It happened sooner than he thought it would. The day the boy stood on the veranda of the manner convincing himself that this was the right decision. When he thought of her dark round eyes and the way it felt when her dainty fingers grasped his hand the boy almost lost his resolve. It wasn’t really fair of him to come into her life all of a sudden and then to leave in much the same way.
It was even more maddeningly difficult when she stood there before him with a knowing expression on her face. Although it was a fine summer day she wore a long sleeved collared shirt underneath her burgundy jumper. It was a color so rich and dark that it nearly duplicated that of dried blood. Her hands balled up into tight little fists pushing against the skirt.
Beneath the shade of the veranda an imprecise ovular ring of light pulsed and glowed amidst her clavicle. It was barely visible and likely would have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for the fact that she had worn a light colored blouse in contrast with her jumper. A part of him had wanted to simply never return and spare them both the painful parting yet he felt it was the more respectable thing to do it this way.
“It’s alright.” She uttered in a clear concise monotone. Her unaffected mannerisms weren’t making the good bye any easier for the boy to accomplish. He knew that she would fall back into the abysmal loneliness that she described to him under the comfort of the night sky. The frightful existence she would nonchalantly mention between games of hide and go seek in the sun warmed dusty attic.
He didn’t want that existence for her but he wasn’t the one to save her from it. The weighty gloom pushed in all around him. He felt it tugging on the already fraying edges of his mind reminding him that he couldn’t stay here much longer.
He had thought he could stand out against it longer but it had proven too much for him. He wouldn’t be able to help the girl if the darkness destroyed him. And it was. Away from the manor he mended his mind and soul with silent tears. Wet drops for the girl trapped inside the dismal gates; splashes of sadness for his unraveling mind.
“I’m sorry” was all he managed at first. He felt the welling of tears at the corners of his eyes and at the back of his throat. The murky air extracted all moisture threatening to escape. He fell to his knees and looked down at her feet.
“I love you, I really do but I can’t stay here anymore.”
“I’ll help you any way that I can! I want to help you but I can’t. I can’t be in this place.”
Her sallow sleeve brushed against his down turned cheek as she reached for his hand encouraging him to his feet again. A small fluttering of relief was beginning to grow inside of him. The first bit of the difficult valediction had been executed. He wondered what her last words to him would be.
“Will you really help me if you can?”
“Of course! You are my dear friend if I can do anything for you I shall.”
With that she withdrew the pendant from beneath her blouse. The chain was not long but as she extracted the thing he felt it was coming from a place deep and far. The greenish flecks sparkled in a most uncomfortable manner. The boy’s lips parted somewhat in awe and slightly in question although a query never left his lips.
The gloom before heavy and stifling was now crushing and tangibly sticky. The boy gazed mesmerized by the sickly yellowish swirls. In an effort that betrayed her petite façade the girl thrust the broad of her palm against the gem. It shattered and a procured sliver of the grotesque stone was pinched between her thumb and forefinger.
There was no evidence of the damage so recently done. She slipped the pendant back into its hiding place and extended the fragment of the greater monstrosity to the boy, a parting gift. “Thank you” she enticed him to accept it.
“You must keep it with you. Just a small amount lighter will be a great help.” She turned to enter the manor and the boy looked toward the gate. Their farewell ended he walked out past the garden the sliver of dark jewel heavy in his pocket. He unlatched the tall sinister gate never to enter it again.