The Ending Days
A Collection of Short Stories About Yearning and Loss
Cindy grabbed my hand. I remember the school bell has just rung. It was summer again with a mixture of heat and sweat so thick in the air it was nearly palpable.
"Can we talk?"
I tell her sure we can talk and I lead her to a place I used to go when I felt like getting high. I'm not sure if she liked it or not.
The way she said my name, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not.
"I've been thinking a lot lately... mainly about us. And I'm not sure where we're headed."
I asked her what she meant by this but she just looks at me and stares.
"Did you wanna leave now?"
I hated the way she asked me that as if it were so easy. I think for a few seconds.
That was all I could say. The sun was beginning to go down as the faint rays peak in through the branches and leaves of the towering trees surrounding us and it feels like heaven against my skin. I have an almost primal urge to lean over and kiss her but that would be too sad.
I tell her to stop saying my name because she doesn't mean it when she opens her mouth. It was what I decided to call it now, another lie.
"I'm going to go now."
Cindy gets up to leave and I wasn't sure if I wanted to stop her. I remember her breasts are perky and I want to touch them. So I grabbed her hand to get her to stay.
And so she began to press her lips against mine. The cherry lip gloss she wore begins to smear onto mine and it tastes like cherry blossoms in my mouth. It was beginning to get dark by the time we finished putting our clothes back on. Cindy had this birthmark that went down her backside, almost like a root that had planted itself in her skin, growing and stretching with each passing year. I meant to touch but she must have noticed because she started to dress faster so that I couldn't see anymore. That was fine.
I wished she would stop saying my name. I hated it when she kept saying my name as if it meant anything.
I light a cigarette and the smoke feels me up inside like a log nestled in quiet embers. I exhale.
"Can I get a drag?"
Cindy bent over me to take the cigarette from my hand. She smells like sickling, honey. I look around. It's nearly dark now. I wondered if she would leave after.
"I really do hate smoking but sometimes I just need it, you know?"
I know what she meant to say. I pretended not to, anyways.
"Do you think we're going somewhere?"
I looked over at her.
"What do you mean?"
She tossed her hair over her shoulder.
"I mean do you think we're here for some reason? Something we don't know yet but it's still here right in front of our eyes? I dunno, I think maybe I was put here for something. I just wish I knew what it was."
I say I have no idea what she's talking about and I reach over to take another drag from the cigarette. I blow the smoke out as I remember my shirt is wrinkled and I need to burn it when I get home.
She looks over at me.
I tell her what she needs to hear and I get up to leave.
Your magenta covered lips were faltering and it hurt.
I tried to disperse the collision of your touch against my limbs but it burned like the tips of my fingers when you took off my skin.
With unparalleled candor and almost imprecise movements of such quivering haze, I had realized that you would never love me. It wasn't until my hands were stained crimson red and trembling with such startling static that I realized your lips were now a much paler blue.
It happened so fast there was hardly any time for me to react. I dove past the rows and rows of dead bodies I couldn't save anymore and watched as he ripped Jennifer to shreds. I was in shock and couldn't react. I mean what the fuck would you do? I had no time to come up with any kind of plan or any kind of intention strong enough to undo the damage that was already inflicted on our race.
I tried and I failed—that's all it came down to. I felt the cold metal of the gun as it sends chills down my spine. Would I really end my life here, in this place, with all these irreparable lives? No, it was more than I could bear. Fuck this, there was no way I was going to die now, in a place like this, with a monster like him. And so I waited. He was too blinded by the divine power he had bestowed on himself to notice the conspiracies around him. It certainly wasn't any fault of mine he was too fucking naive to realize nobody can indulge in power without being inevitably consumed by what's going on around them. It's something the neither of us could bear without formulating any sort of realization the demise both of us would come to be. It was a cold and sick truth I couldn't decide if I accepted or not. Well, I suppose if it was any form of conciliation, the mother fucker had it coming. And so I killed him. It was simple and it was precise. Nothing more, nothing less. It wasn't particularly hard to dispose of the bodies either. Considering I killed them all in the first place. Ah, the beauty of hallucinogenics.
I made sure to burn the place to ashes too. Don't worry, I'm not sloppy with my craft. I'm a damn expert at it and it's deadly. Is that to mean I should be responsible for my own downfall? Perhaps, but I'm sure I didn't make the world any less or any more of a sad place to reside in. It's broken and imperfect as we all are. I'm flawed and I am insubordinate to what it is I can't face. It's beautiful and ugly all at once, it's fast and it's slow, and there's nothing I can do to stop it. It's the life in us all that gathers the darkness inside the dust that settles after the implosion. When I don't hear the voices and I can't see the monster, I'm at peace and am indefinitely content.
Did you see it?