A/N: C’mon, you didn’t really think I would end it like that, did you? Here’s the REAL final part, I hope you enjoy it. It’ll give you at least a bit more closure.
And while I have your attention: I want to give a HUGE thanks to my writing buddies and editors Meghan and Mikaela, this thing couldn’t be as awesome as it is without you two.
Alright, I’m done now. Enjoy!
Sunlight glares through the trees and across open grass, a harsh and unwelcome light. I feel like it should be raining, so the sky matches my own internal storm. A bright and sunny funeral just doesn’t feel right.
Even the harsh sun isn’t enough to brighten up the graveyard. The mourners with me are all just as somber as I am, a dark cloud saturating the air around us. It is eerily quiet, too; those who must speak do so in whispers.
The police had explained to me what happened. How they got the phone call, how he had sounded crazy, how they rushed out there and were glad they were able to save one of us. That’s what happened, according to them. He went crazy.
I know what really happened, of course. But no one else does. Not the police, not his family. Even if I thought they would believe me, I wouldn’t want to tell them. It seems better to say he was driven mad by natural causes than by some otherworldly creature.
The service passes by in a blur, with faces I don’t recognize saying words I don’t hear. My face remains stony. I am determined not to cry in front of all these people, in front of his family, in front of him.
After, I stay in my seat. A few people ask me if I am ok; I give them a noncommittal answer and wave them on their way. I stay there long after everyone else has gone, after even the workers have gone home for the day, my chair the only one left in the silent graveyard.
Finally, I get up and walk over to his tombstone. I crouch in front of it, tracing the etched words with my fingers.
Ivan Max Keller, Dec 3, 1997 — Oct 1, 2019
Beloved son, brother, and fiancé
At the last word the tears burst from my eyes. I sob, soaking the ground beneath me, replacing the rain that should have filled the sky. And I think, about everything and nothing at the same time.
I haven’t seen that thing since his death, but I can’t guarantee that it’s gone. There have been noises in the night, a few items gone missing. Maybe I’m imagining things, and it got what it wanted and went back to whatever hell it came from. Maybe not. Either way, I don’t want to stay here.
In a few days, I’m heading back home. I don’t know where else to go. His family has helped me pack up my stuff and sort through his things, and really, there’s nothing else tying me here. Him and I came here hoping to get away, to start our own life. With that all gone, I see no good reason to stay.
Done crying for now, I pull the purple rose out from inside my jacket. Purple was always his favorite. Then I pull the box out of my pocket, opening it and admiring the ring inside. I slip the ring over the stem of the rose, hooking it onto one of the thorns.
Taking one last look at his tombstone, I whisper, “I love you, Ivan. I’ll see you again someday.” I lay down the rose with the ring attached and begin heading back to my car, to a future just as deceivingly limitless as it was five years ago.