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Round Here
by Wanderer
Wanderer -- all rights reserved
 

/I walk in the air between the rain, through myself and back again./

The half-remembered poem ... or is it a song? ... slides through my memories, half-hidden by the ...

/PLZ I NO DIE ALON/

... the ... the moment that is now. I shake my head, trying to clear it. I just have to keep control a little longer, just until ...

/Grey fur, slick with the rain and blood and things I don't want to know about ... /

... until the end.

/Where?/, asks the poem, bobbing into view again, and answers, /I don't know./

I watch silently, solemnly, as the casket ...

/PLZ I NO DIE ALON/ ...

-ket is ... is lowered into the ground.

/Blood, blood, so much blood, I have to get help, have to get help, please let me get help .../

A potter's grave, of course. No stone. Only clay. Not even a ...

/PLZ I NO DIE ALON/

... a name to mark the place.

/The not-light around him shrinks, dims, vanishes. Where have I seen it before?/

The city-workers finally allow the box ... barely a casket ... to settle at the bottom, and the preacher comes to the podium to begin his short eulogy. Generic, of course, since he wasn't carrying a Bible, a mezuzah, or even a black velvet picture of Elvis when he ...

/My eyes begin to focus, slowly, and I know there's something there I don't want to see, don't want to exist, because this always happens when ... /

... when he ...

/Yellow eyes go flat as I watch, and the not-light vanishes where I can't see. Where have I seen it before?/

/PLZ I NO DIE ALON/

/The not-light dims and shears as he struggles to scratch the letters on the wall in his own blood, the eyes beginning to see something that isn't where they point ... /

... died. When he d- ... d- ... d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d- ...

/The gray tabby cat on the table sniffs weakly at the IV tube as the sickly pink fluid glides through it. He's still sniffing when the not- light goes from him, leaving him still, lifeless, d-d-d-d-d-d- ... /

My eyes are still dry, as yet, though they're beginning to burn. My throat burns, too, wanting to scream, to cry, to somehow do something that I don't know how to do.

/The elderly, red-haired woman in the hospital bed lies still, her not- light dimming and shearing like an oil lamp in a hurricane. My Nana ... /

I watch as the pastor throws in the symbolic handful of dirt, striking the cheap plywood box with a soft <thock>. As he heads for his car and the city workers get ready to finish the job he's legally begun, I walk slowly by the gravesite ...

/I walk slowly to the casket, and kiss the cold cheek of the body that lies there, not-light and person both gone. 'Ah, mein gran- mutter', I murmur from my too-limited store of German ... and break down in tears before I walk another step./

... and look down. My eyes are beginning to tear, but I bow my head and place my right paw over my heart.

/Goodbye/, I think to whatever, whoever, lived in that shattered house of a body. /I wish I could've known you. I wish ... /

/He stands in the doorway, partly silhouetted by the lamppost outside. His grey fur is sodden, dripping rainwater to the polished floor, his eyes ... his eyes burn with reflected light, and burn like those of a boy I knew many years ago. One of the Boys howls, completing the scene from an old 1930's horror movie, to the others' delight. But I can't look away from those eyes ... those hungry eyes ... /

I walk slowly from the scene, my footpaws barely beneath me now as a part of my mind longs madly to forget, forget, forget ...

/Blood, blood, so much blood, ripped through skin and meat, is that bone or ... /

I shamble to Brian's car, my cape whipping around my knees from the tailwind behind me, my tail curled between my legs. For a moment, I tug blindly at the latch of the car door. Then, as the locks click open, I slowly open the door and slide in, sweeping my cape up to close the door. For a long moment, I'm quiet ...

"You okay?"

I nod to Brian's question, noticing the worried look on a face now half-covered with brindled fur, the black-and-white mask markings beginning to show through. He's a doctor, if only an eye doctor. He'd understand. Bryan and Posti would understand even better. Understand how it feels ... to lose someone you want ... so much ... to save ...

But this ...

/Grey fur, slick with rain and blood and things I don't want to see. Yellow eyes burning in pain and hurt and wonder. Arched footpaws dangling from limp legs like some strange new boot./

"He ... ", I venture, and stop as my voice creaks like an old hinge. "He ... he looked so much like muh-m-me ... "

I throw back my head in a way I have done only once before, and keen, an odd, low sound that sends Brian's pointed ears swiveling, as though they don't believe that I'm making that long, eerie cry.

Then, finished, I slump, the keen trailing off into sobs that shake my deep chest and set my muzzle rattling. Brian takes me to his chest as I begin to shrink, my concentration slipping away like ...

/... him ... /

... water. I let it go, knowing I have no choice. Soon, Brian holds a sobbing, yelping, whining wolf, almost swaddled in oversized clothing. I don't care. I have to howl it, and whine it, and yelp it. I have to. It would come out eventually. And after all, I'll be fine. I'll ...

/Why?/

... be ...

/Why!?/

... just ...

/WHY?/

... fine ...

/WHY!?/

/PLZ I NO DIE ALON/

/Why ... ?/

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