Aria Lawson is Dead

My name is Aria Lawson. I am a survivor. I am alone. I do not need help, but send it anyway.

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1. I will tell you

 

                You are lying beneath me, you are so close to me but I am watching you fade away. I watch the sparkle fade from your eyes and the colour seep from your face, I am watching the life leave your body. I am watching you die.

                I press harder, still working those goddamn bandages round your wounds, watching them drown in the crimson, casting them to the side to start again. Again. Again. I will keep going, until you have gone white then blue, until my fingers fall off or until they find us. I will keep going, because I can still feel those jagged breaths along your ribs, watch your pulse along your neck, see your gaze match mine.

                Because no matter how hard I try, I remember that we are here because of you. Because you are not a coward, because you demanded that we fought no matter what. Because you could not just die like I wanted to, and I will not let you now.

                But it is not working, the bandages are too thin, there blood is too quick, the sky is too dark and I am too scared. I am trying, I am working harder than I ever knew I could, I am doused in the blood you so desperately need and you are still dying.

                So I fight harder, I work harder than I ever have in my life, until I’m so covered in your blood I can’t see my own skin, until I can pretend I am going with you, until I can pretend we can still protect each other. I fight harder because I cannot leave you here, even though I know they will be here soon and if I don’t do something quickly they will have us both.

                Even as your eyes meet mine, your hands still wrapped around my leg like ivy round a tree, I know you are fading. You are almost gone.

                “Don’t leave.” We know what that means, that you are so close to the end and you don’t want it alone. It means that when you do die, I have to take care of it, because they cannot have you, but you will not go early.  It’s selfish of you, to make me risk my goddamn life a hundred times over because you must resist and score this final point, but I am selfish too. Because I will let you bleed out, I will let you drain away into the dirt slowly before I take it into my own hands. Because we have been through too much for me to have you mad in your final moments, and I have to let you have this so you don’t hate me like I hate myself. “Tell me something.”

                How you can talk while the blood bubbles out of your mouth is beyond me, how you can ask for a story with a chunk of metal through your gut while you bleed out is ridiculous. How you can expect me to comfort you right now, when I watch my world trickle out beneath my hands when there’s nothing I can do, when I can hear the growling masses come to get us, when I can watch you slip away even when I close my eyes is cruel. But so am I and I will squeeze out every last moment with you I can.

                But the only thing I can think of is what brought us here, the fragments of a past lifetime that took us to this whirling insanity of the present. I cannot make up some little story to distract you while you die, because you are going to die and there’s nothing I can do. I could try to catch every raindrop but I cannot stop a flood. So here we are, perched on the daggers edge, me watching as it slices into you, stuck in a world where I can neither run away or jump off, perched on the edge and desperate for any sort of release, while you fight to be where I am and I fight for you.

                There is only one story I can tell you, one that I can pour every part of my heart and soul into, enough to stop you feeling the night falling down and smothering you, enough to stop the growing howling of the voices, enough to shield us from the rest of the world until it is done. I can cram the assumed infinity into these short moments, latch onto every second with you until it feels like a lifetime.

                So I will tell you the story, of this whole damn mess, of the day we first turned on the radio and thought we were in the middle of a prank, of the week where we thought we’d gone insane, of the month where we feared for our lives and the months we wanted to end them. Not us, them. I will tell you the story, of us against an army of monsters, of us against the world, the resistance against the inevitable. I will tell you, even though you know it too, but not as I do. I will tell you the only thing that rattles through my mind, the thing that lead to us and the world we share.

                I will tell you like you would tell a stranger on a train, from the beginning, although it will not be my end but yours. Even as you fade beneath me and I try to pour my life into you through this story we know so well it’s carved into our bones, I will tell you of the lives we’ve lead, the people we’ve become.

                I am telling you this story to distract you, because the bad things are so much better at that, and we are not the people we set out to be.

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