“Remember when we met?” questioned Jack. There was silence. “I remember when we met,” he continued, “and how we both fell in love.”
At this statement, Jack sat up, his frail frame swaying like a tall palm tree in the breeze. His pale skin and gaunt cheeks created a ghostly appearance that was only accented by his coal-black hair. The wind outside the shack moaned, eager to slip inside and dishevel everything like a rude houseguest. Jack brought his frame closer to the fireplace and rubbed his arms. A pinkish hue began to color his cheeks as he tossed various newspaper articles onto the burning mass. Again, he swayed like a tall palm tree, and fell back on a stained, mildew-laden mat.
“We met at the dance. Gee, that was a month, to the day! How time flies!” Jack let out a soft chuckle that turned into more of a rasping cough. His lung contemplated leaving the body, but decided on staying for a little while longer. Silence filled the shack.
“I was leaning against the wall, staring at the lights. They were not that bright, but for some reason they annoyed me. They kept on spilling out white blankness. What’s up with that? And- and then a song came on. It was a real good song, too, the kind you listen to when you’re alone and think ‘Gee, this is a nice song.’ But, it was a slow song, and I didn’t have anyone to dance with, so I just kept on leaning and stared at the lights, crying a little. When I looked down, I saw you.”
Jack smiled, showing his toothy wolf-smile, the kind of teeth you see on a nature show, covered with blood and satisfaction. Jack’s smile was not bloody, nor was it satisfied. Snowy drifts continued to pound the weak pane on the shack, and Jack sniffed a little.
“I sort of just stared,” Jack reflected, “and gaped a bit. You were beautiful. That way your hair was tied up in a knot, with your bangs still covering your eyes, stole my soul. You took a little step towards me, and your blouse danced about even though there wasn’t any breeze. When you held out your hand, I- well, well I- I was speechless. But I took it, and we danced. The song played, and your body moved with mine, and your feet glided across the floor, and I thought to myself, ‘Gee, this is happening.’ Then the song was over. And you left, and then I left.”
Jack shot up off his mat, resembling an awakened corpse springing from the grave. A tear sat on his cheek, a perfect droplet of sadness. “We talked a bit in the halls, you know? A simple ‘Hello’ and ‘Hi, there’ to start. Then we ate lunch together a few times. That was fun, right?” Jack tried to laugh, but this time he just coughed and another tear fell out of his eye. “That’s when people started whispering. And you stopped talking to me for a bit. I didn’t know what I did. I thought we were friends. I tried writing letters, leaving notes. You didn’t-” Jack stifled a sob, and continued. “You didn’t reply. Then that girl, your best friend, told me ‘Get lost’, like she knew what was good for us.”
The shack was shaking all about now, its rusty nails holding the planks the same way gum stops a leak. Icy winds howled, battering the glass. Jack threw some clothing, a hair-tie and a blouse, onto the fire, and felt the expanding heat on his frozen hands.
“I listed to our song every day. Our song. I thought to myself, ‘Hell, we were together before. We can be together now!’ So I followed you home from school that Friday afternoon, with a rose. You didn’t notice me when you walked in, or when you ate dinner, or when you stripped and started to shower. I waited till late, and then I broke in. I knew you’d have to accept me when you saw the rose. How could you not? How could you NOT?!” Jack let out a painful wail, tears streaming from his cheeks like twin rivers in flood season. Outside, nature herself let out her sorrow and grief, chilling everything to its core.
Another stifled sob was uttered, and Jack tried to compose himself. “It was- it was real hard to explain everything to your father. He had the baseball bat and I had the rose and I thought it might have been funny if it wasn’t so serious. Well, it got more serious, and you walked downstairs, and saw me with the bloody knife.” Jack cried once more, but it sounded as if he were screaming, the sharp sound piercing through the noise of the wind like a blade. “You- you screamed! And I screamed! As soon as I saw the phone in your hand, I knew what you were trying to do. I- I didn’t know how else to act! Everything sped up, and life just slipped by, like I fainted. I remember the light on the ceiling, how it just poured out whiteness. And I looked down, real fast, like waking from a nightmare. Then- then…”
Words failed, and Jack broke down. Utterances of deep, destructive passion sounded beyond the shack, into the forest. Nature had ceased her inclemency, forfeiting to the storm within Jack’s heart. Tears pooled about the ragged mat. The fire faded and died.
Jack gazed across the shack through his blood-shot eyes, struggling in vain to breath, to speak, to recall.
The corpse of a young girl gazed back.