Author's note: when i first started writing this, it was more about the romance, but it somehow turned into this... Show full author's note »
Chapter 1The rough interior of the freshly cut wood rubbed my back raw, a mild burning that I found comforting and helpful; it kept me from entering the blissful space in my mind where daydreams mist up like evaporating water and capture me like an empty promise. I will not allow myself the pleasure of entering such a realm that held so much. The musty smell of sweat filled my nose and coated my tongue like a filmy paste that I couldn’t spat out. But after only small consideration, I realized this is nothing compared to what will happen next. My actions were unforgivable. This will be my way of paying back what I had stolen. With or without me, in the end everything will work out for the better.
As I open my eyes I had to swallow my anxiety of seeing my bare body trapped in a dark homemade wooden casket. I clench my fists even tighter by my sides, my nails lightly digging into my palm reminding me again that this is indeed, reality. I am not afraid of my outcome. But I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t nervous for the future of my people. What I am doing will be a mercy to them all. Until the future finds them.
I hear twigs snapping outside underfoot by the muscled men that carry me. By the sounds of their soft footfalls, I would guess there on three on either side of the box. The men say not a word. I really wish they would; the heavy silence seemed to be more suffocating than the small enclosed place I temporarily inhabited. Even a random comment about the weather would’ve been nice. But, I guess I can’t have everything.
Finally after what seemed like years of the steady swing of the men walking; they stopped. Without even opening my eyes I knew that there was an audience of adults circled around me. I lay there counting my shallow breaths. The coffin was soon jostled as the men lifted me off their shoulders and placed me on the pine needled ground. I’m sure they didn’t mean to land me so hard, but even so, it still managed to rattle every bone in my body and vibrate my brain. Or maybe it was my imagination going crazy.
The shuffling of their footsteps made it clear that they departed into the crowd. Becoming one with the unsettled. I tried to picture the faces that were looking down on this ordinary wooden coffin, tried to imagine what they were all thinking. Were they pleased? Nervous? Did they fear they’re future as much as I did? Or perhaps they were sad, wishing to be back in their comfortable warm homes with their families, asleep in bed, dreaming of better days. I wonder if they would miss me. Is there anything about me worth missing? Should I have lived my life differently? Protected them better? Did they all hate me now?
I closed my eyes, hushing my brain. It was true that I wished for noise, but not this kind. If I let my brain keep going, I’m sure I’d go insane.
My irritated skin started to itch and I concentrated on the sensation. Maybe it was because of the itchiness that helped me through the next long moments of silence the crowd persisted to make. It took my whole attention not to itch, that it made my whole reality come to a halt in my mind. For now.
After my irritated skin no longer sidetracked me, I turned to counting my breaths. Breathe in, breathe out. One. Breathe in, breathe out. Two. After 348 breaths, the crowd began to murmur. She is approaching. I felt so ashamed I couldn’t even think her name. So this is it. I think to myself, the time has come.
I hear more shuffling. The crowd is parting for her.
Straining my ears, I hear her slow approach. She did not hurry, but she also didn’t walk in a way like she was taking a relaxing stroll either. She walked with forced purpose. And that made me sad. She continued, coming closer and closer each second. I held my breath for no reason. I had to do something, anything to keep my mind blank. Make it so that I wouldn’t shout out to her. Everything that needed to be said was said awhile ago. Now I need to leave. Too soon, she was standing where my head lay uselessly. Her presence sure did help, for the most part. I regret deeply what she has to do next, but she is the only one. She will be strong.
She sucked in a breath.
Then she started to hum. At first it was soft, barely auditable. It resembled a whisper or a soft prayer… it was beautiful. In the past, I always admired her voice. Even when she wasn’t singing, it seemed to always ring like delicate bells. The song she was humming was sad, a goodbye.
I sucked in a breath.
The audience did the same.
And she then hummed.
A different tune than before.
I stifled a scream.
My whole body tensed up, my fists clenching so hard I’m sure it’d break metal. I bit my lip, holding in my horrific scream that was begging to rip through me. It was not her voice that brought me so much pain, but her melody. She paused then continued the haunting hum that tortured me so. My feet curled involuntarily, more sweat pored from my face and my lip was freely bleeding from my teeth. This incredible pain felt as if every bone in my body was breaking over and over again; the sharp ends stabbing and slicing my organs and muscles.
The humming intensified; this time the crowd joining in. the extra voices did nothing to help ease the pain. In fact, it did the opposite. While my insides felt like soufflé, my outside skin feels as if it is being slowly burned off, starting with my toes slowly working its way up. I wanted to scratch frantically at the lid, scream for them to stop, beg for death, but I did nothing. I already accepted this.
My spine curled upward with agony that was granted upon me. I could feel my blood vessels popping, rupturing inside me, my lungs burning from lack of air as I tried to fruitlessly gasp at the hot and humid air that now resembles thick sludge; suffocating me. The severe burning had now reached my belly button. I bit my lip harder until my teeth connected with each other on either side. With a sudden jolt of surprise I just realized what happened; I bit through my lip. But even the pain of that hadn’t registered to my brain.
I was shaking; my whole body was having a seizure, thunking against the wood. The beastly fire that I could not see rose higher to the middle of my stomach, then marched higher to my neck. I could feel blood pouring down my chin and pooling in my mouth from my open lip. I did my best to spat it out, only to have it refill almost immediately. The scorching had now reached my drenched chin. With my gag reflexes working over time, I knew I had to throw up. I open my mouth hopelessly to do so, knowing that I’d probably die from choking on my vomit, but I would take any form of death at this point… make it all stop…
But what came out of me stunned me so much, I became still. The outside humming vanished, as did my pain. Silence inside and out. Not even my heart dared a sound. Maybe I was already dead… What came out of my mouth was a bright white glow in the form of smoke. It blinded me, the radiance glowed the whole coffin, showing my perfectly ordinary, unharmed body. When it reached the wooden lid, it disappeared through it. I couldn’t help but gape. I was so captivated by it I couldn’t even wonder what it was, even though I had a dim idea. The last of the glow escaped me, leave with a soft sigh, another whisper of goodbye. I close my eyes. Preparing myself for the after. What ever that is. But before I left, his face flashed through my mind for a brief moment, then settled into the dark abyss of my locked memories.
Please, don’t give up on me, my love, I will free us. Just you wait, I will come back, and nothing will stop our love. Nothing.
If people were to ask me what death felt like, I’d tell them that it felt light. Almost like flying. But even lighter then that. You’re the air itself that wanders and weaves through things that no one can see. Then I’d tell them how free I felt. How being so light, made me feel so free. I am so light… lighter than air…