He was BOLD, she was ITALIC, and together they were MORE.
He misses her. More than he thought possible.
Moons and seasons later, the gaping hole in his chest only grows bigger, eating away at him until he is a bitter shell. Each step feels empty, each breath feels wasted, each blink feels eternal -- without her, he is nothing. Though it stopped beating long ago, his heart aches. Others stare when he passes, whisper to themselves, and he knows they know what he has become.
He is the ghost of a ghost.
He has died once, but this is worse.
Dig ’til my shovel tells a secret
Swear to the earth that I will keep it
Brush off the dirt
And let my change of heart occur
Sometimes he wonders if she thinks of him still. He knows she is with her family -- parents, sister, son -- and she is happier. He knows she is happy. Without him.
Meanwhile, he decays more and more with each passing day. If they can be called days.
Sold soon after the appraisal
The hammer struck the auction table
Louder than anything I’ve ever heard
He can still remember the day he died with staggering clarity.
He can remember lying on the stones, water rushing by his ears, with his blood pooling around him. He gasped for breath and scrabbled on the ground, watching his murder swim across the river. Mercifully soon, he drifted away, abandoning his ruined body.
There was a flash of fur, pale as fresh snow. Eyes the color of a clear greenleaf sky burned at him. Joy had overwhelmed him, stolen his breath, when her scent touched his senses. He heard her voice faintly, felt her pressure on his flank, before it all fell away. Dead thorns dug into his legs and pulled. The pain in his throat had returned.
That was when he knew.
She was gone. Forever. They were apart in death, just as they had been in life.
Meanwhile, my family’s taking shelter
Sparks send the fire down the wire
A countdown begins
’Til the dynamite gives in
A part of him -- the only part not overtaken by despair -- hates them.
He hates them for taking her away too soon. He hates them for keeping her from seeing him. He hates them teasing him. He hates them for not letting him see her one last time. He hates them for banishing him to this putrid realm.
He hates his peers, too. Hates them for corrupting him, for convincing him to corrupt others. For convincing him to fight.
He never saw her that day, not once. Perhaps it was better that way.
The echo, as wide as the equator
Travels through a world of built-up anger
Too late to pull itself together now
He knows he is fading, and he is afraid.
He knows, so he tries again, probably for the final time. He braves his rotting, clinging afterlife. Jeers and whispers follow him, just like some follow with similar hopes. He finds it -- the place he last saw her, by chance, hunting across the void. The light burns his eyes.
He can see others gathering beyond the rift, healthy and young. Their presence is unexpected; usually none dare wander so close to his realm. Corrupted souls gather around him, hoping, to peer into the brightness.
Then he sees her.
There was an earthquake
There was an avalanche of change
We were so afraid
We cried ourselves a hurricane
There were floods
And tidal waves over us
Like a domino
These wildfires grow and grow
Until a brand new world takes shape
She is more beautiful than anything he had ever seen.
His breath catches in his throat. She is there, as close as she can get to the void, peering into his dark realm.
For a heartbeat, he wants to hide. What had he done to deserve her? He is unworthy of her -- she is a goddess even after death, whereas he is a venomous snake. He loves her more than he can describe or understand, but she is happy there. He would ruin it for her.
But then she sees him. And such a joy fills her crystalline eyes at the sight of him that his chest shatters.
He is frozen. He wishes that all of his adoration could fly over the rift to her, but it is impossible.
They are as separate in death as they were in life.
Fault lines tremble underneath my glass house
But I’ll put it out of my mind
Long enough to call it courage
To live without a lifeline
I bend the definition of faith
To exonerate my blind eye
Her mouth opens, but no sound reaches him.
He wants to howl, to bay, to scream the injustice to the sky. He wants to leap across the border and tear out the throat of everyone that separated them. He wants to sob.
He tries to swipe at the rift, to tear it to pieces.
He stills when she starts to move. She sweeps away the crowd around her, elegant and regal, and steps forward. His breath catches, fear swallowing him as he expects her to fall.
She does not fall.
Her paw finds invisible purchase, and she takes another step.
His disbelief gives way to weak-kneed elation and relief. Before he knows what he is doing, he is running, running with everything in his fading body and corrupted lungs. She is running too, trailing stardust.
’Til the sirens sound, I’m safe
’Til the sirens sound, I’m safe
Her scent washes over him. His body vibrates with purrs as they entwine. Bodies rush around them, but they pay no mind, engulfed in each other.
“You waited for me?” he croaks.
“Love always waits,” she replies.
“I love you, forever and always.”