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December 14, 2010
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Sarah was content with her life. She wasn’t beautiful, or overly talented, but she was pretty and ambitious. She was short and had a petite figure. She was bubbly and infectious. Her main concern was what color her homecoming dress would be.

David was disappointed with just about every aspect of his life. He wasn’t handsome or ambitious, but he was clever and intelligent. He was of average height and build. He faded into the background. His main concern was finding a reason to wake up every morning.

They met at a party.

He didn’t really notice her, and she didn’t really notice him. They weren’t aware of what they had in common: their mutual hatred for drowning in top 40 hits in a room of people they didn’t know.

The first words she spoke to him were, “Do you know where the bathroom is?”


“The bathroom!”


She gave up. “I like your shirt!”



Then she disappeared. David looked down at his shirt. It was a picture of a spaceship that said, “Boston” on it. One of his favorite bands.

Suddenly that girl that he initially thought was just pretty, became beautiful.

He wandered around the party for the remainder of the evening trying to find her, hoping to strike up yet another shouting conversation.

Toward the end of the night he had all but given up, when he saw her heading for the door. He pushed through the drunken sea of people then skidded to a halt when he reached the front porch.

He was searching desperately across the lawn to find her silhouette, when a voice beside him said, “Lookin’ for someone, spazzy?”

It was her. He tried to keep cool. “Uh, yea my buddy was my ride home and I think he left already.”

The girl laughed and pushed her blonde hair behind her shoulder. “That really sucks. Wanna hitch a ride?”

A Boston reference. Hitch a Ride was one of David’s favorite songs. He couldn’t help but smile. “Clever,” he replied.

“Yea, I’m just full of ‘em. I’m Sarah, by the way.”

“David. I know this may seem, like, forward, or whatever, but can I get your number? I’ve got More Than a Feeling that you and I have a lot in common.” He winked, but he imagined it came across a lot more awkward than he intended.

“Ooh that kind of sounded really gay. Is that what I sounded like when I slipped a song title in there?” She gave a small chuckle.

“No. I thought your delivery was perfect.”

“Well, thank you. I practice in the mirror every day.” She smiled again. It was a beautiful smile. David couldn’t believe he didn’t see how gorgeous she was before. “Alright, I’ll tell you what. Since you obviously have awesome taste in music, I’ll give you my number. But since you were stupid enough to lose your friend, it’s going to be a fake one.”

David blinked. “Oh, uh-“

“I’m kidding. Relax.” She reached into his front pocket and pulled out his cell phone. She expertly figured out how to save a new number, then handed it back to him. A couple of overly excited girls came giggling out onto the front porch. A tall, tan brunette looked at Sarah and asked, “You ready to go girl?”

“Yea,” she replied. “Go wait in the car I’ll be there in a sec. And stay away from that tiki torch! You two are so doused in alcohol that you’ll set the whole house on fire!”

They giggled some more then began stumbling toward the street. Neither of the girls so much as glanced at David.

“Alright savor the moment David because this is only gonna happen once.” Sarah cleared her throat then began to loudly sing/yell the lyrics to Boston’s Foreplay/ Long Time.

“…I think I should be goin! And time doesn’t wait for me, it keeps on ROOOOOOLLLLLIIINNN’!!”

She continued her off-key rendition as she walked to the car.

David beamed, then walked into the house to find his ride home.

Their first date was the art museum. Her idea, not his. She referenced the balance of analytical arrangement vs. random, disjointed organization in Contemporary Art. She discussed the allusions to Greek Mythology in pre-1800 European Art. She was moved by the photographs representing the Great Depression. He could only discuss the similarities between modern art and tripping on acid. However, they both agreed that there were far too many penises on display at the art museum.

They went on outings to the park, the movies, and historic landmarks.

It seemed that no matter where they were, they could have a good time. There was a true connection that neither of them had ever felt before.

After a few weeks of dating, they became exclusive, and opened up to each other. Sarah revealed her seemingly unattainable hopes and dreams, her admiration for Christopher “Alexander Supertramp” McCandless, and her bizzare crush on Michael Caine.

David revealed his dark past. How his father tried to kill his mother 13 years ago, how he got wrapped up in drugs, his obsessive compulsive disorder, and his history of heartbreak.

Sarah told David he was like a painting by Claude Monet. Close up he seems like a mess, but when you stand back and really look at him in his entirety, he’s really something beautiful. In return, David promised her he would never go back to drugs.

And despite David’s history Sarah couldn’t see any flaws in his character.

They were as happy and perfect as could be. Sarah was a mystery to David and he loved that. She truly had his heart.

Then something seemed to change within David.

One night, about two months into their relationship, there was a shift in the wind. On an ominous, silent evening they were sitting in David’s car in front of Sarah’s house, just talking.

Sarah glanced at the time.

“Alright well it’s getting late. I’d better go.”

“No-“ said David abruptly. “Please? Just stay a little while longer?”

Sarah smiled. “David… I can’t. You know that. I have a curfew.”

“No. I- I won’t let you.”

“Sure you will! Sorry babe but I really have to go.”

David’s eyes were wild, and he clutched her arm, his nails digging into her skin.

“David, let go- ow! You’re hurting me!”

He let go, but continued to gaze intensely at Sarah.

“I’m sorry, okay?” She leaned over, pecked him on the cheek then opened the door, swinging her legs around as she leaned out of the car. The cool breeze sent wisps of her hair across her face.

The evening air embraced her skin. She stood up and enjoyed the serene moment. But the calm feeling was interrupted as a pair of strong hands grasped her waist from behind and jerked her back into the car. David leaned over her lap and shut the car door with a slam. Once he situated himself back in the driver’s seat he pressed a button on his left side. The click of the lock made Sarah uneasy, and she was breathing heavily. She looked inquisitively at David.

“Please?” he begged innocently. “Just...stay here with me. I need you to stay here with me.”

“David, you’re scaring me. Let me out.”

After a moment of contemplation, David sighed. “Fine.”

He looked away from Sarah, straight ahead at the dark suburban road in front of him. He again pressed the button on his left side. This time the click sound was slightly less threatening.

Sarah hastily got out of the car and made long strides across her front lawn to her porch. Before entering the house she looked back at David. He was still sitting there. Staring. His jaw was clenched but his eyes were blank. With a look of concern, Sarah finally turned away and opened her front door. She walked into her house and softly shut the door behind her.

That was nothing. She thought. Just a moment of weirdness. He’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

But even despite her attempts to convince herself that there was no reason to be worried, her mind wandered. She remembered vaguely a low-budget video she watched in school last year about abusive relationships. It said that they always start with small displays of unusual behavior. Abusive boyfriends were possessive and jealous. David hated it when Sarah even hugged another guy. But that was normal, right? Anyway, abusive boyfriends were bi-polar nut jobs. That wasn’t David at all.

And David was completely normal the next day. They didn’t bring up the incident from the night before and in about a week, it seemed that it was in the past completely.

One night, however, David called, in a strange mood.

“Why?” he asked.

“Why what?”

“Why don’t you like me?”

“What the hell are you talking about, David? You’re my boyfriend of course I like you.”

He paused, and then laughed uncontrollably. “Who- ha- who is this?”

“This is Sarah… Are you alright?” The feeling of uneasiness settled in her stomach once again.

“Oh! Yea… ha ha ha I’m reeeealllly good. I’m just like super tired.”

Sarah’s heart sank. “You’re not, high, are you?” she asked reluctantly. He promised her. He promised…

“Me? Never! Ha ha baby I would not ever ever in a million years. I feel really sleepy though so I can’t talk to you right now, okay? Okay buh- bye.”

He hung up.


Sarah was at a loss for words. Something was up with him. Something much more than being tired.

Before she could collect her thoughts her phone vibrated. It was a text from David:
meth. dont be angry cuz it wasnt my falt

Meth? He was doing meth? Even when he had his drug problem before it was just weed… nothing close to meth. Sarah felt a lump in her throat. What did this mean? She wasn’t enough for him? He needed to go and get high to be happy? Or maybe she was doing something that made him angry or upset. What did she do? She was certain it was all her fault.

In the morning he called to apologize. He claimed that he and some of his buddies were smoking weed for old-time’s sake, and someone laced his bowl with meth.

Still upset and not entirely sure if she believed him, Sarah asked, “But- why did you ask me why I didn’t like you? I don’t understand. Did I do something to give you that impression?”

“Well, you know just like how you talk to other guys and stuff,” David stated matter-of-factly.

“Umm, no I don’t know. Yes, I talk to other guys. They’re called my friends, David. I don’t feel the same way for them that I do for you though, you know that.”

“Do I?” asked David bluntly. “I mean, you know what kind of bulls*** I’m dealing with right now. Like with my parents and these stoners threatening to kill me ‘cause I won’t sell to them anymore. It’s just really sucky to see you hugging that stupid Steve kid and laughing and having a great time with him when you know that I need you.”

Hugging Steve? That was when she was hanging out with her friends on Main Street a few nights ago. David wasn’t there.

“Wait, how did you know about that? Did you, follow, me?” Sarah’s voiced shook.

“Just forget it- okay?” David said. “Forget it. I gotta go. I can’t deal with this right now.”

“No David, wait-“ Sarah desperately wanted to figure out what was going on with him, to bring back the sweet, funny, sober David she liked so much.

But he was already gone.

A whole two days went by that neither of them spoke to each other.

Sarah sat at her bedroom window and looked out onto the street below. She watched the orange and brown leaves dance excitedly in the breeze until she drifted off to sleep. In her dream she saw herself running along side them. Careless and free to twirl wherever she pleased. She imagined herself being lifted into the air, riding the wind, stretching her arms out to eternity. She drank the sun in like wine, feeling it spread warmly to her toes and her fingertips.

Then she saw David. He was on the ground, looking up at her. She called to him and he came to join her in the sky. For a brief moment he smiled, then reached out his hand to her. But before she could grab it, a violent wind jerked him away and sent him tumbling downward. Panic flashed across his eyes. Sarah watched helplessly from above. He gripped her ankle. But instead of hoisting himself back up, he began to drag her down. The once graceful leaves were now darting past, stinging Sarah’s face and arms as they sliced her skin.

Her phone buzzed and she snapped back to consciousness. David was calling.

“Um, hello?”

“So did you want like a corsage or something?”

Sarah had totally forgotten about the homecoming dance that weekend.

“Oh! oh, yes sure. I mean if you want to get one.”

“Don’t do that, Sarah. Yes, or no?”

“Yes.” She felt mechanical. This conversation was an obligation to David. Strictly business. Sarah didn’t expect him to call with an overwhelming apology but she thought he’d have more to say than that.

“Okay. I’ll pick you up at 6:00 tomorrow.”

“Okay, yea that sounds fine. So, how are you? Hello?”

Silence. She hung up her phone and let it slip through her fingers and fall to the floor. She leaned her forehead against the cool glass of the window and closed her eyes, letting herself fade slowly out of reality, and back into the sky.

David straightened his tie in the mirror. He stared at himself for a moment and noticed the dark bags under his eyes that contrasted against his pale skin. His face looked unhealthily thin. He noticed one hair that was slightly askew and immediately fixed it. He straightened the items next to the bathroom sink so that they were all parallel. Then he returned to his room and sat on the edge of his bed.

He thought about Sarah. Her soft, blonde hair. Her big, brown eyes. He wanted to hold her, to touch her. He imagined her coming into his room, smiling, running into his arms, pressing her body against his so that he could feel her warmth.

Then he thought about Steve. Steve’s hand touching her hand, his eyes upon her face, his lips caressing her skin.

David clenched his fists. His heart rate quickened and his blood boiled. He tore open his nightstand drawer and pulled out a pen and paper. He wrote quickly and intensely, gritting his teeth with every letter.

Finally he let the paper float the ground, and then dropped the pen on top of it. He stood up, smoothed out the wrinkles in his shirt, grabbed his keys and made his way out the front door.

The dance was over and it was 10:45 pm. David was driving Sarah to an after party. Even despite her slightly damp hair and ruined make up she was as beautiful as ever. She was always beautiful when she was happy.

“So, ha ha, he runs to the trash can, then suddenly decides to run to the door of the class room, open the door, and puke out in the hallway!” Sarah began laughing hysterically. “Like, ha, he had his face in the trash can, but decided to throw up in the hallway instead. Who does that?”

David laughed. “I have no idea ha ha. The kid sounds like an idiot.”

“Oh my God he really is. He asked me what would happen if a car didn’t have breaks.”

“I hope you went Tommy Boy on him!”

“Oh, believe me, I did. I was like, ‘You’re driving along and the kids are in the backseat, I gotta go to the bathroom, daddy! Not now damn it! And then there’s a giant truck tire in the middle of the road! EEEEEEEEE! OH NO WE CAN’T STOP!!’”

David jumped in. “There’s a cliff!! AAAAHHH! And you’re family is screaming.”

Sarah giggled. “Oh my God, we’re burning alive! Nooo! I can’t feel my legs! Then here comes the meat wagon.”

“And the medic gets out and says, ‘OH MY GOD.’”

“New guy’s in the corner pukin’ his guts out.”

The two of them laughed together for a few minutes. Sarah was beaming warmly at David, who glanced over in her direction for a moment before his smile melted into a solemn expression.

“What?” Sarah asked. “What’s wrong?”

The car came to a stop in front of their destination. David put it in park but left the keys in the ignition. He didn’t look at Sarah.

“Come on, babe, obviously something’s wrong. Tell me, please?”

“Steve’s car is here,” he said monotone.

“Yea, so? So is yours! Steve’s here with April anyway. You have nothing to worry about.” Sarah tried to touch David’s shoulder but he moved away.

“Look. I’m not going in with you.”

“But I told you that-“

“I’m not going anywhere with you anymore, okay? I’m sorry, but it’s over.”

Sarah’s face fell. “Wh- what? Why?”

David straightened himself up and stated, “because you’re not happy with me. I’m not good for you, and you know that. I’m doing what’s best for you, okay?”

“Is this about drugs? Is it about meth? B-because you can get help for that, you know. Let me help you, David, please. I just want you to be happy.”

“Something you should know about me Sarah, is that I’m not capable of being happy.”

Sarah’s eyes welled up with tears. “You mean, I don’t make you happy?”

David shut his eyes tightly. “No.”

Sarah felt a sharp pain shoot through her chest. Without a word, she got out of the car, and then walked slowly to her friend’s front porch.

David sped away before she even reached the door.

She fixated on the porch light, which became increasingly larger and blurrier with tears the longer she stared at it. She stood in the night, wallowing in her own pain. That moment in time seemed to permanently etch itself into her heart.

Finally, she took a deep breath, then braced herself to face the waiting crowd of people within.

Two weeks went by. Sarah’s friends convinced her that he wasn’t worth her tears. It was his loss. He’d end up as a loser drug-addict anyway.

And she believed them.

Within two weeks, she moved on. At least, she was able to convince people she had moved on. She realized he was in the past, and he wasn’t coming back.

Until he appeared.

At first it was a face across the room at a party that had a striking resemblance. Then it was a stranger passing her on the street, walking in the park, sitting in a car a few spaces down in the parking lot.

It couldn’t be a coincidence. She knew it was him.

She started receiving phone calls from a private number from someone who would call and hang up as soon as she answered.

Sarah knew that this behavior was likely the result of his rekindled relationship with drugs. She became concerned not just for her own life, but for his. Regardless of what she allowed people to believe, she still cared about him, and wanted to talk to him. To tell him he needed to stop following her and calling her. To tell him he needed help. So she decided that she would go to his house and confront him.

Her stomach was in knots the entire silent drive to David’s house. Her palms were sweaty and she dug her nails into her steering wheel. Finally she pulled up in front of the white split-level that looked exactly like the ones beside it on the quaint, unsuspecting street. It was Sunday night so she knew he’d be home. The only other place she could imagine him being is out somewhere getting high.

After several deep breaths, Sarah turned off the engine, and stepped out of her old Buick. The moon shown down from a black, starless sky. The only light coming from the house was a dim light glowing in an upstairs window. She began her reluctant walk up the driveway.

Once she reached the front door, she hesitated, her fist lingering near the hard, painted surface. Everything will be fine. He’ll understand.

She knocked once.


A third time.

She rang the doorbell.

There was no sound coming from within the house, but Sarah was sure that someone was home. She tried turning the knob. It twisted fully around, and with a slight shift of her weight, the door opened.

She stepped into the foyer, keeping the door slightly ajar. The dull light of the moon poured into the front of the house, illuminating the base of the stairs, part of the living room, and a small portion of a hallway lined with family portraits.

Sarah peered up through the wooden spindles of the staircase into the upper floor. It was lit, but just barely. She assumed the bathroom light had been left on.

“Hello?” she called. There was no answer, but that didn’t discourage her.

Tentatively, she approached the stairs. Her fingers delicately touched the banister, and traced the smooth wood as she climbed each step. Once she reached the landing, she surveyed her surroundings. The rooms appeared barren.

She drew her attention to the door of his room. It was open, but it revealed only darkness. “David?” Again, no answer.

Sarah was now standing in the doorway of his bedroom. Blindly, she reached her arm across to the inside wall. She felt the slight protrusion of the light switch and flipped it on.

Before her was the familiar sight of David’s small, empty room. His bed was made and his floor was nearly immaculate. His slight obsessive-compulsive disorder resulted in the cleaning of his room on a daily basis, the organization of his track trophies and medals by year, place, and size, and the always faint but apparent scent of fabric softener.

Tonight, however, there was a slight disturbance in the order. Scattered across the floor on the right-hand side of his bed was an array of notebook paper. There were several pens pointed in different directions atop what appeared to be over 50 pieces of loose-leaf paper. Intrigued, Sarah walked over to the mess, and crouched down to view it more closely.

She lifted one piece and turned it so that she could read it. It was dated two days ago. Scribbled across the first few lines was a poem:

Through the water I see your eyes,
Open wide with fear.
Sweet bubbles from your lips do rise,
I watch you disappear.

She was confused. Shaking off her feeling of disturbance, she retrieved another poem from the pile. This one was significantly longer but appeared to have been written quickly and fiercely. The writing was slightly less legible and was decorated with various inkblots and dark maroon spots that resembled dried blood. According to the date scrawled in the corner, it had just been written that day.

Oh merciless Siren,
I’m under your spell.
My eyes, they speak my heart.
They plead and beg,
cry out my lust,
overcome by Cupid’s dart.

All I want
is to breathe your life;
to kiss your hopes and dreams.
But as we learn
from Puck’s error, love
isn’t always what it seems.

You said you did.
You lied with ease.
You held me in your hand.
The lips I kissed
taste of betrayal.
I just don’t understand.

Id kill for you
Id kill you too
Id tear your soul apart,
leaving love notes

on your headstone,
begging for your heart.

Id clutch your wrists,
smother your screams,
steal away your virtue.
Id cut you open,
live inside you.
Love, Id never hurt you.

Why, then
do you hurt me so?
All I do is care.
Even though
You’re no longer mine,
I’ll always be there.

One sharp slit of
sweet release
My scarlet veins are free
A warm, overwhelming
and merciful tide
Washing over me.

Sarah was suddenly overcome with nausea. A sharp twinge of fear shot through her stomach and momentarily took away her breath. She wanted to run, to scream, to be anywhere but there. But for some reason, she couldn’t move. She drew her attention to another piece of writing. This one appeared to be more of a journal entry or a letter.

I love her more than words can say. I can’t bare the thought of her being in the arms of another. I know she doesn’t love me. I know she can’t be trusted. I’ve seen the way she looks at other men. That lying b****. That no-good, slutty, beautiful, lying b****! I have to end it tonight. Or, I fear, I’ll have to do something horrible. I need to free her before I wake with innocent blood on my hands. She deserves more than me, she deserves more than life.

That particular entry was written the day of homecoming.

Suddenly, everything started to make sense to Sarah. He ended it to protect her from himself. He wanted, no, wants to kill her, but he loves her too much. It seemed as though Sarah couldn’t get out of there fast enough. What was she thinking? That she could reason with someone so unstable? He was a meth addict. He was bi-polar and obsessive-compulsive. He was beyond reason.

She hopped to her feet, sprinted out of the room, whipped around the corner to the stairs, and took them two at a time the whole way down. She stumbled onto her knees once she landed at the bottom of the stairs. As she hoisted herself back up, she came face-to-face with a figure standing in the front door. The silhouette stepped closer to Sarah, who was frozen with fear. It was David.

His eyebrow was raised in a suspicious manner. Sarah opened her mouth to speak, but couldn’t seem to force out a sound.

It was David who spoke first. Slowly and calmly he asked, “What are you doing?”

“I-I- came by to talk to you. But I know now I shouldn’t have come. It was stupid of me. I’m sorry.”

She attempted to slip past him toward the door, but he stepped in front of her, blocking her from the exit. “How long have you been here?”

“J-just a couple minutes. Your door was open and I…”

“What have you seen?”

Sarah glanced down and noticed the long, red slashes along his arm. Her eyes widened and she replied, “Nothing! I’ve been standing right here the whole time. I promise you I-“

“You know, somehow I don’t believe you.”

David, without breaking his stare at the frightened Sarah, pushed the front door closed. The sound of the lock resonated through the empty house and sent a wave of panic through Sarah’s body.

David reached into his pants pocket and pulled out his switchblade. He flipped it open, keeping it at his side. Slowly, he approached Sarah. “You realize,” he stated, “I can’t let you leave.”

A tear rolled down Sarah’s cheek and her breathing became deeper. “Please….don’t…”

“All I’ve ever done is care about you, Sarah. I didn’t want to break up with you, but I was afraid. Afraid of what I would do to you. You see, I love you, Sarah. I love you so much it hurts…” he gestured to the wounds on his forearm. “I was becoming insanely jealous. You know how you hugged Steve on Main Street? It took everything within my power not to kill him. I wanted to feel his neck snap in my hands.”

Sarah gulped as tears continuously streamed down her face. She noticed his blood-shot eyes and his sunken-in cheeks. He spoke through gritted teeth.

“I tried to protect you. Even after I dumped you I tried to protect you. But I couldn’t stay away. I knew how you were hurting me. So I started following you, hoping to catch you with another guy. Because the second I did, I would kill that son-of-a-b****. When you were out of my sight it tortured me, so I called you to listen to the voices in the background- to make sure you were alone.”

He had been walking toward her the entire time, and she had been backing away. Finally he had her cornered. Sarah started sobbing. “There isn’t anyone else! I don’t want to hurt you, David. You-you have a problem. You need help- I want to help you. I just want you to be happy.”

David laughed. “I told you. It’s not possible for me to happy. I’m beyond help.”

He raised his knife to eye-level, its point facing Sarah. The faint light coming in from the kitchen window made his eyes gleam. He was crying. Sarah looked at him with a mixture of sympathy and fear. “Don’t do this,” she said.

David’s breathing was quick and shallow. “Please Sarah….tell me you love me.”

Sarah looked away from David and shut her eyes tightly. “I can’t.”

“TELL ME YOU LOVE ME!” David was hysterical. Tears were flowing endlessly down his pale cheeks. He gasped for air between sobs. “I just…..I need you to love me like I love you….”

“David,” Sarah breathed. “I’m sorry. I just- I can’t. But you don’t have to do this! You can get help. Please- just put down the knife.” Sarah placed her hands on David’s face, her eyes pleading for him to come to his senses.

“You hate me,” David spat.

“No! I care about you, David. Really! What can I do to show you that?”

David’s eyes were longing. His body was shaking uncontrollably. He continued holding the knife in the air, which shook vigorously in his tight grip.

Finally, Sarah kissed him. She put all of her desperation and emotion into that one gesture, hoping that David would see that she truly did care about him. His body relaxed, and he pressed his wet lips back into Sarah’s. He lowered his arm to his side, and surrendered to that moment of passion.

When Sarah pulled away, she searched his eyes for some sort of change. He gazed at her with child-like admiration, and his tear-stained cheeks widened into a weak smile. “I need you, Sarah. My heart belongs only to you. I-I’m sorry.”

They stared breathlessly at each other for one, silent moment. Then suddenly, David again raised his knife, and plunged it into his chest. He hissed in pain, then let the knife drop to the floor. He tore open his shirt and shoved his fingers into his fresh wound. Blood was rushing out in sickeningly large amounts. His head appeared to spin, and he wrapped his fingers around a couple of his ribs. With a startling crack he broke the bones, grabbing a fist-full of bloody flesh. He screamed in agonizing pain. He violently grasped Sarah’s hand, and stuck it inside of the gruesome hole.

Sarah gasped in shock. Her fingers were mashed up inside the wet, warm mess. She felt the sickening thud of his dying heartbeat.

David’s eyes were wide with pain.

He softly sang a line from Foreplay/Long Time by Boston, “Well I’m takin’ my time, I’m just movin’ along. You’ll forget about me after I’ve been gone…”

Then he smiled and dropped slowly to the ground. His body became completely limp. He was sprawled out in a dark puddle of blood that only grew in size as it seeped endlessly out of his chest.

Sarah stared into his lifeless eyes. Even despite the tears and blood, she couldn’t help but notice that for the first time, he looked genuinely happy.

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