cremated;

I lift up the rotted coffin lid, and after the shuddering of centuries-old cobwebs and dust, I find a girl who looks just like me, her hands pressed to her chest and her eyes caught open in surprise, and she seems to be glowing, her milky skin spearing tiny sparks of golden light over the misted darkness, and she seems so whole, so untouched, so beautiful…
“There you are,” she scolds, her voice bright and angelic. “Where have you been this whole time? I’ve been waiting for years in here, don’t you know everyone misses you?”
Her wide eyes narrow in condescending bereavement, finding fault in my present hunched figure, and I wilt in her chaste presence, because I cannot believe such unclean eyes have seen such a perfect being, so unlike me…
My mouth cracks open, hoarse from years of silence, and dust falls from my stony cheeks as my voice edges out, rough and discordant, completely unlike her precious, ringing melody, as I choke, “But no one’s been looking for me, they gave up so long ago. They forgot me, that am why I’m here, because I’m not even a memory now…”
Pity softens her reprimanding glare, and she gently whispers, almost as if the sweetness of her voice could somehow make the pain hurt less, “You can still come back with me though. It’s beautiful back there, a wonderful place.”
And I remember the unblemished chastity of it all, the dazzling expanse of indiscriminate purpose, such overwhelming lustrous immaculacy, the place I used to be…
But I catch sight of the perishing corpse I’ve become, my skin grey and crackled, my flesh rotting and brown, my bones dirt-covered and brittle, my soul ghostly and gone, and I know I can’t go back, never, not like this, not when I’ve turned into this…
I shake my head and start to walk away. “No,” I whisper, “I can’t ever go back.”
“But why not?”
I turn towards her slowly, because I’m so weak I might break now. A sad smile crosses my blackened lips, and I try not to collapse.
“Because I belong here now.”





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