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In the country where houses are few and far between, a place where, the noise is not very loud, a place where at times you can hear voices raised in beautiful song, songs of peace and joy, but tonight the song is of sadness.
Sitting in the dark of the trees, waiting to hear that voice, Jacob stared off into to distance. The night had grown colder and Jacob didn’t like that. Being coldblooded, or “no blooded” had its disadvantages. Hearing a rustle down to the left of his tree, Jacob remained alert and motionless. If she came outside now outside and did what she normally did, he would not be seen.
Sarah, or that’s what he called her because he did not know her name, would come out every night at two o’clock and walk around in her night clothes and a large robe, and sing. That was all she did. Jacob often wondered why she never sang during the daylight hours, maybe her parents didn’t approve of her singing.
Drifting off into his own thoughts, he was jolted aware by the sound of footsteps nearby. He looked at his watch and saw that it was just one thirty, she was thirty minutes early.
This was not normal, Jacob began to wonder if there was something wrong that made her come out earlier. Then he listened for the footsteps, and noticed that the sound was coming toward the forest that he was, at the moment, hiding in.
“Looks like it’s the woods tonight,” he mumbled to the tree. Of course it’s only response was to creak a little under the mishmash of its age and Jacob’s weight.
Shifting to locate where she had gone, Jacob knocked his head on the branch above him. Muffling a few curses to the tree, he found her.
His heart stopped, not willing to start back up, she was utterly beautiful. Framed in trees, sprinkled with moonlight, her hair was formed into a mass of auburn curls falling down her back. Yet her eyes were not visible, her eyes were cast down as if in sadness. What had happened?
Then he heard it, that sound that he waited all night to hear. The sound that was so like liquid gold, but for some reason or another, she sounded sad.
He looked at her a bit more closely and saw an ash tray and a burning cigarette in her hand, and then Jacob saw a sudden small flash of light with which he smelled salt. Looking at her closely again, he saw tears.
And he listened.
“I felt your pain,
When you could not feel
I felt your love,
When there was none left.
I can feel you
Here, your damned soul,
Rotting, for all eternity,
I make you feel human,
I know that is wonderful,
But I have to leave.”
With that she turned and picking up her ashtray and almost finished cigarette, she made her way through the trees.
Dumbstruck, Jacob watched her walk away.
The entire time that he had come to watch and listen.
Jesus H. Christ. He should say something. Shouldn’t he? Should he go after her? With this dilemma, he fell out of the tree. After he hit the ground he stood up rubbing his butt, looking up at the tree, damning it to the lowest pits of hell.
Looking around to find Sarah, he saw her standing about thirty feet from himself. There was not one sound from either of them, just an awkward silence. Wild thoughts were running through his mind. Thoughts that his mother, if she was still alive, would have been ashamed of, they were not suitable. He noticed that the moment that he could see the green in her eyes, his heart, if he even had one, was falling deeply in love. It was like a stone falling.
“How long have you known?” Jacob asked her still dumbstruck.
“Since the first time that you watched,” she replied to him.
There was another silence that followed, and this one was a little bit longer. In the time that they were silent, “Sarah” took out a pack of cigarettes and lit another one. Taking a pull from the cigarette, she was blowing the smoke away from her, as if not to have anyone smell it when she went into the house again.
“What is your name?” Jacob asked her as she took another puff on the cigarette.
“Lalee,” she answered. “What’s yours?”
“Jacob,” he said. “How did you know, I was sure I was hidden well enough?”
Yet another silence followed this one, but it didn’t last as long as the previous two. It was broken by Lalee clearing her throat. “I could sense you; your sadness is very hard to miss.”
“Well, it’s hard not being human,” he told her. Closing his eyes and turning away.
“I can’t imagine,” she told him as she shuffling her feet. “I should ask how you liked my singing.”
“That’s the reason that I have come to listen for so long.”
“Then you should know that I have been singing for you.” She told him taking a long pull on her cigarette.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
She took a few steps closer to him, tossing the dead cigarette into the wet bushes to her left. Looking right into his eyes she began to sing under her breath, although he could hear, still it was very soft.
“Your so sad, it corrupts me.
Nothing left to do,
but to love me.”
“I think it was your sadness that made me keep singing,” she told him placing her hands on his face.
“Do you love me?” he asked her drawing down toward her. He was now just a breath away from her, looking down into those deep green eyes.
“More than you know,” she said as she kissed him.
Pressing into the kiss, he felt something wet on his face. When he pulled away he wiped it off and tasted it, it was tears, his tears. He had not cried in more years than he wished to count. It was a shame to start now.
“If you love me,” he told her pulling her an arms length away. “Why are you leaving?”
At this, Lalee turned her head, and Jacob saw more tears fall down her face. “There is nothing that I can do about it,” she told him. “I am being forced to; my parents want me to go to college.”
“And you can’t stop it?” he asked. “They can’t force you. Now that I have you I don’t want to lose you.”
“I’m sorry, but I have to go.” She said as she started to pull away. “I’m leaving tomorrow.”
She began to walk away, and Jacob was going to let her. But if she was going to go, there was no reason to live. “If you leave, when you come back I won’t be here.”
Lalee didn’t even turn around at this. She was crying harder than she had ever cried before, and there was no stopping it. She began to run, faster and faster, until she reached the house, where she went inside to finish packing, for the real part of her life.
Jacob waited every night for two weeks after she left. The one thing that he wanted to most in life was now gone. He didn’t see any reason to “live” now that his happiness was gone. Not one single reason, he had no friends or family, they were all long gone. So he began to plan.
One night, one week later, after much cautious consideration, Jacob succeeded. Everywhere in the neighborhood, the people could hear screams, but they could not see the fire that was causing them.
In the house closest to the fire that was invisible. A mother was on the phone with her daughter who was a thousand miles away, who then began to cry.