Disclaimer: Disclaimer: Shaman King is © Takei Hiroyuki, Shonen Jump, Viz, various Japanese companies, etc. It does not belong to me.

The heart beats on and will not stop
by Fushigi Kismet

They piled dirt over her this morning. Covered in flowers, with a countenance like an angel, she did not even protest as they shut the lid. They laid her in the ground and shoveled freshly turned earth into the abyss. With one well-placed strike the bulldozer toppled the mound of soil and sent it flowing like a river over the coffin.

He cannot forgive them. The noise and the violence would have frightened her. Perhaps she was screaming and he could not hear her, could never hear her, had not heard her until it was too late, too late, always and forever too late. He would have gently dribbled the dirt over her with his fingers and let it be rain for her, soft and cooling. Would have let her dream of grey days sitting by the window, like the days when he and she had been young and he had come to watch her, the most delicate white flower, blooming against the glass.

They have no sense of it, no sense of what is gone, of what will never return again, her clear eyes and gentle smile, her young body, healthy at long last, well-loved. Oh beloved! I will never forgive them. For you it should have been a mild spring shower and you would have laughed and I would have laughed to hear you. Instead it was horror upon horror, in airless darkness with nothing but the heavens to crumble down upon you, a callous, unfeeling end.

It will be soon when he finds the book that will be his undoing. It will be soon that he takes himself as a sacrifice, the first of many, countless sacrifices piled at her alter, perfect white bones bleached by the sun. It will be soon that he silences their voices forever, those men who did not care that she had screamed and screamed and screamed and died with blood bubbling in her mouth, with fear in her eyes knowing that Spring would never come to her again, that rain would never touch her deep beneath the earth, that they yet lived when she no longer did. It will be soon that he has his revenge on them, on the unfeeling world who will not take pity enough on one man to leave him his one and only happiness. It will be soon that his palms will bleed red, his fingers skinless and caked with dirt as he scrabbles through six feet of despair and pries open the top of her casket with his broken nails. He is quiet, so quiet, she is sleeping and he will not frighten her awake in the stifling darkness, yet even more he does not want her to dream. It will be soon that he embraces her in the dark and murmurs to ears that cannot hear, pressing cold lips to colder closed eyelids, I have come to bring you back.

A long black centipede will crawl out of her ear. He will not see it. His eyes will only see an image of the past and his will will bring it forth. Dancing Eliza, silent Eliza, Eliza by his side. All of these are you, my love. All of you are mine. But smiling Eliza is gone. She has been taken to a world where he cannot yet follow. He marched into Hell and brought her forth, but faltering, her steps too soft, he glanced over his shoulder and she faded away like a dream. That pain, he will think, smiling and smiling as ragged and terrible claws tear through his insides, piercing that void within his chest, is his due.

But all that is yet to come.

For now, he crouches on the floor in the spot where she died and touches the dried stain of her blood obsessively again and again as he rocks back and forth on his heels, wildly searching, searching, all the shadows and cracks in the room for the memory of her. He wills that it is he and not she beneath the earth, her pale, beautiful face suffering the ravages of time, of rot, of a thousand little worms burrowing their way through her perfect skin and flesh, tasting her sweetness as they eat of her.

He wills that time will stop, that he will stop, will drop dead here and now and join her in some wretched afterlife. But he knows that he cannot die. He has failed her in everything - in death there can be no redemption. Death is absolute. She does not deserve it. She was too young, too beautiful. What does one do when one's world has died?

Eliza, he thinks, and even now the pain is too much.

And yet . . . his heart beats on and will not stop.