I walked alone, listening to Unintended, daydreaming of Her. I could feel Her touch, hear Her voice, hear Her laugh. I could sense Her beside me, touching me, Her gentle laugh like a song to my ear. I smell the sweet perfume of Her skin, feel Her breath tickle my skin, tremble when She nestles Her face into my neck.
My gaze is drawn upwards, to the dimly shining sunlight broken by the network of branches, a net of night to catch the sun. I inhale the gentle scent of the wild: The perfume of the dew-wet grass, the musk of animals, and the soft scent of the trees. It soothed me, whisking away the scent of Her, gently washing away my agony. I paused, feeling the sensations: The gentle breath of the wind, the coolness of the shade, the idle warmth of the sun. I sigh, breathing deep, for once free.
But then I feel Her press up against me, feel Her breath warm my skin, feel Her tongue tickle my neck, feel Her lips kiss and wander the tender skin of my throat. I gasp, and murmur, “Oh, angel….Why do you torture me so?”
She laughs, and murmurs into my ear, soft as a dream, “Because you killed me….”
I force out a choking sigh, and She laughs once more, “But I didn’t kill you….”
She whispers back, Her voice soothing and tempting, “Because I haunt you….Like you haunted me….”
“But….I didn’t kill you….” I say again, trembling at Her touch.
“You have my blood on your hands….” She whispers, Her hand taking mine and raising it so Her eyes can gaze at the red upon it. I pull my hand away, and She slips around me, so She can gaze into my eyes. “You killed me….” She says again, “You have my blood upon your hands….”
I break into a sprint, running straight through Her, gasping at the sudden shock of cold as It blasts through me.
As I burst through the trees and into the clearing, startling families and halting conversations with my screams, I hear Her laughing behind me….
But then I feel Her hands take mine….Draw me back into the shelter of the trees….
I let Her.
As I lose myself in Her sweet torture, watching the families slowly return to their laughter and their games, I spy a single young man rise from his seat ‘neath a tree, walk forwards, long-fingered hands slipping golden hair behind many-pierced ears.
As I hear Her laugh and as I tremble, I meet his all-too-familiar deep green eyes. He walks forward, his eyes wide, and I scarcely catch his murmuring voice on the breeze but I hear it nonetheless: “Jamie…?”
Her spell shatters, and She goes.
I fall to my knees, gasping for breath.
Logan runs to me, falling into a crouch beside me, grasping my shoulders. “Jamie, is that you?”
I fall into my old friend’s arms, crying. “Logan….” I force out, and he hugs me carefully, gently.
“Jamie….What has life done to you?” he asks, pushing me to arm’s length, regarding me with worried eyes.
I laugh, and regard him in turn. “Life has done nothing to me….You haven’t changed.”
He lapses into a frown. “Then what has changed you…? And just because my pretty face hasn’t changed doesn’t mean I haven’t,” he cracks a grin, trying to make me smile, “The last time we saw each other….You had Her blood on your hands, and I was all but dead. So I HAVE changed….I’m no longer bleeding out!”
He tries to smile again, but he fails.
We sit there, regarding each other, remembering. Struck by a sudden recollection, I say in a rush, “Do you remember when we climbed the tree that day–in grade five? I fell off the top branch, and you jumped after me, only to turn into a landing pad when we hit the ground.”
He laughs. “How could I forget? You always were a twig–but I didn’t know how much skinny bones can hurt until you stabbed me with your elbow.”
I laugh with him, thinking back. “If I remember correctly, you cried and punched me.”
He raises his eyebrows, smirking. “No….If my memory serves me rightly, it was you who cried when I punched you. And what could you have expected, young Jamie? You could’ve killed me with an elbow like that….”
I punch him on the arm, and he mimes a hurt expression, dropping his lower lip into an unhappy pout.
“Aw….Little Jamie thinks he can take me!”
I tackle him, and for a while we fight, wrestling, pinning each other like we had so many years ago. Logan, a young man who I hadn’t seen in three years, a young man who I had once viewed as my brother, who I loved with everything I was. This young man and I fought as we had once fought, before….Before Her.
But then we stop, and roll away from each other, pulling each other to our feet, gasping.
Gasping at Her touch, and hearing Her mocking laugh.
Logan’s eyes focused on mine, trembling, grasping my hand tightly. “Is it always like this…? Does She always….” He falls into silence, unable to speak as he trembles again.
“Torture me? Yes….Now that you’re near me, She tortures you, too….” I reply, and his hand tightens on mine one last time before he whirls away, breaking free of my hand, leaving me behind.
Before he returns to the park, Logan turns to me one last time, and yells in farewell, “I’m the one who killed her! I’m the one….I pushed her from the balcony!”
He starts back towards me, as if regaining a sense of strength.
I look at him, and gesture for him to go. “But you’re not the one She haunts….”
Logan’s eyes meet mine one last time, only a hundred meters away but yet so far, before he nods in thanks
and goes, leaving me behind him forever with the girl he killed.
She laughs, calling, “Goodbye, Logan dear! I will see you again soon….”
I tremble, and watch him break into a desperate run, escaping from the dark world he had cast me into, leaving behind his greatest friend.
“Goodbye….” I murmur.