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I Will Never Leave You
“Sylah! The foods here!” he walked, happily amongst the tall brown grass, the wind swayed the small forest creating the illusion of ocean waves. With a bounce in his step, not once did the whip-lash of a branch or the stickiness of the small green pods that seem to vow to stick to you till the end of time bothered the goofy grin that glued to his handsome features.
“What did you get us this time Embray?” I called and skipped to his side through the crashing pasture, careful not to tip the heavy cargo within his arms that seemed too big for his slim build. I eyed the sweat pouring down his cheeks from the never relenting sun, his eyes seemed to glaze over from the heat radiating on all sides. I clutched at his tan t-shirt like a small child afraid that the person they love most will leave them once again, and tippy-toed to kiss his cheek.
“It’s your favorite!” he laughed, put a free arm around my waist, and gently kissed my forehead. His sea-green eyes took my excited face in joyfully, careful not to miss a single moment of it.
“And that is…” I spoke cautiously, pulling his arm towards the lone tree within the sea of brown. Its jade leaves crashed together in a thunderous applause, its shade a small relief against the sun god himself. Embray stumbled with exhaustion, but careful not to fall for he will pull me down with him.
He chuckled at my tone, “Cheese Puffs of course!” and tripped a little on a small, unseen, ditch.
“I thought that was your favorite,” I accused playfully, though very disappointed.
“Really?” his eyes wide in mock surprise, “I thought you liked it too considering all the bags I brought.” He made a show of heaving the package. I looked over at it curiously, and sure enough, two giant bags of Cheese Puffs stuck out the top.
“But… I don’t like Cheese Puffs.” I whispered. He acted as if he didn’t hear me and allowed me to pull him down to the short, green grass beneath the shade of the tree.
“Ahh, shade at last.” he sighed and closed his eyes to the soft breeze that played within his straw-colored hair. We leaned against the solid bark in a moment of silence, careful not to ruin the peace and tranquility of the afternoon. The slapping of the plastic bag against the breeze didn’t bother us one bit. I snuggled close despite the heat of the day and he pulled me on to his lap in response.
His breath in my hair, his familiar strong arm around me, I’ve missed it so much.
He disturbed the silence first, “Do want to know what I really got you?” he mumbled. I looked up into his face to see a fond smile play atop his lips.
“So you got something more than Cheese Puffs?” I whispered. Excitement flared up within my chest. I loved surprises.
“Aww Sylah, you’re so gullible! Did you really think I only got Cheese Puffs for me?” he teased.
He reached over and grabbed the plastic bag and pulled out the enormous bags of Cheese Puffs and put them aside. Then, dramatically, he pulled out a gigantic bag of Chips ‘Ahoy cookies with a flourish fit for a magician.
“Ta-Da!” he grinned. I gasped. Cookies… I haven’t had those since before the 3rd World War.
“Chocolate chip cookies,” I choked, tears streamed down my cheek. Embray gave me a warm smile and pulled up another plastic bag with an unmistakable shape. “With milk,” I sobbed.
“Remember when we were kids? Before the war? They used to sell these everywhere huh? Wal-Mart, Longs, heck even Times!” he chuckled. He opened the bag and took a cookie. I sobbed even harder at the memory. Embray and I running on the streets… Eating under this very tree everyday…
“Then the war came,” he continued with a grave tone and reached over to wipe a tear falling down my face. I stopped crying for his sake. “There was no time for snacks anymore huh? Running around from place to place… and the bombs! There goes Wal-Mart!” He illustrated the dreadful scene with his long arms; I just watched his face. I grabbed my own cookie and poured milk into a plastic cup he brought too.
“But we were brave weren’t we?” he gave me a small smile, though I knew he was trying hard to keep away the tears. “We joined the military like the good Americans we were. You finally got to fly your plane. I got to join up with the Marines. We stayed in touch of course, you always complaining about never having enough money or time to eat your cookies.” he chuckled remembering the memory. I smiled too, remembering how he always used to promise me that he’ll get me some sooner or later. I dipped the entire piece into the cool milk, waited for it to get semi squishy and popped it into my mouth. I relished in the sweet chocolaty taste than made my mouth water for more.
“You used to complain too you know!” I giggled, after a hard swallow. “Remember that Marine woman? Always giving you the “eyes”” Embray laughed with me.
“Please! Don’t remind me! She was hideous!” he shuddered. “She wouldn’t leave me alone! Not even in missions!” I laughed even harder, the mood lightening. Embray gave me a sly look. “But she did save me a few times you know. Especially in that mine field.”
My laughing stopped abruptedly, my eyes narrowed, “So what, you like her now, just because she has common sense? Why were you in a mine field anyways?”
He chuckled good naturedly, “Sylah, jealousy can be so charming with you.” Embray gave me a peck on the cheek and pulled me closer to his chest, “You know I love you right?” he whispered in to my ear. His cool breath made me shiver, “Now are you going to eat your cookies or leave them to get stale? It was hard to find you know.”
“I want to stay here.” I mumbled, squirming closer to his broad chest. “Besides, I already ate one.”
“We can stay here as long as you want sweet heart.” he whispered.
Embray and I kept ourselves within that position for awhile. The leaves overhead clashed to together, the massive meadow swayed in unison, and I listened to his never ending heart bea-…Wait a second…
“Embray?” I gasped, “Why can’t I hear your heart?”
I felt his voice vibrate through his empty chest, “Honey, don’t you know?” he asked worriedly.
“Know what?” my own voice rose in panic. I pulled away to see him fully in his serene face.
“My dear, we’re dead. See?” He grinned and took my face within his hand. My eyes widened in horror as the skin upon his features started to flake and decay. Teeth rotted, eye sockets hollowed. His beautiful hair fell lightly to the browning grass. I looked up just in time to see the leaves grey and fall, leaving branches bare. The sun turned the sky red.
I frantically stumbled out of his bony grip and pivoted my body to the great sea of brown. I wanted to run, to run from this place of death. To run from the place of my horrific future, but before I could take a single step, the grass melted before my eyes, breathes came in labored gasps. Death was suddenly before me, behind me, everywhere. Bodies laid unceremoniously a fray replacing the peacefulness of grass. Heads chopped off, limbs askew. Some eyes were wide with their own inner horror; some had no eyes at all. And the blood… blood on my hands.
Bodies lay on bodies, faces masked faces, but they were all the same. None knew me, but they fought for me and here I lay. Within my lover’s arms pretending everything’s alright. They wanted revenge.
“My dear,” came a beautiful voice behind me. I turned, and choked on a gasp. My dear Embray stumbled my way, arms outstretched. Rotted skin hung from his limbs in clinging clumps. Bones bleached and shone in the harsh blood red sun. His clothes were ripped, bloodied and torn beyond the help of needle and thread. I fell to my knees in shock. No, this can’t be happening! Embray towered over me, a monster in a horror movie, and bent down to pick me off the ground. The rotting stench filled my senses.
“Don’t worry. Don’t be scared love. I’m here for you. Don’t you remember? I love you! I will never leave you.”