He was there, casually slouched against the cold polished stone as if he had not a care in the world. Perhaps he didn’t. His hands were buried deep in the pockets of his favorite black leather jacket as he gazed off into the distance, watching as a cluster of people stood around in a somber mood.
Standing on a nearby hill, they were too far away to hear what was being said. However, it was only all too obvious by the dark clothing and tear filled eyes that a funeral was taking place. What else, other than a funeral, would be taking place in a graveyard?
When it was all said and done, the casket buried and the grieving loved ones that had been left behind were gone, he finally acknowledged her presence with an all too familiar lazy smirk. His bright eyes were half lidded and smoldering. The intense, unnatural blue of his irises were nearly iridescent against the setting sun. In the waning glow his pale skin seemed to warm slightly.
He looked just the same as he had the first time she saw him.
Nothing had changed at all.
He still looked to be young, in his early twenties and no more. He was undeniably handsome, but in a dark almost ominous way that made her edgy. A chilling autumn breeze swept through the quiet between them and gently ruffled the longer fringe of his short inky black hair.
It was unnatural. But no matter how many times she saw the proof of his agelessness, she still couldn’t quite wrap her head around the possibility of it. It should have been impossible.
An uncontrollable shiver raced down her spine and goose bumps erupted over her flesh, as the temperature continued to steadily drop along with the sun. Soon it would be too cold for her to be outside and she would have to leave the despondent atmosphere of the old graveyard to seek the warmth of her car’s heater.
She still didn’t think it would be enough to fight off this chill. It seemed to sink deep enough to reach the marrow of her very bones, but it would have to do, at least until she got home. A steaming mug of fresh hot chocolate and her favorite fuzzy blanket would do her some good. But being as far away from him as was possible would surely be of some help as well.
He didn’t appear even remotely bothered by the weather as they gazed steadily at one another. His eyes glimmered in withheld amusement as he took in the different emotions flickering across her pretty young face. Her pale lips were drawn into a frown and her eyes were narrowed distrustfully at him, as the wind danced through her long hair.
He silently noted that she was dressed somewhat appropriately for the weather, but hadn’t donned nearly enough protective layers. She should have brought a thick jacket, instead of the long sweater she had decided to wear. Not that it would help. On this night, when the veil of darkness finally fell, it would be cold enough to kill.
“Why are you here?” She asked finally breaking the long, fragile silence.
His only response was the further upward tilting of his lips and a glimmer of silent amusement flickering in his eyes. He never answered. No matter how much she screamed and cursed, no sound ever escaped those sealed lips. He was always there. He always acknowledged her and he always wore that damned amused smirk as if he knew something that she didn’t, but he never spoke one word.
She should have known better, but she just couldn’t take it anymore. The static of constant silence between them was maddening. She felt like she was going crazy, if she wasn’t there already. Sometimes she wondered if she truly was crazy. No matter how many people were around, when he was there, it always seemed like she was the only one who could see him.
“It’s not funny! None of this is right and you know it!” She burst out angrily, finally having enough of his silent laughter at her expense. It was always at her expense. There was a sob lodged in the back of her throat that threatened to escape, but she swallowed it down along with her tears. “What you’re doing is wrong.”
A dark, slender brow rose in silent question. How was it wrong? What a ridiculous, na´ve statement.
Her whole body visibly jolted at the unexpected noise. Her eyes were comically wide and her lips parted in shock when she realized that after all of this time, he had actually spoken.
The smirk returned to his lips, only more prominent. He was greatly amused by her reaction. He had to wonder after all this time if she truly thought him a ghost. It was damn near laughable. Wasn’t he clearly corporeal enough to show that he wasn’t one of the lingering souls of the dead?
“Stop laughing at me and go haunt someone else!” She screamed not caring anymore if someone heard her and decided to ship her off to an institution. She was past caring if people thought her insane. They hadn’t had to live the majority of their lives haunted by this annoying, silent shadow.
He nearly laughed aloud at her sudden temper and her horribly incorrect guess. He managed to refrain from doing so, if only for her sake. It didn’t look like she could take any more of his teasing. Contrary to what she appeared to believe, he wasn’t heartless and he truly hadn’t meant to cause her any undue pain.
Perhaps he had held his silence for too long. But the silence was just as necessary as his constant, unwanted presence in her life. There was no way she would understand the reason for his ‘haunting’ of her all of these years.
“Your assumptions about what I am are wrong. I’m not a ghost.” His voice was nothing short of black velvet seduction with just a hint of menace and enlaced with power when he spoke. He meant her no harm, and he wasn’t threatening her. The menacing undertone was just naturally there. It was a part of who he was.
She stared at him in an overwhelming mix of wonderment, fear and anger. All of these emotions deadened her tongue and just when he was in a talkative mood for once. She had so many questions she wanted answers to and such an opportunity might never come again. She had to ask. She had to know. She felt like she deserved an answer after all of this time damn it.
“… If you’re not… then… then what are… why me,” She managed to force the jumbled question out through a breathy whisper. Her lips were dry; her throat hurt from the effort and her question was partially intelligible. Surely that was good enough though. She wasn’t sure her voice would work anymore.
His smirk softened slightly into an almost smile and his intense blue eyes warmed faintly at her courage. Most couldn’t even force that much when in his presence.
He mulled over his options. He could take pity on her, be completely honest and tell her what he truly was. But if the truth was revealed, he was certain that she would run from him in fear, just like everyone else. Escape was impossible. No one could outrun him, though many have tried and ultimately failed. If she knew his true nature then she would never willingly get this close to him again and that was something he wasn’t sure he could endure.
She noticed his hesitance and shook her head vehemently to display her frustration and unwillingness to hear any perfectly scripted lie he could come up with. “The truth… please,”
His gaze was penetrating as he studied every detail about her. He had everything about her already memorized, but the real thing was so much better than any recollection. He had a difficult choice to make. There were no simple answers to her questions, but he could answer one of them. It was the one that would scare her the most and drive her away from him.
“I’ve been called by many names,” He stated softly his tone and features akin to a marble mask. “You would know me best as… Death,”
He watched her face drain of all color and her breath hitch in her throat at his confession. He wasn’t lying. She knew this, but she didn’t know how she knew so. She just knew. Something deep inside of her told her that, for whatever reason, he could never lie to her. Why he couldn’t, or perhaps, why he wouldn’t lie to her face was another matter entirely.
It was one of the key reasons why he had kept his silence for so long. The other was to protect her. From whom he would never say. Even if she begged, he would hold his silence.
To tell her the truth was to lose her.
He couldn’t lose her again. The pain of losing her the first time and finding out that all of her memories of their past centuries together had been erased had nearly destroyed him. It was his punishment for his arrogance and for doing as he pleased for so long.
In a way, he had killed her.
He couldn’t die. He was the personification of death itself. He would live on to see the end of the universe and beyond. He was eternal.
But she… she was hopelessly mortal now.
He knew that if he revealed their shared past to her, the one who had taken her away from him so long ago would do more than just destroy her memories and immortality. If he told her the truth, he would lose her completely this time. He couldn’t allow that to happen.
Her memories may have been gone and her immortality as well, but her soul was still intact. It was safe, he had been assured, just so long as he kept doing his job properly and never revealed the truth to her. He was relieved, marginally. While he would have preferred to have her back to her old self, this was good enough.
As long as her soul was still intact, the feelings she once had for him would never truly disappear. She didn’t realize it, but those unfading feelings were still there, even now. Even if her mind couldn’t comprehend it, her soul was imprinted with the love they once shared.
Story Notes:Everything within belongs to me, so please do not steal.
Author's Chapter Notes:This is an unfinished and mostly unedited piece of an original, in progress novel I'm writing, so please do not steal anything. I'm really only posting this just to see what readers think of it and honestly, I'm really nervous about it. So please, be honest but fair in your judgment.