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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

all alheim wanted has a quiet retirement. however, once the king suddenly goes missing, it is up to him to track down the mysterious culprit.

Submitted: October 12, 2017

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Submitted: October 12, 2017




“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”.
 -Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 5

“What do you fear, traveler? Are there creatures of the dark that haunt your nightmares, the darkest corners of the mind?” 
“I fear the strange and unknown, for they are forever out of my reaching hands, leaving me to drown. I fear myself. I fear the dark,” an all-encompassing voice whispers. The source appears to be coming from the mangled and bloody corpse of an unusually familiar face. “I won’t forgive you… the pretty bird will fly at midnight and take your precious treasure. You cannot stop me! I will destroy… I will... destroy you!” A disturbing cackle escapes the creatures inhumane mouth, a harmonious screeching, enough to drive any man to madness. 
The cackling call of a crow’s mocking voice wake the sleeping man from his mind’s dark endeavors. The gray light of 1867’s clouded morning in Hallmark, Britain proves to be quite dreary. It is yet two hours before morning tea, and the good sir looks horribly under slept, slowly arousing with a taciturn mood. The crow, still yet cackling to the dawn, is denounced as the window opens with a slight creak to let in the brisk morning air. Alheim’s slouching posture and cold frown speak to his somber demeanor, and as of the day before yesterday, he has a decent reason to be in this horrid state. 
“Sir Alheim, I beg you come at once, Parker Howl is at the door, and I dread to speak with him myself, you do know how he rambles!” He certainly did know firsthand, because at that moment the undesired guest barges in, wet trench coat and all, to stand before him. 
“My good sir, I beg your pardon for bothering you at this early hour, however, my motives are honest when I say that you must do something about your debt! Good gracious, it was all spent on Chateau Margaux and fine furs from the east. And I must say, you look ravishing sir, but please repent these frivolous actions! I do hate to admonish you for it, but my god have you lost your senses living this rural life?” At this point, he is cut off by a wave and a stern glance from Alheim. 
“I assure you, I’ll obtain the money within the week, and you’ll have your debt paid, more or less.” At this point, the arguing persons in question are interrupted by a firm knock at the door. "I’ll be thrice damned if this is yet another tax collector. I've been bothered by those scum since last February!” The mistress, Serra Heimburough, carefully creaks open the door and peeks out of the opening. A formal voice announces over the nervous shuffling inside: 
“Under the command of Frederick VII, the royal household requests the appearance of Sir Alheim the private investigator… to appear in front of the crown… for reasons not specified. All contents of this message are to remain confidential.” All of the people in the company of the message-bearer balk. Alheim, quickly returning to his senses, grinds his teeth and turns red-faced at the notion of going to the castle. 
“I refuse, this abominable proposal to return to the services of those ignominious royals is unacceptable!” A loud thump is heard as Ms. Heimburough feints onto the entryway  floor. Still, the letter-bearer stands at the door, looking less than pleased with his situation. 
“A sum of… seven hundred thousand and five hundred pounds… will be provided for your loyal services.”
Parker Howl, who had been standing behind the coat rack until this point in time, ungracefully staggers out from his hidden position. “Seven hundred thousand… blimey, that’d be enough to buy the whole town if I so desired!” he gawks at the man, “Enough to pay your debt one hundred times over!” Alheim steps back, and fingers the end of his grayed goatee. 
“I’ll admit to being tempted… although…” He continues to mumble under his breath. “I accept! Fine! I’ll do it!” His face twists into an expression of utter disgust, “Blasted young people, no respect for your elders these days… let me get my things. I’ll be out front in an hour. However, be aware,” Alheim glares, “this is out of necessity, not service to the crown. Have the pounds transferred to my house as quickly as possible.” 
One week, two days, and nine sleepless nights after their departure, the tired company arrives at the castle of Frederick VII, the renowned king of all Britain. The carriage, no longer gleaming from the ill-maintained roads out of Hallmark, proceeds over the mossy cobblestone and into the courtyard. A woman’s voice can be heard from the ground.
 “You inane idiots are kicking up dust all over the place! I just… cannot stand all this uncleanliness!” As the carriage door opens, Alheim spots the perpetrator standing uncomfortably on the stone. Despite being excessively beautiful, any semblance of attraction was dismissed by the indelible scowl carved into her face. That, and the fact that dust had settled on every inch of her expensive clothing and golden jewelry. Desperately trying to brush herself off, she addresses the arrivals and clears her throat. “Welcome, Sir Alheim, to the castle. I am Marcil De Gelt, princess of the Northern Provinces, and fiancee of the heir. Until your indenture is completed, you will be staying in the south-west wing. A servant will show you the way to your rooms. She quickly stomps towards one of the many doors leading out of the courtyard, indignantly mumbling about her inconvenience. As promised, a servant appears from behind a pillar on the far right side of the gate they entered from. 
“Your accommodations are this way,” the pale boy murmurs. He points towards another door, this one slightly less elaborate. These conditions for my arrival are strange, something unusual must be going on, Alheim concludes. Why would they call me here if they already have a royal investigator? The boy slows down as they reach a set of double-doors. “You will be called for in the morning. Until then, please feel free to wash and enjoy the luxuries of the castle at your pleasure,” the servant mentions as he departs. Alheim looks around at the surroundings. It was a fine room, designed for comfort with plush velvet chairs and gilded trim around the edges of the room. However, that wasn’t what caught his attention the most. On the windowsill, there lay his complete set of detective tools that he owned before his retirement. I left these in the care of the king… why would they be here? What do they need from me? The question would go unanswered.
That night, as he slept, his nightmares awakened. 
“Do you remember me, Alheim?” the disturbing voice inquired. “It was… so many years ago. But now, I am here!” A low gurgling chuckle fills his mind. The voice sounded vaguely female, and appeared to be coming from a structure in the distance. After closer inspection, it appeared to be an abandoned watchtower, shrouded in mist, and buried in a plethora of aged vines. The familiarity was unnatural. Did he know this creature? He was uncertain, and this was a dream after all. A familiar tune begins to play somewhere in the distance. Where had he heard it before? It reminded him of a summer day… his mother sitting at the piano, smiling at him with a flower in her hair. His siblings sat on the baby blue rug beside him, laughing at a joke he had made. A long time ago… long forgotten… long since drowned in his memories. A forgotten time, because that was gone. When had he lost that time? When… did he lose them? “You remember… don’t you?” the voice murmured quietly. It sounded almost… sorrowful? He awoke in tears, the faces of his family still vivid in his mind.
He was called to the throne room in the morning. 
“Presenting, Sir Alheim of the Lincolnshire Province,” A servant announces as the massive doors rumble to a standstill. He peers inside at the throne, expecting to see the idolized face of the famous king. Instead, he stares in an emotional jumble of confusion, fury, and bafflement. Upon the throne was not, in fact, the king of Britain, but the young face of his eldest son! It was Terris Frederick Jhallheim, otherwise known as the Inane Prince. It was common knowledge that Terris was unintelligent, so Alheim was quite puzzled. How did he, Terris of all people, ascend to the throne? No one ever attempted to overtake Frederick VII just for fear of his ascension! Has an accident happened? After all, I can’t imagine any other scenario that would lead to this… this… preposterous situation! Alheim scoffs at the situation. Then, just as he thought his jaw couldn’t drop any more, the heir’s fiancee steps out from behind the throne and seats herself next to him, glaring like a cat. More precisely, a tiger, as the malicious intent could be sensed from where he stood. However, he was given no time to ponder this as the heir’s advisor, a sickly looking man with a crooked pair of spectacles, began to speak. 
“We regret having to request your services in the midst of your well-earned retirement sir, but this is a necessity. As you have observed, our previous king is… missing. I will not say dead, for we have yet to find a body, albeit this is a major crisis.” The man clears his throat and continues “We fear the worst. Until his return or proof of demise, Terris Frederick Jhallheim will serve as an unofficial monarch.” He peers down at Alheim through his beady hawk-like eyes. “You will carry out the investigation, Sir Alheim.”
Alheim blatantly stares at the man, seeming to be flabbergasted by the preposition. “Why not your current investigator? I have heard of no substantial issues with his work.”
“He has… well,” the advisor sputters, “he has been deceased as of around 11 o’clock last evening. We found his body in the northern wing” he pales. “He had been making excessively strange claims… he reported to have seen a ghost two weeks prior. We assumed that the preposition was caused by a night terror, however, the corpse has now been found with unusual marks upon the body. If a demon roams these halls, then god save us all, for there will be no escaping its wrath. The man stared directly at Alheim with haunted eyes.
The congregation disassembled after the advisor’s ominous speech. Sir Alheim, hoping to escape from the forlorn atmosphere, strolled along the lackluster halls of the castle. Despite being fraught with anxiety at the king’s disappearance, servants still moved regularly through the glorious halls.  High ceilings with grand windows were characteristic of many corridors through the massive structure. Intricate weavings and portraits of family long since passed dominated the decoration upon the walls, although Alheim would occasionally come across a relic from olden times, the purpose of which had been long since forgotten. Woven red carpet wound its way along central passages, all indefinitely leading back to the throne room. It was a beautifully designed residence. Despite all this, he could not shake the effect of the man’s words. A demon… a preposterous thought, and yet, his eyes were those of men who’ve seen unimaginable horrors. He aroused from his thoughts at the sight of the fiancee’s chambers. So far, she was a prime suspect. A plot to remove the king and rise to power as queen was a definite possibility. An obvious plan, but despite that, Marcil DeGelt was not known for her intelligence. A fitting match for Terris, to be sure.
Nothing was amiss in her rooms at a glance. A room befitting a queen, as seen by her lavish accommodations. A massive four posted bed dominated the majority of the space, but besides that, a golden antique clock, multiple lavish chairs with lace throws, the faint scent of lavender incense, and an abhorrently huge collection of golden jewelry. Despite her suspicious behavior and malicious aura, no evidence was prominent in proving her to be guilty. The only lead was a body. Alheim sighs and looks about once more. If there was evidence, it was hidden well, and he didn’t have time to search it all. After all, without any proof of malicious intent, it would be hard to explain that predicament. He turns out into the hall, and heads towards the north wing. 
The first thing he noticed as he approached the area that the body was located in was the glass. The crunching noise beneath his feet was thousands of minuscule pieces of mural that had cascaded across the floor in a plethora of colors. It created a fractured range of the spectrum from the light glancing off it, ironically beautiful for the resting place of a dead man. The second was the smell. Even before the body was in his sights, a lurid rotting scent infiltrated his senses. The horrendous odor seemed to be tangible in its thick permeating vileness, smelling like long since forgotten sewage. Gagging was inevitable as Alheim proceeded to move towards the body. However, no matter how horrible the egregious assault on his senses before, it was minuscule compared to the state of the corpse. At a glance, it was apparent that the end of this poor creature had been indescribably painful. And indeed, it was a creature, for there were no visible telltales as to whether or not it was human in its decayed and decimated state. Brutal claw marks had ripped open the lower torso, exposing its intestines and stomach, and any semblance of a face had been grotesquely smashed, leaving trails of brain matter scattered across the floor. Iridescent pools of blood trailed along the edge of the body, a sickening beauty in the gruesome void of what used to be a human. A gaping opening was also visible where the heart had been, having been viciously ripped from the chest cavity, exposing a golden heart-shaped necklace covered in other putrid substances that had been forcefully ejected from the body, yet still twinkling like a sickening beacon of unnaturality. He could not imagine the brutality of a creature that would do this horrendous thing, such an act beyond murder. Indeed, thought Alheim, god save us all. 
Thoroughly shaken by the encounter with the corpse of the previous investigator, Alheim slowly makes his way back to his rooms in hope of finding solace in the familiar environment. The halls felt barren and cold after the gruesome encounter. The previously comforting portraits of the royal family appeared as phantoms in the shadowed halls, invoking dark thoughts. His already haunted mind was the embodiment of disheartenment. 
A voice drags him out of his misery: “This will not do, take care of it immediately!” the disembodied voice hisses. He soon located the source of the noise to be none other than Marcil De Gelt, the soon-to-be queen. She wore a dapper violet dress, a very frivolous thing, with her usual collection of golden jewelry. However, the other person was encompassed in the shadows that formed the majority of the corridor, leaving them indistinguishable.
“Yes, madam,” the form murmurs, “I’ll get it done right away miss.” 
“I’ll expect it to be complete by noon tomorrow, and please be discreet about this matter, It’ll be quite the surprise!” she grins, baring her pearly teeth like a canine. 
Alheim hurriedly steps away from the hall, unwilling to intrude in the suspicious conversation, and hearing nothing more, paces towards his room, murmuring something about needing to rest for a while. He rubs his hand against his brow, removing gleaming droplets of sweat as he steps into his comfortable accommodations. However, comfort was inconsequential to nightmares of the heart. He was a wanderer in the dark reaches of the mind. Yet again, he walked towards a broken tower, right up to the decayed gate. A crow called in the distance, like an inharmonious broken record. A sign could vaguely be made out hanging off a nearby lamppost: “Ballistae hill,” it read in rusted red letters. Creaking and slithering over the broken outpost, a breeze brushed against two gravestones sitting at the base. One was covered in the entangled vines flowing off the tower, but the other could be seen with little difficulty. “1806-1863. Royal investigator under Frederick VII. He took a step back, and with a grim look on his face, and leans towards the remaining tombstone. The crow cackles thrice more and cocks its head, looking down at him with its blank eyes, devoid of any emotion whatsoever. It flutters down to land on the tip of the grave. He takes a step away from it and proceeds to brush aside the thick curtain of withering vines, but as his hand reaches to grasp the last few of the tangled plants, another pulls aside the vines. The hand brushes up against his. It was cold, unnaturally cold, and pocked with multiple burn scars. Alheim leaps back, as if stung by an unknown force, as the owner of the hand materializes from behind the plants. It leans forward, and the crow comes to land on one of the creature’s starved shoulders. The familiarity was unnatural. Did he know this creature? He was uncertain, and this was a dream after all. The lengthy black matted hair begins to rise from a blotchy gray-toned neck to look at him with an eye of the purest blue. A blue of dewdrops on daisies and cricket chirps on summer nights. Blue of the cascading waves over pearl beaches. It was unbefitting the corpse-like form before him, so burnt and scarred as it was, appearing to be nearer to death than death itself. The creature smiled a vile and sickening smile. In that moment, the blue was no longer that of bright days filled with felicity, it was an arctic pole, it was icy forgottenness, it was the tear of one who knew no happiness. A crackling voice filled his mind, like the embodiment of all things lost to sorrow: “I am… waiting for you,” it looks at him with those icy-blue-daisy-dewdrop eyes, “I… will wait.” A single tear escapes the eye, glistening like starlight, rippling like a body without a soul.
Sir Alheim jerks awake, gasping for breath. The creature still lingered in his consciousness, its uncanny familiarity unable to be easily forgotten. It was waiting for him. What was the meaning behind that unusual statement? Who did the gruesome figure remind him of? He was interrupted from his thoughts by the soft brushing sound of cloth against the door frame. He paused, unsure of what to do. It could very possibly be just a servant, but then again, who would linger beside a royal guest’s door whilst the moon was at its zenith? Quite unusual, Alheim noted. A low scratching sound resonates in the still air. He looked in his near vicinity for anything that could produce a lethal blow, attentive towards the fact that he mustn't make any sound. The door creaked a swung outward with a light touch. He leapt out from the cover of his room, wildly swinging his antique curtain rod like a baseball bat. However, the mysterious being was nowhere within the erratic path of the rod. He looked right, looked left, glanced to the right again, and spotted the figure, a woman, as judged by the feminine shape of her body. The person might as well have been a phantom. She turned her head, and silent as the shadows themselves, stepped into the night, nearly imperceptible in the darkness. The vexing phenomenon left Alheim baffled, standing there in his nightshirt, illuminated by the moonlight from his bedroom window. 
Sleep was an impossibility after the evening’s horrifying events. His mind, left to its own endeavors, madly circulated the day’s happenings through his consciousness. That body, Marcil De Gelt’s unusual conversation in the corridor with the unknown person, and now, people sneaking around at the brink of midnight. It's her, it must be! That snake got rid of the king as to rise to power, and must have planned this whole scandal! Terris and his advisors must be oblivious, her malicious intent was directed at only one person: there is one who could still stop her, me, the unpredictable variable in this abhorrent puzzle. The sun peeked over the hills in a bloody red sunrise. Alheim determinedly hurries to Marcil’s rooms in the eastern wing, the lavish carpet swishing under his steps. She had just been leaving her rooms as well, and stopped, raising her eyebrow and acrimoniously taking a step backward. He pauses and clears his throat, awkwardly averting his eyes. Her antagonism was tangible in its intensity. 
“I have a few inquiries to make about the case.”
“Well then, be efficient about it, I’m a punctual woman, and currently have a plethora of tasks to do before noon, all of which are more important than your ridiculous questions,” she states with an antipathetical tone. Alheim stares at her incredulously. 
“I apologize for interrupting your… appointments, however, this is of utmost importance. I suggest taking a seat.” Her scowl shows ardent disgust. 
“Very well,” she sighs and clamps the bridge of her nose with two fingers, as if she had a headache. 
“I would like to ask where and what you were doing during nine and twelve o’clock last evening,” Alheim shuffles his notes and glances up at her. 
She sniffs “I was discussing the plans for my dear Terris’s birth anniversary. He is turning thirty two as of tomorrow, and I wanted to make sure the cake was the pinnacle of perfection.” He stares intently at her face for any telltales. I wonder if she knows that I overheard the conversation, the explanation does make sense. She is more intelligent than I first presumed. The red light from the sunset spilt over her windowsill, illuminating the room in its bloody warmth. Marcil sighs and responds to the second inquiry with avid aversion: “And at twelve o’clock, I was soundly asleep in my chambers. After all, what else would one do at such a horrendous hour of the night? Now, if you'll excuse me, I really must get going.” Alheim closes his eyes and thinks through what she said. If there was any evidence, he wouldn't find it through the interrogation. He looked up at his surroundings. The velvet chairs, lace throws, the incessantly ticking golden clock, and the smell of lavender incense. Everything was as it should've been. He glanced once more about the room, and he saw it. Perched upon the blood-lit windowsill, clutching the elaborate curtains with its scarred and bony hands. He glanced back at Marcil. However, her face betrayed nothing but blatant revulsion and horror at the gruesome creature. “In… intruder!” she screeched. The creature unfolded its hunched back, black matted hair trailing behind and out the window. A chilled breeze whispers through the room as it lifts head. Blue eyes, bright starlight-daisy blue. Alheim felt a chill go down his spine. It began to speak with its crackling voice: 
“Do you… remember me?” It cocked its head to the side, “brother?” His face went deathly pale, and he gripped the arm of one of the velvet chairs. He remembered now. Twenty-three years ago, on Christmas eve, that was when the incident happened. They all died, they all must've died! As if sensing his thoughts, the creature smiled a gruesome smile, filled with pain and malice. “Yes, we all died, we all died that night. A corpse of a body crawling away from the fire, scarred with burns and in unimaginable pain. It would have been a mercy to stay beside them while it raged around us. I regretted it, but you, you were here! One last time, I could see my dearest brother and gaze upon his glorious self.” She cackled, and broke into a hacking cough, her eyes filled with madness. Whispering, she leaned in close to his face with that horrendous smile. “You remember don’t you, Alheim?” He did remember, though he wished not to. It had been so long ago, but the scarring event still burned bright and foremost in his mind. He had been a young boy on Christmas eve, out to collect firewood from the forest behind their house. The wind had carried the strong scent of pine, and the owls had called into the night. He had been oblivious. The snow crunching under his boots, he ascended the hill to his house, to find a viscous orange flame engulfing the side of his beloved home. A shout filled the crackling air. He ran inside, through the back door, screaming, screaming, helpless in the face of the disaster. They all died that night, they all died! He blearily blinked his eyes, lukewarm crystalline tears streaming down his cheeks. The phantom that stood upon the windowsill could not be his sister, how did she survive? He glanced at her, that horrendous grin still plastered across her face. She was laughing, a mad and inhumane screeching, an insane and disturbing noise. 
“I was in my room at the time, the heat had barely begun to seep through the door, and the screaming began. I was helpless, and being a month  past the age of ten, clueless as to finding a suitable escape route. I ran through the fire, the screaming, that horrid screaming, always in my ears. They burned… they burned alive, Alheim! And as I scraped my bloody fingernails against the door, I knew I would die there with them. I wish I had.” Tears were streaming down her face, currents that dripped across that gruesome grin. “I lay there, a child, the pain rippling through my body, incapable of so much as breathing without hacking and coughing. All the while, my body gradually starved, the skin falling off my very bones themselves. I shouldn’t have lived. I shouldn’t have survived.” Alheim’s eyes were blurred with tears. He couldn’t think straight, he wasn’t capable of responding. The phantom turned its head, taking one last look at Alheim, and sank into the shadows, leaving him to his jumbled thoughts. 
He was not in his right mind. The horror of the gruesome creature’s account of that night had left him in shambles, incapable of forming the most basic thought. Even now, his mind was reeling, and as he blindly staggered through the corridors. It was her, that night in the hallway. It had been her, who had brutally murdered the investigator, and kidnapped the king. She had known all along. And now, he knew where to find her, and the king. They were at Ballistae Hill, the place that had haunted his nightmares ever since the fire. 
He burst into the throne room, coattails flying, and his eyebrows scrunched together in a pencil-thin line. All Terris’s advisors turn to look at him in surprise. 
“I know where the king is, and if I’m right, he’s alive and well!” The council silenced in shock. Then, one voice  within the many that were present spoke out. It was the same sickly looking man as before, minus the erratic appearance of his spectacles. 
“Let’s not dawdle any longer than necessary, prepare horses immediately, call for the knights!” Everyone yelled in agreement, scrambling to their feet. As the congregation prepared to retrieve the king, Alheim was only thinking of his sister. If only he could see her once more, she could return with him, what a joyful ending that would be! Horses whinnied and stomped their feet in anticipation as the group of people mounted and rode out of the courtyard, heading towards the distant tower. Even in the bright light of mid-morning, the tower was ominous. A thick fog surrounded the vine-clad walls, twisting and twirling around the horse's hooves, making them skittish. Alheim’s own horse was bucking as if possessed, forcing him to dismount from the saddle. A breeze brushed past the company, tousling their coats as the gentlemen proceeded towards the haunting visage. Everything was as he imagined, the rusted sign, a constant breeze from the south, and the ominous atmosphere. The gate to the watchtower gradually creaked open, having been long since considerably decayed. The inside opened up to a small cobbled entryway, nothing elaborate about it, obviously poorly designed. Tension remained in the air as the group cautiously traversed the rutted grounds. The tension was tangible in its severity, drowning out all other emotions. However, as the entryway door loudly grates over the cobblestone to expose the interior, Alheim was not focused upon the starved man in the corner. He was not focused upon the strange pentagram sloppily painted above him, nor did he pay attention when the council cheered, rushing the king out the door to celebrate their victorious recovery mission, priding themselves in their bravery. He stood below, gazing up above at the broad shadowed ceiling. She was up there, he instinctively knew that his sister would be standing somewhere above him. He climbed the staircase, his solemn ascension echoing throughout the enclosed space. The stained glass windows refracted the light around him, creating a chaotic collage of color, fracturing and reassembling to the beat of his footsteps. Minuscule fragments of dust floated through the air around him, appearing to glow in the illumination from above. The hatch to the roof opened. He stepped out onto the rooftop. Like a beautiful phantom, the light intertwined with her wispy hair, giving it an ethereal quality as it billowed in the regular gusts of wind. She whispers “You shouldn't've come here. A place like this is not one for the living.” 
“You know I would come no matter where you hide, It still feels as if this is all a wonderful dream, seeing my dear sister again. After all this time, I couldn’t turn away if I wanted to.”
“I know,” she murmurs, appearing almost sane in the dawn light.
“You can come back, we can live together in my residence, you needn’t worry about anything again. We can sleep under the nighttime stars, fish in the River Thames, eat fresh blackberry pies in the summer!”
She glances at him sadly “After all that’s happened, everything I’ve done, and you are still willing to forget and forgive what has happened. However, I will toss and turn at night, haunted by the faces of our dear family that I cannot forget, brother. I have suffered unimaginable pain and grief, I am aware of my insanity, and in that that moment, my emotions turn against me, sharp as knives, for I know that every moment my mind further shatters, hiding from the bitter reality of this world. I am no longer alive.” She looks back at him, and her tortured eyes meet his. “I wish you well, brother.” She steps off the ledge. Alheim screams in agony as realization hits him. He stretches for her hand, his fingertips brush against hers, but not nearly close enough. Glistening tears stream from his eyes, pure and crystalline, the air grows silent. In the last moment, the leaves spin gradually, glistening yellow, burnt orange veins, a bird creaks out a tune in the empty vacuum of time, and all the while, the tears fall, the horizon stretching in an endless array of vibrancy. Air rushes by, bodies weightless, the yawning expanse of earth hurtling nearer at a rapid pace to envelop them in the merciful embrace of death. 

© Copyright 2018 Astrolight. All rights reserved.

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