by Laurie Razor
Two strangers, united by sorrow. A tale of love, loss, and life beyond.
|Under the full moon's pallid glow, a limp bloodied hand stretched out towards me from within the mangled wreck; bathed in an ethereal lunar aura, it beckoned to me.
I don't remember the accident, but the smoldering metal heap made me think I must've witnessed it.
The extended arm looked feminine though her ripped skin and protruding pieces of broken glass, made it appear somewhat inhuman also.
Not knowing what else to do, I called out but got no response.
Shakily, I reached into my pocket and grabbed my phone, although a horrifying scream caused me to drop it.
A shocked jogger appeared beside me; beads of thick sweat dripped down her tight-fitting spandex and splashed upon the asphalt.
Remembering my phone, I bent over, but before I could retrieve it, she threw herself at me.
Her slender arms coiled tightly around my neck, choking me, though her uncomfortable embrace soothed me.
At some point, I called the cops, though I don't remember talking to the dispatcher; after I hung up, the girl buried her face in my shoulder and cried.
While she wept, the absurd beauty of the night washed over me.
The tall abandoned cathedral on the hill made me think God oversaw this fatal crash and laughed.
What a wondrous deity, right?
The imposing utility pole still stood perfectly erect amid the wreck as the ground flashed blue and red; what could topple this mighty timber structure?
Leagues of faceless authorities danced around us.
Their words fell and floated in trackless patterns unknown to us until eventually, they let us go.
Four legs traveled in tandem; she hung from my hip until we reached my apartment.
Our silent bond brought us inside where we both sank into my couch and stared blindly until morning.
Celestially metallic scents cut through the dim pleasantries of our being and reduced us beyond our primal selves.
We, two strangers, struggled to return to reality after the reaper's grim revelation left us frozen, shellshocked.
The first rays of dawn restored our faculties once more.
She looked at me, "Hi, I'm Shauna," she said with a smiled; "Hi, Shauna. I'm John," I replied as I got to my feet, "would you, uh, like a coffee?"
Her hands slipped betwixt mine, and she nodded, all the while retaining that gorgeous youthful smile.
I helped her stand, and she giggled.
"I'd love a cup, but I should go home. After jogging and sweating, and spending the night here, I don't want to give you the wrong idea. Not that I thought you had the wrong idea. Maybe I should go home and have a shower. I'll come back. I didn't mean it like that. I'm scared to be alone right now. What am I saying? You probably want some space, or," my index finger gently pressed against her lips; "Shauna, stop. It's alright. I'm glad you're here. Say, why don't you use my shower?"
She pulled at her skintight top, and audibly flicked the fabric against her chest, "thanks, but what'll I wear? All I have is my workout gear, and your clothes certainly won't fit me."
A car's horn outside my window made her leap into my arms, "don't worry about it. I'll find you something."
She blushed as she backed away from me, "thanks, John."
As she was in the shower, and I waited for the coffee pot to boil, I thought about what transpired the night prior.
The car accident, the dead woman's outstretched arm, the powerline dangling overhead, the utility pole, meeting Shauna, our night on the couch, all of it ran circles in my head.
I mentally explored the morbid allure of that grisly scene.
She returned, wrapped in a large towel; I tried not to stare, but her exposed flesh drew my gaze, "didn't the clothes fit?"
Her face reddened again as she pushed a few strands of damp hair behind her ear, "I, uh, got a little scared. I started thinking about everything, like really thinking, you know? And I guess, I panicked. Oh, I sound so stupid, don't I? I mean, I wasn't involved in the car accident, so why should it affect me?"
I pulled her close to me, "why should it affect us? I'm going through this with you, and believe me you don't sound stupid; I was overthinking too. We're on a strange train together, Shauna, and I'm so glad we're sharing this cabin of pain."
She nuzzled her face into my chest, "how do we get off? I don't like this train ride anymore. Heck, I don't even remember buying a ticket."
I wrapped my arms around her; she felt so frail, so fragile, "I didn't buy one either, but I feel the bumpy tracks, so we're going somewhere."
She looks up at me and pulls an invisible wire, "choo-choo!"
Her breathing shallowed as did mine; her chest pulsated, and mine too followed her escalating rhythm.
Our bodies harmonized.
At that moment, we accidentally transcended beyond our humanity.
We were one mind, one body, one soul, one being.
Once that moment passed, we stared at each other for a long time, both unsure what to do next, "do you, uh, still want that coffee?"
She grinned, and dropped the towel, revealing herself fully to me; it's strange, I remember the sight of the discarded towel yet not her features.
I awoke to her straddling me; her forearm hovered over my face, "do you see it?"
My still unfocused eyes widened, "What?"
She realigned her arm, "look! Look at my arm."
I bucked her off of me, her bloodied arm looked the same as the dead girl's from the car, ripped open and embedded with broken glass.
Without thinking, I grabbed her forearm and held it, "what happened? Are you alright?"
Her body trembled, "I don't know. I woke up and there it was! Oh god, I hoped it was a hallucination, but if you see it too, then-" I interrupted, "Hey, hey! Maybe it's a shared hallucination, did you think of that? Don't worry. We'll figure this out."
My insides turned to mush as I looked down at her.
Her left hand, the one that was still unequivocally hers, clasped my right, and she spun off the bed, releasing her forearm from my panicked grip.
I sat on the side of the bed and looked to her, surprisingly redressed in her jogging attire.
"When did you put that on?"
She looked down and back to me, the whole time squeezing my hand as tight as she could, "I don't remember. What about you?"
I glanced down, and saw that I was wearing what I had before we slipped into bed; a far stretch from the playful nudity of a few seconds before, "okay, I think it's about time we get to the bottom of this."
She nodded, "promise you won't leave me. I'm still so scared. Hold my hand, and never let me go."
"I promise, you and I are in this for the long haul," I said as I got up, and hugged her.
We crossed the apartment and waited behind the front door for ages; she faced me and whispered, "where are we going?"
I replied, "where all this began. Hopefully, we can find some answers there."
The second my hand grasped the doorknob, everything went dark, as if my touch made the sun fall from the sky.
Undeterred, I flung open the door, and we both fell backward; framed in a moonlit haze as it was the night before, was the mangled smoldering wreck.
I peered at the street behind us.
Had we never left?
Our hands still clasped together, we got to our feet, and she pointed, "the car?"
Her question hung in the air like a butterfly raging against a strong wind current.
We waltzed over to the outstretched injured arm, I opened the door, but instead of a car's interior, we saw the inside of my apartment.
Shauna clung to my arm in fright, "this isn't possible. Why would this be here, I mean, how?"
"I think they want us to hide. To forget about all this and stop looking," the words left my mouth, but they weren't mine, it was as if someone was speaking through me, and to me.
She turned to me, "who are they?"
I slammed the car door, "I don't know, and I don't get why I said that. I don't understand any of this."
Her arm slinked around my waist, "neither do I. Where do we go now? What do we do?"
A mysterious force lifted my arm and urged me to point to the cathedral on the hill, "I guess we'll go there."
We began our ascent through the trees; the full moon loomed ominously overhead.
Barely a moment later, after a short trek through the dark underbrush, we stood in front of the large double doors.
As I reached for the handle, she grabbed my wrist, and stopped me, "are you sure we should? Shouldn't we knock first?"
I pulled my hand back, "I guess you're right," and gripped the old brass knocker, "we don't want to startle whatever's inside."
Her hand slipped over mine, and we knocked together; barely a second later, the door swung open, revealing a stunning black void which stretched as far as we could see.
Again, we turned, but the entrance was gone, replaced by the same perpetual darkness.
Shauna and I held each other, both terrified, "where are we, John?"
I looked to her, surprised that I could still see her through the blackness, "I don't know, but I don't think it's very-"
A mysterious voice cut me off, "You know where you are. You both do. Maybe not consciously, but subconsciously, you know what's happened. I am God. You are both my children, and I am your all-father, the king of kings, the master of creation, the alpha, and the omega. You're here because that's where you are. Where you go from here lies at my behest, although I'm prone to hearing your thoughts on the matter."
We both spoke, but I don't recall what we said; all I know is that we embraced, she cried, then something pulled her away from me.
I struggled to hold her hand, and she slipped away from me.
She slipped away, and I stayed in the darkness.
I woke up alone in a hospital bed; my first thoughts were of how I escaped that dark space, and who we spoke to while there.
Did we converse with God, or were we fooled?
A nurse ran up to my side, "Miss Davies? Shauna Davies? Are you feeling alright?"
I nodded, "You've survived a nasty accident, hold on, I'll get the doctor."
As she left the room, I wondered about John, his apartment, our midday romp, and of the coffee we never shared.
My thoughts soon turned to his bravery, his sacrifice.
God told us that we were soulmates, and either one of us could come back, or both of us could stay there, with John's apartment and the crash.
I was too scared to speak, but he wasn't.
John stepped forward and said that he wanted me to go back.
With my return came a hellish state of fateless nonexistence for John.
Dream or not, I'm coming for him one day; I'll never forget what he did for me, and upon our reunion, I'll never let him leave my side.