Sungold Twilight

It was the summer after my senior year of high school when I first met Mei. Evening was drawing close, and I was in search of some companionship. I drove around aimlessly for a few hours before seeing it, the graveyard where an old friend of mine takes his rest. I sigh as I park the car. I stroll through the graves with a heavy heart. Row after row column after column stream by. None are distinguishable, all are the same. Some person, unknown to me, possibly old, hopefully not young, man or woman, it matters not. All pass from my vision without a second thought. My footfalls grow progressively heavier with each passing row. I am getting closer to where my dear friend lies, and my body knows it.

I stop at the front of his line. I stare at his grave, eighth one in. I can see the pale blue of the Forget-me-nots left by some relative. Slowly I approach, moving silently. I am unaware at first that my footfalls make no sound; perhaps unconsciously I do not wish to disturb the dead. I am close enough to read the big black bold letters which seem so dark against the speckled grey of the grave.

“Donald Scott KelleyBrother, Son, Friend1979-1995”

The writing seemed so cold, so formal, so unlike him. It was odd seeing his whole name written out like that. It all seemed so unreal. There was no way this was my friend Scotty. No he would have much preferred his grave to read something less formal, more like the Scotty we all loved.

“Scotty KelleyGreat Friend, Amazing Gamer, Mountain Dew AddictEven though he was only 161979-1995”

I sit down and lean my back against the cold impersonal tombstone. I know he wouldn’t mind. “How have you been, Scotty? I know it’s been awhile, but today is just a bad day. I’m going off to college soon, so I won’t be able to stop by anymore. You’ve got it lucky. Being dead has got to be easier than living. At least you’ve got people to talk to.”

“Well you have people to talk to too.” The voice floated out of nowhere. It made me jump right out of my skin. I look around and see that it is coming from a lovely Asian girl. “But I suppose when he talks,” she gestured to Scotty’s grave, “they talk back.” She smiles. Her eyes are so beautiful when she smiles. They are a very dark brown almost black. Her long black hair is braided into pigtails, the left one frames her face and the right one is behind her head, trailing down her back. I guess she thought she had done something wrong because she stopped smiling, tilted her head to the right and asked, “Was it recently?”

Was what recently? I was about to ask when I remembered Scotty’s grave. “Oh Scotty. Well, I guess it was about two and a half years now.”

She smiled, but this time it did not reach her eyes. “So it was recently. How old was he?”

“16.” I find myself relating the whole story to her. I usually don’t do this. “He’d just gotten his license. He was the first out of both of us to get it. He was so happy. It was raining that day. We used to love the rain. He lost control of his car on a turn. Died on impact.”

This time her eyes and face held only sorrow. “Too young for him to die. Too young for anyone to die. No one should have to die. Death should be a choice, not mandatory.”

I nod in agreement. “We should all just be able to live forever.”

“Just like the spirits.” She smiles at this.

I have no idea what she is talking about but I also smile. “It is strange that the first conversation I have with you is so heavy and philosophical. I don’t even know your name.”

She laughs. When she laughs I can’t tell if her eyes are open. “My name is Mei.”

I extend my hand to her. “I’m Aric. It’s like Eric, but with an “A”.”

She shook my hand. “Nice to meet you Aric.”

She smiles and I smile. I gesture to the ground next to me, “Have a seat. I’m sure Scotty wouldn’t mind.”

She smiles. “All the same I would rather not sit on the dead. I will sit here though.” She sits on top of Scotty’s tombstone, her back towards me. She has on a black long sleeve V-neck t-shirt. The V-neck is created by our buttons, three of which are undone. Her blue jeans have a pink flower on their pocket in the back. She has a pink cell phone in a black case on her hip. She smiles at me again.

“So why are you here?” I ask, gesturing to the graveyard.

“Me? Oh well I spend a lot of time here. I had some family buried here awhile back, so I would come here a lot. I guess I just got used to the quiet.” What a strange girl she is. I’d never know anyone to hang out in a graveyard. Then again, no one has ever caught my interest like she does. I found myself talking to her with an ease I hadn’t felt since Scotty. Only with her, attraction flourished, not friendship.
It was dark out by the time I worked up the courage to ask her to dinner. “So it’s getting late,” I casually start.

She cut me off. “Let’s go get dinner. I mean unless you already ate.”
“No I haven’t eaten yet.”

She smiles, stands up, reaches a hand toward me, and says, “Good. If you’re lucky, I might let you take me on a second date.”

I grab her hand and smile. “I am so transparent?”

She nods, turns around, and pulls me toward the parking lot. We get to my car, and she turns around to face me. I lean toward her, her body pressed between mine and the car, and I kiss her. She places her hand between our lips. I back up slightly. I keep staring into those deep brown eyes. She looks into my eyes. I can see myself reflected in her eyes. I seem so small. The colors are blurred, everything is darker. She pulls me closer. We never make it to dinner.

It was later that night, much later, that I first saw her tattoo. She sits up in bed, blanket clutched to her chest, and reaches over to turn on the light. “What is it Mei?” The sound of her name makes me smile.

She turns and looks at me. I can see those eyes which first attracted me to her. “I just though I heard something.” She returns to scanning the darkness, as if she can banish it with her will.

I reach to pull her back into bed. I lightly brush my hand across her skin. It is so soft. Then I see the tattoo on her left shoulder. It is of an orangey red fox, with white paws, and a white tip to the tail. I slowly begin to trace it. It looks so real. I can almost feel the eyes watching me. “How long have you had this?”

She reaches her right hand across her body to her left shoulder. The left hand still clutches the blanket to her chest. She places her right hand over mine, and looks over her shoulder at me. “It seems like I’ve had it forever.” Her voice is soft, almost as if it crossing a great distance before it reaches me.

“Why a fox?” I ask as I squeeze her hand.

“The fox was always my guarding spirit, even though they sometimes are mischievous. At least that is what my grandma would tell me.”Her eyes no longer hold that warmth they usually have. She pulls away from me. She stands up and throws my robe on.

I sit up, there is something off. “Are you ok? Where are you going? Mei?”

“Just the restroom. Nothing to worry about.” She locks eyes with me. Her voice turns musical. “You can go back to sleep now.” I find myself getting drowsy. I lay back in bed as Mei heeds to the bathroom.

I awoke the next morning, alone. I reached over to see if Mei was awake, but she was not in the bed. It was cold to the touch. I withdrew my hand, and called Mei’s name. There was no answer. I grabbed my robe, which was folded at the foot of my bed, and tried to find her. There was no trace of her anywhere. I went back to my room. I tried to remember if Mei had come back to bed after she had used the bathroom. I couldn’t say if she did or not. I guess I fell back to sleep. Throughout the day, I worried about her. She was obliviously worried about something. I had to try and find her. I just couldn’t keep pretending that she was ok. I had to know for sure. Night was drawing close. I grabbed my keys and headed for the only place I could think of, the graveyard. This was the only place I had seen Mei before, in fact this was all I really knew about her, she liked the quiet of the graveyard.

The sun was setting as I got to the graveyard. I hurry through the graveyard, searching for her. Searching for my Mei. I finally fin her near Scotty’s grave, where I first met her. “Mei!” I call to her, relief filling my voice. She is facing away from me, to where the sun had just set. Almost as if she was watching the sunset. She is outlined by the last golden rays of the sun’s light. She looks over her left shoulder at me, when I call her name. She gives me a sad smile, as if to say sorry. I hurry toward her. She turns her head back to the now set sun. I can still she her from the glow of twilight, then I can’t see her anymore. “Mei! Mei?” I scream out her name. I run as fast as I can to Scotty’s grave. When I get there, Mei is gone. I look around frantically for her. Movement catches my eye. I turn to face Scotty’s grave. There is a fox sitting on his tombstone. The fox had a Forget-me-not in its mouth. I stare at the fox. It is an orangey red, with white feet and a white tip to its tail. It is almost as if Mei’s tattoo has come to life. It was truly beautiful. It had the same dark eyes that Mei had. The fox looked back at me. It seemed to wear a sad expression on its face. It dropped the flower by Scotty’s grave. Although I cannot be certain, I could swear that I saw the fox give me a smile as the last light faded.

Sungold Twilight

CassandraLavenza

Joined November 2007

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Artist's Description

a romantic short story with fantasy undertones

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  • Damian
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