Moonlight Serenade

Moonlight Serenade

A Story by TheTragicOffense
"

A tale of loss. A tale of brokenness. A tale of the end.

"

Moonlight Serenade (A Tale of Loss)

 

Cold. Black. Dark. Void.

There's nothing like it, nothing like the end. The end is something that cannot be touched by human description, not even by the most skilled of bards with the most powerful of the muses as his guide. The raw power of the stopping, the emotional turmoil of ceasing, it is something to be awed.

The feelings though were deadly, the feelings he had as he watched the end unfold before him. The feelings were infinite, unreal, crushing. He stood atop Brazer's Point, high on the hill looking out over what had previously been the city of Griggs, looking down into the fire. So bright.

His face was covered in blood from a wound in his head; his side burned from some kind of puncture wound, his exposed skin had been burned in many places, the rest had been slammed by the force of the explosion, and the heat was stifling, but he did not feel anything.

The explosion had taken his home, and thrown it miles into the air, had burned, and pummeled, and raped, everything he had held dear.

His house was gone. Where it had been only minutes ago was now a huge crater, four miles from where he now stood.

His faithful dog, Clept, was dead. He had received her as a birthday gift seven years ago, and she had become as important a part of his life as breathing.

Everything he owned had been evaporated, turned into ash that was now slowly falling like snow all around him. Like beautiful, pure, snow.

But, none of this mattered. None of this registered. None of this was relevant.

He had only one, one, singular thing of importance. One thing he could not lose, lest he fall headlong into the abyss, and she was gone. She… Gone.

No.

At some point his knees had come into contact with the wet soil, because he was kneeling now. At some point afterwards his head had bent over and his forehead touched the cold ground, and at some point he had begun to cry.

Not like a man who has lost hope, or a man who has lost a loved one, or a man who must keep his composure. No, not like a man at all.

He wailed. Wailed like an animal, a wounded, broken, tortured thing, a thing who’s just had his hope ripped from inside his soul, who's loved one had been ripped away so suddenly, so ferociously that his heart had gone with her, exiting his chest, leaving a gaping, jagged hole. His tears fell hard to the ground, mingling with the ashes. His chest heaved as he inhaled the smoke and dust. He threw up, tasting bile.

He was no longer a whole.

After a time, he stood once again, wiping his mouth on his sleeve. His black pullover sweater warmed his ice cold body, his hood kept the wind from blowing the dirt that was now in the air into his eyes.

The sky had been dark, preparing to gift the earth with life sustaining rain. Now it was black as night, the plume of smoke had turned the entire sky into a dark, dark grey. But the fires below in the city lit the clouds, lit the smoke, lit the sky like some new sun that sat in the center of the earth, but had now found a place to peek through. The colors, the lights, they were haunting, terrifying, disgusting. Beautiful.

The tears did not stop, he had run out of liquid in his body to make them, so instead his eyes took blood from his heart and used that instead. The scarlet beads ran down his cheeks, dropping softly to the ground far below.

His wailing had stopped. He had cried out when he was wounded, but now he was dead. The dead do not feel pain, or loss.

The embers fell thick from the sky, as if a snow storm had moved in. No longer appearing as the innocent snowfall that delights children across the earth, but now, small pieces of trash, or wood, or flesh, falling slowly, still aflame, settling all around him.

How many of these pieces of flesh had, only just before, been human beings with names that he knew? With faces that brought him comfort? With smiles that warmed him? Hearts that held his name? Who had loves? Dreams? How many?

Blood tears fell.

The heart that no longer resided in his chest heaved, and uttered a great sigh.

He stood still, arms crossed, as the city burned beneath his gaze.

He could smell horrible things, awful scents that would turn the noses and stomachs of even the most resilient of men, burning rubber, plastic, woods of all sorts, metal, furniture. Every inhalation burned his lungs with smoke that bore wicked and venomous gases, rendered worse by the sheer temperature of the air itself.

Worst, and most distinctly though, he smelled burning flesh. He had never smelled burning human flesh, but he recognized it immediately. It was pungent, and it was terrifying, a monster all its own.

They say smell is the most powerful memory trigger of the five senses, that, more than seeing, or feeling, or tasting, or hearing, smelling will bring back memories more quickly, and more vividly. That smell could even revive the dead.

His eyes were shut because they were on fire and swollen, his ears were destroyed, bleeding from the drums, the blast had killed them quickly. His mouth tasted like vomit, and dirt. His skin was on fire, the skin on his face and exposed hands blackened from the heat blast, the rest burning from wounds and the intense heat emanating from the hole in the ground four miles away.

His nose remained intact though, he could still smell, and that told him everything he needed to know, it told him that his home burned, that all was lost.

But then, suddenly. She.

Amy?

Amy had always worn a certain perfume, Moonlight Serenade. It was his favorite smell in the entire world. As soon as he registered the smell, he remembered, he remembered everything. The first night they met, the first kiss they shared, their wedding vows, their wedding night, the smell of her skin. He remembered the year and a half of love, and hope, and trust, and smiles they had shared. He remember all of their life. Suddenly, he remembered how her skin felt, how her voice sounded, how she tasted, how she looked.

He had not been alive until she looked into his eyes, and his heart had not stopped beating to the rhythm of hers since the first time he’d felt her heart against his.

For years, he had held her close, protecting her from the terrors that lay outside, the monsters that lay in wait in the dark as they slept. He had fought for her, he had wept for her, had held her hand to guide her, had cared for her when she was sick. Her name was his life, and she was his everything. There was nothing else for him, but her.

The moment the smell was transmitted from nose to brain, his hand lashed out and delicately caught a small piece of falling ash. His burning eyes opened to examine the small piece of gray snow in his hand through the gyrating waves of heat in the air between him and his outstretched palm.

He raised the small piece of ash to his nose, and smelled, softly, so that he did not suck it up.

It was her. It was his wife. It was his hope, his reason for living.

His hand began to tremble.

He flipped the backpack off his back with one hand, unzipping it and grabbing a water bottle from inside. He poured the contents onto the ground beside himself, whipping the bottle to ensure that it was completely devoid of liquid.

Then, gently, he dropped the piece of ash inside. He sealed the bottle, and then, raised his face to the burning heavens. He had to find her.

He walked in small, slow circles, sniffing the air as if he were some bloodhound on the trail of wild game.

Minutes later, Moonlight Serenade. His hand reached out and grasped the new piece in his hand, he sniffed to make sure it was her. It was.  

He carefully reopened the bottle and then placed the ash inside, sealing it again.

He repeated this process, he had to find more of her, he needed her. He could not go on without her.

He raised his face again, sniffing. For several minutes all he could smell was some acrid metal or glass or something that burned his lungs, causing him to go into a coughing fit which doubled him over and made him spit up blood onto the ground.

He stood again and continued the search, finding more and more of her. Three, four, five pieces of ash, placed ever so softly into the bottle, which he kept pressed to his chest, as if the beating of his own heart could tell her, ‘I love you still,’ because if he could not say that, somehow, at least one more time, then there was no point in being, he would simply shatter, like glass falls to pieces in intense heat.

He had to keep her safe, he had to tell her he loved her, he had to make her smile.

More pieces, two, then three.

Another piece fell before him, he reached out to grab it, and missed. He swung desperately with his free hand, panicking. ‘No! No! No!’ he tried to scream, he could not hear his own voice, but it felt like it came out hoarsely if at all.

The piece of ash floated down and landed among the million other pieces that had piled on the ground around him. ‘Amy!’

He fell to his knees, he had seen where it landed. He picked up the piece and raised it to his nose. No, that was not her.

Casting the piece aside, he reached down and tried again. Again, not her. He tried again, and again, and again. Where was she? Where had she gone? Had she been stolen again? This time by the wind? Had she fallen deeper into the snow? His breath came in short gasps, making it hard to smell the pieces he found. He coughed blood again.

Tears began spilling from his eyes again. They fell into the ashes at his knees, staining them red.

‘Baby,’ he whispered, as he rocked gently back and forth. ‘Baby. Please, don’t go. Don’t leave me alone.’

His heart, once again in his chest, ached. How could he carry on? Why should he carry on? When she was gone, there was no reason. He was empty. He was pointless.

‘I’m so sorry,’ he wailed, now rocking back and forth harder, his eyes closed, tears and blood mingling and flowing down his burned face.

He held the bottle to his chest. Inside, it smelled like smoke, and Moonlight Serenade.

© 2011 TheTragicOffense


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Added on March 23, 2011
Last Updated on March 23, 2011

Author

TheTragicOffense
TheTragicOffense

Jacksonville, AR



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