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Strange (Short Story)

By Nelly All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Romance

Strange

I never asked to be saved. I was perfectly content with how things were. And yet you reached a clean, perfumed hand and helped my hesitant self from the dirty wall.

I was strange. Always have been, but you didn't care. You helped me to your house. I didn't know what to expect, and I wasn't braced for what I beheld.

It wasn't a house. To me, it was a palace. You chuckled in that smooth tone of yours and told me that it was a mansion. I had no knowledge of rich things, but guessed it got close to the palace I was referring to.

Perhaps it was strange for me to stare, bewildered at the suited men offering their services to lead you out of the carriage, and me. Remember when I struggled? You let out a loveable laugh at my defenses. In that moment, they got me. I thought I was being imprisoned.

I felt strange.

You prepared a welcoming feast to my honour. It was strange. Honour was never a part of me, and I doubted you'd be, too.

The hot tub was soaking my skin, shriveling it. Strange on me. I felt vulnerable. Also embarrassed at how black I left the water, but you reassured me.

I didn't understand the formal attire you let your servants squeeze me into. The fabric was stiff and uncomfortable. It didn't feel right. Any rags I owned were familiar and calming. You said I didn't need them anymore and threw them away. My gasp didn't stop you.

Strange for someone to care for me. Strange for anyone to interest themselves in me.

Didn't I tell you? The first sentence that stuttered through my lips was that I was sick.

You laughed it off.

You always laughed a lot.

You practically pushed me into the big room you called the ballroom. There were no balls. Only vast space crowded with more people perfect like you.

I didn't fit it. I felt like a cripple in a tournament. Useless and incapable to cope with anything in my bizarre environment.

They smiled, polite like you. They reeked of perfume, stronger and more artificial than yours. Their adorned dresses and suits appeared as expensive as your clothes.

Awkward conversations on my part were stammered out, whereas you giggled, put an arm around me and answered in perfect wording for me. They returned your smiles and ignored my trembling hands.

I coughed, and you excused us with a concerned look.

I told you, didn't it?

Diseases were worn by the sick like perfume on the rich. Everyone owned a heave of it. 

You tried to smile it off, but I saw it falter in the corners. Your eyes didn't sparkle as much. I told you to let me go. Let me return to my spot on the wall. I didn't understand why you refused to give me up. I didn't understand why you picked me up in the first place.

I told you all that while you aided me back into your chamber. You smiled and said you had something about me that you liked.

Nonsense I called it. Too many illusions and dreams your vision gave you. But you chuckled and said that it was true. The next attempt of convincing you that you'd soon get infected, you laughed off. You wrapped your arms around me instead. I felt my eyes warm with liquid. I felt strange.

It was strange, wasn't it?

Your arms, your smiles, your loving gestures . . . it was strange.

But you didn't care.

Only a few days later I was bed-ridden, unable to walk. I became the cripple I mentioned before. Strange how you stayed at my side and laid the wet rag on my sweaty forehead. You hadn't even bothered to push my oily bangs aside since they seemed to be glued to my skin.

You stayed the night with your arms around me. Your breath on my neck . . . strange. From time to time you'd tighten your loosing grip as sleep was about to take you. Despite the sweat all over the bed, you were there, close to me.

I told you, didn't I?

I was fine on my own. I had been waiting for death. Instead you found me.

I told you, didn't I?

The virus was bound to spread and you to die with me.

It never fazed you. 

The next day, when my already empty stomach hurled whatever sour taste I had left, you wiped my mouth and smiled. Your already slim fingers were pale. Soon they would be bony like mine.

You were always there for me. Even when I failed to see. Even when I became too weak to move. Even when my breaths were shallow. Even when I ceased.

But I won't forget your weak sobs, your choking gasps, the tears you poured over me. 

"How do you not remember me?"

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