Darkness covered the land as if it was night, yet everyone below the hovering cloud bank knew that that was not the case. Any passerby who looked up at the formidable grey clouds would shiver, pull their coats (or scarves, or mittens, or whatever they happened to be wearing at the moment) tighter, and feel incredibly sorry for the poor bastards who were caught out when the thundering disaster waiting to happen broke.
Only two people in the town were oblivious of the cloud bank. Abraham and Daisy sat outside on the swings in Abbey's back yard, talking animatedly. A huge smile was plastered across Daisy's face, and her reflected glory seemed to lighten up Abbey's face. He too was laughing along with the 'beacon of perfection' as she had been referred to multiple times.
"And then Ah says t' Eunice, ah says," Quipped Daisy in a fake southern accent, "Excuse me, sir, but is that there ma watermelon?"
Abbey laughed, and Daisy was laughing too, and it was all right.
Unfortunately for the happy couple, their little sphere of happiness was about to be brutally shattered. On the other side of the fence, Augustus stood with his head against the wood, his fists clenched in to fists as he listened to the duo laughing. Silent tears of both grief and rage fell down his cheeks.
"As long as he makes her happy," he repeated to himself, the mantra he'd told himself many a time since his falling out with Daisy. "As long as he makes her happy…"
"Hey, Auggie," a taunting voice said from behind him, and Augustus whirled around just in time to see a black cat with a bandana over his face whip a Molotov Cocktail at him. The black and white cat dived out of the way, and the bottle barely missed the top of the fence, soaring over it.
"No!" roared Augustus, his voice a mixture of disbelief and fear. The Molotov landed at the foot of the swing, and exploded on Daisy, engulfing her in flame. Abbey jumped up, and threw Daisy in to his sister's sandbox to try and put out the flames.
"No, no, no!" he cried, tears rolling down his face as he threw sand on the flaming cat. His voice started to become hoarse as he repeated the same mantra. Daisy was screaming, some other voice was screaming, and he was just repeating, "No, no, no!"
Someone – his sister maybe – must have called 911, because he could hear sirens in the distance. Sirens… how hilarious. As if sound could help her now. His tears falling on the writhing body were doing no good. A police officer pushed him aside, and a paramedic advanced on Daisy, quickly quenching the fire. He sat there, sobbing, not caring who saw. The sirens faded in to the distance.
At exactly 17:23, Daisy died.
The funeral was a small affair. Abbey was in too much grief to pay much attention. He blamed himself, regardless of the facts. He thought there was no one on earth could possibly understand his pain.
Augustus watched the wedding from afar, his pain a thousand times worse than the young man down below him's. He had gone after the scum who did it – he'd been aiming for Augustus, not the occupants of the house. He'd been some member of a local gang who had Alejandro's gang members on their hit list.
His head was probably somewhere downstream by now. Augustus had buried the body in a garbage dump.
He stared one more time at his fallen beloved, and then turned away. Alejandro found him dead the next morning. He'd died the same way as Kurt Cobain.
Several hours after the funeral, Abbey still stared forlornly at the gravestone, sitting on a small stone bench. His suit felt tight, his tie felt like it was choking him. He was just about to break down and he was home, when he felt someone sit down next to him. With a supreme effort, he dragged his eyes away from the fresh grave, and turned to see who it was.
"Hello Tessa," he said weakly, staring ahead once again. Tess put her arm around Abbey's shoulder, and said softly, "You'll be alright, Abbey…"
"Damn it, Tess, how can you say that!" Abbey cried, the tears breaking their dams and flooding down his face. He choked on his words, and whispered, "She's gone… she's gone…"
"I know, hun, but you've gotta stay strong," Tess murmured consolingly, and Abbey turned to her, the tears flowing freely now. He was surprised to see the tears rolling down her face as well, but fought to suppress the urge to start full-out bawling.
"How the hell am I supposed to do that? What is there left to be strong for, Tess? What, damn it!"
"I don't know," the older girl said softly, squeezing him in a side hug. "But you have to remain strong – if you can't, how the hell are we supposed to?"
Abbey didn't respond immediately. Then he looked up at Tess, and whispered, "I can't."
Tess sighed, and then gently kissed his forehead – not so much in the way of a lover, but of an older sister. Abbey stared up at her in disbelief, as though he couldn't quite believe she'd done that. Then she said, "Yes you can, Abbey. You must."
Abbey couldn't contain it any more – he started bawling. He pulled Tess in to a full on embrace, and cried, "Damn it, Tess, why did this have to happen? Why her? Why not me!"
She said nothing, but patted his back in an attempt at consolation, as he wept on her shoulder. Through the indistinguishable babble, one word constantly leaped out, as though once again a repeating mantra.
"Why not me? Why not me? Damn it, why couldn't it have been me?"