Coastal Hymn

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Sometimes when I would hear the people on the beach, laughing, eating, and loudly calling, I imagine myself when I was younger.

I had a twin, Ayumi. I say 'had' because she left me a long time ago. Ayumi and I were best friends, and we both saw it fitting for us to always be together. We never annoyed each other. We were the same. Eerily, sometimes we thought the exact same thing. We felt what the other was feeling. We would tell stories of our day at school and often complete them, even though the other never met each other during the day. It was very peculiar.

If there was one difference, I would say, Ayumi had a strange attraction to needles. It may have been the sewing class that the library offered many years ago. In any case, she loved the feeling of needles between her pale lithe fingers. I once caught her trying to prick the soft flesh of her finger with a silver tip.

Ayumi mentioned one night that she had always wanted to try acupuncture. Now, we were almost sixteen and we couldn't drive by ourselves yet. Our parents would never approve of it, or pay for it, for that matter. Most importantly, there were no acupuncture clinics near where we lived.

"Jin, I really wish I could try acupuncture. Imagine, so many needles in your body, all at once, and not feeling the force of pain."

"Mm."

"It's like having a million little things buried inside of you and not minding at all."

I really liked that line.

---

Ayumi killed herself. It was a stupid thing. She had failed a major final exam for Sciences and did not cry at all. It shocked everyone. Ayumi and I were decent students. Perhaps Ayumi was smarter than me, and I wouldn't be surprised. She read more. We had never failed a course, or made a teacher angry. So Ayumi's failure surprised her friends, her teachers, our parents, and especially me.

That night, Ayumi was so strange. She ate without really talking to anyone. She smiled a lot though. It was not a usually happy smile that emitted casual contentment. It was overbearing, superficial. She was the star of this loony show we didn't even know was airing. The host, the main attraction. The everything. Absolutely everything.

We had twin size beds in our room, side by side with a small aisle and a nightside table in between. Often Ayumi's books were stacked there, for a good reading night. We both went to bed, and about two hours later, I heard the quiet rustling of someone leaving a bed.

I can't remember much that night. I was half asleep, mainly because I had been cramming for a quiz the next morning. After I heard the hushed noise, I opened my right eye and tried to figure out what was going on. Ayumi, in her white nightgown, got up and tip toed outside the room.

Even more surreptitiously did I leave my bed and follow my twin sister. Our parents were deep sleepers so I could afford to be a little more noisy.

My eyes followed strange Ayumi, all the way into our bathroom. It was a regular two sink bathroom with a toilet and bathtub. The theme was blue, so the toilet seat cover and shower curtains were light shades of blue. The toothbrushes were a navy blue. The soap holder was a dark blue.

We kept a small radio near the sink, for mornings when we were really tired from cramming the last night or just to hear something while we brushed our teeth. I suddenly heard a faint song being played. There was a lot of static since it was so late at night.

The song had no words. It only had an orchestral feeling to it, the sound of many instruments that were all crying together. Mourning something horrid. It had no words, but it was a distinctly sad song.

It's all such a blur now. The song had no words but I could hear rivers upon rivers, moving but so placid, elated beach shrieks upon mourning hyms. Mobs sobbing away rushed against the warmth of summer. It made no sense.

I watched Ayumi pull out a drawer. Inside there were many needles, something that I was never aware of. She grabbed a handful gently, and threw them into a now full bathtub. It was getting warmer in the bathroom. I was still conciously huddled against the wall adjacent, peering in unnoticed.

Ayumi threw in the last batch of needles. And then like a glorious angel placed her naked body inside the water. She sat comfortably inside the tub of hot water. The needles floated around her unassumingly. And then she did it.

With a pale lithe finger, she took a floating needle and with some force, pushed into into her arm. She immediately relaxed. She closed her eyes and did it again. And again. And again.

Her arms were like weak fountains that ran red. They dribbled and drooled, and her eyes remained closed. I couldn't speak. I couldn't breathe. I felt demons inside that bathroom.

And again. And again. And again.

Arms, legs, breasts, neck
and slowly I felt
the hot water gurgle hot blood

Needles and Ayumi's corpse in this nice little tub.





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