The Corpse Bride

A hopeless romantic falls for a girl far out of hid league... and six feet under.

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1. The Corpse Bride

It was half past three in the morning on a Sunday, and I was knee deep in a grave the day after Halloween. While you make think that this was the doing of an elaborate prank, I must insist you keep your assumptions to yourself, as this was the doing of an immense and insatiable love. Let me be the first to say I’m no romantic, so if you’re expecting a lovesick happy ending to this then stop reading now. I don’t hold hands, nor fall in love. Despite that, there I was, shovel in hand, covered in dirt, and all for a girl. A stupidly perfect girl that ruined everything. 

 

It was the week prior to Halloween when May Kirstion announced her annual Halloween bash. May was undoubtedly the hottest girl in school, the typical Latina body type with big eyes and a killer smile. Some boys claimed she had a beautiful personality, but they’re just as vain as the rest of us. Substance was for marriage, May was there for fun. Each year at May’s party the girls voted for the best male costume and vice versa. It goes without saying that May won best dressed female every year. The winning male however, was to stay the night with the winning girl in May’s bungalow. 

 

Ash, Keddy and I were walking home, discussing costumes, mostly May’s, to be entirely honest. She was a gymnast last year and ‘just as flexible’ according to Liam, last years winner. We cut through Azures, taking the same route as every day, deep in conversation about potential winning costumes. Keddy suggested a three person costume, and while we all laughed I internally shuddered at seeing either of them naked. I was desperately trying to erase the image from my mind when Ash detoured, claiming that he was ‘searching for inspiration from the world beyond our own’, ducking between graves and kicking at the overgrown ivy that plagued the graveyard. Azures was a joke of a memorial, unkept and old fashioned, no one had been buried there since 1831. The town petitioned to bulldoze it, but somehow it just never happened. Either way, it was a short cut home and that was all that mattered. 

 

Back in the summer of 2013, the three of us boys explored Azures as if it was our own secret playground. If our mothers knew we’d have been grounded for sure, but no one seemed to come anywhere near it. It was ours. We’d cleaned it up, cutting down the overgrown and building lives for the names carved into stone. We knew Azures from front to back by the start of winter, daring each other to walk through blindfolded, to which we all succeeded with ease. And then it lost its touch. The mystery was gone, and Azures was just another boring part of Direstown we knew like the back of our hand. However, on this particular day, as Ash blindly danced among the graves, a shrill shriek emitted from the boy as his memory seemed to fail him. He flipped backward over a headstone and almost out of sight, with his long legs hung over the small tombstone. As our laughter subsided and we heaved Asher up, brushing away what was left of the ivy. ‘Here lies Elizabeth Liaison, 1822-1839’. It was Keddy who spoke first. He was soft in his speech, which was much unlike him. We all agreed with what he had said. We’d never seen this stone before. 

 

Tuesday afternoon we three walked home again. Ash and Keddy seemed unfazed by the discovery, I however was unnerved. We knew every engraving in Azures by heart. I was sure of it, willing to bet my life on it. As we walked through the graveyard, I told the boys to go ahead, as I’d left my maths book in my locker and Mrs Harper was going to end me if I didn’t submit the homework. They waved goodbye and didn’t look back long enough to see I’d never left the graveyard. 

 

Elizabeth Liaison’s headstone seemed misplaced. It didn’t belong there, I could feel it in my bones. I sat in front of it, running a finger along each word delicately. As I traced over the final letter of her name, a creaking sound brought me to my feet, as the solid stone slowly shifted into itself, then down into the grass. Breathless, I fell to my knees, as if Elizabeth herself had summoned me. As the billow of dirt subsided, a book lay within the confines of the grave. I took it from it’s place, and with a look over both shoulders, began reading. 

 

‘My dearest Jonathan, how the days seem so long without you. Tedious is the life I am doomed to, one of deceit and entrapment. So dull without you, my morning light. Had my father given you the curtesy of company, he would soon see he had misjudged you. How I long to hear from you, spoken or written, I must know that you still grieve for me, as I do you. I am lost without your touch and dead inside without your love. We will survive this, and I promise that the Gods of this Earth have destined us to eternity.
Yours faithfully, Elizabeth.’ 

I felt intrusive. That however, did not stop me from resealing the grave and wandering home, the diary of a dead girl in hand. I’d found my inspiration.

 

Saturday night and May’s Halloween party was in full swing. Playboy bunnies, Tarzan’s and one knock off Elvis Presley circled the room, parading what they hoped would be the winning costume. It was all in vain, with May as a corpse bride was the centre of attention. As it happened, I too was a corpse, inspired by Miss Elizabeth Liaison. It may have been the tequila, or maybe just fate, but it was May and I that stood together that night as best dressed. Three am rolled in. May and I stumbled into her bungalow, my hands on her hips and my lips attached to her neck. She moaned loudly, her head thrown back and her eyes closed. Fumbling with the zipper of her gown, I pushed her against the wall as it ripped it at the seams. Seeming to excite her, we blindly made it to her bed as she climbed on top of me, expertly unclasping her bra and revealed her chest, a dull blue tinge that matched my own. Straddling me, almost naked, she asked me if ‘I was ready to see what she’d learned in the last year’. I nodded, as the burn in my throat from my last shot seeped into my chest. As May worked me out of my pants, I found myself shameless, unfazed by the gorgeous being on top of me. I barely noticed when she began to touch me, her warm hand welcomed by my body, yet not enough to satisfy my mind.

 

May was impatient, seemingly frustrated with my lack of attention on her. She released me, shuffling up from between my legs to straddle my torso again. If I recall correctly, she whispered “Welcome to heaven” as she sunk down on me, taking my virginity. She moaned and whimpered and spoke so vulgarly I dare repeat it. She was warm, and sexy, and all I’d imagined her to be, yet something wasn’t right. “Oh Joe” She moaned as I watched her, mouth agape and eager as anything to please. “Say my name” I whispered in return. This interaction seemed to please her, as she moaned ‘Joe’ in the midst of some dirty phrase. “No.” I grasped her hips tightly, her eyes opening wide as she hissed at the pain of my fingers digging into her. “My real name. Jonathan.” Grabbing my wrists and pinning them above my head, she leaned down, her lips brushed my ear as she seductively sighed “I’m yours Jonathan, don’t you want me?” 

 

So there I was, half past three in the morning, knee deep in the grave of the girl I loved all because I made May call me Jonathan. Shovel in hand, I worked through the light of morning as the mist settled over the graveyard. While typical for the time of year, it didn’t fail to send shivers down my spine. The diary was beside me, opened to Elizabeth’s final entry. 

‘My dearest Jonathan, I am to eternally suffer at the news of your death, one to which my father wrongly claims no hand in. You’ve taken to grave and my heart has been buried alongside you. I have nothing left in this world.

Soon to be yours eternally,

Elizabeth.’ 

Tears stung in my eyes as shovel hit casket. I crawled from the small space, heaving myself from the hole I’d dug myself into. With diary in hand, I reached into the grave, as fingers grasped for a latch. As I opened the casket, I dared to look at the woman who had taken my heart. Tender and frail, her bones rested delicately, peacefully. A wreath of flowers lay on her skull, shrivelled and dead, yet enticingly beautiful. I longed to touch her cheek. She was unattainable, a love scorned by time, condemned to be forever unrequited. As I unfolded her arms, and placed the diary upon her chest, I took one last look at my love, her everlasting elegance captured in the dawning of day. 

 

Each Halloween I dress as Jonathan, a lonely corpse groom searching endlessly in life for a love as pure as Elizabeth. A will to which I’m sure will only be met in the afterlife.

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