David L. Kramer
Till Death Do Us Part
I scream my pain out from my gut as the last shrouds of sunlight fall from the earth and darkness wraps me in her embrace. My voice echoes off the canyon walls, coming back to me. I raise my arms, spread wide, and moonlight reflects off the sword in my right hand, setting a fairy of light to dance at my feet. Once more I release my ragged cry, letting it drag across my throat like a diamond on glass. I scarcely notice the pain, it is just one more wound among the many already on my body.
I am shirtless, and blood oozes from the numerous cuts that stripe my well muscled and well scarred chest. I spin, swinging the long blade of the sword out to gut an enemy who isn’t there. As the curve of steel finishes its arc and stretches my arm back, I flash my left hand across my stomach. The blade of the short, strait razor bites deep and clean. There is no pain, but my howls break the surface of the night. I can hear the agony in the bouncing echoes of my voice.
I ache for the tears to come, but they stubbornly refuse. In three years I have been here three times. This is where I come to punish myself. This is the place I shed my blood in lieu of tears that my eyes won’t cry. When the emotional heartache is too much to sustain, when I can no longer balance the world on my shoulders, this is where I come for release. The scars from my previous trips bear witness to the deeper and more painful scars on my heart.
Two years nine months and twenty-one days ago, that was when my first trip here was made. The night she was diagnosed. The doctors had said they would do everything in their power, but she was already in stage three cancer and the outcome didn’t look good. After she fell asleep that night I got up and started driving, trying to make some sense out of the recent events. Somehow I had found myself here, screaming out to God at the injustices of this life. The only thing I had with me then was my old throwing knife. The blade was dull, and it ripped through my flesh more than it cut, but the blood that flowed from those wounds seemed to wash my anguish away.
The second time was three months ago. She had been loosing the battle from the beginning and after a while she slipped into a coma. I left the hospital that night knowing that I would end up here. I remember stopping at the house just long enough to retrieve the strait razor that I had here with me now.
The scars from that night had still been red and jagged when I arrived here an hour ago. I’ve lost a lot of blood this time though, enough so that the dusty ground seems permanently stained. I know, however, that within a week it will all have disappeared. Blood or no blood it was just dust on the wind. I try to scream again as the razor winds down my side, bouncing off my ribs, but there is no sound. My voice is gone. It’s time to go.
Before I climb into the ’72 Vette she got me as a Christmas present our second year together, I look around at the canyon one more time and, with barely a thought, draw even red lines on my cheek bones with the razor. Inspiration hits me suddenly and, after opening the car door, I take the long blade of the sword and sink it almost to the hilt in the hard earth. That done, I climb back into the car and start the drive out. The engine growls as I step on the gas pedal, and tires squeal in protest as I continue to accelerate despite the ever sharpening curves. The open gas cans in the back slosh their remaining contents all over the seats and floorboards. Burning the house hadn’t been as difficult as I would have imagined. It had caught quickly, and I was sure it would burn to the ground before anyone arrived to try and extinguish the blaze.
I glance down at the accelerator as I hit the only strait section of the old canyon road. It reads 75mph and I frown painfully, causing my cheeks to start oozing fresh blood over the crust of the older gore. I set my foot on the accelerator and push it as far toward the floor as I can. There is a brief pause before the car leaps forward like a large cat after prey. By the time the 90 degree curve comes into view the powerful engine is hurtling the car’s steel frame to a mind numbing 130mph.
‘I told you I couldn’t live without you.’ I say as the car leaps off the road.
As I sail airborne down the embankment I have just enough time to wonder if the gas in the back will ignite before I see the ground rushing up at me.