J.M. Blackman’s Picture Choice: Two
Title: 4ever/For Memory’s Sake
He didn’t believe her when she told him that she would rock out with him for all eternity. Come death, hell and firelakes for high waters: she’d carry on.
He happened to die.
It didn’t change a thing. She always meant what she said. But how could they be together, him being dead and all? She spent many long hours, cuddling his skull (which she had tenderly excavated), trying to answer this very question.
It wasn’t hard to cuddle, the skull. She’d soaked it in acid, bleached it several times and covered it with a resin to make it less abrasive against her cheek. She’d come to crave that bleach smell when she was away from it...him.
It took her many weeks, but she finally figured she’d just have to go into the afterlife for him. Not die, of course, because then, she’d be no better off than him and she couldn’t see just throwing her life away.
No, she’d find a portal.
It wasn’t easy to do, but she finally discovered one behind a McDonald’s dumpster. She wasn’t surprised to find it there. She had no coins for transport, and so had to trade for entry. Her ability to taste salt was worth it.
She kept his skull with her while she travelled. It seemed to act as a GPS for his soul, pulling her through the twists and turns of the underworld: where walls groped at her arms and legs, wet tongues sliding across her skin sloppily; where the floor gurgled and burped acid; where the ceiling jabbed down toward travellers, attempting to impale them.
But she found him at last and he was surprised, but happy to see her. He didn’t see how she could possibly take him with her, if she ever got to leave herself.
She figured she’d have to make a deal with the devil. Hell, tons of people had done that throughout history. What made this case different?
And she was right. The devil was more than happy to cut a deal. She, the devil, paced before the young woman and her dead boyfriend, slippers of intestines squishing with each step. She clapped when she finally decided: her boyfriend could go free and so could she, if she’d work for the devil for...say, a millenium.
The young woman took the deal, shaking hands with the terrifying woman figure. She and her boyfriend were returned to earth almost instantly. But she had a parting gift: a pair of fluttering, ebony wings.
But it was just too much for her boyfriend. He left her. But she kept his first skull, the one that had led her to him. And she still cuddled with it now and then when her job got a little too hard, for memory’s sake.
J.M. Blackman is a Language Arts teacher, author rep'd by Gina Panettieri and a feminist. She endeavors to review nearly everything she reads and is a happy wife. She's a SFF enthusiast, loves dark humor, and has an unhealthy need to protect the image of Batman.