#47 – Benediction – Kat Webb

She had never meant for things to end up the way they did.

The girl had once seen joy in the world around her.  Things were beautiful–the way her boyfriend’s hair stuck up at odd angles early in the morning before he’d combed it.  Or the way smoke tendriled from the end of a cigarette, spiraling into the night sky.  She saw the joy of friends getting married.  She knew the warmth of friendship, and the tenderness of a kiss.  The picture of her world presented an untainted facade, glimmering and shining like a beacon of hope in dark times.

She knew it was a lie.

War lay hidden beneath everything, threatening to rip her small bit of happiness at the seams.  It started with the little things–the girl grew into a subtle, yet unmistakable depression.  People were going into hiding.  Threats to her people, her populous, grew larger and she knew the safety once found in her smile was fake.  A single bang and all could end in a smoky flash.  And while she tried to hold on to the happier moments, it was almost impossible to escape the ruination around them.  She grew thinner.  Formerly snarky and sarcastic comments dwindled into silence, as did the once bright and happy girl.

Happiness was gone, replaced only by death and destruction.

One by one, her friends were killed.  Not all were intentional.  Some were merely bystanders that found themselves in the way of the Others.  Some were killed by Their Leader, and others still went mad from the grief.  It was difficult to retain any sense of normalcy–The Girl’s boyfriend and family helped her anger stay grounded.  But one by one they were brutally murdered.  Ripped apart from her already aching heart.

She fought.  Oh how she fought!  The emptiness within the woman grew to be filled with rage.  Hot tears stung her face as she pressed on against the forces of destruction, with thoughts of all those they had taken from her.  Mother, Father, Older Brother, Sister, Schoolteacher, Friend, all murdered.  Family dog missing.  Those wronged in the fight against evil would not have died in vain, and The Girl vowed as much to herself every day.  But the emptiness prevailed.  Fights blurred into one another, and even the sharp sting of a fresh wound only reminded her that mortality was so easily taken away.

Her own demise came calmly, at a family dinner.  Sunday, as per usual.  Gone were the former bright and bubbly conversations, replaced by feelings of being hollow.  Three of her siblings had already been murdered, and The Girl could hardly stand to look at the rest for fear of dredging up old, forgotten memories.  They murdered her parents first, then her younger brother before turning on The Girl herself.

She didn’t care.  While a spark of her former fight remained, tragedy seemed to have taken away willpower to exert herself.

On her knees, bruised and bloody, she asked once.  Only once, with thoughts of joining her deceased friends and family.  She wanted to be happy again.  She wanted to jump into lakes with Sister, or snuggle up to fireplaces with Boyfriend.  She wanted to feel things beyond the aching, empty cavity in her heart.  And so she asked for that release–“Please.”

The Girl welcomed death with open arms.  And finally, she was happy.

~ Kat Webb, Statesboro, GA

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