Here's my entry into this party. If you like what you read, let me know in the comments, and if you really like it, leave the word VOTE in the comments! You can vote between now and Oct. 1st. Enjoy!
Socks dangled from the slowly rotating blades of the ceiling fan. On any other occasion, Carrie would have laughed. Not this time.She had witnessed the hurricane-like destruction Daniel had wreaked, and it was a testament to his self-control that she wasn’t hurt. He stood in the only clear spot on the floor, what had been the eye of the storm. All around him,the room was littered with debris. Glittering among the boxers and tees, change from his dresser top and splinters of mirror. His college diploma he’d gotten last week. Things he would never need.
Carrie repeated the words that had brought out his rage. “Daniel, you have to move on.”
“I promised I wouldn’t leave you. I keep my promises.” His form solidified as anger coursed through him. When it faded, he did too, until she could see through him to the curtains swaying in the breeze.
“You can’t stay. You’re gone, Danny. Please let me go.”
His eyes turned their familiar, warm brown as he stared at her. “I can’t.”
It was her fault, Carrie knew. The doctors told his parents there was nothing they could do, no way to revive the vital organs that had failed when his fever skyrocketed. As his life bled away with each soul-crushing beep, she had begged him to stay, and he’d promised her. Then the alarms had announced the end of his struggle. She had slipped away from the shrieks of grief in the waiting room to her Honda. And Daniel had been waiting for her.
She picked her way through glass and cotton until she stood in front of him. “I want a new promise then. One that will take theplace of this one.”
“I’d do anything for you.” Daniel put his transparent palm beside her cheek, and she felt his energy shift. The rest of him became nearly invisible as his hand turned solid. Carrie leaned into his palm. “Whatdo you want me to promise?”
“If there is another life after this, I will find you. If there’s only darkness, I’ll find you there, too. Whatever lies beyond death, we will share it. But until then, you have to let me go.”
“I don’t want to go without you.”
“Danny, I still have things to do.” She had another year of college, and planned to travel to Italy to study architecture. She had other dreams, too. Dreams she had thought she would share with him, but she didn’t dare remind him of that now.
He faded completely for a moment, but Carrie knew he was still with her. She felt him all around her, just like she had when he’d been warm and alive and lying next to her. When he came back, Daniel was as solid as he had been alive, his arms just as strong as he wrapped them around her. His hair tickled her cheek as he leaned forward to whisper into her ear. “No matter what lies beyond. Heaven, hell, something in between, or darkness. No matter how many years, I will wait for you.”
His fingers, callused from pressing guitar strings, lifted her chin, and his lips pressed softly to hers. Tears flowed down herface, and she wanted to beg him not to leave, but she couldn’t, not again. He had to move on. He deserved more than a poltergeist existence. “I’ll find you.”
When Carrie opened her eyes, Daniel was gone. Herchest hitched with repressed sobs as she stumbled downstairs. In the diningroom, his parents looked up from their cups of coffee, and his father asked,“Is it done?”
“Danny’s gone,” she confirmed. “I’m going now.”
“Shouldn’t you wait, Carrie? You seem a little shook up.”
“No. I’ll be fine.” They offered her coffee and breakfast, anything to keep her longer, but there was no reason for her to stay. Daniel had moved on. Politely turning down their offers, she retreated to her car and wiped the tears from her eyes. The morning would bring a new start. A plane ticket for Rome stuck out of her purse. She eased the car out of the driveway. She had packing to do.
The world exploded in sheared metal and shattered glass, but not the relative safety of air bags. Too shocked to scream, she watched the houses along the street turn over and over as the moving van rolled her Honda.
Carrie blinked and the world went dark. Had she passed out? How long? She inhaled. No pain. Moved her arm. It should hurt, right? The way she’d rolled, she was sure she must be banged up. Maybe she was pumped full of adrenaline. How long did an adrenaline rush last? Was it night time?
“It’s always night here, Carrie, baby.” Daniel materialized before her, a smile impossibly containing both joy and regret curving his lips. “It’s always night, but life’s never been more beautiful.”
“What happened? You promised, Danny. You promised you’d move on!” His smile faded, but he didn’t. He reached out to her, and Carrie realized she wasn’t in her car. Had she been thrown?
“I did move on. You found me.” He stepped back and gestured with his hand.
Carrie’s eyes widened. Webs of coral pink and purple intersected with deep gold, and deep within the nebula, she saw the birth of a pale-blue star. “Oh…”
Daniel took her hand. “Our turn.”
* * *
“Grandpa, look at this!”
The old man peeked into the telescope. “What you got there?”
“Two stars, Grandpa. My teacher says they’re binary and circle each other.”
“That’s real interesting. My old Gran, she called‘em lovers’ stars. She said stars like those were two people whose love was so great, it followed them into death, and they became stars.”
“That’s silly.”“Hush, now. Could be true.”