By Su Williams
(Writer's Digest sponsors a weekly writing prompt. This was my second post and it received some very complimentary comments. I have a fan!)
I couldn’t live without my childhood best friend; my teen romance; my soul mate…until he died. The newspapers should’ve read “Caleb Davis, 21, Dies of Unknown Causes.” But there wasn’t a single word in the news.
Heavy curtains submerge our home into dusky darkness. Children play outside in sweltering heat. The ice cream truck trumpets by. Life goes on out in the summer heat, but inside my darkened lair time has frozen despite the heat.
I’m alone in the darkness that has nothing to do with light. If Caleb were alive he’d throw the curtains open, saying, “Athena! Let the sun in for God’s sake!” He’d open the windows to air out the mustiness. But he’s not. And he won’t. So I bask in the musty air.
Night and the temperatures fall, but the heat is captured in our house. I sprawl on the bed in sweat-drenched cami and Caleb’s boxers. Whiskey numbs my lips, but not the pain in my heart, only befuddles my head with softness. A few more shots and my heart will stop. I can join the one I love. I jettison the shot glass, swig from the bottle. Then guzzle. I empty it, then stagger across the room for another.
Then I hear it. The soft strains of the love song Caleb sang about his sweet Athena. I crumple to the floor. Blackness envelopes me.
I awaken to muted daylight, my mouth thick and fuzzy as sun-warmed air. I will try again when I can move again.
I suffer the sweltering day away, stewing in grief. I peruse old year books. We’re always side by side--Davis, Athena; Davis, Caleb.
When the sun falls I slither onto the bed, another bottle of whiskey and our sharpest knife in hand. Shallow cuts slice my thumb as I test the blade. I press the steel to the tender flesh of my forearm--vertically, not horizontally. A bead of blood erupts at the point, then begins to trickle in hot sticky streams, thudding like a drum on the bedspread. I shift my grip to drive the blade home.
I drop the knife and drag my quaking body to the closet door, dribbling a trail of blood behind me. Cooling drops straggle down my thigh, soak between my toes. The door opens of its own accord though the knob is in my hand.
He’s there. My Caleb. Shriveled to nothing but stark white bone, a shadow of his former glory. I curl up at his side, tucked safely beneath his skeletal arm, my head on his boney chest. He doesn’t want me to join him. He wants me to stay--just as I want him to stay. Forever.
I called no one when I found him laying lifeless in our bed. I hid him in our closet where he would never leave me. So now, I cuddle up to his boney frame knowing today no one will come and take him from me.
Someday they will come. But not today.
“All of us have skeletons in our closet…some of us just have better locks.” Author Unknown
Special thanks to Sevendust, Skeleton Song for the inspiration.