Prompt: It’s the very last day until the moon finally crashes the earth. You wander alone around a cold beach in the last days of autumn, as the ups and downs of your life present in the form of vivid flashbacks.
The pearly tide frothed over the shore. I strayed from the cold waters, it was already too cold that night and I was without shoes, foolishly. The sky was filled with the looming moon, illuminating the forest surrounding the bank with a milky radiance. I shoved my hands in my pockets and strode towards the large, jagged crag at the end of the shore. There, I sat and let my hands dangle in-between my knees, and dug my feet beneath the sand. I knew the moon was closer when I looked up, knew it would be closer when I looked away. I closed my eyes.
The shore had been a place of calm, of joy, of where I spent my days with her. We walked the dirt beaten path through the woods and, when we arrived to the bank, took off our shoes and leapt into the warm sand. We ran back and forth into the tide. We brought a blanket and picnic basket and had lunch, then silently laid and watched the sun lower and the sky burn fiery orange. We did this as many times as we could…
Until the disease.
One minute she was lying before me on the blanket as the ocean breeze wafted over her freckled face, the next she was lying before me in a hospital bed as an AC unit hummed nearby, her face pale and gaunt. The doctors said cancer was in her lungs, and it was spreading like the tide spreads over the sands. It was too late. No one could do anything.
I stayed by her side each day, keeping my hand on hers as it shriveled with every passing week, but when the drugs moved her gently into unconsciousness, I took to the library a few streets down, to the old books, my old college professor once shown me, that spoke of strange, insane things. I pored over the pages; I practiced the ritual in the twilight of the morning; I recited languages that weren’t quite words but not quite animal grunts and moans; and when all was memorized, I went and stood on the shore.
I drew the symbol of the the Ancients the sand, drew the runes of the Old Goddesses surrounding it. I stood in the center, raising my eyes, closed them. I shouted to the Ancients for healing. I shouted to the Old Goddesses beneath the sea for rejuvenation. I shouted to the far reaches of space and time to give me a cure for the one I loved… They heard me, I was certain, because when I opened my eyes, they widened and my breath caught in my throat. What they gave was their cure, but not mine, destruction instead of rejuvenation; elimination instead of a cure.
The full moon loomed over me, larger than it had before, nearer than it was before.
I opened my teary eyes and looked up into the opaque sky.
Instead of giving life, instead of healing the disease and the pain, they would remove all of it at once — her’s, mine, the world’s.
Read my previous prompt, “A Duel With Death.”
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