Chapter Six: Infection


Striking one most as they entered the parting in the trees was the absence of any sound. No birds, no animals, not even insects. The ground was pale, packed dirt, pushed down not my footfalls but the rain and wind.

It was death.

Grey tombstones pushed their way up from the untouched earth like pale specters wishing for redemption, their grey, granite bodies streaked and worn by constant rain and neglect. Even on cloudless days, the clearing was barren, cold, and sunless. All around was death and decay, anything happy or living long since ripped from the once-vibrant arms of the small glade.

But not of ending. There was something unfinished; deep anger, possessiveness, pain and fear pulsing deep below the surface. Birds would not fly over it. Animals would not run across it. Insects wold not live within it. Formerly beautiful gardens carefully placed about beautiful temples were dead and brown, their once lovely confines mottled by thirty years of hatred and neglect.

In the center of the graveyard were two statues, untouched by the outside forces of the weather. Perfectly sculpted, it was the larger casting of the dancers in Zelgadis' house. A young man twirled about a lovely girl in silent motion, spinning and twisting while standing still.

At least, that's what it should have been. It was a perfect copy, made by a casting for the lover's tomb. But it was still, silent, uncaring, unliving. The young man's eyes were full of pain, anger, and pure sadness, wrenching at the heartstrings of anyone who had cared to look upon him. But the girl, the girl...

Formerly uncaring, cheerful eyes were tightened slightly. Cheerful, loving lips were twisted just barely. Her dancing, happy form was turned, just slightly. You could blame it on the light, you could blame it on erosion. But the area, while having no sunlight, was well lit, and the sculpture was untouched.

The deathly silence was destroyed like a glass shattering on the floor as a green haired youth fell to the ground from the tangling underbrush, cursing like a sailor. Val had walked a bit too fast and had made a wrong turn. Unable to admit he had messed up, Val had continued to trek through the ever-deteriorating path until he was completely lost. He had been wandering in a circle all day. The sun was just beginning to touch the tip of the horizon, casting it's dusky red glow over every available surface. The winds picked up, and the muted reds seeped over the statues, miming the lifesblood that had never been.

Val noticed none of this; for the infuriated youth, there was only the embarrassment and anger at the loss of the battle he was sure to win, loss of the girl he was sure to have, and loss of the path he was sure to follow. Bitter fury ripped through him, dissolving any state of sanity he claimed to have for the moment, clouding his perceptions and tearing through his control.

"DAMN that little bitch!" Val spun on a heel and kicked a weathered grey tombstone, cursing even louder when his foot came away injured. He ignored the rising wind, the darkening sky, and the rasping trees in favor of venting his rage on the helpless marble stone before him. "Make a fool out of me, will she? Damn her! Damn her and that stupid, stupid, fucking stupid ghost of hers, too!" He ripped his shoes through the dingy soil, angrily running his hand through the blue-green mane of silk atop his head. "What the hell is her problem?"

Dead leaves scattered as the wind raised itself to a near tempest, the stiff breeze becoming a heavy force ripping through the dead plant life surrounding Val.


Val felt the anger building up inside of him, completely unaware that the mounting fury was not his own. He continued his ranting, running down a trail of insults involving the ancestry and various methods of procreating of the ghost's parentage. Sometimes, when you let a feeling out into the open with words and shrieks, it will relieve you -- the poison kept inside is bled out into your surroundings, letting it disperse harmlessly into the environment. Val, however, only felt his temper rising, his anger growing, his hatred multiplying. With every word of his description of his embarrassment, he slowly began to lose more and more control, his thoughts becoming wild and erratic, his emotions ripping through his body as though it was merely a garment they wore. His last confusing, coherent thought was one he did not even think was his own --

He's MINE, damnit!

The year is 1973. It is morning, but only technically -- this early it's easy to confuse it with the previous evening. A young girl is slumbering peacefully, bedclothes pulled up around her thin neck by grasping hands, body curled into a protective fetus position. Her brows are drawn together slightly, as if something was troubling her when she drifted into sleep. The room is one most likely seen on the television screen -- it is pink, and radiated sweetness. The shelves are covered with stuffed bears, the dressers with unicorns.

There is a painting in the corner, half covered in shadow. The once beautiful golden frame, hand carved from warm, honey-colored wood, is lying in splintered pieces among the remains of an exquisite painting. The painting lies in brightly colored scraps on the carpet. Something has leaked from it; perhaps the love bestowed upon it, the care taken in creating it, but it has been wrenched from it. The bits of paper are only color splashed on parchment, no longer a work of art had they never been ripped.

The love was gone.

Amelia turns at the loud ringing of the phone, pushing back her lace covered quilt as she laboriously drags herself from the bed's secure embrace. She pushes the unruly mop of shimmering black hair back from her face, ignoring it as the thick strands somehow make their way back across her eyes with the long practiced skill of all messy hair everywhere. She yawns sleepily, then mutters into the receiver.


"Miss Amelia?" A worried, near hysterical voice penetrates the darkness of the room, and Sylphiel's terrified soprano makes Amelia jerk away from the phone, her face contorting into the look of one who has been mortally hurt far too early in the morning.

"Yes?" Amelia says warily. It had better not be another of the "where's Gourrry" questions. I've had enough of those late at night to know that he's probably lost in the backyard. Amelia sighed, her bright blue eyes drooping a touch. "What is it?"

"Zelgadis is dead. He... He hit a tree on the way home tonight, and the police think it was suicide -- he's been drinking, and... Amelia? Amelia, are you there? Amelia!" The phone receiver hits the floor, its cheap plastic splintering as it meets polished wood. A confused "Hello? Hello!" can be vaguely heard over the speaker, but the shaking girl pays it no mind. Her hands are white as parchment, clasping and unclasping as her mouth opens and closes in a crude imitation of speech, her face pale as snow. Amelia falls to her bed, staring at her fingers as though they are covered in blood, lungs screaming for air the mouth had forgotten how to give.

"No, no he isn't..."

Amelia shakes her head -- Her mouth is tight now with denial, guilt, and horror -- and she frantically rubs her hands together in a jerky, unthinking gesture. "He can't be. He wouldn't. He..." She trails off, and suddenly leaps towards the fireplace, her hands pushing the messy ashes into the room without care for cleanliness. She snatches up a half-burned paper from the ashes, its sides scorched and blackened, the colors slightly faded from the flames.

A young man looks into the camera lens with soft eyes, smiling ever so slightly. He has lavender hair sweeps softly into an angular face, and his hand is half raised to push it back. Amelia collapses in the soot covering her floor, staring at the photograph, eyes welling up with tears.

No. No, it wasn't supposed to be like this... Her hands shake, the tears forcing her slight form to convulse with agonizing misery. She clutched the tiny picture to her chest, rocking herself back and forth in a slow, terrified rhythm. You were supposed to move on! You were supposed to be happy again. I didn't want to hurt you... I just changed. You changed. We changed. Amelia recited the entire speech over in her mind, trying to look at what she'd done. Trying to find an excuse. There is no excuse. She drops the photo on the floor as she slowly, stiffly, rises: an animated corpse of grief and guilt. I killed him. He loved me, and I killed him.

Her eyes fall on the scissors lying on the mahogany desk, next to the sliced pictures of the happy couple.

He's mine he's mine he'sminehe'sminehesminehesminehesminehesmine HE'S MINE! Anger slashed a jagged path through he clearing, its pure hatred and malice becoming a physical force, shoving everything out of its way. Leaves swirled upwards in a flurry of brown as dust pelted Val from all sides, Screaming mouths tore at his ears and scrabbling hands ripped at his clothing. The youth opened his mouth to scream and gagged as air was sucked from him, the vaccum wrenching at his ribs. How DARE she! He DIED for me! He's MINE!

Festering wounds eventually kill the entire body, the poison spreading slowly throughout the entire body to rip through the lifeforce. There is no hell, there is no heaven -- there is you, when you die. Just because you die doesn't mean you rest -- if you make yourself a hell, you will have one.

Amelia had been living in hell for thirty years. Every moment seems like an eternity, and every day is forever. Amelia had changed. And Amelia was jealous.

Blue eyes opened on a young man's face, and a callused hand delicately pushed back green hair that had been whipped like a thousand snakes. The mouth curved up into a angry, snide half smile as Amelia walked awkwardly towards Zelgadis' home.

Chapter 7   |   Fanfiction