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"These things happen, mister Calhoun. Unfortunately, you know far too much. This is a real pity…I really loved you. Goodbye, Dustin."
He felt the first of many tears run down his face. She gently kissed him on the cheek as a small tear ran from his eye, to his chin, and then to the ground. She pointed the gun at his head and he shut his eyes, wondering how the woman he loved so much could do this to him. How a woman who was once so warm and gentle, could be so cold and ruthless.
"Any last words, darling?"
She asked him. Her voiced cracked and he could tell she was fighting tears. He could tell she didn't want to end his life. He could tell.
"T'was an interesting story, my dear. Dreadfully sorry to say that it won't be finished. I guess this was the only prologue. Hell awaits me…. Farewell, Angel."
The words came out but they were barely audible. In a few moments, he would be dead and nothing would matter. He just couldn't make himself feel hate for this woman. Here she was, pointing a gun at him, and all he felt for her was love.
"God cannot punish a man as great as you.."
A tear ran down her face as she slowly turned the gun on herself.
"We had fun.. You and I. Farewell, my love."
She pulled the trigger, killing herself. He heard the pop of the gun and opened his eyes. He saw his former lover laying in a pool of her own blood
"No!!! Dammit!! This wasn't how our story was supposed to end! We were supposed to run away together, we were supposed to live through this war! WHY!?!"
He cried out in agony. He held her in his arms and sobbed. He gently removed the gun from her hand. His will to survive had just died in front of him. He survived the war for her, just to come home and see her die. He put the gun to his temple and looked down at her lifeless body.
"I'll join you soon, my love"
He pulled the trigger, and never flinched…The gun had jammed… As he held her in his arms he noticed a heart shaped locket around her neck. One that he had given her on their two month anniversary. It was cheap, he had told her that, but it was all he could afford. She loved it, and treasured it. He often saw her playing with it and putting small items inside of it. The flash back had become too painful for him to bear. He gently unfastened the clasp and held the small locket in his blistered hand. He opened it slowly, expecting it to be empty. Instead, he found a rose petal from the bouquet of flowers he had given her many years ago on their first date. God, she looked stunning. She always did, but that night.. She had a glow about her that made him insecure in his own appearance. The other side of the locket held a fragile and worn looking picture of the two of them the day they met. It was the first day of the second week of his sophomore year. She walked in as a new student and he fell in love the moment her gorgeous hazel eyes met his. He cried. He realized that on that day.. The greatest day of his life.. His world would forever be changed. Because of her, he would graduate high school, join the military, come home wounded.. But still alive. And he would find out her most horrible secret. He would be led to this abandoned house, and then lose the love of his life. The greatest day of his life would ultimately lead to the darkest and saddest day of his life. He lit a cigarette with the old lighter she had gifted him. He clutched the photo and cried as he smoked his last cigarette. The love of his life was gone.. What did he have to live for now? He continued to take short drags of his cigarette as he contemplated his life.. He tossed the cigarette into the corner of the room. In a split second the cheap carpet was set on fire. The room was lit ablaze and he smiled. He had found a way to be with his lost love once more. He hugged her and kept her pulled close as he felt his skin start to boil. He looked down at her and kissed her on the forehead.
"Soon, Angel. Soon we shall be reunited. We will be together in heaven or in hell. For we have both done wrong and we have both done right. We will both be punished for our sins, or we will both be rewarded for our good deeds. Either way.. We will be happy again."
He tightened his grip on the photo. He kept it close to the both of them as they became engulfed in flames.
The fire department arrived and the only thing that survived the fire was a photo of a young, happy, high school couple.
The most imperfect of couples, died of broken hearts. Not from fire or bullets. From their own stupidity. From not realizing how much they needed each other. They kept each other alive and well until the end. Even in those last fiery moments, they were closer than ever. Their love, unlike the flames, never died. Through all of the years, they were separated by the war… They never stopped thinking of each other. They never lost hope. They believed that they would be reunited again one day.. That they would live a happily ever after life. Unfortunately, that never happened. The brave soldier and his cowardly lover died in that instant, but their love lives on forever.