There was a chance, a flash of lightning that ran through my mind flickering all the lights, off and on. The smell was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Let me tell you it was a whole body experience. My knees nearly buckled, so I leaned on the door jam for support. Squeezing my eyes as tight as I could and holding my breath until I saw stars and nearly fainted.
The mess was extensive. There was coagulated brownish blood in thick pools through out the room. He must have been leaking profusely as he made his way from the bathroom back to the bedroom. As my mind focused on the blood, the coppery blood smell seemed to bubble up to the surface and over power the fecal odour and the other gases of decomposition permeating the room. My eyes watered. It was everywhere.
All around the window were strange sigils I’d never seen before, on the far wall a little higher than eye level was a short and simple message written in blood. It said,
My blood for your tears
He was on the floor with a makeshift noose around his neck. It was strung up over the closet door. His skin as pale as his bed sheets, arms down at his sides, palms toward the ceiling revealing the long, deep, ragged tears in his in the flesh there. I yelled again for help, but it was feeble and weak. I couldn’t muster enough oxygen in my lungs to really call out. I crumpled in on myself falling, my knees splatting a congealed mass of his blood scattershot. For a brief second it occurred to me how much planning had to go into this endeavour. How hurt, angry, and sad he must have been. Over what? I assumed that the message on the wall was for me, but that was ludicrous. I mean, we had sort of broken up because he thought I was cheating on him. But, we were gonna fix that. It was only once and it was a mistake. It was only a moment of weakness fuelled by alcohol more than anything. We were gonna work really hard at making things right; at least that’s what I thought. It wasn’t that bad, I did love him. I still loved him and wanted to be with him. How could he have done this? How could he have put me in this position! To be the one to discover his corpse like this. What a hideous word, corpse. How selfish. The whole night is ruined, I have to call 911, I’m going to be stuck answering questions, I am going to be interrogated. This is going to be a nightmare. His blood soaked into my pants and shirt from the door frame. What are they going to think of me...? I can’t do this, I can’t do this. Geysers of fear erupted from my lower guts arcing across the whole of my being.
Without realizing what I was doing I sprung up and pushed through the open door using the wall for support and for a constant boost. My fingers left their own trail of blood and hurt spreading it across the walls as I made my way through the hall and down the stairs. I had to grab the banisters as my feet slid down a few steps. Got them under me again and when I hit the bottom ran to the side door I’d come in, jumped the railing on the steps there and almost lost my balance down the drive; my arms pinwheeling to keep me upright.
I kept running down to the sidewalk and turned left. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket as I motored. I started dialling 911, but I could barely see the screen through my tears, I guess you got what you wanted you bastard, I yelled at the phone as my thumb found the keypad and the numbers. I could hear the phone ring only once before the operator picked up. I could hear her asking questions but I couldn’t make out the words. I brought the phone up close to my face to see the volume buttons in the dark. The cool air felt nice across my face. Tripping off the curb, an engine rumbled nearby and then a loud horn blared...
“Now that she’s back in the atmosphere With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey, hey She acts like Summer and walks like rain Reminds me that there’s a-time to change, hey, hey...”
I was just at work, but it feels like so long ago. I get so distracted by space and tend to forget time. I think I may have told you that. I was on my way... not home. I was going to the, to the... party. No, I made it there. What is this? The driver silently nods in the rearview knowingly. I feel the weight of the knife in my waist band and pull it out. I look at it. I feel the sharp edge of loneliness slide wedge between my ribs and push painfully deeper. I am alone. I’ve been alone for a while.
I remember the dream now. The jade man. I look at the knife, at the sigils on it, My blood for your tears. It hits me all over again, the sights, the sounds, but mostly the smells. Him, lying there with no dignity left, drained out with all the blood and love. Cut from him, not by his hand but mine. Tears sting my eyes and threaten to spill over. One finally does and hits the handle lighting up the sigils, the carved heart breaks. My blood for your tears. How long have I been on this bus? How many times have I done the circuit, the loop? I didn’t get on this bus to go to the party. I got on this bus to be ferried. I didn’t have the right change.
The bus careens around a corner and somehow never makes a turn, but the driver stands up out of her seat. She turns to face me from her side of the yellow line. Her mouth remains a thin slit in her face as she glares at me.
“Countless millenia.” The gravel in her voice is softer as she speaks.
“That is how long I’ve been ferrying people to their destinies, to their consequences.”
“Humans, so insolent. You know, you think only about yourselves and that everything was created to serve you, but you are in the great wheel now. You will be judged. In all this time however, I can count on one digit how many have had an opportunity like you have had. To keep on riding. Or, to use a human phrase, to keep on truckin.”
“What do you mean?”
“There are very few souls, who have a connection like you’ve had. It is thin in you, but your lover, despite what you think, really loved you. Died for you. Is being punished eternally for you. Hold him tight, he is your ticket to ride.”
She turned around and got back in her seat, buckled up and flipped a switch. Something in the bus flipped, it slowed down but space folded, the black onyx and bone buildings, the melting shops all rolled over and the bus began to wheel over and over in a large whooping whirl. I was shunted into a seat as the whole of creation wheeled around and around in a slip stream circling a drain. Down and down and down.