The International Writers
was less than an hour away from the New Year and Morna sat alone
in the darkness. Hours earlier, her hair had been the perfect
picture of sophisticated fashion. Gathered gracefully atop her
head, glitter spray carefully spritzed even to give that extra
shimmer Morna longed for; her hairstyle had been extravagant.
Now it was flat, lifeless and dull. A shadow from the old walnut
tree outside crossed over her face in the moonlight catching the
dripping globules of thick mascara that streaked black across
her tear-stained face.
Morna had chosen a dress adequate for the occasion. It was not too formal,
but hardly casual. The short, pink party dress made her not only look,
but feel at least ten years younger than she actually was. Pink screams
youth, fancy and fun. Morna wanted to have fun and thus her only resolution
would be to wear pink.
On the old, navy sofa in the sitting room, Morna, more or less, resigned.
The deep navy against the pink of her dress looked sad and pathetic, as
if it didnt belong. Doilies, yellowed wallpaper from the days when
Morna had taken up chain smoking as a hobby, the smell of dust, mold.
Nothing had been cleaned in months. Morna was disgusted with herself.
Shivering, Morna glanced at the beastly grandfather clock directly in
front of her. Ticking away, carelessly and unaware, the slender finger
landed a quarter past the hour. The clock chimed. It sounded as if any
second it would collapse into a pile of rubble, a few cogs and pieces
all to remain. A single tear maneuvered down Mornas face and she
wished ill on the fucking thing. She wanted it to stop, to stop reminding
her of the time passing.
Morna clutched the sofa, sinking her fingers into the aged, beaten cushions,
digging harder and harder until her fingernails began splintering and
breaking. She stared at it, the fresh, red blood that soaked into the
rigid fabric as it created a dark spot where it flowed. All she could
think was that the stain would never come out and she cursed herself,
sticking her finger into her mouth and sucking away the blood. Salty.
Wincing, she spat the blood onto the mustard yellow carpet, creating a
putrid display of colors and texture. "How very post-modern,"
Morna thought to herself. She had always been so fascinated by saliva;
she liked the way the blood mingled together with it.
Smoothing a hand over her dress, Morna looked up at the clock again. 11:26.
This year hadnt been great. The year before it hadnt been
great. And, Morna reckoned, this year would not be very good either.
She glanced at the clock: half past. Nervous energy got the better of
her, and she began rocking back and forth.
The clock summoned wheezing in action...
Morna reached up to touch her soft, blonde hair. She caught the reflection
of it in the glass of the grandfather clock. Mousy strands fell over her
face, appearing greasy and unclean. Morna began pulling the pins from
her hair. She wasnt exactly sure when she had pulled the last pin,
but she stopped when she noticed a large clump of her own hair fell next
to her. A thin layer of skin was attached to it. She peeled a bit of the
skin away and placed it in her mouth. A strange and foreign texture
new and never before enjoyed.
As she sat still with perfect posture, the clock summoned her once more,
a quarter until midnight. In a mere fifteen minutes, there would be a
new year. A new chance to let life slip away.
In a fit of uncontrollable rage, Morna took her shoe off and threw it
violently at the grandfather clock, smashing the glass window showing
off the cogs. Her shoe became caught in the gears and, miraculously, it
stopped. Morna sobbed into her hands.
Suddenly, the phone rang. Her recorder switched on speedily and the call
was picked up.
"Morna? Are you there? Pick up, darling. I have to see you tonight.
I want to see you again. Youre so beautiful. Tonight, I need to
know how good you look on top of me. Please, pick up for me. Drat. I guess
youre out. I need to be with you...'
The phone went dead. Morna sat, morbid and cold, her corpse like fingers
trembling. Her upper lip twitched. The tears ceased. She couldnt
feel anything anymore. The unfortunate limbo she had become ensnared in
left her not exactly alive, but not exactly dead. Part of her wanted to
continue crying, part of her wanted to smile, but instead, nothing. Callous
unfeeling. If she could find another way to feel, any other way, she would.
She couldnt. She couldnt take anymore.
Mornas own anxiety overcame her and she could no longer breathe.
Looking out into the distance of the lonely hills behind her house, she
saw the cemetery into the abyss. The walnut trees loomed and pressed against
the wind, hysterically, as if they were weeping. Behind the cemetery,
the church stood, frigid and tall.
Standing up, Morna flew to the decrepit, creaky window and slid it open,
leaning outside to feel the cold, frosty night brush up against her cheek.
Her fingers grazed against the frame of the window as she crawled into
its sturdy ledge. In the darkness of her sitting room, the damaged old
clock made no noise. There was still time. Jumping from the window, Morna
felt wild, her one shoe making impressions in the soft, decomposing leaves
of the walnut trees that lay on the ground.
Morna ran as fast as she could over the stonewall, past all the homes,
up the road. She came to a little creek and fell forward, soiling her
pink dress. Something slimy slithered along Mornas shoeless feet,
but she didnt have enough time to give it much thought.
As she reached the steps of the church, its rusty bell sounded. The melancholy
longing of the bell was like that of an animal mother mourning the death
of its young. Mornas heart sank deep. Into the cemetery, she descended.
Walking through the graveyard, Morna saw one particularly beautiful gravestone.
An angel with its wings spread wide and underneath an epigram reading:
Beloved Wife and Mother
She will be missed.
Morna kneeled down and touched the gravestone. The imprinted words grated
against her broken fingers, as she leaned her head forward.
Then she felt a hand rest along her back. The icy touch sent a sharp shiver
up her spine.
She didnt answer.
"Morna? What are you doing?"
Morna breathed heavily as he touched her. His hand did not move. It hung
like dead weight along her neck.
"Please, darling. Speak to me. I know Ive not been the best
to you. I want you to come home with me."
"I know," Morna whispered. The overwhelming urge to start screaming,
crying, shouting, anything to display how she felt, but it wouldnt
"I dont want to upset you. I never did."
Morna turned to look at him. She looked deep into his dark eyes.
"I think its too late for that now, Gavin."
He looked past her, then down at the ground.
"I always liked what we had, Morna. Youre beautiful and youve
been very good to me. Im a lucky man to have met you. Youre
truly one in a million."
Morna felt her heart beat and she gasped.
"But," he continued, his face solemn, "Obviously you are
not happy with what I give again. I just wanted something special, something
beautiful with you. When you wrap your lips around my -," Gavin stopped
to chuckle, "Its like no other. Honestly. I thought you could
be happy with that. Not just the sex, but also the way you make me feel.
If you want to see me again, you can. Im leaving everything in your
control. I would never stop seeing you if I had the choice. You would
be with me every moment of the day. However, now its your time to
"Keep in mind I never said no to you. Things might change one day.
Our situation might change, you might change, and I might change. Now,
this is all I can give."
She looked up at him again. A ghostly face looked back at her. Such sad,
weathered eyes. Gavins eyes had dark circles; his face was sallow
and skeletal. Where he stood, everything seemed so natural. His element
was in the graveyard.
Morna pulled herself up to look at him more closely. There was no warmth
radiating from his body, no lifeforce. His soul had been sucked dry and
for the first time, she felt something. She pitied him.
A thick fog gathered around both of them, as Morna leaned forward and
kissed Gavin. The kiss was chilled and resigned; it was inhuman. She pressed
herself against his cheast to listen for a heartbeat, but she could not
find one. He held her, but it was empty. There was no movement in his
body. There was nothing there.
"You know I will always love you, Gavin," she whispered breathily.
Although she felt compelled to reveal herself to him, she knew he had
no interest in her he couldnt even feel himself. She let
herself continue, "I will love you for the rest of my days and Ill
never love another like I loved you. Ill never marry, Ill
never have children, Ill lie on my deathbed wishing you were next
to me. If you ever find it in yourself to take me completely, Ill
always be here but for now, I can only wait for you."
Gavin did not look at her. "Thank you for all of this. Ive
enjoyed it." He took one more glance at her, and walked away, into
the fog, along the row of graves, onto the cobbled path until he disappeared
beyond the churchyard and Morna could not see him anymore. As Gavins
tall handsome figure drifted away that night she felt more alive than
© D. A. Warren
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