This one is a sci-fi piece, off-prompt, that explores an aspect of love. Hope you enjoy it. If you do, please feel free to comment and share. And if you don't like it, please let me know why.
by Celeste Hollister
Word Count: 455
Safe for Work
In the end, we left empty-handed. We boarded our ship and left everything behind.
I dream about you, though. Such breathtaking splendor, those ice-penciled peaks, the crystalline pools, the star-spun cloth of midnight sky.
When I wake, I smell the cinnamon-fragrant reeds that waved at river's edge. I taste the honey-cool springs that fed the lake beside which we once slept.
It's easy, now, years hence. Deceptively simple to recall your glory, to forget the heartache. Even as I write these words, I feel the twinge in my fingers, once twisted beyond recognition by the jaws of that snarling monster. Though terror struck me blind at the moment of attack, I can look back and understand. It felt threatened. It was afraid. Or maybe it was hungry. Maybe I appeared like a tempting morsel as I paddled at the water's edge. As insignificant as a worm on a hook.
Either way, it was not the only creature to shed blood that afternoon. We killed it, and others. We left a trail of bones in our wake. After all you gave us, we answered with blood.
The doctor chides me. She says I should not focus on the past, that I should turn my eyes to the present moment, that I should live second to second, breath to breath.
I did that. I tried.
But every breath here is poison. Every second a lie. How can I explain that my heart remains fixed on a world light years away, beyond the reach of any of us? When people talk of finding love, do they only mean humans, or can a person also love a place?
I have no pictures. I lost my ability to sketch. I kept not a single stone, not a feather, nor a scale. Yes, I damaged the records containing your coordinates. They called it sabotage, but if we could not stay, then no one else would find you, not so long as I was alive to prevent it.
Now in the evening, I sit upon my rooftop. Beneath me, the city boils under a blanket of smog. My nostrils fill with the oily stink of cookfires and exhaust. My skin roughens from yet another scrim of blisters. The tea I drink tastes of sweat, and I long for a mouthful of your sparkling snow upon my tongue.
A creeping deluge slowly swallows earth. We'll roast to death long before the waters claim us. There is no hope that I will ever return. But if the ancients are right, that we choose our fate upon our passing from this life to the next, then I beg for us to be reunited.
Only then will I know peace.
Only then, in the end.