A Reader! Climh fanfic for Missiongenocide's Cursed project.
Snowfall. You hear the soft sound of snow falling on the top of your umbrella. You peer though your bandages to look at the world around you, as reluctant as you are to do it even at this time of year and this weather that keeps everyone indoors. You look out to see the other wall of the small space between two houses you've chosen as your residence for the time being. Its dark, cold and full of boxes, but your alone here, and that's all you want, and all you've wanted for a long time. There is one person you still miss...your father, Cheslaw. His love was not like the one that haunts you like a ghost now, his was pure and broken only by death.
The memory of him standing in front of that angry crowd, his arms raised to show he had no weapons, smiling serenely as he kept them busy as you fled....it doesn't take a genius to realize he'd played right into The Great Enemy's nasty little wooden hands, but he was a brave man, and if you ever are free of this nightmare, you'll dedicate your life to letting others know of his sacrifice. His face is still burned into your mind, and the sound of the mob tearing him to pieces also is. If there is some higher power, please have it make sure these people will have to spend the rest of their lives in guilt for his death.
You've probably even fallen for a few. No one answers a damned person's prayer. There are other faces and voices in your mind, so brief but leaving a lasting, terrible memory. It doesn't happen with everyone, but it always happens with someone. Staring at the dirty ground can only do so much, you can't stop your feelings or close your ears. Glimpses of faces and voices that make your chest feel like its been stuffed with searing coals even years later. You would rather not think about how it was when it first started...you can't even stand the memory of such things. Trying to bury your feelings has always been hard for you. You where unlucky enough to be born with a thin skin, and that...overgrown bonsai took advantage of it.
You still remember that voice, the thin cruel taunting backed up with the wailing crowd of voices, telling all about how it was going to be from now on. You hoped he was lying, but after the first few times you got the message. That is why you are outside in the middle of winter, hiding in an ally. Because any contact with the rest of humanity, cursed or mortal, brings awful things that are almost impossible to describe upon you. Emotions that bring a pain even most of even your own kind finds hard to understand. Like when you tried to explain to that girl that looked like a walking corpse why you where avoiding her. Or that time that horrible blood-covered man pulled out your entrails and what you where scared of were THOSE FEELINGS coming to you again.
Sharp ears, honed by long years spent on the streets, picked up the sound of a pair of rough voices and some footsteps. No,no,no,no! You listen to hear a pair of local men, construction workers, coming back here to move the boxes. You...you had to get out of here, not them, anyone but them! Standing up quickly, you hold the umbrella you had been given to keep the rain off by your father, one of several gifts he'd given you right before his death, and use it like a battering ram to part and rush past the two men entering the ally, you can hear their yells of dismay but ignore them in your hurried attempt to get out of there. Out on the street, your eyes stick to the ground, looking for obstacles to your blind charging run, you don't stop even as the falling snow starts to get down the neck of your coat and up into your pant legs, you wish you owned better-fitting clothing right now. Clutching the umbrella handle tightly, you bear down the street, heading towards a local park where there would not be a crowd staring at you. You hated when you had to leave your shelter, everyone must surely be staring at you right now, wondering what is going on. Stopping to explain could condemn you.
You manage to bowl into the park through the front gate, the security guard thankfully pays you no mind as you pelt along the road. Ok, you can stop now. You stop to see a clean cobblestone path, yes, your in the park. You stagger over to the nearest bench, brush the snow away with a mitten-covered hand, and sit, catching your breath. Your ok, you'll be ok...the feelings won't find you right now. Living in fear of your own emotions, what would your father think of this? You raise your head a hair, seeing there is no one crossing the path. There was a time when you could look around and appreciate this lovely scene, the snow deep and clean, the trees bare of leaves but covered in snow and the pines still green and going strong along the far side of the park. You've always liked winter. But now, regardless of the time of year, your running from yourself, and as you have always been the fastest person your age in town, you inevitably catch up with yourself. Then is when you get reminded your still one of...one of them. Its hard to stomach, all that hate people have for you, why, why?
Then it happens. You hear a soft creak in the old bench. Your searing chest tenses in anticipation of a fresh pain. A concerned older woman's voice asks you, innocently enough, the following, "Are you all right? I saw you running from Bill and Garret, those two can be pretty rough." Flush, you feel yourself flush, no, not now! Quickly, you manage to gasp out a few words in your ill-used voice, "I am fine madam." You get off the bench and leave to the pines on the far side of the park, but it is too late.
The flush burns through, giving way to what is best described as a flooding sickness. If any physical ailment had symptoms like this, its treatment would surely be top priority, as it was, you fall to your knees. First the chest, the smashing sharp pain like a broken bottle, followed by the rush of burning and nausea as your body reacts to the warped spiky moths your butterflies have now turned into. Your head spins, your body a wash of nausea and ache, you would do anything to go back and talk to her but you don't dare, don't make it worse on yourself, Climh. As it was, the tears where flowing, tears for a love that would never make sense and would never work out, your chest now felt like it would explode, please let it, that would hurt less...
There was only one remedy you had on hand to this.You hated doing it on some level, your father would cry if he saw what you did to try and relieve this awful burning illness of body, mind and emotions that consumed your being. The pain came from your heart in your chest, swelling, burning, sick and twisted. Love used to be a good thing for you, once. Now...now you take the knife out of your pocket, and despite the cold, start the ritual of gently removing the top half of your clothes. That old woman's concern still echoing in your ears, you pull off your mittens, first left then right. No, you are NOT all right...you really aren't. Then your coat...its big, heavy, and was once a vibrant yellow, but time has faded it to a dull taupe. Just like how you've faded to a sad shadow of yourself. Then your shirt... a plain white t-shirt that you chose because it was easy to take off, now resting in the snow, thankfully a few stains on it meant you would not lose it.
Take it out. Remove this organ that even now is bigger than your body and burning like a miniature sun and poisoning your body and your mind and your soul. You wish you had no emotions, and you wish that the cursed ability to heal did not make this solution so temporary, you will have this awful thing that only pains and sickens you by this time three days from now, and that is if your really through about it. Already, you feel a little calmer, pain is distracting even if you fail at the goal of this action. You look carefully at your chest, angling the knife between your all-too-prominent ribs. Your mental state has a way of making eating an unappealing prospect. You feel carefully along, making sure the blade hits this blazing, toxic thing that seizes up in emotion even now. You don't know why this gives your relief, your heart isn't the real source of your emotions, everyone knows that, and yet this makes you feel a bit better for a while.
Splick! You can fell the blade hit home in your chest, and you started to work on it, muttering, "I'm sorry dad, I really am...but this is the only thing that makes it stop." Long practice has given you a good aim with that knife, you can feel the sharp sting inside your chest and the blood comes pouring out, red on the white snow. The damaged organ continued pumping, but something about having those chucks of it in your left hand and that hole in your chest made you feel triumphant, even as the wind passed through the holes in your thin skin and howled though the exposed bits of your rib cage.
Now, time for prevention measures. Now this was the really painful part, but compared to the agony and nausea of FEELING that you otherwise would have to live with until it faded back down to a bearable level, this was nothing. The only bad part is that you can't go anywhere while blind. You slowly remove the bandages from around your face, the biting cold numbing the pain of your amateur heart surgery a bit, something you thanked your lucky stars for. It felt strange, actually having peripheral vision, but it also made you feel vulnerable, so you went to work. Eyes heal fast, they will be back in a matter of about eight hours or so if completely removed, but with how you're far from where most people would go, it is eight hours you are unable to get another agonizing emotional surge. So the knife enters your eye socket. It's a lot easier to do this than hit your heart, just slowly rotate the blade, but oh it hurts an awful lot, even with the freezing temperatures to numb the pain. You hate that it hurts so much. It makes you feel like a heel, because of how your dear father would never want his son to hurt himself on purpose. But as darkness filled your vision, you breathed heavily and felt the effects.
Long practice also helped you here, you feel for your shirt and put it on after a few minutes, waiting for the worst of the bleeding to stop first. Yes, you hurt less...oh its still there, that burning, that longing, that nausea in your stomach. But its down to a level where you can think straight now. So on goes your t-shirt, then your coat, then your bandages over your eyes to stanch the flow of blood, then your mittens. You sit in the nearby snowbank, your umbrella handle clutched in your hand, and enjoy the feeling of the snow falling and of relief.
But it would always come back. Your heart and your eyes will heal all too soon, despite the heavy damage, and again you will have to live running and hiding from the emotions that once gave you so much joy in your life. You love, your empathy...turned into monsters and turned against you. Nothing could be more fundamentally wrong than being your own worst enemy.