This piece was inspired by Hozier’s “Like Real People Do” and takes places in the early 19th century.
The clock sprang to life with the midnight calls of cuckoo. It was midnight exactly. Her room was lit with the Sun’s reflection on the moon. It was full, the moon, and she felt excited, anxious even. Tonight was the night, she thought, tonight she’d have him back.
Her bare feet hit the floor running. The smack of soles on wood then soon it was the squish of her feet into the wet soil. The forest welcomed her with every tree swaying just right to light her way. There was a path beaten into the Earth where she ran. It was used many times before by the entire family, including herself, but tonight it was hers. Just her small path lit but the shining of the moon to her beloved.
She was panting, breathing heavily with her mouth open from her smile of anticipation. She was going to have him again, to see him as he once saw her.
Finally, she was standing before the headstone. His name was carved into the stone carefully, the work of a man who had experience under his belt. Her hands reached out to touch over the engraved name then to the dirt right before it. Her fingers ran into the Earth, scooping chunks of the wet soil to toss it aside and go for more. She kept digging, scooping each mound over her shoulder. It took her only minutes to become.so messy. Sweat intermingled with the dirt as she dug and dug and dug and dug despite the bugs and crawling pest.
A worm wiggled through her fingers as a beetle lodged itself under her nail. She didn’t stop, she couldn’t. She was told tonight at midnight was the night. The woman promised her that her dreams would come true. Her wish, the only wish she’d ever made in her new life, would come true.
The nail broke away but she felt nothing. The skin around her hands scrapped on the root that stood in her way. She tugged at the obstruction with her full force. Her knees sunk into the ground, muddying her up even more. Suddenly there was a hand around her own, around the root. She jolted back onto her rear. Her feet hurried to scurry her away before she stopped almost.a foot away. The hand pulled at the root then, from beneath the Earth and pulled itself up. Slowly her hand came to reach from him, helping the man from his shallow grave to his new shallow life.
The smile across her face that was wide moments ago faded in an instant. It wasn’t him. It was but the light that once brought out the vibrant hues of his eyes was dull and rather vacant. “No,” she grunted as she pushed him back. Her mind told her that she would put him back into the hole that wasn’t his to begin with. She would return him back to his own world and not hers.
“You’re not-” her words broken by her poor speech as she continued to push the man who didn’t move an inch. He grabbed her arm, pulling her into him as she felt the urge to sob but couldn’t.
She made a deal for him to come back to her alive and well. In return, he was just simply alive in the same sick twisted sense she was. Her hands wrapped around the body she knew, the only one she had ever known. He was cold to the touch, but so was she. He looked down at her with wondering eyes.
“Okay,” she said between struggled breaths, “I’ll take care of you,” the same words he said to her the night she was dug up from the same plot of land. He nodded. She pulled herself away from him then, flattening out her nightgown and suddenly taking notice to the mess.
They walked to the house using the same beaten path they always had. Unlike when she had ran to get him, this time she was patient and slow. Her eyes looking up to his ever so often to.find them wandering around the forest. It was hard to be on this end of it all, but she knew that this was love.
The bathroom was their first stop. She didn’t speak much, running a bath for him and herself. Her eyes looked up to him again. This time was was staring at the moon. “Moon,” she said slowly to him. He looked back at her, slack jawed and a bit confused. “Mah. Oon.” His mouth followed hers but nothing came from within it. “That will heal,” she said as she softly touched his throat. His hand was over hers, the sorrowed look in his eyes that she didn’t know was in her own.
Once the tub was filled, she undressed them both. She went first. Standing in the water with her back to the open window letting the moonlight dance on the water that instantly grow cloudy, the woman reached a hand out for the man who stood just as bare as she did. It wasn’t just their bodies that were exposed, but the pieces of their soul that they held on to even in death. “Trust me,” she said slowly as she reached down for his hand to pull him inside. It took him all but a moment to decide to trust her. It took him even shorter of a time to take her hand and sit in the now dark water with her. Their hands were still slightly locked together, fingers clasping other fingers. “Do you feel afraid?” She asked.
The man looked at her then to the mah-oon. The reflection in his eyes made him smile of a sort. Surprisingly, he shook his head. He took his other hand to do with it what they did with their others. He smiled at her then and then to the moon. “Safe,” he said. She thought it to be a frog in his throat, but it was just him. “Safe,” he repeated as he leaned into her and placed his forehead on hers.
He couldn’t have known, maybe, that this is what they always used to do. Her shoulders fell and she finally felt the tight tension in her bones begin to rest. They were together again, they were real again. She closed her eyes and matched his smile. Her hand pulled away from his to run up the nape of his neck and into the stiff dirty hair that sat on his scalp. It didn’t matter how his hair felt. It didn’t matter than his eyes were glazed and milky and his touch was as cold as ice just as her own. Nothing mattered outside of this moment with him.
Their lips slowly began to touch. It was a natural feeling that neither of the two could deny. For the first time, in a long time, they were together again, kissing and smiling and kissing some more. For in this moment, and hopefully more to come, they were human again. They were real people.