Sometimes I find sketches of scenes. Written months ago, I effectively have forgotten that I’ve written them and reading them with new eyes can result in interesting reactions. This here made me a) question that it actually was me that wrote it and b) punched me in the guts. Oh my, that last paragraph has to be saved, it’s so precious.
She heard Dee Dee approaching through the rubble, calling her daughter’s name. Adelie stared at the twisted body of Eliza, the wide open eyes staring into nothingness, the beautiful face covered with blood. A broken procelain doll. Under no circumstances could she allow that Dee Dee saw her like that, she would never recover.
“You’ve found her!”
“Stand back Dee Dee, you mustn’t see her like this!” Adelie stopped her friend from entering the ruin of the former lab.
“It’s my daughter, my baby! Let me see her!” She tried to push her away, but Adelie stood her ground, wrapping her arms around her friend and pushing her away, using her whole body to keep her friend from entering.
“No! Please, Dee Dee, not like this!”
“My baby! My beautiful baby!”
“You can see her later, not now! Not like this. Please, Dee Dee, understand?”
Dee Dee fought like a lioness, struggeling against her arms, but the pure panic that she could see her child in that horrible way gave Adelie an equal strength. The wails and tears of her friend though were worse than every punch. Even as she finally got her aboard a drop ship, she didn’t stop screaming, and all she could do was holding her tightly, helplessly trying to comfort her.
After she had dropped her friend at sickbay, where she got a shot with a highly effective sedative, Adelie left for her own quarters. The quiet of the studio was deafening, and she felt numb. Staring down at the green planet spinning below, she thought about the little girl that was probably now in a black body bag, put in by the recovery teams, soon to be brought aboard the Space Station, to be prepped for the funeral. The chance for Dee Dee to finally say Goodbye. She felt cold, as cold as Eliza. Why her, why a little girl? Tears burned in her eyes as she recalled the names of the many scientists that had lost their lives with her, but she couldn’t cry. She wanted to scream, but lump in her throat rendered her speechless.
She hadn’t heard Nate coming in, but the instant she felt his arm around her, she turned and pressed her face against his chest. His arms enveloped her tightly. He didn’t say anything, he just held her, his hand stroking her back. The warmth of another human being felt almost unreal against her own frozen numbness. His heartbeat was a drum in her ear, telling her own heart what to do. Eventually, the lump in her throat loosened and she drew in a ragged breath.
Slowly lifting her face up from the safety of his body, their eyes met. He looked like she felt: exhausted, sad, defeated. There was no need to talk, they could only hold on to each other, being the anchor that was rooted in reality, the beam of light that fought the darkness. The darkness. She could feel it lingering in the background of her conciousness, waiting for a moment to engulf her, to drown her, to take the will to live out of her.
“It’s all my fault,” she whispered.
“It’s not. Don’t say something like that. Nobody could have prevented that. Not with what we had to deal with.”
“I could have saved Eliza.”
“How Lily? Nobody knew where she was?”
“I could have tried harder.”
He he grabbed her shoulders hard but she was so numb she barely felt the pinch. “Stop that. Now. You did everything humanly possible to save everybody’s life. You tried very hard, but you are not an army, and that was what we would have needed. They were too many, Lily! We stood no chance against them.”
She knew he was right, but she couldn’t believe it.
“This little girl. This bright little girl, with her cute pigtails and her curiosity. Gone. Just like that. Why Nate, why?”
Finally, the tears flowed, sorrow shaking her. Sobbing she buried her face in his shoulder.
She was sure she looked as awful as she felt, with a red nose, puffy eyes and a tear-stained face accompanying her bruised body, but in his eyes was nothing but love. He held her tightly, kissing away the remainders of her tears trickling down her face, kissing the tip of her nose, her eyebrows, eventually her lips. They melted into each others embrace, but ultimately that wasn’t close enough to thaw her frozen core. With shaking fingers she fumbled to open the buttons of his shirt.
“What are you doing?”
“I want to feel your warm skin. I’m so cold.”
Gently he pushed her fingers away and opened the buttons instead. Then he took off the shirt, wrapping her again with his bare arms. She sighed as the warm, soft skin of his chest touched her cheek. Burying her nose in his chest hair, she inhaled his scent. Musky, manly, alive. He was alive. Alive, with her and they were alone. She remembered the morning in the research station’s kitchen. The promise of time alone with him. It felt ages ago.
“It’s not fair that you’re half-naked, and I’m not, is it?”
His hand had sneaked up her back and stole the tie that held her braid. Slowly and gently his fingers loosened the braid, pulling it apart until her hair was a wavy mane falling over her shoulders. Satisfied he buried both hands in it, cradled the back of her head, and kissed her.