28. "and from these turn away"
Section Scarlet's Pulseless Heart
PRESENT DAY II:
They say yellow is a happy color, but when it's wrapped around a crime scene, it's not to express happiness. It's to express warning.
Warning from what? Blood and gore? Or does it make more sense to say that behind this yellow tape is where happiness can no longer be? Where everything comes falling from the top of the cliff? Is it saying that it's protecting us from the wickedness of this world?
Yes. That's exactly what it's doing.
I should've known that was true when I ducked underneath the bright color and trespassed into the place it told me I didn't belong and where I wasn't welcome, but it didn't stop me.
I was in high spirits to get to see Ryan again and ready for where life promised to take me, so much the swaying of the tape was nothing but a a blur in the back of my head at best. A blur that I didn't care to notice, -- that carried little significance, but somehow, in someway, the place was determined to speak to me, and it wanted to deliver bad news.
Or maybe it didn't want to, but it had to, because that's all a sad story can express, right? Sadness?
The place stunk of chemicals that had to end up there after the professionals came by to clean up the crime scene. Right there, I should of already realized the red flag and I should've already been preparing myself for the worst, but the thought of cloud nine was so near, and I couldn't dismiss it. Behind the door in the floor, I knew Ryan was behind there, and if everything went according to plan, he'd be there waiting for me after all this time.
I opened the door, quickly finding the second latch he had told me about, and I knocked on it gently. "Ryan?" I called out his name, but I didn't hear any answer. I let out a chuckle, because it was normal that he would play tricks on me and I thought it lightened the spooky atmosphere if he were to play a prank that I didn't let myself fall for.
I felt a sense of relief from the messiness we went through. That is, until I swung the door wide enough it'd reveal everything we planned out.
Well, almost everything.
The snacks that he said he would prepare to get him through the nights were all over the place, each opened and some empty, others half full or so. He had a few bottles of water scattered across the space, and the duffel bag filled to the brim with the million Jayvee offered me was up against the right corner. The only thing missing was him.
And I don't mean he wasn't there. I could see him, very well in fact. The blood from the wound on his hand that had stained his shirt and that had drizzled in dots across his face didn't try to hide from me, but his skin was a bright red, like he suffered through bleach burns all over his body. Chemicals surrounded him like an island in an undiscovered place, and his eyes were shut, unable to be opened.
He was dead. He wasn't dead when he went beneath the floorboards, but he was now, after the fumes had got to him and he suffocated, unable to get to the oxygen he searched for.
Whose fault was that? Was it mine? His own? Jayvee's? The authorities?
I have no idea. I don't think I'll ever know. All I knew was how to sob. Sob, and blame myself.
It felt like chemicals when it fell down my cheeks. It lost the salty taste that it had as if the ocean grazed your eyelids, but it felt like my own tears was a suicide that left me alive, and that I couldn't escape from but it wasn't near as much as he went through.
I had wishes that everything would get better, but it couldn't. Everything got worse.
This is how we would part ways. After I got greedy, and after I thought that I'd have him all to myself, he passed away beneath the floorboards, and nobody had a clue that he was six feet deep calling for breath. He died unheard and he died forgotten. He died unnoticed -- yes, he died going through all of those things from everyone except for me.
I'll remember him forever, even if I took part in leading him to his grave.
I'll miss him more than people would understand, especially being aware that our love story ended before it could actually get anywhere.
Could I kiss him now? Could I, even if he's like this? Even if he's not breathing?
Even if he couldn't respond?
I tried to. I tried to and my hands trembled around his cold, pale face.
I couldn't bear to look at him. Not after he suffered this much because of a million dollars we didn't need.
I didn't need it as much as I needed him.
How could I live from now on? How could I live with myself?
With my hoodie up and the bag clutched in my hand anyway since it was all I had left of him, I made a run for it, praying to disappear into the life that I wanted with him and to live every single day doing what we wanted to do together. I prayed to allow him to be my last and I vowed to never fall in love again.
And I blew a dandelion on the past if it could ever live again -- to spend more time with him once I met him for the first time, and to spend our days together, being ourselves from the start, even if it has to end like this.
I begged for a rewind, where our chances soared much higher, as I vanished into the trees, never to be found again.
There was only one thought on my mind from then on: why didn't I let myself fall when I had the chance?