Hullo. I just realized I did not explain as to why I am finishing off this story. Basically, I was speaking with someone whom I respect very much. The conversation went a little like this:

"Calamity," she said, though of course my real name was used, "you could be the greatest writer in the world, but unless you actually finish something you'll never be better than that idiot who harrassed you,"


"Skeletons is almost finished, and Selfish Breathing, and Courtney Says can be completed easily. Will you really leave it like that?"

So, this is basically to show her up - my beautiful, lovely friend.

Oh yes, I also have an alternative to the previous chapter that was added. So, if you think I should post that as well please say so.

Skeletons In My Closet

By: Calamity Now

"I spent my day writing my letter to the dead and was answered at night in my sleep,"

- Fugitive Pieces, Anne Michaels

There is something I would like to tell you before all else commences; I am not Duncan Blaise Pierce, nor am I Courtney Rodriguez. I am the one who has been assigned the job that never ends, the one you dress up in black robes and only speak my name in hushed tones. I am the one who now holds Duncan Blaise Pierce's existence in my hands, which are not skeletal, thank you very much.

Now that it is all cleared up I would like to take this time to say, quite clearly, that despite your assumptions, despite how well everything had seemed to be…

Duncan Blaise Pierce was going to die the moment he stepped onto the campgrounds of Lake Wawanaka, and a piece of him knew, no matter how small, that he wasn't leaving alive. When I took him he smirked at me, breathtaking. Strong. Beautiful, whatever you want to call it, with one word he broke the deafening silence of death,

"Vaffanculo," He stood tall, and had he not been dead and a little more substantial I think he would've hit me - but he didn't. He walked with me as if I was an old friend, "We've met quite a few times huh? I think I remember something like this a long time ago…" he trailed off and smiled, in a way he was something like an old friend. In the back of my mind over the years I wondered when I would get to hold his soul and have this walk to his fate - not many people get to cheat me.

"Three times, this is the fourth," I responded.

Duncan laughed, 3 times Duncan managed to escape from me. The first time was when his mother died, as he cradled her head in his hands, I waited. His father behind us fumbled with a revolver - then the sirens came and he took off. I left with only his mother that afternoon an hour later, after she finished stroking her sons head, kissing him and whispering secrets into his ears. The second time was after he killed his father, he had lost so much blood yet he still dragged himself over to the corpse of his dad, just to make sure. I waited, patiently. I'm always patient. Somehow, he managed to tear up his jacket and stop the blood flow. The third was minutes later when the cops beat him so hard that he was with me for an hour twenty seven minutes and 22.456 seconds.

At 17 he saw me, challenged me, and accepted me, but this did not mean that I wanted him.

"I'm ready this time," he told me.

A blanket was placed around Courtney's shoulders as if it was cold; it wasn't. She stared out the window of the helicopter as it landed on the camp grounds, everyone from the camp was watching, waiting eagerly with smiles on their faces, some of them were crying. The last thing Courtney wanted to do was face them, the last thing she felt like was the CIT they knew.

Courtney was helped off the helicopter and pulled into several peoples arms, several people thanking God, asking how she was, what had happened. She didn't speak, instead she walked silently over to the closest cabin and took a seat on the steps and waited. They surrounded her.

It amazed her how little she felt, and even more so as she watched the large orange duffle bag get hauled off the helicopter. When they accidentally dropped it.

Chris walked over to the cabin and stood on the steps next to her, so he was above everyone else. There was no smile on his face and his eyes, which were normally filled with sadistic laughter were empty.

"Can I get your attention please?" he said over the voices, and eventually everyone fell silent and watched him. It was obvious there was something wrong, Chris was pale and his lips weren't moving. No voice to come out, Chef Hatchet took off his hat. Everyone stared at Chris and Courtney expectantly, waiting for answers.

It was Geoff who spoke, cutting through the silence that Chris had been so sure he could fill.

"Where's Duncan?"

It was amazing really, how little Courtney felt.

"Princess," Duncan growled against her ear and fingertips grazing her hips. Courtney shivered, "I know what we can do to pass time,"

She giggled, something that was completely uncharacteristic for her, but then again she hadn't been herself lately. She felt better about herself and the world that didn't seem to exist around her. It was lighter, it was happier, it included less fighting and more fucking. Bridgette had said something like that before, make love not war. It made so much sense.

"Not now, I'm trying to meditate," she said sternly and moved his hands before they moved down her pants.

This did not damper Duncan's spirits in the slightest and very gently he bit down at the top of her ear, "you know I can make you feel better than meditation ever could," he murmured, his breath was hot and it tickled her ear in just the right way.

"Mmmm, but you're such a selfish lover," Courtney said primly and forced her hormones to the back of her mind - under physics and geometry and Hamlet. Courtney Rodriguez always got her way, but it was easier when she had a clear mind with no distractions - or hormones.

Duncan cocked his brow, he knew this was bullshit, she knew this was bullshit. Just a few nights ago he spent what felt like forever with the foreplay and doing his damn best so make her writhe with pleasure - and she did.

"Have you forgotten the other day then?" he asked and moved down to the crook of her neck and nibbled down, he loved the shade of red she turned when she was turned on. It made him ecstatic when he watched the blush start in her ears and creep all the way to her face.

"Yes, but you still haven't reciprocated," she replied in a voice completely even, Courtney had unbelievable talent at staying on topic despite everything going on. She smirked, she loved it when his jaw dropped, she liked it when he suffered a bit, it was funny. Duncan opened his mouth, then closed it again, obviously, he was at a loss.

"But it's icky! You haven't been able to shave at all!" He finally managed to sputter out and drew away from his partner, just the thought of…

Courtney shrugged her shoulders and closed her eyes again, returning to her meditative state, "well, if you do that for me more then I think I'd be more willing to play along with your little things,"

His jaw dropped again. When he had even mentioned it Courtney smacked him upside the head and lectured him for an hour on why it would be a terrible thing - and it was his favourite way to do it too. She knew this, because she was so damn smart.

"Fine," Duncan said after a long moment and crossed his arms over his chest.

"It has to be for at least 10 minutes, and it better be good." she narrowed her eyes at him then laid down onto her back and placed her legs on his shoulders. Duncan reached for the waistband of her shorts and pulled them off with her underwear.

"Fine. But this is a verbal contract, and now that we've agreed once you have to fill your end there's no backing down. I get to do it no matter how much it hurts and if you cry and what not - because this might kill me."

Courtney rolled her eyes, "yes, yes. But before you do that you have to make sure you stretch it a bit!"


"Really Duncan, you're such a pervert."

"Oh like you're any different. You have your kinks, I have mine."

"But it's an exit, Duncan."

Everyone cried but Courtney. Chris managed to find his words after Geoff had cut in and she was glad because there was no way in hell Courtney was going back to that time, ever. Bridgette talked to her, she told them about the search parties, the money their families were paid in order to let the show continue running (they were all rich.), the legal actions that had been taken. Everything. She didn't ask about what happened on the island and Courtney was grateful.

More than anything Courtney wanted to go home, far away from the island and her memories on it, but they weren't allowed to leave. Black clouds released their anger onto the campers with rain, thunder, lightning, and a shit load of irony.

Instead of home, she sat in the cafeteria surrounded by stony faced teenagers with a plate of crunchy spaghetti placed in front of her. She was given a plastic spork to eat with while everyone else received the usual cutlery, she understood why they would be weary - but she was not going to stab herself with a fork in front of everyone. Despite everything that happened (long nights talking, crying, holding each other for human touch. Nights spent fucking on the beach as the waves crashed over them, running, being free. The violence, the drugs, and the fear…and worst of all finding him) Courtney had things to live for, though over the lifetime she spent on that island, her ideals changed.

But things always change.

It's the human condition.

A month before she had hated Duncan, she despised everything about him from his idiotic unibrow and the self-deprecation in all his actions. She hated the way he smoked and the marks on his arms and legs. She hated everything about him and herself a tiny bit for watching out for him. And now she…

"Hey Courtney, did you pierce your ear?" Leshawna asked from across the table.

Almost mechanically Courtney reached up and touched the small ring in her helix and nodded, "yeah. He gave me an earring and pierced my ear," she hated the way her voice sounded when she spoke, like a robot. Like she wasn't a real person, despite the heart beating in her chest she could've sworn she was a robot. She swore that the earring would be her greatest memory, but now it felt…tired.

The water was damn cold, but not cold enough to numb her ear quickly. Courtney sat with her head tilted into a mug filled with damn cold water at 12 o'clock in the morning. Duncan had taken out one of his matching earrings (the blue ones with a silver ball) and began sterilizing the needle with his lighter. Though she had sworn she wasn't afraid of anything but green jell-o, Courtney realized that she had been lying to everyone as well as herself, at that moment in time she was absolutely terrified.

"Duncan, you sure about this," she asked and hated the whining tinge in her voice, but she was scared and wasn't sure if she liked the idea of getting anything pierced. All her life she remained pure, she didn't even have her earlobes pierced, the helix seemed a bit hasty.

"it's fine Princess. I know how to do this properly, I've done every single one in my ear and I've never gotten an infection," Duncan said without glancing up, his eyes were intent on the flame. Suddenly, he snapped his lighter shut and looked up at her with a grin, "your ear numb yet?"

"I don't know," she lied, her ear was numb and so was the side of her face, but it just didn't seem like a good idea.

"It's probably a good idea to take it out anyways," he said and rubbed the needle with a cotton swab filled with rubbing alcohol.

Quietly, Courtney swore under her breath and did as she was told. This was her brilliant idea - it symbolised something though at that moment she wasn't entirely sure what. Though because there was meaning it also meant the camera was pointed towards them on a stump not far off, taping this rather large commitment.

"Why did I want to do this?" Courtney muttered to herself.

"Don't be a baby, Princess.. You get to pierce my ear right after, and I won't even make you wait for it to become numb," Duncan said and motioned for where she should sit.

"Oh give me a break," Courtney muttered and scooted over to the place he indicated, "you've got tattoos as well and a ring on your cock and testicles! This pain will be nothing. I'm a CIT though, My body is pure!"

Though she couldn't see his face, she knew he rolled his eyes. The truth was a hard thing to accept for some.

"Totally pure, babe," Duncan repeated without a hint of conviction and brushed her hair out of the way, his voice was different; detached. The worst part of the entire thing was that Duncan was nervous as well, though he did his best to hide it, but Courtney knew for a fact Duncan never became distant like that unless he was really focusing.

"I'm pressing the needle against your ear, can you feel it?" Duncan asked.


"Good," Duncan said quietly and squinted in the firelight to make out the dot they had drawn on where they would get the piercing, "good, that's perfect princess," he wasn't talking to her, Courtney didn't say a word.

First he swabbed her ear with rubbing alcohol to disinfect it, then something was pressed up against the back of her ear. Duncan said it was to prevent pulling on the ear and tearing anything; Courtney agreed it was a good idea. The needle was against her ear a second after and didn't realize it until she felt only a slight twinge of pain as the needle pushed through her cartilage and heard a sound as it made it through.

"Alright, the needle is through your ear right now. That wasn't so bad, right? It's not crooked either - one of my earrings turned out crooked…" Duncan trailed off and pulled, there was a slight tug on her ear as the needle was removed but nothing more. A moment later she felt something else go through her ear and then a kiss on her cheek and a cheeky grin before her eyes.

"See, that wasn't so bad, was it?" Duncan asked and pulled out another cotton swab with rubbing alcohol on it.

"That was terrifying," Courtney replied and grabbed the mirror in the medical kid ant admired the ring. It would look good, she decided, once the redness in her ear disappeared.

"It looks hot," Duncan mumbled and held her earlobe between his thumb and index finger to get a better look - she jumped at the warmth in his fingers.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Let me clean the stuff off so I can pierce yours," Courtney waved him off and grabbed the medical kit where she followed Duncan's example and stuck the needle under the flame then rubbed it with a cotton swab filled with rubbing alcohol. She wrinkled her nose at the smell and motioned for him to come closer, he sat upright and cast a stupid smirk in her direction.

"you're even more chicken shit than before, aren'tcha?" he dug his elbow into her ribs and laughed, then he saw the look on her face and everything changed. Duncan's eyes were sympathetic as he said, "don't worry. Nothing you do could ever hurt me physically," his voice was soft, deep, and soothing. Slowly Courtney nodded and rubbed the dripping cotton ball all across his ear.

"Except for a little while ago when you kicked me in the balls. That hurt me,"

"Shut up, ogre,"

"You know, we're kind of like Shrek and Fiona. I'm the ogre and you're the Princess that was locked away in a tower of conceitedness and - ow!" a sharp prick from the needle shut him right up.

"Okay, I'm going to pierce it now," she mumbled and pressed the tomato pin cushion against his ear and the tip of his needle on the dot deciding where the earring would go. She tried to press - she really did, but she couldn't. All the strength in her arm was gone suddenly, it was one thing to pierce her ear, but for her to do his? It was absolutely insane, she had never pierced anyone's ear before. She didn't know what you did, was there a certain technique you used while pushing through the needle? Did she sterilize them wrong? What if it was crooked? What if he cried?

"Just do it,"

And that was all she needed. Responding to his voice, she pressed down on the needle until she felt it push through and half the needle was sticking into the pin cushion. Duncan let out a small grunt then grinned.

"See Princess, that wasn't so bad, was it?" he asked and shifted then kissed her hard on the mouth with tongue, lots and lots of tongue. It was quite ridiculous really, if Courtney hadn't pushed him away then he would've tried to have sex at that moment with a needle sticking through his ear, but Courtney would never allow it. Ever.

What if the needle poked out her eye? The future Prime Minster of Canada could not have a glass eye. It was unconstitutional…somehow.

"Shut up and hold still you horny Neanderthal," Courtney ordered and reluctantly, like a scolded puppy with it's tail between it's legs, Duncan obeyed, "good boy," she said with a smile and continued. It was harder than she thought, removing the needle, but after a good tug it came loose and slid out of his ear. It bled, his ear bled a lot; it was something she wasn't expecting since she had the luxury of numbing her ear.

"Shit!" she cursed as she fumbled to stick the ring through the hole - but the blood made it slippery and hard to see.

"Stick the earring in, stupid."

"I'm trying, dammit!" She spat and finally, as if to show him up she managed to find the hole and slid the earring through - it was finished. (well almost, she didn't bother trying to screw on the ball, there was simply too much blood.)

Again, like once the needle was through his ear Duncan pressed his mouth against hers and kissed her like he hadn't touched another woman in years, but this time Courtney responded, suddenly she remembered the idiotic symbolism she had come up with. They were connected now, their earrings in the same place on the same ear - it was their commitment, and never in her life had Courtney ever been so proud of something. No A in school could ever wash away the smile she wore as they touched one another frantically, like it was their last night together.

The fucked. They bled. They cried. They loved.

Courtney never loved anyone in her life like she loved Duncan, and in the moment where she sat on top of him with him inside of her, naked and holding each other as if the world was going to end, she was pretty sure he felt the same way about her.

All he could say was her name.

"Courtney, Courtney, Courtney,"

That night, they slept in the cabins, and though they never said it, Courtney was positive they were keeping her under suicide watch. At some point in the night each of the girls stayed up and watched over her to make sure she wouldn't cause harm to herself and others. That was a laugh, she didn't have energy to destroy, nor could she bring herself to.

Courtney laid in her bunk, too sad too care if anyone heard her sniffling as she clutched his t-shirt to her chest and buried her face into it, it smelled like him. It smelled like sweat, the sun, and Duncan, it smelled like everything she ever loved. The shirt was one of the treasures that just happened to be in her bags when they came, why? Because it was red, his favourite colour. They took the video camera, where it had some of their greatest moments on it, their commitment, the consummation afterwards, just random moments of trying to pester one another, and of course, the most important, the little things they did to pass the time. It was for evidence apparently.

She could have it back once they were finished ransacking her memories.

As quietly as she could Courtney rolled herself out of bed and stepped across the creaking cabin floor and pulled on her dressing gown. She walked outside wearing only her little boxers and tank top with the thin dressing gown on top, it was cold, despite the lifetime she spent on that island (the moments that it lasted) she was weak against the elements. It didn't help but she shoved deep into her pockets in a vain attempt to get warm and a second later she drew them back with a cry as her hand met a small cardboard box.

"Oh God…" she whispered and gingerly slid her hand back into her pocket. Carefully she felt the smooth texture of the Export A Gold carton and clasped her hand around it. A moment later she stared at it in her hand with eyes that finally felt real.

In the silence of the night, she attempted to speak, "Duncan," but it ended on her lips as the night swallowed the name up.

Duncan didn't exist anymore - not in her world.

"I want to try one," Courtney announced.

Duncan looked at her as if she said she wanted to try hunting a triceratops, then shook his head. "Fuck no," he said plainly and got to his feet.

Courtney placed her hands on her hips and tapped her sandaled foot, "why not?"

He scoffed like it was obvious then with spite he pulled out his cigarettes and lit one before her, blowing the smoke into her anger contorted face, "like hell I want to share. I'm running out fast enough as it is and I don't need you wasting them."

"I would not waste them!"

"You wouldn't enjoy them," he deadpanned, "and therefore, it would be a waste,"

With shaking hands Courtney took out a cigarette and put it between her trembling lips. She also stole his lighter before they took it all away, she removed it from her boxer shorts, opened it, and flicked it pathetically. The flint - the flint just wouldn't spark.

I snapped my fingers, a flame lit on the lighter and Courtney held the flame over the end of the cigarette and inhaled deeply. A moment later she was coughing up smoke with tears rolling down her cheeks either from the smoke or from the memories. I didn't delve deeper. I can't.

"You're right Duncan," she whispered, her voice was small and frail, "I hate this shit so fucking much,"

Despite herself she took another puff, this one shorter, fighting coughs - but it didn't help. She was just as pathetic as she had been a moment ago. Her throat burned and her eyes were tearing, she wasn't crying though, she refused to call it crying.

Only weak people cried.

Had Duncan been next to me, I think he would've done as his mother had and attempt to hold her and comfort her. I think he would've told her it would be alright and that it was better this way. But he wasn't with me, though undoubtedly he was watching. These things are easier to take when you're dead.

You know there's something else out there.

"Courtney?" Bridgette's voice cuts through the silence like a knife, and the CIT turned in the blonde's direction, "Courtney, are you smoking?"

Though creatures like me cannot affect the living, I cannot see into them or anything, her thoughts were easy to see. Almost robotic, she wiped away her tears and turned around to face Bridgette. Her eyes, lips, and sounds all were void of expression.

"Yeah, I started awhile ago," her voice was so dead.

"But coping with the cigarette is like…"

"It's a free country Bridge,"

At her school, in a whole other world she made a No Smoking Campaign because she didn't want her future voters to suddenly die of lung cancer. Everyone she confronted about their habits were apathetic, no one cared about their health. At the time she wanted to kill someone and wondered why the hell no one cared about their health, what was so great about tobacco and all the fucking chemicals inside it?

Courtney didn't like them one bit, but after the burn in her throat was gone, and there was a dead taste in her mouth and a detached feeling to her world she started to like it. One cigarette managed to help her, she thought.

If Duncan was here he would've sighed.

Geoff took a seat with her, Geoff was Duncan's first friend on the island and in his own misguided opinion, knew him best out of everyone there. No one knew anything that happened between them, so I suppose everyone else thought that as well.

"Duncan was a cool cat," Geoff said solemnly, Courtney lit a cigarette and nodded, "I mean whenever we would smoke up or play pranks on people…he was always so full of life. Why did it have to turn out like this? Do you have any clue?" Geoff turned his unbearably blue eyes onto Courtney looking for answers.

"No," she replied and watched the tip glow, every drag got easier. She would leave the last cigarette in the box and keep it forever.


The silence didn't bother her in the slightest, it was just a lack of noise, it just seemed that all at once every bird, every wave, every gust of wind, and every voice seemed to simultaneously stop in order to make losers unbearably uncomfortable. Courtney was quite positive Geoff was a loser.

A few moments later, when Courtney had nothing to contribute and Geoff was certain there was nothing to gain he stood up and walked away. DJ replaced him. The large boy who was normally a bit shy took confident steps forward and sat in the empty space next to her. Geoff had been too stupid to fill it, DJ was too big.

"I don't know anything DJ," Courtney said irritably and spat out a nice sized glob of spit.

"I just want to talk," he said and placed a large, warm hand on her shoulder, Courtney stared at it like it wasn't supposed to be there. There was never a need to touch, she liked space, she thrived in bloody space.

"I'm just connecting," DJ responded and almost smiled. They were gone for a few weeks, the show was almost over, and Courtney carried inside of her more of Duncan than she knew.

"Before we left on those individual trips, I spent a lot of time with Duncan and I could always sense his aura. It scared me, but I stayed because I knew he needed help,"

Courtney didn't respond, she stared at a rock on the ground and blew smoke towards it. Why would it matter if DJ knew things about Duncan? He was dead. He was gone, and absolutely nothing he said could ever change that.

"Whenever you were around it calmed down significantly. Whether you believe it or not just having you around made a huge difference in Duncan's life and despite…" he paused, his brow furrowed as he searched for the right word, "everything," Everything was a good enough word, DJ would live a long healthy life. I couldn't take DJ, "in the time he spent with us…you helped him,"

Her eyes widened for a second, but in her mind it must've felt like an eternity. Frantically her brain thought those words over and over again, and each time the words spoke louder and louder, and despite the impossible silence that surrounded her head was screaming.

You helped him.

You helped him.

You helped him.

Courtney struck him hard across the face and leapt to her feet, the words stopped, and now she had to fill silence that Chris couldn't.

"Helped him!" she screamed, her arms tense by her sides and fists trembling hard. Tears were flowing openly down her cheeks but she couldn't feel a thing. She was hurt, angry, she was so angry at DJ so she wouldn't be angry at herself. Anything would be better than that.

"If I had managed to help him he would still be here today you fucking bastard! I did nothing!"

Almost everyone stopped and watched the cracks in the wall break, and crumble to the ground.

Courtney was shaking, her hands, her legs, arms, shoulders, hips. Her entire frame shook almost violently, she was so tired, it took so much effort just to stand, just to stand.

"What good is help if it doesn't solve the goddamn problem! Why the fuck would you even say that to me? I hate you! I hate you so goddamn much. Duncan is dead. How could I have helped! Huh? Answer me!" she didn't realize it, but her palms were bleeding from clenching so tight and between breaths she was desperately sucking on the filter of the cigarette, she didn't notice the smell of burning plastic - it took so much effort just to stand…

DJ said nothing. His face was expressionless as he got to his feet and took a step towards her, it was a familiar picture, and it scared her. Courtney tried to escape, but she couldn't. The next thing she knew DJ's arms were around her in a vice like grip, crushing her body against his, it was even harder to breathe…but she didn't need to stand. Quietly, so quietly that Courtney questioned the existence of the words he said,

"It's okay to be okay, it's going to be okay,"

No it's not, Courtney thought bitterly, but she had no strength to fight back .

She didn't have any cigarettes.

I could never take DJ early, he would live a long, strong, healthy and happy life. He would marry, he would have a daughter named Leah and a beautiful husband named Justin.

But of course, at that moment, all he thought about was Courtney, all he wanted to do was help her like she helped his friend.

"it's okay,"

No. No. No.

By the fire, Duncan was unbelievably beautiful, the darkness of the night turned his eyes shades darker and the fire reflected in his dark blue irises. He always sat shirtless; all the bruises he once carried had healed and only scars remained - the scars were beautiful.

Courtney laid by him on the sand, staring up at the sky. It was a beautiful night with an infinite amount of stars in the sky. But rarely they ever really looked at the stars. The pattern generally went from cuddling to kissing to fucking either in the tent or on the beach - some nights they would simply talk. But very rarely did they ever gaze at the stars.

Duncan did not gaze, he crawled on top of her and placed gentle kisses below her belly button unlike the ones which were laid their before and marked with purple bruises.

"Aren't they beautiful?" Courtney sighed and smiled, "my dad taught me all the constellations. He said the stars spoke and what they had to say was wise…mom said never to listen to what he had to say when I was small since he never got good grades."

Duncan scoffed and glanced up at the countless lights in the sky, "stars are damn stupid," he turned back to the task at hand and brushed his thumb against her hip-bone.

Immediately, Courtney sat up at and glared at him, "how exactly are they stupid, oh wise Neanderthal?" she asked sarcastically and attempted to move away from his touches, but a simple kiss in the right place convinced her to lie down again.

"they make demons come out and destroy people," Duncan mumbled as his hand slipped under her shirt to her breast and grasped it gently, "I mean think about it - endless nights. Why do you think fucked up people can't sleep at night? 'Cause their demons or skeletons or whatever the hell you wanna call it are out,"

He lifted her over her breasts and moved his mouth to her nipple and flicked it with his tongue, "ma said that they help people. But she was misinformed,"

"I think your mother was right," Courtney responded thoughtfully.

Duncan glanced at up Courtney, "Demons," he repeated.

There was silence between them for a moment as Duncan tenderly and lovingly suckled on her breast.

Courtney broke the silence, "can we stop with this gentle stuff already? I'm falling asleep here!"

With bruised pride, Duncan made a note to never hold back again.

As we walked, Duncan and myself, he smoked cigarettes that didn't exist and sang a tune that was small, beautiful, and fragile.

"It feels right here," he said to me with a smile and scratched at his goatee, "I heard that someone dies every second, you know? So I always imagined that this would be a group job, that even in death I would be speaking to people who were worse off than me,"

"I put in special effort for you. I've been waiting for this walk for years,"

Duncan laughed a real laugh, "Yeah. But I always pulled through. Now was right though, I couldn't keep living."

"Why not?" I looked at him.

Duncan shrugged his shoulders, "there was Courtney. And she had life, she had infinite life, and next to her, I had none. Same with everyone on that godforsaken island. 17...17 was enough for me. I mean cats and dogs are lucky to live to even 17 right? Well, I feel like an old man. If I kept living, I would've prayed for death in my sleep. My happiest moments," he lit another non-existent cigarette, "my happiest moments have been when I brought myself closer than you,"

I smiled. They say that I can't smile, but I did.

"Death cut him short. The end closed in around him. Flying free of his limbs.

his soul went wringing down to the House of Death

wailing his fate, leaving his manhood far behind."

- The Death of Hector, The Iliad, Homer