I am Him

I am not Her anymore. I am Him.

She touched my collar bone. A shiver of excitement crept up my spine. I stared at her luscious lips, her dark liquid eyes, her raven hair flowing to her arms. I brought my hand up, hesitant at first, to her cheek and caressed the smooth skin. A slight scent of coconut filled the air. Our heads came closer. We kissed, our tongues dancing together as if at a ball. She removed my shirt. I removed her dress. We brought ourselves to the bed in the seedy motel room and made love.

The door crashed open. Her eyes grew wide and fear gripped my chest. A dark hulking mass stormed into the room. Her brother pulled me off her and threw me to the floor. A dull thud reverberated throughout my ears.

“Don’t you dare touch my sister!” he shouted. He straddled me, balled his right hand into a fist, and drew his arm back. She shouted at him to stop, tears streaming from her eyes. He didn’t listen. He struck me on the side of my head and I felt something loosen behind my eyes. The room grew blurry. He hit me again. I tasted blood in my mouth. I brought up my arms to defend myself and he hit me a third time. I dropped my arms. Her brother stopped hitting me.

Why didn’t I realize the truth sooner?

“It wasn’t meant to be,” her mother’s voice was soft. I had not noticed her come in. “His people are too tainted, too dirty. We can’t let the blood mix.” She gently grabbed her daughter’s arm and led her towards the door. My love gave me a look and I saw the defiance in her eyes. I loved her even more then.

I had promised myself to him.

##

A seagull cried over the vast blue ocean. We sat on the beach, staring at the waves. We had eloped to escape her family and to keep me safe. Her head leaned against my bare shoulder. Our fingers intertwined and I tightened my grip. Our gazes met. Her eyes seemed distant.

No, no, no! Turn away!

“I… I want to tell you something,” she said, her voice trembling.

Don’t listen to her. She lies! Please!

Something stirred within me. I drew her close. “What is it?” I asked.

“I talked to them, last night. They said they had forgiven us. They said they’ll take us back and that they’ll treat you like a son.”

For the first time in a long while, I let myself feel hope. Could it be? I had been alone so long in this world. Alone until I met her. Could I have a family again? Could I no longer live in fear?

Don’t believe her don’t believe her don’t believe her.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Just talk to them. You’ll see.”

“I don’t know…”

It’s a trap! Save yourself! Forget me!

Her eyes pleaded with me. “I haven’t seen them in so long. I miss them. Just give them a chance. They know better now.”

I paused. A long moment passed between us. I looked at her again. She was so beautiful that my heart ached. “OK,” I said.

##

Cold hands clasped cold iron around my arms and feet. I was strapped to a metal chair. They wrapped a a gag around my mouth. A rough-looking man brought out a pair of pliers. I struggled, but the iron was too strong. He ripped off a fingernail of an index finger. The gag muffled my scream.

It hurts. It hurts so much.

“No!” she screamed. “You promised you wouldn’t hurt him!”

A bald priest gave her a contemptuous look. “Quiet, child,” he said, his voice a rough whisper. She complied.

His face grew expressionless as he stared down upon me. I tried to match his previous contemptuous look. “This abomination dares lay its hand upon a member of the People. It attempts to bring filth and destruction upon us. There is only one solution.” He nodded towards the rough-looking man, who took a sharpened knife off his belt.

My love rushed at him, but was restrained by two men. She screamed out curses and tried to fight back. They were too strong.

If only I had realized sooner…

“But first, the matter of your contamination, child,” said the priest. My eyes grew wide. “You have willingly jeopardized the People and tainted your blood with his. You know the penalty.”

Fear came over her eyes. “Please,” she begged, “let us go! We’ll leave and you’ll never see us again!”

The priest shook his head. “You cannot let a cancer go. You must cut it out, so that it may not infect others.” He paused. “Do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Please,” she said, “I love him. How can our love be so dangerous?”

If only I had been more eloquent. If only I was more convincing. If only I had never brought him.

The priest nodded at the knife man and in one stroke, he slit her throat. A cry struggled to escape my throat. The chains rattled as I struggled to get out of the chair. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head as dark blood rolled down her chest.

“And thus the People are safe once more,” intoned the priest.

The knife made a cold bite into my throat and the world grew dark.

I am sorry, my love.

End

Note: This was in response to a Reddit writing prompt.

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