Title: Golgotha (1/?)
Author's Note: I'm discontinuing 'Bound'. For some reason, that story died in me before I even got into it good, and that annoyed the crap out of me. The good thing is that I was bitten by another bunny so enjoy!
It ain't fair, ya know?
A wave of black clad people swept passed him, but he did not see them, nor cared to pull himself from the tunnel vision that his eyes narrowed to, that his mind scaled down to a single scope. The wave washed over him, sidestepped him, ignored him, and continued surging forward, until it tapered off to a few stranglers who only glanced at him as he stood, staring resolutely ahead, a bouquet of flowers gripped in his pale fists.
She liked flowers.
Orchids, in fact.
He knew that from what he'd read of her, and the lingering traces of it that had hung around her apartment.
He breathed in the cool morning air, and stepped forward. One step then two, a laborious effort, even if he had a body built for high endurance. One step then two. Across dew covered grass that crunched underfoot. One step then two. Under the hypnotic sway of Spanish moss as it hung from the high-vaulted branches of oak trees and birch. One step then two. Through the rickety, old rusted gates of Rest Haven and into the city of the dead.
Tombstones shot up from the ground at irregular angles, some of the names faded away into memory and time, others fresh and new, with recently disturbed earth at their feet. His destination was not too far from here, passed an outcropping of stone mausoleums, statues of Catholic saints and angels with outstretched wings and the cold, judging glare of the righteous, watching him in silence as he passed.
He wasn't a religious man. Had never been, but the angry glares of the angels left him cold inside, like those stone statues could see into the very depths of his being and laid all that they found there bear for the world to see.
He swallowed, and continued on. Until he was there, at the place he dreaded, but had—needed—to come to all the same.
The coffin smelled of polish and wood and of the sickly sweet roses that fluttered gently in the breeze that stirred. He stopped. Stared at the oblong box. Gripped the orchids in his hands until they shook and a few petals fell to the earth.
It was silent here, most of the mourners had fled this place, too gripped by sorrow and despair to stay. In the distance, he could here the approach of a bulldozer, and beside the coffin lay a mound of freshly dug earth. It was a reddish-orange tinge the dirt, a staple of Georgia that was so well-known he couldn't have denied where he was even if he'd wanted to. He didn't, just knelt down in front of the coffin, staring up at its sleek, glossy sides as sunlight dappled and reflected off its mirror-like surface and shone, for just a split second.
He didn't know for how long he had crouched there, just watching, but he knew when he was no longer alone.
He heard her gentle breathing, the hitch in her throat of surprise at finding someone else here, beside this coffin, beside this soon to be un-empty grave. He made no move to acknowledge her, and she came to stand beside him, silent for a moment, watching him and watching the sarcophagus.
She spoke, "You weren't here earlier." It was not a question, but a simple statement of fact.
He nodded, but said nothing. The girl was quiet for a moment, staring at him hard.
"Did you know her?" she demanded.
"For a little while," he replied, shortly. The girl was quiet again. Stared at the coffin. Sighed.
"They said—" the girl paused for a moment, breathed—"they said when the car exploded, she died instantly. Didn't suffer. Burned so that only her bones remained."
The man winced, pressed his lips to a thin, grim line. "Yes. I know. I read the file."
"How?" the girl asked, surprised. "My father couldn't even look it over, and he's a cop."
"I have my ways."
The girl turned to him, pointing at the flowers he gripped. "She likes those."
She paused, her silence contemplative, before crouching down beside him.
And finally, he turned to look at her, her brown eyes wide and familiar, but not familiar in the sense of the eyes that he wanted to see—longed to see. They were familiar in the sense that, when he looked into their deep brown depths, he could see a familial resemblance.
And he could see himself suspended in their dark depths, twin mirrors that captured him and held him and showed him his pale skin and dark black hair, faming a face that looked so soft and young, like it belonged to the lead singer of a boy band. He met her curious gaze then looked away, back at the coffin.
Reached up. Touched its cool, smooth side.
The girl flinched.
"What's your name?" she whispered.
He was silent for a moment, working his jaw, before he swallowed and answered, "Raizo. My name is Raizo."
"My name is Alyssa. Alyssa Coretti," the girl replied, standing slowly. She stared at him then turned to the coffin and placed a hand gingerly beside his on the cold, dark wood. "However you knew my sister, I'm sure she's glad you came."
It wasn't until the girl turned her back on him and walked away, her foot steps retreating over the crisp grass underfoot, that Raizo allowed his body to deflate, slump forward and press his face against the coffin's side, and breathe.
Notes: *Golgotha - place of [the] skull - (Kraniou Topos) in Greek