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Stand By Me

by Layla Nelson 12 months ago in fantasy
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I'll Stand With You


2057 month of Roses

Forget everything you know. I keep telling myself this. I hide under an old covered bridge. Staring at 2 initials, followed by a heart and 2 more initials. Carved in this bridge years ago, when we had a forbidden word. Love. Now the world is full of hate. Fighting, right outside of this old covered bridge. It does not matter what you may have in common, that you may be family. It does not matter that you're only 10 years old. People run on hate. It is a virus. Only a few have not caught it. We are not sure but believe it was released into our air during the apocalypse. And now there are two kinds. Roses and Thorns. I write my letter to my friend . She has been my friend for years and she married. Now her husband became one of the Thorns and she lives in hiding just like the rest of us. If she still is alive I do not know but the only way we are allowed to speak to the few roses in the world is via the water. A message in a bottle. Everyone has a specific bottle and this is our network. We all have an alias. My friends alias is Lullaby. And mine is Dreamer. I have to sit and wait until night when the Thorns have moved on and taken their victims with them to eat or use the bones for various uses .

I stare at the initials . They have more meaning to me than this world could ever understand or care to know. I would be killed just for mentioning that I love someone . If not killed , I would be a slave for sure , made to do whatever the Thorns desire. Desire and love don’t mix . I look out . The pink petals from Cherry Blossom trees glowing the sunset and the warm wind scattering them around . So beautiful. I ignore the screaming and the begging outside the covered bridge. Every moment is precious and we must not let them take that away. Beyond the autumn trees that encompass us in mountains, there is mostly dark grey clouds of swirling smoke and ember . It is as if we are so close to hell that we need just climb the mountain. This is where the Thorns go . And they invade our island daily , looking for someone to feed on or take from. Or just kill as it is a sport . There are not many animals anymore so we are game. Even the weaker thorns can become game . Thrown down the mountain in a barrel and then chased. I feel so sleepy but I must get this message to Lullaby. She knows of my love. And all I can do to contain it is write it down and send it to her. The night is chilly and clear. A terrible thing called radiation was released in the air. It made so many sick and so many died. And now there are flowers and trees that glow at night, wherever a body lay dying. What a beautiful tragedy life is.

I make it to the river. I see the glowing lily pads and lotus flowers. I say a prayer to a God I'm not sure exist but still hope so. And I slide the bottle in the river. Now I wait. I watch it slowly move across the water. The moon, which still beautiful but broke into pieces , lighting the way. Nothing could stop the moon, even if it was shattered. I have a tiny place I built in a tree. I will have to leave it soon as autumn will be here and I'll be exposed by the leaves falling away. I don't yet know what I'll do. I spend the days quietly and in solitude . I grow my own tiny garden and I hold very dear only a few things . Pictures of my family. Batteries for my old CD Walkman to play one special CD on. And my memories of happiness with my kids , two little girls . My parents and the love of my life . I cannot speak his name. They will find me. Even the air can be your enemy , carrying the name of your beloved to your worst enemy. We lived more than one lifetime together so I am hoping that in the next , we will be lovers again. If there is a next.

I met him in the summer. A very warm day. I was listening to music from the 50s and he walked up to my car and gave me a cd to listen to. We started talking and never stopped . I listened to that cd with him and after he died . Until everything else was taken away from me . Killed or burned . I could get angry but I am afraid to . I have a purpose and until I honor it , my anger stays bottled up . Which reminds me , I have no letter from lullaby the following day when I go to the river . I will go look for her . It is dangerous yes, but it is dangerous to stay . I pack my small bag and start off . She lives 5 mountains over. I can make it safely if I am still in the day and travel at night. That is when the Thorns are in the smoke and ember celebrating their kills. There are thousands of them and only hundreds of us . I sit in the covered bridge once more. Touching the initials with my fingertips. I carve something into the bridge and close my eyes to see the face of my family and to see my beloved. I can hear them all. I feel tears falling . Now is not the time. I must go. A full night over each mountain and I make it to the small canoe that was Lullaby’s. She lived on a covered canoe. But she was not here. I looked around. It was evening and cold. Leaves were everywhere. Finally I found her journal. And beside of it, a rose and a skeleton hand that was holding it. I moved the leaves and there she was . Her pink flower she told me she wore in her curly red hair. Her dress ripped and burned . This was all that was left of lullaby. I picked the rose up and the bones of her hand. I took the journal. Something was shining in the dirt. Heart shaped. It was a heart shaped locket. With a tiny gold chain and a gold heart with a pink rose etched on the front. I tried to open it but it wouldn't open. I was so upset. I went to her canoe and read her journal. I found the letter she was writing me. Telling me she was coming to find me and together we would make a better world, or find one . I took the dried rose and pressed it at the end of her journal, which was about halfway through the pages. Now I will finish it for the both of us. I carefully took her bones and buried them with the glowing roses not far away from her side of the river . I tried to play my Walkman. But the batteries were dead. I got in my bag, only to find I had no more due to the hole in the bag. I wanted to scream. He was gone now. Gone for good. No more dreaming of being in his arms while the song played. I looked through lullabys small canoe. All I could find was a small key. The locket. Yes. It had a space for a key. I took it and tried but it would not unlock. I could not take anymore. I put it on my neck and the key with it and went to sleep in her canoe. I hadn't slept so good in years. I woke the next morning. The sun coming up over the mountain. I started a fire and made some herbal tea. I started my journal. What would I do now ? Where would I go? Where would I start? I remembered a dream I had. Lullaby was singing for me . Holding the key in her hand and I had the heart in mine. Inside, a picture of my beloved . I took the key and unlocked it. It opened. There was no picture though. There was nothing . I started to cry. And a tear fell in the locket. Suddenly a song started to play. Stand By Me.

It was so loud and I could not turn it down. Nor did I care at that moment. They could come for me. I sat waiting for them. They would hear this abomination and come for me. But right now my world was peaceful. Right now I was dancing. The song ended as I leaned against a tree. And suddenly all I could see where hundreds of branches surrounding me. I could hear them on the other side of the trees. The Thorns. I realized that these beautiful tall strong trees were protecting me. But they began to get weaker. Something told me to open the locket again. And as the music played, the trees became an army. Taking back their land. Using their roots to wrap around the Thorns. The music played through the leaves, through the air. All around me, as daylight began to break, they fought back. Some of the trees died fighting. But while I played the locket they continued taking the land back, even if they lost their roots. I was able to run to the open meadow. Where a new world appeared to be starting. Dew on flowers and the smell of a world I remembered before. Deer quietly grazing and apples and peaches that had fallen from the trees. A clear lake glistening. I looked behind me and only a bright green mountain with red Poppies sprouting as I watched.

I went to sit by the big apple tree. I opened up my little music box around my neck and I knew I was no longer alone.


About the author

Layla Nelson

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