The Locket

April 14, 2008
By Claire Ackerman, Spring, TX

The rain was spilling from the sky in sheets, and when the clouds were seared not a rainbow was in sight. The sun was certainly present but its rays dispersed weakly and its warmth settled damp like the humid air. Below the characters of weather, there rose a hill on which loomed an elegant depiction of the beauty that walked its floors. This was Magdalene’s house, a portion of her father’s wealth, but she not often clicked her heals against wooden floors of those halls.

It remained a rare thing to have your eyes rest on the silhouette of Magdalene through any of her front windows. The lights often went unused and with the arrival of spring, her garden, unsurprisingly, took to imitating a nasty tangle of weeds and webs. However, there was an apple tree in the front courtyard that dropped the ripest and sweetest of reds. Scarcely was an apple left to rot away in the shade of this blooming life.

Her house was also red, bricked, with white shutters and a rosy colored door, the knob a clean brass, shining with the vitality of life itself. At the top of the hill, her door overlooked everything below and around. Strangely, her door was always shut and her curtains often drawn. This great beauty of a house never saw anything but its own guts and the peculiar beauty that also closed her eyes against the marvelous view below her.

Magdalene herself was in the back of a taxi as the rain blurred all edges, the corners of her eyes included. She presented a striking face full of color but chilled with her pain. Her hair spilled red around her porcelain structure, soft features framed in white. She looked much like her inherited house. The white of her breast spread like beach until interrupted by a shell of brass. A locket hung from her neck, never opened and thought to be empty. As she sighed through her nose a fog formed on the window pressed against her head. Her fingers clicked at the brass and the eyes in the mirror warmed her profile slightly.

“Don’t bother with small talk.” She called out suddenly as her brow remained glued to the window. Only a plate of glass separated her hot tears from mingling with the chilled rain.

Much uncertainty settled in the way she wept as if her heart and her mind did not form the same sort of tears. She fought the noises in her throat unsuccessfully, turned her face to the front, and shut her stormy eyes. A trench that already hugged her small body was pulled tighter. The click against the locket continued as steady as the rise and fall of her chest until a slap was heard when the empty treasure fell against her skin. The rhythm of the rain outside the taxi became the only rhythm left. Not even her heart beat loud enough inside her. She was running from something.

Behind Magdalene, her house remained unchanged but one peculiarity. The rosy front door was wide open and a cross breeze rustled the mysteries of Magdalene and her untold story. Footsteps also rushed loudly against the sealed wood. A man emerged, stepping to the door to look out. His eyes perceived all things below this high hill. The house looked too and was enlightened.

He was tall, lean, and very German. You could see it in the blue of his eyes as they swept the scene and the blonde shimmer of his curly hair. He was ideal, the master race, but he carried himself humbly and in a panic. The girl who held his heart did not grace his side with bright smiles but flooded the back of a taxi that had driven its course. The German left in a rush. The door was left open and the papers and light things continued to rustle in the breeze.

A pair of graceful legs, an inheritance from the late Mrs. Curtis, carried the trench into a dark alley and up the steps of a small apartment building. A strong smell of child and poverty filled the pale nostrils that had sighed in the taxi. The sigh was heard again. As she drug her feet over the thresh hold and to the bed, she realized her tears had dried. Placing her trench on the bed, Magdalene’s body was left cold. The feeling of being held in his arms rushed over her and brought chills to her arms. The humid air did nothing to warm the room around her, but a sudden clang of metal caused a heat to roll up into her face. The stairs outside of the back window shook with the weight of a climber. A head of curly blonde hair came into view and below it the beautiful face that caused her tears. The German stood outside the back door with relief, but stood still only briefly. His body paced towards her, a gleam in his eyes, and his heart beat a rhythm into her ears before his presence even reached her.

She had run from this rhythm because of her own fears and inadequacies, now it was beating louder and louder as he neared. She turned to avoid his grasp, desperate in his strong hand. Her avoidance failed and her hand tangled in his as he tugged roughly towards the window. His pulse pounded in her arm and his lover for her burst into her skin. She would submit to all she had run from if he touched her any longer. Realizing this, Magdalene suddenly pushed his love and him from the room and back the way he entered. This shove would destroy his lover for her forever.

The German stumbled back from her force, his feet catching on the threshold of the open glass door, and his body rolled down the stairs he had climbed in pursuit of her. The locket, torn from her neck as he fell, rolled down with him. With a crack he landed on the pavement. Not longer did the smell of children rise but the smell of fresh blood. Seconds past and Magdalene was beside him. Her regret was far too late but love still boiled up and out of the oppression she had made. As he lay dying, blood around his lips. Her mouth moved like a magnet to the iron spill out onto his face.

It seemed as she kissed him desperately, that she hoped for her life to rush out of her mouth and into his. She withdrew with his blood on her lips and saw that their kiss had been shared at the door of death and he had now stepped over the threshold. Anguish balled in her heart until it rolled up into her throat with a thick sob.

Trembling, she wiped at her mouth and released the air she had drawn from his lungs. Her body shook with the escape of his breath from her own lungs. As she had inhaled, despondent to breathe him in through the last kiss, he had released his final breath into her with a sigh. He was gone, like the sand that seeps out of your fist with the wind, and his heart no longer beat with love for her. She held his cold hand in hers and for an hour she knelt on the pavement, crimsoned with the life that had escaped him.

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