me pinned down, but I still managed to take down every single one of them. My pistol’s screams weren’t even enough to call forth more of them to get the job done.
I search through the sheet of blood covering my sore, aching body.
No bite at all…
I couldn’t stay in our house any longer. I packed as much as I could and left. Annie’s grave in Ascension Lawn Cemetery is now my bed. I set up a makeshift tent using branches and our bed sheets.
Braving the cold, I’m spending some time lying outside tonight, gazing at the sky. We both loved doing this in the beginning of our relationship. It was a daily dose of pain relief for our frustration over not being physically together. Knowing that we were looking at the same sky together was comforting.
There’s only a single star out tonight—a bright fish surrounded by dark waters, waiting to be reunited with the beautiful bird she loves. I’m staring at a pitiful reflection of myself.
I’m tempted to dig Annie’s body out so I can hold her in my arms again. We could stare at the dead sea in the sky together.
Here I am in the company of lone headstones that are mourning and waiting for the return of the dead they used to overlook.
Cold-hearted Mother Nature is getting pleasure watching me slowly suffer from a lack of food. Before I head back to the streets for a supply run, I decide to search the caretaker’s house, hoping it’s abandoned.
Its modern architecture is beautiful, skirted with solar panels large enough to reflect God’s admiration. But all the money that went into it doesn’t mean a thing anymore.
Paper pills, that’s what money used to be. You needed it to survive and live a life deemed healthy by society, but many people became addicted to it, falling for its false promise of happiness. I was always the giving type, even with people I knew would take advantage of my kindness. Hell, I remember giving money to a bully in high school so he would leave this poor kid alone, but the damage had already been done. Eric killed himself in a bathroom stall a few days before our graduation. I wasn’t as affected by that tragedy as the other kids were. Death had already raped me, impregnating me with an overpowering fear that was eventually miscarried, bleeding out of me and leaving behind a strange sense of immunity to that very fear. Annie’s death was the only exception.
I circle the entirety of the caretaker’s house, stopping in front of a window looking into the dining room. The house isn’t abandoned.
Hiding out of sight, I decide to leave the caretaker alone. I’ve been getting by on my own for this long and I will continue to do so.
I hate to admit it, but I’m afraid I’m once again starting to fall in love with the one I had been hopelessly devoted to before I met Annie. His name is Solitude.
Suddenly, I feel a buzzing in my pocket that quickly spreads all over my body. Words have crawled out of the black graveyard my phone’s screen has been for weeks. It’s a message… from Annie:
“I love you so much. Please don’t give up.”