She Lives Again - Part 5

“I wish we could stay this way forever.”

“Now who’s being sad?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be sad. See, I’m happy again!”

“You’ll frighten me to death with such a smile. I know you’re not happy.”

“I’m happy with you.”

“But you’re thinking that—”

“No, I’m not! Really, I wasn’t. I only think about that when we’re apart. When I’m with you, I… no, no, why are you crying?”

“You’re so terribly brave. And I’m so afraid—so afraid.”

“It can’t last much longer, Darling. And then—”

“And then what? You know better than anyone—”

“That was before—long ago.”

“I wish I knew… what happens.”

“You’ll be at peace, and happy. It’s I who will be alone—alone and miserable, without you.”

“Morning is coming. You should go.”

“I don’t fear them. Let them find me here.”

“But I fear them. I fear—I couldn’t bear to hear the hateful things they say to you.”

“I wish I could have taken you away from them—away from here. If you only….”

“You promised—you promised you wouldn’t say such things! You mustn’t cry when I can’t comfort you.”

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry. I told you I wasn’t brave.”

“They were never going to let us be together. They weren’t. There’s nowhere we could have gone. At least this way, they don’t have time to tear us apart.”

“No, something much worse will do that. At least people I can fight. But how can I live when death takes you from me?”

“You’ll make yourself another life, just as you always have. You’ll mourn for me, and wherever I am… I’m sure I’ll mourn for you, if I can. But then you’ll find another life—another life without me. Now go… they’ll come to look in on me soon.”

She looked long into her lover’s deep blue eyes, lustrous and blazing with color amid the pallor of her face, and she suddenly knew she would never see her in life again. Her bravado melted away before the rising sun; she burst into tears and buried her face in her lover’s breast, and her lover reached up to caress her hair as she sobbed out her desperation and misery. Then, recovering herself, she sat up and smiled down through her tears.

“I wish you had the strength for me to make love to you once more… just once more. You still look so bewitching, I can feel my blood heating up.” She paused, biting her lip, and her lover grinned up at her. Then she sighed. “But just a kiss, then, before I go.”

Her lover nodded, then shook with another cough that heaved up from deep within her chest. A few drops of blood trickled out onto her lips, and her breath came short as the coughing died away.

Reaching for a handkerchief to wipe away the blood, she leaned in toward her lover’s face, but then the echo of footsteps in the passage outside reverberated into the room. Panic widened her lover’s eyes, and she reached up to pull her in close. With her lips pressed against her lover’s own blood-spattered mouth, she closed her eyes for the briefest of seconds, memorizing the sensation. Then her lover thrust her away with all her meager strength, mouthing, Go.