Bella Morte

"I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more." —Franz Kafka

(http://www.mibba.com/Stories/Read/446872/Bella-Morte/)

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1. lit de mort

Mortimer. Morty. Morti. Mer. Mortimer.

I was sixteen when I met him—though I didn’t know how old he was or even is now. I’m not sure if meeting him was unforgettable because of how he looked or because for the first time in seventeen years, it snowed. The season of death was among us, coating our homes and cars in slush. The first steps I took in the two feet deep snow made the crunching under my shoes sounded like loud thunder because I had never heard it before. The snow, however, never went away—winter never left, summer never came again. My seventeenth birthday was in July and it was still snowing as if it were the middle of winter. The gray clouds always remained, going and going and…going.

I always thought it was Mortimer’s doing because before he came, winter hardly existed where we lived. A lot of what started to happen around my town seemingly was his fault. I remember wanting to know who he was.

To be honest, I don’t know how I knew his name one morning when I woke up because when I introduced myself (“Hi, I’m Kerra. What’s your name?”) he never told me what his name was. The next morning, when I woke, I knew his name suddenly, as if he had whispered it while I was asleep, leaving it to stay with me—Mortimer.

Mortimer was as icy and pale as the snow that graced the ground, honestly. He was as silent as the flakes that drifted downwards. For two years, I never heard his voice. Not even a noise in the back of his throat. He was mute.

He wore black leather gloves, but when the rare occasion came that he took them off—stretching his fingers and wriggling them in the air when he did—it felt like everything withered around me. He was the grim reaper; death in the flesh. I remember the day he stood in my backyard, studying my winter flowers with curiosity before leaning down to catch a petal between his bare fingertips. I watched as the flower shriveled up and the color left the once vibrant blossom. He rubbed his fingers together, silver streaks against his sickeningly ghostly complexion.

I always thought his skin was too…gray. I always thought he looked a little too dead. I never found his pulse before he slipped out of my grasp and studied me as if I were the flower from before. His skin was ice cold, no matter how warmly he dressed. It felt as if he had stood outside all night. He was always wearing black jeans and a leather jacket. Every time I saw him, he wasn’t wearing anything new or anything lighter than the darkest shade of ebony. It was black, black, black. He was always black-clad, down to the beautiful ink hair that hung in his eyes. He reminded me of midnight, the stars hidden in the hollows of his eye sockets—behind the stormy gray orbs.

Mortimer was death. He was emotionless and haunting; he was the shadows you looked past and the phantom over your shoulder. He didn’t do much other than linger behind me when he appeared out of what seemed thin air. He disappeared in the middle of the night and came back without his gloves on, rubbing his fingers together in the same manner he did after killing my flower.

The thing I remember most about Mortimer is when he kissed me on my eighteenth birthday. His leather glove was cold against the back of my neck and his lips felt like I was kissing an ice sculpture, but I didn’t want to stop kissing him once he started—even his tongue was cold. He only kissed me the once, disappearing shortly after. I started coughing and wheezing when he was gone. It was the day following that my parents became concerned. It was when I coughed blood into my palm that they took me to the hospital.

Now I’m staring at my death bed, wondering where Mortimer is because he did this to me. I haven’t seen him in three months, since my birthday. I haven’t seen him since he kissed me and numbed my lips with his iciness.

And I wish he would have warned me so I could have been more prepared. I wish he would have, at least, stayed because I feel that he owed it to me after literally taking my life away from me with a simple kiss.

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