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*Proceed with caution...potential triggers - C*

The long August drought finally ceded to a gentle rainfall, though the clouds were unable to completely hide the moon, who peeked out enough to cast a sliver of light across her face. It brought a crispness to the air, and she burrowed under an extra blanket as she stared out into the night.

She found herself in a restless half-sleep, as if the distant rolling thunder was going to bring something with it, and when her eyes opened to deliver her from her strange dreams, she saw him sitting next to her on the bed, gazing out her window.

“I was having the most wonderful dream,” she murmured to his profile. “Is it time?”

“Yeah,” he sighed. “No wonder you live here, it’s beautiful.”

She sat up, stretching the sleep out of her shoulders and the cobwebs out of her eyes before turning to give her husband a light kiss goodbye. She didn’t bother to get dressed, slipping on the robe that matched her black lace nightgown. She drifted to each bedroom in her house, kissing her slumbering children, before joining him on the porch. “I’m ready,” she told him.

By the time they’d arrived at their destination, the sun had risen, though it was cooled by a veil of cloud. Fog blanketed the desolate seaside town, swirling around the abandoned lighthouse as they drew closer.

“It’s beautiful,” she remarked.

He offered his hand as they maneuvered around the stones and broken pieces of building that scattered the grass leading up the door. When he pushed it open, they were hit by the musky scent of age and moisture rich decay, a flutter of bats escaping out of sight. As dilapidated as the lighthouse looked from afar, the inside was warm, cozy even, the broken windows letting in the sound of waves and the brackish sea air.

Neither one of them spoke, curling up in each others limbs on a bed that creaked when they moved.

“Are you sure you want this?” she whispered, her breath tickling his ear.

“I’ve brought death to so many,” he sighed.

“You’ve freed many from their suffering,” she corrected, swirling her fingers through his hair. They traced the bridge of his nose and the curve of his lips, down the slope of his neck to the jagged scars that covered his arms. She spent time there, listening to their tragic stories with her fingertips.

“Let’s wait until nightfall,” he told her.

They walked the shoreline, footprints in the sand as she collected sea glass, filling the mason jars left behind with shades of green, red, and blue. When the sun set, it finally pushed copper through the fog, filling up the room and rusting his messy locks as he laid back down on the bed. He crossed his fingers on his chest, staring out at the sea.

She stared down at him. “Now?”

“I'm ready,” he replied.

She took him into her lap, cradling him for a moment to her chest, trying not to let the sorrow creep in. “Are you sure you want this?” she repeated her whisper.

He reached up to stroke her face, a sad smile on his. “I’m going to do this with or without you, love. Much rather it be with you.”

A flock of seagulls called out overhead and their eyes met, holding each other's gaze as she pressed the glass into the delicate skin of his neck, right under his ear, making sure to press into the jugular as she slid it all the way to his other. She let the glass fall away, holding his hands as blood gashed from the violent opening, fighting tears as she watched the life fade from his eyes.

She held him until he was no longer warm and it was just her, the night, and a corpse, the entire bed coated in sticky crimson. She withdrew, draping his body with one of the blankets, shaking out the mason jars to leave a mosaic of sea glass surrounding him.

The night air was much cooler than the daylight, though still heavy with moisture, making gooseflesh of her skin. She listened to the calm sound of the waves as they caressed her feet, washing the blood away.


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