Until death do us part

A short story that I've been working on for this competition. I really hope you like it! 'I have been on this earth for only a mere moment, but soon I shall be gone for an eternity. But, even when I am gone, I shall survive in the eternal crevices of your heart. We shall remain together, even when you can no longer feel my touch, or hear the faint sound of my laugh... Love lives on.'

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1. Until death do us part

Warily, I shuffled down the winding pathway, my weary eyes fixed on the lonesome house that stood tall and desolate before me, groaning under the torment of the midnight breeze. Casting my eyes to the heavens, the stars twinkling their support at me, I gazed at the vast sky, the gibbous moon drifting between wisp clouds. The air still thick from the afternoon heat, I moved a shaky hand to adjust my pink headscarf, the fabric irritating my bald scalp, my white sundress fluttering around my knees.

 

Coming to a halt in front of the abandoned country house, the night air caressing my pale skin, I cautiously examined it, taking in the creaking porch that wrapped around the whole house, the blue shutters that hung loosely from the windows. Surrounded by vast open fields, I could spot no other form of civilisation in sight. The whole place had an air of neglect, a house laid to waste, deteriorating as time slipped by. A flock of birds dived low in the sky, retreating back to the safe confines of their nest as I hurried up the porch steps towards the front door, the flame of a single candle flickering in the downstairs window.

Smiling, I stepped over the threshold of the house, pushing the wooden door gently shut behind me. I was greeted by the sweet scent of marmalade and toast, the smell beckoning me to follow. Unsuccessfully attempting to settle the butterflies that were doing callisthenics in my stomach, I followed the sweet aroma, the smell growing stronger as I approached an open door lined with melting white candles, wax creating small pools on the floor beneath me. Ivory paint peeled from the walls and I lifted my fingers to trace the intricate patterns that had been carved into the wall. Tilting my head forward and taking a shaky, asserting breath, my eyes fluttered closed forming a barrier of darkness between me and the outside world. In that tranquil moment, nothing but the scent of marmalade enclosing around me, I felt certain that I had been whisked away into the depths of a fairytale, never to resurface again. For the first time in months I felt free, no longer trapped by my disease. For the first time in months I felt normal.

“Eve.” his low, hypnotic voice struck me, causing my heart to flutter in anticipation. Slowly, I stepped through the candle lit doorway, smiling demurely at him. Seeing him standing there, his fingers looped through the belt loops of his faded jeans, my heart exploded, reduced to a molten mess inside my chest as James fixed his bottomless blue eyes on me, stealing away any lingering doubts that hovered within the scrambled mess of my mind. “You’re here.” At first glance, my eyes immediately uncovered the mountain of nerves buried beneath his crooked smile, already knowing that his heart beat at the same rapid pace as mine.

“What, did you think I wouldn’t show?” I laughed, carefree as my anxiety faded away. Shaking my head, I itched to close the distance between us and fall into his awaiting arms, to have his taut body pressing against mine. His muscles rippled beneath the fine cotton of his shirt, tempting me closer but I held my ground, waiting for his next words. Worry swimming in his eyes, I took a small step into the room, my eyes roaming over the millions of candles dotted around the bare room, nothing but a blanket and picnic basket furnishing the old forgotten room.

“No no, it’s just…” He trailed off, averting his gaze from mine. “I didn’t think they would let you out.” James whispered, his brow creasing with untold emotion. Shuffling closer to him, my fingers picking at the delicate fabric of my dress, I nudged him playfully, weaving my fingers through his.

“What they don’t know won’t hurt them.” I retorted, grinning mischievously at him. “Besides,” I added, “it’s my life and I’m allowed to do what I wan’t with it; I’m sixteen, I’m not a child anymore.” Sighing, James pulled me closer, enfolding me in his arms, his chin resting on the crown of my head. I breathed him in, recognising the familiar scent of his musky cologne. Cancer had stolen everything from me; it had stolen my life. But one thing cancer could never steal from me was the love that I had shared with James for the past two years. He had remained by my side throughout it all, helping me battle my demons. Our love shined like a beacon of light, guiding me home whenever I felt myself slipping.

“Eve,” James pushed away from me, holding me at arms length as his blue eyes roamed over my body. Embarrassed, I felt my cheeks flush red, and I tried to pull away, knowing that I didn’t look my best with my sunken green eyes and my white sundress that hung loosely on my frail body. Suddenly self conscious, I retreated a few steps away from him, instinctively tugging my pale pink headscarf further over my head, desperate to cover the vulnerable skin of my bald scalp. James mimicked my movements, closing the distance between us. “Don’t.” He commanded, running a hand through his shaggy mop of blonde hair.

Placing his hands on my hips, his touch so gentle I barely felt it, he pulled me firmly against him, holding me there. “You’re beautiful.” He whispered, his warm breath mixing with mine. Our faces remained only inches apart as I rested my forehead against his, biting back the tears that threatened to spill. How could he say such a thing? Linking my fingers together behind his neck, I allowed myself to be lulled into the welcomed sense of security that he offered.

“No James,” my voice wavered, thick with emotion. “How can you say that? Look at me, I’m nothing but skin and bones. I’m dying James. Cancer is not beautiful.” I replied, feeling his whole body stiffen. A sob clawed it’s way up my throat, rising like bile in my mouth. Unable to hold back any longer, I allowed fat tears to roll down my cheeks, staining my burning skin with their wet tracks. I know I shouldn’t be afraid, that I should have come to grips with my disease by now but I simply couldn’t help it. I was frightened. Death was looming over me like a storm cloud, one step away from letting loose it’s hounds of destruction. Already, I could feel my body giving up the war and there was nothing I could do to stop it. There’s nothing James could do to stop it, no matter how much he wished he could.

“Don’t you dare say that Eve, you’re beautiful, inside and out.” James lifted a hand and rubbed away my tears, an indescribable emotion shining through his eyes. Moonlight fell through the window, illuminating his face, causing shadows to dance across his even features. “Don’t be sad Evie,” Placing a single finger beneath my chin, he tilted my head up, forcing my eyes to connect with his. Immediately, I felt my will power crumble, loosing myself within the bottomless pools of his eyes. Drowning. Pulling him down towards me, I placed a single kiss on his full lips, my whole body trembling under his touch. It was moments like this that were pulling me through, that kept me going.

“I feel like I’ve been whisked away into the depths of a fairytale.” I whispered, kissing him again, my frail body moulding against his. A breathtaking smile sweeping across his face, James winked at me, lifting me up and swinging me around as if I weighed no more than a mere feather.

“No one is too old for fairytales Eve.” In that magical moment, his eyes boring down into mine, his strong arms wrapped around me, I allowed myself to believe him.

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