Justin Michael Schmidt–Untitled

Sleet pinging against dark glass behind him, wind whipped leaves stampeding past his feet on the unlit path, an eerie howl screaming through the treetops; he knew he had trespassed against all reason and common sense, yet he walked further, bent against the storm, forward to meet his nightmare face-to-face.

He is not really here. His body lays where it has fallen in what was once their home. Some part of him knows this, but does not care…

“Maggie!” He was screaming himself now; screaming into oblivion. But, the wind howled to mock him and his lost love.

She was out there, in the dark shadows of the forest. He knew it. He could feel her pain, the pain he had caused. He could always feel her pain.

His chest is burning, with guilt and racked with pain. He tries to breathe, but it hurts to much. He is dying…

“Maggie,” he yelled again. “Where are you, babe?”

And there, from deep shadows came a face, and the pain in her beautiful, dark eyes broke his heart. “I am here, Ethan.”

His heart is racing, trying to keep blood in him; but already his hands grow cold and numb…

“Maggie, I loved you. So much.”

“I know, Ethan. You loved me too much… You gave all of yourself, and I wasn’t strong enough to take it. I couldn’t bare watching what it did to you – what I did to you!”

His blood pools on the cold, hardwood floor; the floor she insisted they have, and he had relented, because she had smiled…

“Maggie, what was I supposed to do? I wanted you in my life. I need younow.” He fell to his knees in front of her, with hands that hid tears from her.

She stood in front of him, made beautiful by ethereal light shining, soft from within. Gentle hands stroked his hair, and he felt, for a moment, that everything was as it had been; they were happy then.

“I love you, even now, though I am gone. Ethan, you know that right?” Her voice broke. “But, I was no good for you. I brought only pain. I made you suffer for me.”

The pain is worse, the agony like a razor. But, it is distant now, to him…

He was here, with her.

He looked up into her brown eyes, facing his guilt, his nightmare – the girl he loved, but could not save. Her eyes held the love of the girl he used to know.

“Maggie… I would take the pain, I would take on your burdens, if only I had you in my life. I died to find you…” With that he stood to hold her in his arms, as he had done so many times before and taken it for granted. “Don’t run now?”

The world, the house they had lived in, is fading…

“Why can’t you hate me for the pain I caused?”

“Because…” Tears rolled down his face. “I love you to much to live without you.

“I would take the pain, the dark that comes with the light, just to hold you.”

He lays without moving, and his chest still. The will find him a week later, with the gun beside him. And they’ll say, “he is finally with her.”

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