Letters from a Dead Man

"I’ve told you everything! Why don’t you tell me anything!"

I looked down, watching the grass fall to the side. It’s dark out, and cloudy, so the only lights are coming from streetlights 15 feet away, and lights from various houses that are still awake. Bonding over mindless television.

"I’m too self-conscious to." I muttered quietly, muffling even my quietest words by holding my face in my hands. "Afraid of what you’ll think of me; afraid of what I’ll think of myself."

She watched me carefully, before sinking down in front of me so that I was forced to look her in the eyes. They were wide, deep, and full of whispers. I wished desperately that I was as open and trusting with people as her. Her with emotions whining right through her eyes.

"You are a wonderful, thoughtful, amazing person." she said, resting her hands on my knees so quickly that I jumped. "Nothing you can say about yourself, your thoughts, or other people could make me think any less of you."

I sighed and covered my eyes, holding back a sheen of tears. I hated her and loved her so much just for being her. Generally at the exact same time.

"Just tell me." she whispered, backing up so that she was no longer touching me; but yet I still couldn’t find a reason to look away from her. I rubbed my knuckles into my eyes, drying tears, and watched her. My eyes trained to follow her every movement, every facial expression. We would be out here for hours, of course; as long as I decided to say something.

"I can’t…"

She looked away, but I saw the very corner of her mouth twist down in a frown. “It’s fine. I don’t know why I asked you to tell me anyway. Should have expected this.”

She turned on her heel and walked past me, and my stomach dropped and splattered on the ground. 


I reached and grabbed her wrist, pulling her back down to sitting with me.

"Then tell me something." he stared at me again, and I buckled, I looked down and slouched forward, anything I could do to not look at her.

"I don’t know what’s wrong with me." I finally said after hours, (which were really only mere seconds,) of silence.

"Well that’s a start." Her mouth slowly twitched up into a smile.

I smiled with her and began talking. Of course, the most of it was lies. Thinly veiled lies, sparkling against the light of the street lamps. Her eyebrows furrowed and she held up a hand.

"You’re lying."

I closed my eyes, but didn’t dare to move my head.

"You’re lying! I can’t BELIEVE you!"

"I’m sorry…" a tear, a real tear leaked out of my eye and made its way down my skin until I felt it fall. "I’m so sorry…"

"No you’re not. No." She stood up again and started to walk away.

"Iheardfromhim!" I blurted, and she froze mid-step.

"What did you say…?"

"I heard from him…" I was crying then. Crying so that the world seemed bright through my bleary eyes, not able to tell where the falling halo from one stoplight or one house ended and the next began.

She sat down and folding her arms over my shoulders, pulling me into her. “What did he say?”

"He misses me. Both of us. There were little water smudges on the letter…from, from…" I took a deep breath in as I needed it, and pointed to my tears to show her where the water came from.

She asked me more questions about him, trying to figure out what she hadn’t already known, trying to figure out how much he had affected me, and if I was going to be okay through everything. If she could help.

We talked about more than him, we talked about me. I saw her smile, and I saw her mean it and that made me happy, even as the sleeve of my shirt was too wet for me to wipe any more tears in that same spot.

At ten at night she stood up and reached down for me to take her hand. My knees shook, my elbows were weak, and I felt as if I could barely stand. She hugged me, and then broke it, holding me at arms length and smiling.

"Thank you," she said, wiping away the last tear with her thumb.

"Thank you," I whispered back to the someone standing before me.


Cleo In Verona - 2332 (Character Study)

        “Step inside and see Verona, the setting of the classic Marksman plays!”

"Look to your left, kind sir. Don’t you want to see the site of the brutal Stafford murders?!"

"Step over, see the flat that the famed Ms. Yan’s last screenplay was written in!"

Been there, done that.

Watch him. His face. Wait.


There. Roll your eyes. Sigh. Perfect.

He turns around and rubs the back of his neck. He staggers as he gulps. Perfect.

This is where I’m sent when I’m bored. Not, ‘clean your space, Cleo,’ or, ‘Cleo, Marx.2 needs some oil.’ It’s ‘go to the History Center  and have some fun with 12 inters, Cleo.’

Yeah right. 12 inters isn’t worth shit.

Oh. Wow. She’s pretty. A Marx.4 probably has to help her get ready at, like, 3 in the morning.

I don’t care. She’s pretty.

I watch her for a minute.

It’s difficult, with this crowd. It’s beyond me why the History Center is so popular. I’d rather spend my time at the Arena. But 12 inters won’t get you through the door.

The girl ducks into Verona. I’d never been in there. The Stafford muder sites are great. I’d been there more than a few times. The Yan flat wasn’t much. Great view of Old York City. I’d been in Rome and Austrailia. And Hollywood. Hollywood is amazing. But I’ve never been in Verona. I’ve heard it’s the worst. Only because there’s so much mystery around it. That Marksman might not have even been the one to write those plays. That it was some guy named Shakespeare.

I don’t care. Those plays weren’t even all that good anyway. They were so cliche and predictable.

I dance around the hoardes of people. I’m going to follow her.

"6 inters, boy." I hand him 5 and rush in before he notices a problem. 

It’s quiet in Verona. The people that are supposed to ‘live’ here are frozen like ice while the tourists poke and prod them and their clothing.

Look at that guy. He looks like he’s in the middle of a speech. Arm in the air. No wonder people complain about Verona so much. People don’t just walk around giving monologues.

Verona must’ve been too long ago for New Earth to get it right.

Wait, what’s that? Is that…music? Why?

I follow the sound of the music. It’s surprisingly far away for such a small exhibit.

The source is a violinist on a stage dug into the ground. She’s playing even though usually the inhabitants of the exhibits are frozen. Lifeless.

A small crowd gathers around her. She’s in a costume and all and she’s really beautiful.

But, wait, she looks - that’s the girl from earlier! The one I followed in here!

Damn. I get up and head out. Nerds are lost causes.


Je Vous Aime Toujours

Je vous aime toujours.

It’s been months but my heart still hurts. I just can’t seem to get over you, no matter what I do. Je vous aime toujours.

I messed up; I’ll admit that. But you weren’t being the best person in the world at that time either. Still…je vous aime toujours.

I miss you. I miss us. I miss the love. I miss the trust. I miss everything that had to do with us, anything that came from us. But je vous aime toujours.

I remember that say you first told me ‘te amo.’ Our languages clashed, ‘te amo,’ to ‘Je t’aime’. Right now I’m telling you je vous aime toujours.

Calluses on my lips. Blood on my tongue. Bright pink scars leading down from my eyes. Nail indents in my palms. I can’t tell you…but je vous aime toujours.

Nights I cry myself to sleep. Days I rip myself apart. A twitch in my hands. Words on the edge of my tongue. Je vous aime toujours.

My heart pounds when I see you. My breath hitches. My mind goes blank. No words can come to mind except for these four. Je vous aime toujours.

I still love you.



"The idea’s stupid." you say, looking me directly in the eyes. "Why would you do something like that?"

I look to the floor and shuffle my feet. I hadn’t expected this from you. Of all people - you! I don’t know what to say as my heart rams against my chest. I hadn’t expected this.

"We could do this for fun, you know, just us!"

"We’re already us." Your icy glare stares me in the face. Your eyes dead like a shark’s, your fingers clenching and unclenching as you decide what to do with me and my ideas. "Isn’t that enough?"

You walk away and a quiet sob escapes from me. I close my eyes and decide that I’m going to go through with it. 

Even if you don’t want me to.



Lot’s of people have heard of love at first sight, but this was something else entirely. Completely one hundred percent something else, actually. I stared her in the face, her milky brown hair draping down her shoulders, her ocean blue eyes waving gently before me; and I’ve never hated anyone more in my entire life.

And no, before you say it, this wasn’t a ‘I loved her so much, but I hated her at that very instant for something stupid’ thing. I promise you that much. I had had problems with her for years and years before this, but she had finally gone over the line.

"Are you going to say anything?" she watched me closely, her eyes twitching with every move I made. "Anything?"

"No." I replied quietly, looking to the floor. What could I say? She had finally destroyed me. Pulled every string, pressed every button. I flicked my eyes to the damage she had caused, before looking to her again. She needed to know what she had done; but who was I to tell her?

"Look at this!" she shouted with glee, a grin stretching wide across her face. "Look at me! How are you not going to say anything? Don’t you feel anything?"

"Of course I do." I continued quietly. "But you win. You’ve won. How can I fix this? How can I do something worse?"

I felt a tear track it’s way down my cheek, burning it’s way into my skin. I choked the rest of them back; I needed to be strong in front of her. If anything, to prove that she didn’t destroy me completely.

Even though that would be bold-faced lying.

"Try! I bet you can find something!" She begged to me, nearly falling to her knees. I stared at her in disbelief, my view of her changing with every passing second. How could she ask for that? How could she ask for something worse? Was this just a sick, sadistic game to her?

"I can’t. I won’t."

"Don’t you hate me??"

I simultaneously felt every muscle in my body clench. From my mouth to my toes to my fists to my legs. I froze, dead still, staring at her legs. I refused to look her in the eye. She didn’t deserve that much respect.

"Of course I do." I snarled. "How couldn’t I: after this?"

"Well then why won’t you get me back?!"

"I refuse to hurt any human being like this." I whispered, slowly relaxing my fists. "No one deserves this. Not even a miserable waste of skin like you."

She looked to the ground, shuffling her feet. She, nor I, had anything else to say. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and moved to my friend’s motionless body, which lay crumpled on the floor a few feet away from me.

I heard her inhale sharply as I gently picked up my friend bridal style, preparing to carry her out of the building.

"Please don’t do this again…" I whimpered as I turned away from my enemy. "If you want my attention, as an enemy or anything more…there are less painful ways to do it."



"This is it??" Mommy sobbed, clutching onto Daddy’s shoulder. "This is all you found??"

I watched from the staircase. Mommy was in tears. Daddy was silent. I felt sad for them.

"Yes, ma’am. Our sincerest condolences." One of the burly men in front of Mommy gently pushed the red ribbon from Gracie’s hair that he was holding into a plastic baggy. He was there with another man that was dressed up just like him. In dark blue and black and a shiny color on their hats.

"It’s been two weeks…" Daddy whispered, nearly silent. "When are you going to find my daughter?!"

One of the men whispered something to his partner, before they both turned to look directly at Daddy. They were about to say something sad. I knew it.

"Mr. Gingerich, I’m sorry, but I told you the last time we came to see you." the other big man said, the first one pushing the plastic baggy into a bag hanging from his shoulder. "The average time span on finding a kidnapped child is about 48 hours. 72 if we’re lucky. I have to admit, I do not think we’ll be finding your daughter; as I said before. I think you need to start planning her funeral."

"We don’t even have a body!!" Mommy sobbed.

My mouth formed a thin line. I raced back up the stairs. I didn’t like seeing Mommy and Daddy sad. And I was sad too. I missed Gracie.

But Gracie wasn’t the best of friends. She was loud. And Mommy and Daddy liked her more than me. They smiled at her and played with her and stayed up with her at night if she couldn’t sleep. And she was loud every other time Mommy and Daddy weren’t around. She made me angry. And sad.

Gracie didn’t always used to be that way. She used to be small. And quiet. And Mommy would let me feed her sometimes but sometimes I just couldn’t because she wouldn’t open her mouth like a good girl.

I walked into my room and stared at my closet door. My room used to smell bad. Like really bad. For a week. Mommy and Daddy let me sleep on the couch while it smelled bad. They never checked the closet. I’m glad they didn’t. They might have found Gracie.

I reached high up and opened my closet door. I looked at Gracie, down on the ground. I started to cry a little bit. She didn’t look like Gracie anymore, so I usually had to hold a little picture I had of her and me when she was good. I would hold the picture near her and see Gracie again. I was mad at Gracie most of the time I saw her. Why couldn’t she just keep looking like her?

I had thought about showing Mommy and Daddy Gracie before. Just so they could stop crying and be happy so they would know where she was. But then I would get in trouble. And I don’t like Mommy and Daddy being mad at me.

Gracie was just always so loud. And Mommy and Daddy never even realized I existed. Of course - they still don’t.

Maybe I’ll show them Gracie someday.

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