All Apologies

This is a Love Story. And a story about Love.

“Are you still alive?”

“Yes.”

“Then hide…and stay hidden.”

“For how long? You know that they’ll find us. Then what?”

“I’ll let you know as soon as I figure things out.”

Click. He holds the cellphone to his ear just long enough to hear the dial tone. He can’t remember how long it’s been since he heard your voice. Seen your face; kissed your lips — felt the pulse of your skin against his. He can still recall the twist of the sheets around his feet as you straddled him for the first time. His hands cupping your breasts, squeezing and suckling. Cherishing every second of the bittersweet-salty taste of your hardened nipples upon his tongue…

It’s 9 am. You know ’cause you keep checking your watch. But the digital

clock on the wall reads 12:05 P.

“Shit. Sorry doc.”

“You forgot to reset your watches again?”

“Yeah. I keep forgetting.”

The doctor pulls out a long, thick syringe and presses it into your arm. “This is going to hurt a bit…”

You can feel the invasion of the needle as it plunges through the layers of your skin, and into your veins. You try to keep your mind off the pain and begin focusing on the doctor’s forehead instead. He’s a young man, younger than most of the other doctors but you don’t mind that. In fact it made you curious about his intellect, how high is IQ was in comparison to the others. Too bad you can’t ask questions like that, nor could he answer them if you did. It was the policy of the facility that their would be no casual doctor-patient fraternization. Besides you didn’t sign up for the program to make friends.

So why did the two of you end up breaking the rules then?

You told him to meet you at the specific place. The place he told you about nights after you both were physically exhausted after endless love-making. Only he would remember where, especially since he told no one else about it. From there you and he would leave, two forged government passports. Two tickets on the way out of the city-state. Two on the run, hoping that with enough credits allies remained loyal and quiet, no matter what.

It was raining outside the first night you made love. You knew because of the pressure on your forehead that presses like a heavy brick slowly crushing against your skull. He said that the pains would subside with the treatments. 90 days later they had not subsided. Or was it 190? There were days you lost count of and others you couldn’t recall. It was getting so that you forgot your parents’ names — their faces, like memories of your own childhood were now a distant fuzz, a static filled blur.

The bed felt like cold steel as he laid you on it an climbed on top of you. Or was that just because of the feel of the sweat upon your skin, clinging to your outsides from the inside you, pushing out of your flesh the way the nightmares would push you out of your entire body until you were high into the air floating outside of your own human husk. Your body an empty puddle below. Did you cry? Did your the salt of you tears mingle with the salt of you sweat the same way the two of you intertwined? Please indulge me. You case is a new and strange one to us. We wish to review each detail.

You now knew that they were recording each session you two had together in and out of love-making. Whether it was business as usual — or not didn’t matter to them anymore. What mattered is how long the stress of your secrets would take to crush the both of you. As long as you remained on the premises your lives where their property.

So you forfeited your oath. You decided he was more important than your pledge. But even that wasn’t enough to save either of you. That wasn’t even enough to keep them from finding you first.

On the operating table you asked to see. On that cold hard steel table is where you realized you went wrong. The cramps. The aches, the swell of your breasts. The physical shakes you had after vomiting for nights on end. The memories came flooding as the screen came on.

There you heard his voice. You heard him say the truth, and you saw her. The one they sent to be his assassin. She was wearing you face.

“I thought they would have sent you sooner,” he said with a smug grin.

“I keep late hours. We all do thanks to her.”

“Yeah, she was never one to be on time.”

“You’re awfully cheerful for this…situation. Tell me why?”

“All apologies. I was never one to be afraid of death.”

“How brave of you.”

“No, not brave. Just distant.”

“I suppose. Although if you ask her she probably wouldn’t say so.”

“I suppose. But then again we never really talked much. What we had was a form of non-verbal empathy.”

“Is that what you call it? I assumed it was just fucking.”

He laughed a hard laugh and turning his face to the river adjoining the pier. It was after midnight, but the city-state was still aglow. The lights shimmered in his tear soaked eyes, this is the moment. This is the moment he wanted to die with.

He felt the cold hard press of the pen-strike against the back of his skull. He knew how with a press of the button the blade would puncture right between his skull and spine stopping the fluid from entering the brain. The brain would expand throwing the body into shock. Death would be imminent.

“You have your mother’s eyes.”

Those were the last words he heard. The sound of his own voice was just a second delay from the click of the trigger.

You are silent now as the tears do come. They flood your eyes and roll down your pouting face. How was that even possible. How long have you been at the facility? Years? You don’t even know anymore.

How many “you’s” have been produced? Was this the first time, or the last? These questions hover on your tongue yet don’t seem to make it into the air from your jaw and lips.

END