Hand in Hand we Fall
The rain pelted me like thousands of angry razor blades piercing my skin with an ice cold wrath. I pulled the hood of my jacket closer around my head, shivering as every new drop of rain made my skin more fragile. It was dark outside, there was no mistaking that. Everyone had evacuated the streets and was tucked up inside their homes waiting for the rain to subside; however I was outside, my shoes filled with hundreds of different filthy puddles. My body felt so numb, I could have bet that it would have been impervious to the feel of blades slicing through my skin.
I could see a bus stop nearby that was sheltered with bullet proof glass. It was empty except for a plastic bag with no owner. I skidded to a halt underneath it, catching my breath and trying my best to dry my face with the sleeve of my bright red jacket. I looked around in distress, scanning the bus times on the sign with a shaky finger. I tapped the time in triumph immediately regretting it when a stabbing pain was sent up my arm. Ten minutes and I could get out of this rain. I decided to sit down, my jeans were soaked and it felt like they were sown to my skin. After a few moments of slipping on the plastic bench I was able to successfully perch myself onto its edge.
The fierce wind blew the rain towards the right, spraying me with salty droplets. I spat out the taste and tried to cover my face. That was when I began to feel it.
It was like the atmosphere had suddenly changed from a slightly humid damp feel to a below freezing dry chill. I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand wildly on end. I sank into my damp jacket; it felt like it had just come out of the dryer in comparison to the strange icy sensation within the air. I decided to get my mind off the feeling by watching the rain dance as it fell to the earth. Now, the odd spray of the dispersed ocean almost felt warm against my skin. The road seemed to glisten as more rain pounded down against the dark concrete. I almost felt like taking my chances and going back out there when suddenly a cool gale picked up and without warning a huge wave of water blew into my face, soaking me thoroughly. The water lodged into my throat as I coughed and spluttered to free myself, waving my shaking arms angrily at whatever car in the street had done that when yet another wave splashed me.
I choked on the cold air, this time standing up ready to give my best 'I'm going to kill you' face to whoever was driving by when I realised that the road was just as vacated as it had been five minutes ago. There weren't even any prints in the ground where the hot exhaust fumes had sizzled the cool wet dirt. I scowled at myself feeling utterly foolish. I turned my head away from the road that moment, my heart coming to a full stop as my gaze met with a pale face not a foot from where I currently stood.
I did what any teenage girl in my position would have done. I screamed shrill and loud, my own voice bouncing off the walls of the grey buildings that surrounded me. I stepped back trying to grab onto the plastic seat to balance myself. The face was attached to a deathly pale body. As I looked the girl up and down my heart began to race fast. Her black hair was soaked and covering half of her face, but I knew who she was. She wore a tattered blue dress, the same dress I joked about her wearing, the same dress she said she would change out of as soon as she'd opened her presents. My...
My best friend.
It wasn't possible, it shouldn't have been possible. Her body stood five feet tall, her frame rigid and tense. My vocals denied me access as I trembled beneath her cold stare. My hand reached daringly outward, my entire body convulsing in gut wrenching fear. Her hand was suddenly wrapped around my arm. Tendrils of black smoke engulfing her body as she smiled darkly towards my weakened frame.
"Marie?" My voice was barely a whisper, laboured under the weight of the storm. "Marie, I am so sorry."
"You did this to me." Her voice was thick with hate, although she hadn't raised her voice the tone was so powerful it almost had me falling to the floor in defeat. I felt the salt of fresh tears claim my face as I pulled away her dripping locks. I almost lost it. I almost let myself go then and there. A strangled gasp left my mouth... that was all I could muster. Her forehead... still coated with the same thick red gash that I had seen on that day.
Her eyes narrowed; but they were no longer the soft green that I had grown to love. The pair of friends who had done everything together since they were two years old. The ones, who pinkie swore that they'd spend their lives as best friends, live together when they went to University... never fight over boyfriends. Not again. Never again.
Marie's head had cocked to one side; her eyes were now a rusty red, her pupils wide like a feral animal. She wasn't my best friend any more. I didn't know what she was anymore.
"Today's my birthday." She grinned. Her lips were blue; all the life had been sucked from them. She wasn't supposed to be there. She shouldn't have been there.
"You're not real!" I screamed, my voice ringing in my ears as I stepped back in horror. She wasn't real, she couldn't be real. I'd seen her life end; I'd seen her life end...
"You know what I want for my birthday don't you?" It was that same dark voice, the one that shook me to wake every night as I cried for my best friend to return. On her fifteenth birthday, Marie and I had sworn that we'd do everything together.
"Everything." She smiled as she said the words, her tongue lapping at her lips in sincere hopefulness. "You promised."
I felt my heart lurch in my chest, "Marie... you're ," I couldn't say the words... no matter how hard I tried. She was soaked to the bone... her face pale, her lips blue. She looked exactly the same. I convulsed once more, my knees buckling beneath me as I fell to the ground.
Let's go to the beach.
It's your birthday, we'll do whatever you want!
"NO!" I was screaming so hard, our voices playing in my mind like a broken recorder. I felt Marie's slimy cold fingers trace along my temples. "Remember it Kelly, remember."
Three years ago. The image in black and white. It blurs constantly, but I see it. We dance by the water's edge. We feed the seagulls and buy ice cream. Hand in hand we skip down that beach.
I hate this stupid dress
I laugh, then why don't you change out of it?
She wrinkles her nose, her hands lacing through mine as we spin around aimlessly once again, I'll change out of it when we go back, when I open my presents. But nothing can compare to this promise, right?
I remember the honesty in my tone as I agree, right!
We sit further up the beach, our fingers entwined. We smile at each other as if we had little care in the world.
Do you swear that we'll stay friends forever, just like how we said we would back when we were five?
I look at her beautiful green eyes and nod earnestly, Always, always, always!
She smiles and we run again, up that stupid slope. So we can overlook the ocean. We do it every birthday... for both of us. It's our place. But Marie felt dangerous this year. The safety bars... she climbed over them and tells me to do the same. I tell her no. She stands there... her hands in mine.
Don't let go?
I laugh as if it's a stupid question, why would I?
It's that moment that a gale picks up. Marie slips, her daft ballet shoes her Grandma got her failing her once more. My arm aches as I keep her from falling. She screams, her other hand losing the protection of the gate. I scream as our fingers lose each other. She falls.
Her head hits the rocks beneath, her body dragged to shore. Her soaked pale body.
The blood... oh God the blood.
"You didn't come to the beach." Her voice had lost all emotion; she stated the question so accusingly.
"I did for the past two years, it was raining, the waves were so big, they advised everyone to vacate the beach!" I reasoned, tears streaming from my eyes.
Her hand had become like a vice around my fragile skin. I could feel the bone weakening beneath my flesh. "Please Marie, I love you... you're my best friend!"
Marie just stared at me... as if she were a robot... not my best friend any more. She was lost with no direction. She was broken.
"You left me!" She was the one screaming now; I had to force my hands over my ears as to not be hit by the full blow of her vocals. She gritted her teeth, her arms pulling me further and further into her body.
"You promised... it's my birthday present." Her voice softened. She placed her hands over my lips as I screamed out for help. All I heard were the vibrations of my vocals being banished against her damp palms.
"It's what I wanted."
One swift movement. The pain was unbearable for that one swift movement.
The next day, two burly police officers arrived on the scene. Their notes from one curly haired woman who had seen it from her window. The one overweight man who would never forgive himself.
The woman shook as she explained it to the officer, "she was screaming... talking to herself."
The officer noted it down.
"God... it was so awful I didn't see her!" The middle aged balding man spoke up, his voice ragged and soaked with tears. "I couldn't stop, the road was too slippery, she just ran out!"
"She was talking to someone called... Marie I think. After her screams died down she just looked vacantly at the road. I tried to call something to her but by then it was too late. The poor darling just ran right out."
I watched as the man had run out of his car. He was a good man. He performed CPR for a good thirty minutes before the ambulance arrived. If I had to die at the hands of anyone, I was glad it was him. Someone who would be known as 'the good man.' To the rest, I was just a hopeless case with mental issues after her best friend had passed away. The therapists will say it was bottled up emotions letting themselves out through fear and anger. And ultimately suicide.
I watched as my parents identified the body. They were oh so torn up. But I couldn't cry. I was never happy without Marie.
And so the police questioned the poor soul that had to watch my ordeal, and the man that had to end it. I smiled at them, hoping them to find peace in their owns ways.
I felt her warm, dry fingers thread through my hand.
Just like I did.
"Let's go to the beach." She suggested.
"It's your birthday." I grinned; "we'll do whatever you want."