That day, I lived.
From what I gathered, she was a sweet girl. Her smile could melt even the hardest of hearts; her face was that of an angel, her eyes were soft and gentle – like a calming breeze on a hot summer’s day. Her skin was fair and smooth and even her hair seemed to shine. Though she was petite and could easily be lost in a crowd, the moment you see her she would easily stand out. She was finely sculpted, a mixture of strength and sensuality. She exuded this grace and delicacy that could no longer be found in any other girl of our age – it’s as if she glowed. Simply put, she was beautiful.
The sun barely shone that day. It was a small gathering, mostly of family and some of my sister’s closest friends. They were all wracked with grief, commemorating her – exactly the way she wanted it. In heartfelt tears, they all say that they’re never again going to hear her laugh, or speak, or sing, because now she’s all gone. I say, now she’s all mine.
My job at the local gazette brought me to her. My editor was something short of a real father to her and her sister, and he wanted to run a full page farewell for her sister, “now that she has passed on.” Big deal. Don’t get me wrong, I respect my editor, I love my job and I like doing what I do. But sacrificing all the obituaries I have written for tomorrow’s issue for just one person seems so wrong. It’s just wrong.
There he was, a man. He was not invited to the wake. He was neither a member of our family nor a friend of my sister that I knew of. I asked him if he was lost. He looked back at me, obviously confused. “Mr. Edwards…” No wonder.
Is this the dead girl’s sister? I wondered. The toll of death on those it leaves behind comes in many ways. – Hysteria, tears, the four stages of grief. Just like the scene that surrounded me. But hers was different. She is beautiful, and though I have just met her now, I know, by the way her full, red lips curved into a smile, that she has never been this exuberant. This happy. Triumphant. How could one be triumphant over her own sister’s death? I wonder…
He looked up at me, his eyes clouded, full of questions. His hair was a mess, as if he’s just woken up. His mouth was parted to a small “O”, it was like he was amazed at what he was seeing – me. No. He was bewildered, like a child lost in a sea of strangers. He kept to himself, periodically surveying the room, a cat, ready to pounce on his unsuspecting prey. He was sharp, silent and maybe even dangerous. I think I’m in love.
I got up and walked around, talking to people. All I know is that a girl is dead. I did not know why or how. I did not know what she was when she was still alive. Nor did I have any idea how she could have inspired so many tears. It’s time to get to know her. It’s time to do my job.
My lover – he’s talking to other people. No. I will not allow this. He should be mine. Just mine. No one else can have him, but me. He will mine.
It was not an ordinary death. According to those who were gathered, today was supposed to be her wedding day – her fiancé was the one up front, with his head in his hands, his back an impossible arch – like he intended to break it. At that moment, he carried a weight heavier than any one else on earth. I came up to him. “It’s better this way,” I fumbled, never having learned the art of comforting others, “at least now she won’t have to suffer. You should be happy for her.” He stared back at me, with bloodshot eyes, speaking nothing. As I turned to move on, he whispered: She was murdered. Oh.
He was evil, my sister’s boyfriend. He wanted to take her away from me. He wanted her to leave me. She loved him, the bastard. She did everything he asked, she was willing to go, to be all his. But now, she’s all mine.
So many people seemed to care about her. All of them in deep misery, contemplating a treasure they have lost. Murdered. How did she die? My curiosity was aroused and I cannot hold back.
What is he still doing? It’s been a long time. He should be back here with me by now. Why is he talking to all these people? They’re not his friends. They don’t care about him. I am the only one who does. Only I love him. Only I care. Why hasn’t he come back to me yet? I’m getting impatient.
They say she was choked to death two days before her wedding. Her sister, the beautiful one, walked into their garage hours before dawn to find her lifeless body on the floor, limp and cold. She must have been really shocked, they said. The fiancé came into the garage that afternoon, looking for his beloved. He saw the two sisters on the floor – one dead with her eyes closed, it was a hot afternoon, and she was starting to decompose; the other sister sitting up in a fetal position, looking down, oblivious to the stench. Her face was unreadable.
He’s coming back to me. Good.
What the authorities have now of the suspect were all assumptions. They believe she was killed by a woman smaller than her, whose hands could hardly make it around her neck. The marks on her neck were slightly angled and wounds were found in places where a woman’s long nails might have dug into. She was killed by a small woman of strength, with small hands and long nails.
He sat down, his forehead wrinkled, deep in thought. He looks even better now than he did a while ago. That moment, I knew. He will be mine.
A scary thought passed through my mind. I shivered. She held my hand, and asked me what’s wrong. It was a mistake to look down. Her hands were dainty, her fingers small, and her nails long. I hope I was wrong.
He stood up to go. He did not even say goodbye.
There was blood under her nails.
No, he can’t leave me. He’s mine.
I hear her footsteps. She’s drawing near.
Now we’re alone.
I was right.