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I placed fresh, blood-red roses on my family’s grave, exchanging them for the older ones which were withered and black from the cold. I brushed snow off of my mom’s tombstone, making the piled flakes notably uneven for her. I was only six when the murder happened, but I remembered my mother and brother clearly. My father’s tomb lay between theirs, though his had been there before my birth. The growing pain from remembering them was unbearable, consuming me with monstrous heartaches.
I walked the streets. The world was cold and grey, imitating my grieving heart. The bare branches of trees looked like Death’s crooked, bony fingers pointing at me, saying he was coming for me next. At least, that’s what I hoped. The wonderful threat inspired me to sketch something out of the darkness of this city I called home.
I went into a nearby Starbucks and sat at a table near the windows. I began to sketch Death leaning over my family’s tomb, looking at me and holding his hand out to an open grave, inviting me in. It wasn’t long before I felt a presence hovering over my shoulder, smelling of feminine. I didn’t say anything, just sighed and continued to work on the sketch, ignoring her.
“I like the way Death’s inviting you in,” she said, reading my thoughts exactly. She sat down next to me, so I looked up, taking in her physique; she looked like a replica of my mother, long, light brown hair and all, making my longing for my family worsen. She was dressed all in black, and I could tell by the dark glint in her eyes that she was as isolated from humanity as I was. Her demons were there, all laughing at her and her pathetic attempt to find understanding.
“You’re fond of him, aren’t you? Death, that is. I’m a fan,” she ended sarcastically, laughing and giving a flip of her hair. “Can I see your sketchbook?”
I couldn't find anything to say to make her leave, and knots wouldn’t quit forming in my stomach, making me all that more uncomfortable. I wanted to get out of there as fast as I could, but my legs compelled me to remain where I was. I’d never felt so insecure; I evaded people like a ghost, but I felt like she was practically eating through my flesh with her eyes and reading my soul. I pushed my sketchbook towards her so she’d at least stop digging her eyes into my skull.
“Angel,” she said, looking at my signature, “pretty name,” she smiled, “I’m Luzbell. You’ve probably heard about my family; my parents were cops here murdered twelve years ago, and since then, well, I’ve been on the borderline of insanity and death with the Reaper after me.”
I smiled but quickly made my mouth a straight line, noticing she looked offended.
“I know what you mean about that in-between,” I said, feeling sorry and for some odd reason wanting to tell her I was in the same shoes, though I’m not the kind of person to mention my Achilles heel. I began to wonder if I would escape before saying more than I needed.
“I could tell,” she smiled, “Sorry to have bothered you, by the way. I was just about to leave, so I’ll be going now,” she said, sauntering off before I could even wave bye.
I looked at my open sketch book and saw numbers scrawled out on the open page. I turned around and saw her walk out onto the snowy street. I didn’t know what’d just happened, but I got the idea Death put us on the same path for a reason, so I pulled out my cell and dialed her, still looking at her go.
She stopped in her tracks and pulled out her cell phone: “Hello?”
“Come back,” I said awkwardly, feeling relieved for some odd reason.
I watched her turn to look back in this direction with a hint of a growing smile on her face. “I’ll be right there,” she said, rushing over, and it seemed like it’d been an eternity since I’d felt this glad, relieved—this alien emotion I was experiencing--with someone who understood.