Elegy For A Friend

The starts shone vividly in the night sky, shedding their luminescence across the dry world. After all had been said and done, the wasteland was silent. Among the courtyard of headstones, there was a cross, freshly constructed of steel and slate, glistening faintly and struggling to capture the waning light. It was unmarked, unornamented, but many believed it deserved no distinction among the others.

They were all evil.

The cross was tall, planted into the caked dirt and slanting. She thought it was befitting, and a rueful, remembering smile crossed her lips, twitching them at the corners. She wanted to smile with joy and reminisce of old times past, but it could not be so. It could not even be of nostalgia, for her guilty conscience would not permit it. Her heart only held bitter memories of him.

In her journey to forsake injustice, she could not regard even the faintest shred of humanity in her enemies-even the departed. What little seen was dismissed too easily.

She could not turn away from her morals then, and she could offer no sympathy. But now it was different, and she was convinced that she stood on a new world birthed by her efforts and under a new sky that enveloped them vastly, but with welcome. Her heart ached painfully at the lone marker that bore no name, no past, no story. It glistened, gently, a spark of white sheen refracting and dimming across the surface to her eyes as she approached.

In her hands was a letter, folded into thirds, the cursive distinctly female. The letter bore no signature. It was cleanly folded, but marred by creases across from when her hands quivered, clenched and unclenched in silent confusion and anger. She could not say anything-her emotions were muddled into a gray that infuriated her, because she didn't understand whether she felt regret, sadness, or indifference. She didn't know how to feel, now that she was alone.

She didn't even know if he was dead.

It did not matter what the letter said, because he would not read it, and though fleeting and delicate, the unique emotion captured in words meant nothing to him. Her feelings toward him, however solid, would only be confused days, hours, minutes, or seconds later-she would never have a firm recall of pure fondness for him. She only knew she had to write it before it escaped her.

Part of her, the whimsical fraction of her mind, thought that the sentiment was what mattered, and that the sentiment would cross to the other world. It was, mostly, a deep longing to slake her mind's need for gratification.

"I hope you were able to find solace, wherever you are. It's over."

They were no longer fighting.

She could say nothing more and nothing less than that. Her voice rang into the air sweetly, each word succinct and lost immediately to the entire planet but her. The back of her throat began to ache; it was dry. Her hands were cold beneath their white gloves, clammy, and they shook the paper involuntarily as she trembled. There was no wind, no ill weather, and the night was only cool. She hoped the moment, her exchange with the nothingness could be suspended; remain still in the air; extend; grant her further understanding.

Maybe, she mused, she wanted the cold beams to speak to her, or fix their tilt, or stop dripping with the mocking sarcasm and carelessness she swore she could feel. It reminded her that he was crooked. Cruel, misguided; he worked to find a light that would extinguish hers, and yet, it was a light. He took her justice, mangled it with his own, and tried to strangle her with it, like so many others had.

Ironically, unlike others, he was a toy, striving against his masters. The girl wondered if his struggle was painful, like hers was. She wondered if he was satisfied, freed at the end. And as much as she despised to think, she silently thought whether there was worth in his existence. His role was to play pawn.

She didn't see why she felt so fondly attached to such a cruel ghost of the past. It wasn't so long ago that he first smirked upon her and laughed, yet with each passing minute in front of the cross, she felt her link to him tightening for fear of forgetting. Forgetting the past.

Formidable foe. Unlucky fool. Bastard. Identified as so many things by her companions, but she knew him only by his name. She was disheartened when her friends could not see beyond what their eyes fed them. She thought that there was more to knowing than seeing and that a surface could be so plain, yet shield something far more winding and incomprehensible. His desire and inspirations were unknown to her.

Humans were such weak creatures, and their motives so easily swayed. He proved this to her. He was awful, but he taught her. When he raised his weapon to her, she felt her eyes opening more and more; each time she conquered his obstacles, she felt she could heal her wings and then fly higher. But she no longer needed to fly or fight.

On shaky feet, the girl stepped silently to the cross and knelt before it. Her head fell as she set the letter down at its base, and honey bangs shifted before her eyes. Through the veil, everything seemed to blur. A sharp whimper echoed across the expanse of abandoned land. Two tears dropped from her cheeks and onto the letter, darkening the creamy paper. The tips of her fingers brushed it gently, not desiring to part with such sentiment-such a note. She was already regretting having come to pay her respects. He would not have done the same, and in that second of doubt, she could remember looking down the edge of his weapon more than once.

Her face struggled to fight back tears, and her mouth drew back into a forceful smile in spite of tears that welled in her closed eyes. She clenched them tightly, wanting to cry, but she was stronger. Two tears were all she shed. It was done, and she had to wipe her hands clean of him.

"I'll never get why."

A blast of air whipped strands of her hair about her face and kicked up grains of earth, bombarding the lonely monument and its counterparts. The stars glittered above her and the winds settled to their previous stagnant state.

The young lady stood, her normally proud posture weak and delicate, a solitary silhouette among the headstones and crosses. Such things were final acknowledgements of lives, their absences, and memories of them.

"I have to go. . ."

She stepped away, forcefully, as if breaking from chains that bound her by the ankles, turned, and did not look back.