Into the Dark
Author's note: I like music A LOT. When I listen to songs, I mainly enjoy listening to their lyrics, trying to... Show full author's note »
6.5 HOURS BEFORE THE END, December 21, 2012, 5:30 PMKnuckles pierce his face, breaking his cheekbone into bloody pieces. The pain is outstanding, almost healing, though he realizes that the man beating the crap out of him would be insulted if Bixby said this out loud. He tastes, smells, and is the iron of blood as he pushes his palms outward into the man’s chest. He can hear laughs and people talking near him, and a single voice out of the many cheering him on, the one that sounds like bells. He swings his shoulder outward, hitting the man’s stomach and taking his breath away. Bixby feels something wet hit his neck and slide down his back at the same time he feels his wrist break. He cries out, the pain suddenly no longer a friend, and shouts, “I’m done!” The man stands up and drags Bixby up next to him, putting his arm around his shoulder and shaking him. Bixby’s hand wiggles uselessly next to him body.
“Good fight?” Cath asks when the man releases Bixby to her, and Bixby nods, thinking back on when he almost fought that man in college. And moments after his brawl, he asked Cath out for the millionth time, and she said actually yes. He does not remind Cath of this, for they stopped talking of their past long ago. He puts his arm around her shoulder and wipes the blood off his face.
“I hoo pwobly ee a ocer,” he gurgles, his tongue swollen and face destroyed. She cackles and shakes her head.
“Sit down, Bixby.” She pushes him onto a bench and takes off her corduroy jacket then her plaid, collared shirt. Still wearing her hospital gown, she tears a piece of cloth off the collared shirt. Soaking it in a nearby fountain, she softly cleans his face of any blood. He suddenly notices the rain splashing off her pale face and turning her hair golden. She examines his cheekbone, takes a medical kit out of his bag, and begins to reconstruct his face.
“Did you steal that from the hospital?” he inquires after an hour of her silently putting his cheek back together. She nods. “You still remember everything?”
“Of course I do,” she jokes, “Not even the drugs could steal that from me.” He falls silent as she chuckles. He remains motionless as she wipes the new blood from his cheek. She slowly stitches his skin together, unbothered by scent of blood mixed with city mud and the sight of his ghastly face. He bites his lip, containing his discomfort, until she resets his nose. He shouts in pain as tears roll down his bloody cheeks, the salt stinging his new wound. He curls up on the bench and moans, watching the rain make ripples in the puddle.
The smell of cinnamon and freshly baked bread wakes him up. Cath sits down and hands him a churro, proceeding to ignore hers. He bites into his, the taste of grease and sugar filling his unworthy taste buds. He chews, moaning with delight at the sensation. He nods approvingly at her, who is silently watching him eat. “Do you still love me?” She blurts out. The churro suddenly tastes bland. Bixby shakes his head and puts his hands on his face.
“Could we just not?”
But Cath is persistent. “Well, if you do, don’t take me back there.”
He stands up and throws the churro on the ground. His face reddens behind his raggy beard. The sun is setting behind him in flashes of pink, purple, and orange, and Cath thinks how this broken man looks extremely holy, like God taking his vengeance on mankind. “Well, let me tell you something, Cath,” he snarls, and her face pales. “You might not love yourself, but I do, so you have to go back.” Her shocked face looks like he just slapped her. Suddenly, her eyes flash and she stands up, nose to nose with him.
“I don’t want to die in that place!” She screams, spit flying on his face. They both freeze, tears pouring down Bixby’s face. He falls down heavily onto the bench, half expecting it not to be there. Cath sits down next to him and wraps her arms around him. She kisses his forehead, letting his tears run down her neck.
“I found you. Don’t do it to me again.” She doesn’t say anything, unpromising.
After a couple of hours, Bixby wakes up wrapped around Cath. Her breath still smells like mint, as it had for many years. She turns over and grins; her face lights up. Her hair is a mess, sticking up in a thousand directions. She grabs his wrist and checks his watch. “It’s almost time,” she shouts, sitting up and twirling back to face him. She sticks another square of mint gum into her mouth and chews excitedly. “Let’s go hack Time’s Square!”