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Love Me. Forever.
Her white gown glided through the meadow, quite like a lost shooting star, desperately trying to find its way home without the slightest suspicions of where home might be. She felt his presence as an abrupt chill ran down her spine. Yet, it was not an ominous or foreboding chill she had read about in supernatural books. No, instead it was an electric jolt of life to her otherwise solemn bones. She darted North, South, East and West observing every lightning bug in the night sky, but the mysterious bug was nowhere to be found. The electricity seemed to have left her body as she grew tired and lay down amongst the green thickets to sleep.
Something began to tickle her nose as she slowly rose up to observe the creature cross-eyed. White light was what she saw. “You’re back,” she whispered with a smile. In turn the creature began to skim above the grass heading towards the deep woods. The hair on her arms stood at attention, she felt a burning, burning, burning in her veins, her heart thumped, her voice cracked and her feet, well her feet were guided by what felt like invisible puppet strings.
“Slow down, Riley,” she giggled, “It’s really quite hard to run in this darkness!” The light kept the same pace but emanated a brighter glow that nearly outshone the moon itself. The chill became colder as she neared the deepest, blackest part of the wood. Strange really, how all other lightning bugs danced around the trees until the mysterious white one approached. They dashed madly, leaving a black path for this one single creature.
It finally settled upon an old gray tombstone covered in moss and kudzu. “A graveyard?” she questioned. “An old cemetery, this is what you want me to see? Why, there are only three graves! These people must have lived nearly two centuries ago!” she continued. The bug did not stir as she sat Indian-style next to the one particular grave. It was strange. She had never felt so hot that she was cold, so uneasy that she was comfortable, so lonely yet so loved at the very same time.
“Riley, who was this person?” she began, “Did I . . . Did I know him? I can’t read the encryption.” The bug flew across and landed on her heart. “It’s you isn’t it!” she exclaimed. “You’re a ghost, a spirit, a spectre! I’ve read about your kind before. Lonely souls you are, misunderstood creatures.” Elizabeth babbled as explosively as the spring beside the bone yard. “It really is you. You’re Riley,” she breathed and tilted her head to the side examining the creature as a scientist might a new found specimen.
“What’s it like, Riley … to die, I mean?” she spoke softly to the bug upon her chest. “Seems so familiar, I should wonder if I need to ask what it is like to live instead. I’d have to say, I can imagine it feels something like this,” she faintly whispered. Elizabeth closed her eyes, if only for one second, then heard a voice in the wood and a man was standing above her.
“Elizabeth Sanders, are you mad! Roaming about a burial ground at night like an eerie gravedigger, are you?” he scolded, but smiled romantically with a teasing spirit. The white light was gone, nothing but Riley and her in an abandoned cemetery. “I must say, although you worry me sick I do find your adventurous spirit quite fascinating,” Riley spoke to Elizabeth as he squatted down to her eye level.
His eyes were the brightest blue she had ever seen, yet she had seen them somewhere before it seemed. He was a broad shouldered, robust young man, cleanly shaven giving the impression of being about seventeen. The moon had a different effect on him then anyone else in the world. A white ring glowed about his body and reflected off his pupils. She glanced down at her own body, where no light whatsoever reflected off of her ruddy skin. He was dressed in old-fashioned garb and talked as if he knew Shakespeare himself, may have even written some of his works for him.
The chill was the most prevalent when he was around her, especially this close.
“You never answered my question?” Elizabeth asked as she rolled around on her back to stare at the gaps between the trees.
“I never heard you utter one, Dear Elizabeth,” he rebutted.
“What’s it like,” she whispered, “to die?”
“Well . . . it’s quite like these woods at first, dark, confusing, blundering really. Until morning … then morning comes and you see the sun and you just know everything is going to be ok, even better than before, actually.”
She clung to his every word breathlessly. Riley spoke in a tone reminiscent of Plato, elegant and wise.
“I think death is a matter of perception, just like the seasons. What might be dreadful to one, might be bliss to another. I prefer autumn, mother quite hated it, loved winter, queer woman, but nay winter or autumn are nor good or bad in themselves, only the perceptions we have of them. I, myself, can’t say I’m afraid to die, not with believing as I do,” he finished.
“You speak as if you have died . . . before,” Elizabeth accused.
“Dear Elizabeth, I speak not my own words, but what my ancestors have whispered into my ears over time,” he chuckled. “You’re much like a young babe, you know? Still spooked by goblins in the night are you?!”
“Riley Lawson, are you mocking me?!” she exclaimed and pinched his arm. A jolt, a hot bolt, a streak of lightning electrocuted her! They both stepped back as if they had seen a ghost. In Elizabeth’s case, she just may have.
For every step backwards they took their feet moved two steps towards each other until finally they were face to face.