The skies had quickly become overcast, more quickly than I could have imagined possible. The stars that had burned so brightly, the crescent moon that illuminated the city streets, had all but blinked out, plunging the world into a sudden, impenetrable darkness that the street lamps fought valiantly to overcome.
It was when I was walking through the deserted streets, eyes cast warily to the skies, that I heard it. A jolting bang, a shortened scream. Footsteps rapidly disappearing into the night.
I found her on the corner of seventh and 12th avenue, staring up at the hidden heavens. Serene, quiet, and utterly broken. My hands worked faster than my brain, but I could hardly stem the outpour of blood flowing without precedence from her stomach to the sidewalk. Before I knew what I had gotten myself into, her head was cradled ever so delicately in my lap and my hands aiding hers in pressurizing the wound. It felt like I was walking through a dream.
In the darkness, she looked at me at last. And strangely, smiled—I could not bring myself to smile back.
“It’s you,” she said.
“Yes,” I replied in my trance.
We had never met.
Her frail fingers trailed up my jawline. She laughed, a rasping and gasping laugh riddling with pain and laced with coughing that pushed blood from her lungs to her mouth to her lips.
“You have eyes so deep I feel myself drowning in them,” she said quietly.
I couldn’t reply. My mind grasped at every word in that sentenced.
“The last man I met with eyes like yours, I fell in love with.”
And she laughed again as she painted the cement crimson.
“Don’t worry. Paramedics are coming. You’ll be okay.”
“Your voice is so deep. It’s like a drum, has anyone ever told you that? It just resonates in my chest. Can you sing to me?”
Despite myself, my cheeks flushed. “I can’t really sing. I don’t know any songs.”
Instead of replying, she shuddered in her agony. When her eyes closed, I thought I had lost her. But she opened them again, and swallowing blood stared up at me once more. Her fingers grasped in their frailty at my toque, pulling it from my head. Pre-winter air bit at my ears as one finger curled my hair for a moment before dropping to her chest. She smiled easily, happily, sighing in admiration.
“I see why you’re here now. You’ve come to take me away. Back to God.”
My heart then broke, and I watched her smile one more time before the light left her eyes a clear, unseeing ice blue and her neck lost its strength.
I let myself sit there with her, feeling her body go cold, for a long time, feeling emotion after emotion after intense emotion wash over me in a fictitious warmth I knew did not exist.
The needed someone to blame. I had not a motive, nor a weapon, or any means to speak of. All I had was a heart too big not to care. But he couldn’t be found, nor could the curséd pistol that robbed that girl of her life.
And so that’s how I ended up here, in a prison cell, with tally marks and cold, ice eyes as the only art to decorate my barren walls.