The Final Rectitude

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Still World

My stomach contorts viciously, bolting me awake. Any consumption left inside of me exists my body, leaving me dehydrated and empty of energy. Sunlight once again slips through the rubble like an angel's beckoning, torturing us with hope of reconciliation. It's blisteringly humid inside our metallic confinement. I see that my shirt is in a tattered heap away from me; my body is covered in perspiration. The burn on my side is wrapped up with cloth.

Geniene sits stationary, cross-legged at my side, holding my rucksack protectively. She, too, was baking in the incubation, but she remained fully clothed. Her decency is true to her character, but unnecessary in the situation. For the longest time, I watch her sit silently, unable to do anything. Eventually she can't stand the heat any longer and strips her clothes so only her undergarments remain. Her bareness reveals unsightly bruising, but her health appears exceptional given the circumstances. I can't help but notice her small breasts. Cute.

"Genny..."

She is happy to see my eyes flutter open, pulling something from behind her.

"Here." In her delicate hands was the bottle of medication from my rucksack. She twists the cap open nonchalantly, pouring three small pills into her palm.

"It could help." She gingerly lifts my head up, popping the pills into my mouth. My mouth is so dry, I am unable to taste much.

"I cut your shirt off. You looked overheated."

"Thanks."

"I tried to move the stones."

"Fail."

"The food was still in the bag. It can last us a little bit. But I can't find the-"

"Good." I cut her off. My heart is heavy with guilt.

She seems disheartened at my inability to uphold conversation, but refuses to let on any further with that detail. I frequently doze off, so she wisely focuses her efforts on other aspects.

The day passes surprisingly easily, though it remains slow. Geniene continuously cares for me, pouring water on my roasting body, handing me rounds of aspirin for my pain, throwing in a failed attempt at comedy to lighten the mood. Once or twice, she patrols the perimeter of our enclosure, thoroughly scanning for something. As she sits down again, I see her jade eyes turn stormy as they swirl with apprehension, showcasing fake enthusiasm for me as she combs her fingers through my hair.

The sun loses its vigor, and methodically the night sweeps a refreshing chill across the landscape. Geniene opens a can of creamed corn, and we inhale it in seconds. Before she lets me sleep, she insists she check my condition and take another dosage of pills. Her hand brushes mine unknowingly, and I jerk in discomfort. She grabs it, feeling the grotesque texture of the wound.

"Why didn't you tell me about this?"

"Cause it's nothing."

"Hold...still." She pesters me, hoping to wrap my bleeding hand in a make-shift tourniquet.

Soreness and the heat have made me irritable. "Ow! No, Quit it!"

"I'm trying to help you, asshole." She rarely uses profanity towards others. I can tell I've struck a nerve.

"I don't need your help... I don't need... you to worry."

"You're so skilled at being arrogant." I resist the urge to smile when I hear a hint of affection in her voice.

She gets up. I doze off.

I drift in and out of consciousnesses. I see her figure pacing back and forth. Looking. She digs around. Panicky. She huddles in the corner of our enclosure and cries herself to sleep.


The still world.

I don't know time. I just don't know.

I began to lose memories. Lose menial titles and mannerisms and mental trinkets of the outside world. I don't know time. I am simply existing, a motionless, coherent vegetable. Soon, I won't know me.

Days go by. I just don't know.

Her figure paces. Almost every minute she's pacing. And every night she cries.


She wakes me up again. She sadly drops the last of the pills into her hand. Her hand is shaking. I take the pills. I don't taste. She begins to cry.

All I know is that I love her.

I weakly lift my hand to her leg.

She grips my hand, unknowing that it's my bad one. It hurts. I don't care.

I rub her thigh. Suddenly I'm back in the park. Green grass. Gentle eyes. I'm desperate for another human's touch. And I'm desperate to comfort her.

Her muscles tense, sensing the same electricity. I take my chances with her, something about the situation giving me the courage. My hand runs up her leg, tentative with my advances in case she rejects. She stops her heavy breathing for a moment. Her jade eyes observe my broken body. She leans in, and for a brief second my heart flutters thinking of it. Gentle eyes. Her tongue flickers against my ear as she gingerly whispers my name in between her soft cries, sending the hottest sensation to my cheeks.

"We're going to die." She whimpers.

I shuffle. It scraps against the concrete.

An uncomfortable silence captivates us. Finally, her nervous voice speaks.

"You know, don't you?"

My heart feels like it's sinking into my stomach. For a moment I think she's referring to... I keep my right hand clenched, it's warm steel contour giving me strength.

I sob. Tears streak my filthy face as they race down my cheeks. The hilarity of the situation is equally cruel. Stroking her face, I solemnly laugh.

"We are going to die. But we aren't yet."

Geniene wipes my tears away with her hand. She does a terrible job at concealing her own.

Our faces meet, wet with our own tears.

We embrace passionately in the dark, for that one lapse in time, we grow in life as the world decays around us.

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