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The two stood in the street. There was not a single noise, not a single movement. She stared at him, he stared back. He could see her eyes were tearing up, and tried to feel sympathy, and then compassion, and then love. He couldn’t. He wanted to so badly. But he couldn’t. When he spoke his voice was shaky and weak.
“Melissa, I’m so sorry.” He whispered. “I’m sorry it has to wind up like this.” He said it like he cared, and hated himself for not really doing so. Melissa blinked a few times, to hold back the tears.
“It’s not your fault.” She coughed. Ethan was glad she didn’t blame him. If she had it would have been a lot harder for him to convince her to let go.
“I know…but look Melissa, I want you to listen to me, really listen.” She nodded. “Okay, you have to know something, and it’s real important that you believe me,” he stopped, wondering if he could bring himself to say what he was about to. He didn’t love this girl, but still barely had it in him to break her heart. And she knew what he was going to say, he had said it before, but still wanted him to get it over with.
“What is it?” She edged him on. Ethan made up his mind and took a deep breath before he spoke again.
“I know you don’t believe what common sense is telling you, but you have to believe me. If what has happened means anything to you at all, you must accept it.” He grabbed her shoulder and looked her in the eye. “Do you know what I mean?” She did.
“I do. And if all this means that I have to admit it, then I will, for you.” He let her go, and where his fingers had touched her she felt that sensation, of fire burning her skin yet warming her heart. She hadn’t felt it in so long.
Then he took a step back. She pulled out the gun, which she had intended to use on herself. Her face was wet with fresh tears, for she was bawling. Her hands were unstable and she could hardly think straight. It’s not murder; it’s just killing the only one who ever loved you. I mean the only thing, not one.
“Goodbye, Ethan.” She choked; her words were dry and raspy. He was scared, even though he wasn’t going to feel a thing. But he knew that this had to happen, or Melissa’s life would be nothing. The reason he had even existed had been for this moment. It was time for her to realize she didn’t need him. He and Melissa both knew it.
That’s where Melissa found the strength to raise the barrel of the pistol so it was aligned with Ethan’s heart; a heart that could feel nothing truly. Where she found the strength to do what she did next, instead of dropping her gun and allowing him live forever. In the little sanity she had left, Melissa saw her parents, her friends, and herself. Melissa knew if she didn’t do this, she would never get to live in reality again.
She didn’t close her eyes when she did it, nor she did she look away. She felt her index finger pull back, she heard the shot and felt the jolt. She watched him fall, and let him. Only when he was on the ground, dying, did she allow herself to give in. Melissa dropped her weapon and ran to him. The fake light in his eyes was fading. She had loved that glowing light for so many months, and she was unable to even imagine living without it.
“Ethan,” she whispered, as she held his head in her arms. “I had to, you know that right? I had to.” He didn’t respond, he would be gone in just a few fleeting moments. Except all at once Melissa wished he was real, wished he was Ethan Brass, the boy who she‘d watched sitting in her classes at school. Then none of this would have happened, and it all wouldn’t just be some big lie. She could love him as long as they lived, and he would have been able to love her back. But this boy wasn’t, he wasn’t the one who she had fantasized about for so long, he never had been. And as his life was ending, she realized it never really began. He was never born, and was never a child; he was created by her the longing and the evil in her mind, and would be taken away from her by it.
While Melissa sat there, his blood was staining her clothes. It was blood that would leave a mark her parents couldn’t see, and hopefully someday she wouldn’t be able to either.
His death was taking longer than she’d wanted it to and she could no longer bear it. Consequently Melissa did something she hadn’t planned on. She got up, and walked into the street, to pick up the pistol again. Her intension was to shoot it again, at the same target again. But none of that happened. When she bent over to grab it, she heard a final whisper from the dying boy.
“Melissa…” But he was gone.
She was transfixed on his lifeless body; on his glassy eyes that had once held so much light. So much so that she didn’t hear it, coming closer and closer. She just stood in the middle of Violet Avenue directly in its path. The driver was so drunk he didn’t see her. Pedal to the metal, they collided. It was quick and it was done.
Ethan had never happened. The he only one who could remember him was dead. Not even the real Ethan Brass would live on, for the moment Melissa’s Ethan drew his last breath calling her name, Ethan Brass died as well. No one would ever know why, it was a medical mystery which would confuse doctors and scientist for years. Somehow, something had decided that no one could ever know about Melissa and Ethan, how one young girl’s depression produced an actual physical being. As of now, it had never happened, and never would again. . .