Haunted by memories, she returns for the last time. Short Shots
|It was my own little private oasis, where I could go whenever I wanted, where I floated across the crisp blue waters surrounded by thick rock, hidden away from the peering eyes of the world. A hidden pond in a well-known cave, but not everyone could swim to those depths and get to this pristine section—I could. I delight in the feel of this place, the stillness of the icy waters, how the sunlight breaks through the holes nature has made at top of the cave and plays upon everything it touches magically; an explosion of colors dancing and reflecting off the water’s surface and onto the dark rock that entombs me here. I don’t mind the chill of the water, nor the iciness of the cave itself, I glory in it, for it is the only place I can go and be happy, the only place that lets me feel my emotions fully, the only place where I can find—him.
Water is both my salvation, and destruction, yet I try not to think about the latter which draws me here time and time again. As I float across the pond, letting the sunlight seep into my weary bones, I let every sensation rush over me like a waterfall, embracing our past as time stands still and I’m thrust back to those moments we shared. I see him here, laying on the jagged rock, shivering, calling out to me to come to him, but I refuse. For as much as I love him, being near his essence, I desire the water more. I long to find a way to let go, to move on, to end this repetitive cycle, though I’ve learned it will never be. So I continue on this path, floating, swimming, losing myself to the moments up until that day, that dreaded day when the world stopped turning and all I had left was this place.
I know I shouldn’t have done it, so many times I managed to stop myself, to squash down the building anger and release it to the universe, praying for a solution. It never did come, not the way I had hoped, not the way it should have for both of us. I stop myself from drifting across the water, and stare up into the rays of sunlight, basking in the little warmth they provide and smile. This has become my ritual, my daily journey to atonement, and now I know it’s time to face things head on yet again. I sink beneath the crystal surface, going deeper with my eyes wide open and wait, needing just one more glimpse of him. He never disappoints, always shows himself as the air in my lungs begins to diminish, my chest burning as I glide my arms back and forth, keeping my body from resurfacing. Desperation sets in, time growing short as I spin around, searching, needing just one view of him before I must come up for air. I know I’m pushing it, he knows as well I fear, yet he makes me wait, each instance longer than the last.
The burning becomes unbearable; I cannot wait another moment and swim toward the top, just as he shows himself, the boyish smile I love so much on his flawless face. Breaking the surface, I gasp for air, my lungs filling in a rapid surge and constricting my chest painfully, my heart aching because I couldn’t hold out any longer. Rage overcomes me now, this game wearing me out, one that I will never win because he refuses to let me. This is my punishment, his payback, our unending story, and even knowing I deserve it, it tortures me every time I come here. There is no rhyme or reason to it, I am helpless to stop the rotation, like a rider on a Ferris Wheel at the mercy of the controller. He is the one in charge now, I gave that up to him, so he beckons me here day after day, promising that I will see him, only to tease me for a brief moment. It’s not enough! It will never be enough, and he is aware of that fact, holding it over me like a vicious weapon.
I smack the water in frustration, the ripples gliding across the water and curse him, hating this now, my mind whirling as I try to come to grips and search for an escape. There has to be a way out, a way to stop the madness that has consumed us both, that keeps us paralyzed in this predicament. A sudden tug on my ankle pulls me under and I kick my legs, not ready, still needing more air to bring my breathing back to normal. One quick gulp of air and I’m pulled under yet again, at his mercy, on his timetable. Fighting is futile, draining my energy, though try as I might to resist, I give in and surrender myself to him. It is what he wants, what he requires of me now, I have no say. He spins me around to face him, his arms wrapping around me, holding me tight. For one sweet moment I remember the comfort of being in his arms, the instant feelings of home he gave to me.
I need to explain, to apologize, to make him understand that I didn’t mean to do it. As our eyes meet and lock, I become lost in his stare, his thoughts and mine mingling, the unspoken conversation happening telepathically.
“Please,” I say. He shakes his head, his grip tightening as the burning in my lungs sets in again. “I didn’t mean to. Let me go.”
“You did mean to. You meant to leave me here alone,” he responds, those brown eyes darkening and spearing me in place.
I struggle to break free, knowing the explanation will never be enough. I hear his deep, throaty laugh, filling my mind, echoing in my ears as I fight to get loose and swim to the surface.
“Not this time,” he assures me.
He pulls me down deeper, the darkness of the water coming closer, my energy and will to live fading as I sink lower into the murky depths. I see it then, the visions of what I’ve done assaulting me, unable to stop the horror as it plays out as if on a movie screen. The blood, so much blood, his body slumping against the rock and unmoving as the glint left his eyes. My hands fall away from his hair and I scramble off of him, the shock making me tremble, realization of what I’ve done sinking in.
I didn’t mean to do it. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to kill you, my love.
Word count: 1127