Content Warning: Self-harm
Another distant boom echoed from above as she swept up her benefactor’s remains and transferred them, with as much reverence as time permitted, to a nearby shelf, laying them next to those of an even more remote ancestor. Returning to the now-empty repository, she looked back toward the opening of the crypt. Yes, their eyes would fall first upon her here as they entered. Picking up the knife she had laid on the narrow stone ledge, she drew a deep breath, gritted her teeth, and sliced open her left wrist.
Blood began to ebb forth at once, and, before it could make her grip too slick and tenuous, she took the knife in her left hand and opened the right wrist as well. Shaking a little as the adrenaline began to flood her system, she wiped the blade as well as she could on her own sleeve, then returned the knife to its place at her hip. Then she laid herself down on the cold stone and tried to quiet her mind, willing her pulse to slow as her blood drained away. There in the heavy silence of the tomb, punctuated now and again by the echoes of her chamber door’s last resistance, the image of her lover’s face rose up once more before her eyes, still and pale and peaceful in death, but not less beautiful or heartbreaking. Growing oblivious even to the crash of the door overhead as it fell inward, and to the thunder of footsteps running down the stairs to her grim deathbed, she cast her thoughts back to the day they had laid her lover’s body in the ground.
She had watched the miserable affair from far away, high up on the cliffs that stretched their fingers out into the sea. Despite the wind that gusted up into her face, stinging her eyes with the tears she had thus far resisted, she could see the tiny forms of the four pallbearers bearing the casket toward the narrow opening of the family crypt that yawned like a chasm in her mind. A few other mourners stood about, disordered scratches of black amid the perverse vibrance of the green turf. A storm of mingled hate and anguish gathered in her throat as she longed to stand among them, permitted for once to love, to do the things a lover might do, even in the face of death. But she knew that none of those in attendance would have tolerated her presence, even now that her lover had passed beyond her reach. Her very tears would grate upon their souls, her sorrow making a mockery of their own, and they would have marred with strife the peace of her lover’s last moments in the land of the living. No, at least here, waiting at a distance with only the crashing of the waves to join in her mourning, she could grieve in peace, unchallenged and undisturbed.