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Let’s build a scene, why don’t we?
Start with a backdrop. A worn out sky hangs above your head with paper machete clouds and a droning backdrop of darkness, like a monotone voice creating a stupor over the subjects below it.
Follow with a stage. Under your feet lies grass that moves against your skin like tiny dew-filled, angel kisses along the ridges of your ankles. There are a few flowers, scattered here and there like forgotten children, stretching on their stalks toward the minimal sunlight, wanting to be taken home, but mainly there are mud and bugs that unabashedly feast on your flesh in front of you. You swat them away, and look forward, eventually forgetting their existence at all.
There is a long, swampy river running lazily beside you, almost sleepwalking its way through the damp forest it slithers through like a snake. You can hear the faint tingle of its vibrations in the air, and you can taste its wetness on your skin.
Sweat will form on the back of your neck, running down like plastic tears, formed from the manipulative humidity. It’s a scarf that is wrapped tightly around your neck, suffocating you to the point of hyperventilating.
As always, the unusually nice looking house sitting like a freak contradiction in front of me stares at me with window-paned eyes. It looks at me as if to say, “What do you want? Yes, I’m here. You should be used to it by now.”
It’s true I should be used to it. For years, I have come here every night to take her into my arms, breath my breath onto her body, sing my broken, half-finished, but always sincere lullabies to her as she falls asleep on the rug in the living room. But the oddity of that house has yet to render me to normalcy. It’s like a piece of reptilian skin cut off and pasted to a human’s epidermis. It’s not natural. It doesn’t make sense. It shouldn’t be.
My heavy feet trudge through the violent increase in grass as I get closer and closer to the door. Closer and closer to her. To being us. To forgetting everything outside of this. Loving her. Being with her. Kissing her. My pulse is wet with anticipation, laying on me like a wet blanket after a day at the beach. It’s sticky and salty, and rubs roughly against your clothes.
My fingers tremble at the door. It’s not like this is anything nerve-wracking. I know that once I open the door I will fall into the warm familiarity of being with her. I lick my lips, soften them, feel their roughness fade under my saliva. I pull open the wood blocking me from entrance.
It’s dark inside, like patience and torment. I stand in it, drown in its heaviness. It presses on my shoulders, shrinking me into the wooden floor, making me an insignificant crease in the laminate paneling.
Shauna, I call to her. I wait in the burden-filled silence. It takes residence in my stomach like after a heavy meal. It sits there like lead, doing nothing but make me feel unbearably uncomfortable. Shauna, I’m here.
I’m here. I sit in the stillness for her, but I know she won’t be that easy to catch. I have to come to her. I have to approach her. It’s a silly game we play. Cat and mouse, really. I would complain, but I enjoy it too much. She’s just too lovely of a trapping reward.
One step. The wood screams my pressing weight breaking down its unused guards. I can’t hide the smile from forming against my lips. I know she’s watching me, somehow. Somewhere. In this room. In the staircase. Through a crack in the door in the room upstairs.
I hear a giggle to my left. It’s a ghost of a whisper. A harmony of several laughs combined into a string of melodic notes. My heart presses against my ribcage. I bite on my tongue, holding back the emotions bubbling in my esophagus.
“Carmen?” I question lightly. My voice bounces across the room to the heat forming inside the room directly in front of me. “Carmen, don’t play with me,” I caution harmlessly.
Her hiding spot isn’t good tonight, and unoriginal. Rarely do I find her anywhere besides. Maybe the pretending of a chase, the knowledge that eventually she will succumb is too beautiful for her to compromise. But I would never give up on her. She’s too precious.
I sprint to the door only half-way closed. I can feel the electricity moving through the crack at the bottom of the blockade. My body presses into it, letting myself be charged with so much energy I can hardly keep myself from panting at the sensation. My fist barrels through the wall of hindrance. I stumble into the room, and see the most beautiful sight of all.
For awhile I just sit there, let the emotions seep through my bloodstream and taint my typically conscious self with decisive recklessness.
“Miranda,” I murmur. “You’re so beautiful.”
I run my trembling finger down the waxy skin around her collarbone. She remains still, sitting in surrender. Her thin t-shirt is too thin for the cold frigidity of the room she roams. Her red-splattered face looks slightly purple under the fluorescent lighting.
“And you, Georgia,” I say as I move to the next frozen figure.
I can remember each one’s face when they last breathed into this eternal state. Their face is always either peaceful or horrified. It just depends on when they wake up. But see, now they never have to, and when I come to them, waiting for their love to fill emptiness seeping into my hollowed bones, they don’t resist, they don’t talk, and they give me what I’ve always needed.
Some company really.
Just some lovely company that never leaves.