Now this piece, is close to my heart. The death of a loved one hurts the living worse than anything. I was in a very deep hole when this poured out of my head. Again, I intend to continue this piece. The characters still whisper to me, especially Joseph. Sort of at a stand still at this point.
Happiness is not something that can be bought or earned. Happiness is something that is granted. I was once foolish enough to think that I could be happy if I worked hard enough, if I wanted it hard enough. I was happy once. I had a happy life. It wasn’t perfect, but I was happy. I had my own place, my own freedom. I had a career that motivated me to be the best I could be. I had those that loved me and that I loved. But most importantly, I had real love. True love. I had a man in my life that truly cared for me. Words can’t describe what we had. But those that watch over the lump sum of us worthless souls caught on quickly. My short lived paradise was over due to burn to ashes. And burn it would.
You see, there are those who rule with a firm, but caring resolve. They keep the population in line, but also tend to their needs. They listen to the people, make promises to their followers, and do their best to follow through. There are those that rule obsessively, jumping in head first to control everything and make certain that everything is in perfect working order. Then there are those who don’t rule at all. They dominate, and care only for their own entertainment at anyone’s expense.
Unfortunately, the days of peace and justice are long past.
There have been many disappearances in the city. Good people, gone, never to be heard from again. Are they exiled? Have they run away? Did they die? No one really knows for certain. These disappearances happen spontaneously, to anyone. A person can go for a little stroll around the neighborhood and never come back. Go on a short errand, and never return. Not a trace left behind. There is no evidence pointing to a death. No paper trail leading to a different city. Nothing. It is something that has just been accepted as normal in the city. The people do fear that they or someone they love will disappear, but it’s not a worry when it happens. It is inevitable.
Myself. I know what happens. I didn’t at first. But when it happened to me, when someone I loved disappeared, I didn’t stand by and accept it. I was going to find out.
And I did. I should have left it alone. I was better off not knowing. But now that I do, I have a taste for blood, and I won’t stop until I am satisfied.
Joseph was the best person I ever knew. He had a slightly off sense of humor, but was able to make anyone laugh. He had a smile that would warm the bitterest person’s heart. He always had good intentions, and sometimes had to be an asshole to get his point across. He reveled in the fact that he was an asshole. I never knew what he meant because I never thought he was one. He loved with his whole heart and put everything he had into everything he did. He was a good person. But sometimes, bad things happen to good people. I’ve heard that from a movie once. And it’s terrible that it is true.
We were together for a short amount of time, but it seemed like an eternity. I’ve heard from many people that when we looked at each other, our eyes shown with a spark that was seldom seen in these times. We spent every waking moment together, talked about anything and everything. Hours on end were spent discussing the world, the weather, and our love for one another. It wasn’t long before we happily announced our engagement to the world. That was where we went wrong.
It was two days before our wedding day that he went missing. I will never forget that day. The house was eerily silent. The house, usually buzzing with racket. None of the children so much as giggled, and no one dare turn on the television or radio. I had come downstairs to find my mother staring at her coffee cup. It was full, but looked as if it was ice cold. She looked at me with solemn eyes. I knew something was wrong. Never once did I consider what she would tell me. I don’t remember if I screamed, or if I cried. I don’t remember if there was pain, or if I went numb. But I remember black, and I remember a void. I remember a gaping hole opening up and feeling as if I would remain empty for the rest of my life.
The following months, I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t leave my room. I didn’t eat. And I barely slept. I didn’t paint, and I didn’t read. I sat. And I looked out the window. Wondering where he was. Wondering if he left. If he was alive. If he was safe. The rain fell heavily and I felt the sky was crying with me. I had a sudden resolve to find him.
I left under the shade of shadow and night. I brought nothing with me, but a switchblade knife, some cash, and a flashlight. I didn’t leave a note, and I didn’t say goodbye except for a small kiss on each of the children’s forehead as they slept. Was I the next disappearance? At the time, I didn’t think I met the qualifications. Just to be certain that my loved ones knew I was not one of the Silent, as we called them, I left my mark, carved into the back of the door. My family didn’t know the meaning of it, and had asked me many times, but I never explained. It was a rune, for strength.
As I left, I could only think to start at his home. So I made my way, on foot, careful to avoid any light so as not to draw attention to myself. When I arrived, the house looked almost as it did when I left that fateful day. I remember I had begged him to come spend the night with me, but he stood his ground. The following day would be the day before the wedding. He was always a stickler for tradition. There was no police tape. Law enforcement left the homes of the Silent alone. They did this out of respect. I swallow emotions that well up and make my way to the door.
I found his door unlocked. This was very strange. Joseph was a very methodic person. I would often watch him circle the small little house and check the doors twice, when we came in, and when we went to bed. And if he left, he locked the door, and tried to turn the handle twice to be sure it was locked.
I pushed the door open, continuing to hide in the shadow. It wasn’t too hard. There wasn’t a light on anywhere. I try the lights. Nothing. Looking back, I’m not sure why I tried. He’d been gone for months. I use the flashlight. Everything seems eerie in the light. I run a hand along the mantle and my fingers return covered in dust. I walk up to inspect the counter separating the kitchen from the living room. Nothing unusual here, besides the fact that his keys were still sitting in their usual spot. So if he left on his own, he went by foot. Or he didn’t leave by his own decision.
I check the fridge, everything is full. The milk’s expiration date was 2 months ago. There was rotting vegetables in the drawers. Mold crawled across containers of leftovers. On top of the fridge, the bread was almost black with mold. I try the faucet. Nothing came out. The water must be turned off too. On the counter next to the stove, he had his pills assorted for the week. Poor dear got sick almost on a schedule. I check the pill boxes. The dust was softly settling on it, but I was able to blow off a majority of it. Monday through Wednesday was empty, and Thursday through Sunday was full. Our wedding was on a Saturday. He normally took his medication before he went to bed. And he never would have left these behind. He had been feeling sick for a few days before, and would have needed them.
I make my way down the hallway towards the bedroom. His suit was hanging on the closet door, a sad reminder of what would have been. His bed was a mess. It was so like him. His entire home would be meticulous, but he always left his bed a wreck. His dresser was in flawless order. Nothing was left out of place. I looked again. No, there was something out of place. A frame was lying face down. The dust coated my fingers as I picked it up.
The picture was a meadow, spotted with wildflowers. There was a tree in the distance covered in green. A person’s head was peeking out of the grass and flowers. Her hair was long, thick with waves, and reflected like copper. Her eyes were closed with her large smile, but I knew her eyes were colored a vibrant green. I looked at them every day in the mirror. Joseph snuck this shot of me at the old field. Sadly, the field was paved over to make room for a parking lot, like so many others of my memories.
I think back on all of the memories I have of this place. I remember when I tried to surprise Joseph with dinner ready and on the table before he got home from work. He ended up surprising me in the kitchen right when I was trying to figure out why the oil wasn’t boiling. I felt like such a moron, but he held me close, telling me through fits of laughter that he loved me anyways. I remember lying in front of the fire on a snowy winter’s night. I fell asleep on his chest, and he didn’t mind a bit.