Fear does not come from death itself, but the act of dying instead.
|Fear does not come from death itself, but the act of dying instead. Death is release from that act. It's silence, emptiness, a feeling people can only strive to achieve. It is death.
Dying is completely different.
"Damn... A cut."
"You want a cast?" A snarky response to Jade Shades self utterance. "Want me to call the doctor?"
Jade could hear the snickering and practically feel their jagged smiles, but she didn't turn. Instead, she involuntarily bent inward, cupping her body around the calculus book in her hands and nudged her glasses up her nose as she shuffled onwards.
"Clever," Jade whispered.
"What was that?" It spewed venom.
"Nothing. I'm fine."
Like sharks they began circling. It was just as Jade suspected, Jasmine and her crew. Jade couldn't get away, they came out of the dark from the sides, multiplying tenfold from the original ring Leader and two lackeys.
"You sure? We don't want you to get hurt." The faces all blended. One single nasty snarl of features, that's all Jade acknowledged. With that, they all seemed to mimic Jasmines nasal voice.
"Can't have you miss more days. Are you even on track to graduate?" More snickers. Jade sucked herself deeper into the circle she was forming with her body.
"I'll be fine."
"What was that? You have to speak up to be heard." The whole crowd bent closer to hear better.
Jade didn't repeat herself.
"If that's how it is..."
They closed in. Her books were thrown. Her backpack dumped. Her lunch taken. She idly watched it happen, growing red in the ears with every torn paper. The tardy bell rang and the students dispersed, not even a last goodbye.
She was left in the middle of shrapnel. Her school work scattered. Her backpack barren. Butting her lip the metallic flavoring gave Jade a balance. She eased away her anger, loosening up her fist and taking calming breaths as she picked up strands of work.
Jade stopped and leaned back into a locker. Everything about her cooled and she muffled a cry of relief. "It's only high school," she said, closing her eyes. "Just high school." Yanking her out of her peaceful state, a cold itch moved up her throat. It tingled at first, before morphing into what felt like a ball of pricks. Jade cleared her throat, finding no solace, she already knew it wouldn't come. Like clockwork she began to hack. A low grumbling and then it increased until finally her palms were stained with splotches of blood.
When the itch had finally subsided Jade remained frozen by the locker, analyzing her blotchy hand. Her teeth were sprinkled in scarlet. She slowly rose, taking out a napkin, she wiped her hands with rigor. After applying hand sanitizer, she rubbed her hands more. To clear her mouth she swooshed water and ran her tongue against her teeth. She could play it off as punch if anyone asked. As if anyone would.
Living was never friendly towards Jade. Dying wasn't nice either, but she looked forward to death.
Jade walked home, the cold chill in the air turning her brittle. Always she took these steps, this far path. This no man's land. The trail was rugged, narrowing then widening in odd places as the foliage let up. Already knowing her way, Jade didn't need to look down. She kept her eyes glued to the sky instead. A bright blue with marshmallows. If only, of course. She smiled at the image it formed and kept trekking, her breathing already going raspy.
Her house sat between two abandoned ones. Something with the land made them undesirable. Jade gave them a once over, looking for squatters. Taking the dip a step at a time she managed it to her front door. Not caring to knock she let herself in. She could smell it as she entered the building. The underlying stench, triggering her gagging reflexes , but she restrained herself. She'd get used to it in a few minutes. Tiptoeing over liquor bottles, she maneuvered herself to the kitchen. Her mom was napping, laid out over the kitchen table with her honey dew hair tied up in a bun. At least Jade inherited that quality from her mom. Her suit was soiled and wrinkled, but not stained at least.
"Mom?" Jade whispered, not expecting a response. Jade turned around and went back to the living room. It was large. A wide screen tv was backed up against the wall and two love seats flanked the leather couch in the middle of the room. A coffee table sat between them. Loud speakers were strung up in the corner of the room along with the original copies of several artifacts of paintings. Jade gave it a once over as she picked up the stray trash, withholding her coughs. A castle when she arrived here; a mansion now.
She heard a stir in the kitchen and she went to see what. Her mom rose a bit, mumbling words in chopped up sentences.
"I didn't... She left. You're back? You're back! ... Different... The money, though..."
Jade left, shaking her head violently. The truth hurt too much. She bounded up the steps as her body grew numb. Her fingers shaky, she pried open her door and flipped on the lights. A golden glow streamed into all the dark corners of the room. She slid down the oak on to her butt, her gasps coming out melodically .
"Always," said the shadows. "Why don't you just leave?"
"I could ask you the same thing," she said sharply, not trying to find out who it came from. She knew already.
She felt the wisp of wind as his, or her, Jade always just figured it was a guy, gaseous figure moved across to her.
“Don't throw this on me."
Jade looked up from her knees to see the black fog, shadow of a four foot person. Coal marbles of eyes stared back at her, smoke rising from the crevices.
"You know damn well why I can't," he said.
"What, you'll get sick? Roll over and die?" She gave a quick laugh. Hard and un-humorous. "You know it won't kill me."
She stopped suddenly, her face falling into a frown. "I'm sorry, Zol. I don't feel too well." She rolled up her pants legs to the engraved chain-like cryptic writing wrapped around her ankle. "I was there too. I understand your pain."
She knew what it said, repeated it to herself all those nights, but to others it looked like a crazy tattoo.
"Bring life to death," they both said.
"It must be close again," Zol said, neither of them looking away from the tattoo.
"Must be." Her heart skipped a beat from the notion. The feeling crawled up into her skull, etching itself there. Yeah, it was nearly time. She shivered, but not from the cold.
"If you're wondering, she went on a binge drinking session after a late lunch, 2 to be exact, and she's been sitting there ever since. Or, well, knocked out ever since."
Jade nodded. Mom must've called the rest of the day off then. Jade rose from the door and laid out her homework. All of it.
"Almost caught up. You shouldn't even go back if you want the truth."
"Really, why not do something better? Damn, let's just get the hell out!"
"Jade!" The room darkened a notch. "Why won't you even consider it?"
He waited a few seconds as Jade continued to work on her homework.
"You can't live in fear forever."
"Again, I remember the pain."
Zol deflated. "But I've moved passed it. Why can't you?"
Jade didn't respond, kept a one track mind on her homework. She'd have to complete it tonight, she already felt it creeping up in her. Her sickness growing.
"Go to bed," Zol said forming up by her shoulder. "You need you-gah!" He gripped his stomach and slithered away. "Here we go!" He backed up and watched Jade. "Why don't you tell me?" He said breathless, still bent over.
"What good would it do?" She said barely above a whisper. She collapsed as her chair rolled out from under her. "Really, what good."
Her breathing increased rapidly. She placed her palm on her chest, to try and suppress her beating heart. Sweat beaded down her brow, dripping on to the carpet. She grit her teeth and stood, always with three points of contact.
Zol glanced at the direction she was heading. "Would it make the process easier?"
But that didn't stop her. She headed towards the window and opened it enough to pass through. Inhaling, she rolled onto her roof. A cold breeze hit her hard and her muscles tighten. She let go of the window sill and dropped. Her body hit all the jagged tiles, all the dents and all the pain until she rolled off onto the gravel. She forcefully threw her head down on the impact, finding relief in the thud and the agony that ricocheted through her.
Fire burned in her head, spiraling all through her. Blood oozed out from the cuts and scrapes. She stared at a strand of grass as tears rolled down her cheeks.
"Damn, dying sucks," Zol said by her side. She couldn't even nod a response.
Jade waded through the pain, waiting for death to pick her up. To swoop her away, but like always it took its time coming. Jade laid there, racked in pain. Like bullets had bombed her head and the excess had spread to the rest of her. When she thought she couldn't take anymore, that this was it, death crept in.
The blanket numbness, like suffocating, but smoother. Slowly her air began to fade. Her mind grew soft, curbing the pain. Her eyes darkened, not seeing the light anymore. She hoped, every time she reached this stage that a tunnel would emerge. That it'd be the day. That she would leave.
No. She blackened out and then there was nothing. She floated in an abyss of nothing. Not even black. Nothing. She waited, not really there, only a mass of something. Of soul she equivocated it to. She felt peaceful there. As if she too was nothing, but soon everything came back. Not as a whole, but pieces. She felt a finger work its way into a hand a arm and then her body. Always in pieces. Her senses came in tune with her body, but her sight was always last.
She rose still in the dark. Jade was back, and in no time color began to drizzle into her sight. She blinked it into normality.
"Welcome back to the living," Zol said.
"Yeah." It still ached, but she was back. "Why can't I just stay dead?"
Now it was Zol's turn to remain silent. Jade stayed in the rocks for some time, looking up at the stars as they twinkled in and out. "Why?" She repeated.
Zol sighed. "Come on. Time for bed."
Jade nodded and got up, her legs wobbling underneath a bit. She stabilized herself and began to climb up to her bed. She felt better after dying. Rejuvenated, but her sickness always sat under her skin, waiting to kill her again and again.