I walked for a mile or so in the autumn’s usual downpour. The rain’s contents seeping through my undeserving pores. I sighed out freezing mist and walked on growing steadily impatient. With every step, I forced a leaf to its soggy death. The houses which I passed stood side by side like soldiers on the front line ready to blow my heart into pieces. I wouldn’t complain if they did. It was strange to be back here in the country. I had forgotten how much it rained here. My trench coat swayed with the weight that had been added to it by the water and the inevitable wind. The sound of an ambulance echoed in my ear waking me from my thoughts of her. Quickly enough, I found my reverie slotting back in its usual position. I was searching for Sybil Linley of Magenta Road. Her picture in my wallet was faded by years of my caressing, smelling (for she had sprayed her perfume on it) and touching with my lips almost kissing it. It was the only thing that prevented me from stepping behind the iron bars of insanity.
I had met her at a bar in western California before I went away to war. She stepped in and all I saw was her in high focus whilst everybody was in a blur. Their senseless chatter and laughter faded through me. “Sybil Lance” she smiled sitting placing herself next to me. Her scarlet hair matched her lips. She wore a satin ribbon in her hair that night and in the picture as I later realised. In fact, it illuminated the whole composition. We laughed the whole night through cigarette smoke and a choir of oratories. “If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything.” She giggled, like Marilyn Monroe said not a long while ago. That’s what she was: a carbon copy of all the movies and TV shows she’d ever seen. A little while later, she tells me she’s married. But I was careless and I suppose I still am. She was unhappy of course; otherwise she would not have been there with me. I paid her the usual compliments in hope of receiving something much more valuable later on that night. But to my disappointment, no such thing did happen. Never did I really know what her pure intentions were. Her eyes were closed doors which I (and many other men I suppose) failed to access because of the away she was always so cautious. But I had apparently made a left a good impression on my part as she left me with her picture. That part always left me wondering if she had planned it all out. For how many women hand out their photographs to men they had met for only a few hours? Later on, when I left to go home I found the ribbon on the floor in the car park, drenched by the effects of rain. It lies now in my pocket soaked as ever.
So I walked on the road which the lamps made glitter. The rain calmed itself as I approached the cemetery. I trotted down the path and through the gate. There were many people here, six feet under. Some tombstones glowed in the moonlight; some were rather invisible in my eyes. In the corner, I catch the name engraved in stone ‘Sybil Linley’.
How could I have been such a fool? My veins strangled me and conflagrated on an autumn winter’s night. Hell had just begun...