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When the Earth Ate the Sun
The Georgia sun slowly set below the horizon. It looked like the Earth was devouring in front of a background of royal purples, rose pinks, amber oranges, and navy blues. Above that God painted heavens was the darkness of night. Tinkling stars dotted the black as it faded to cobalt.
The smell of dying magnolia was everywhere. The sweet scent furthered the garden’s charming bliss, along with the white rose petals that fell to the ground one at a time, withered brown from the sun’s vicious rays shining on them all morning. All the leaves were made of chocolate due to their depravity of water. Everything was dead but Kimber.
Turning her head, she looked at Leo. His skin was snow against the straw-colored grass. His hair glittered in the ginger sun, taking on its hues to where it was almost the same fiery red. He smiled a perfect, thin grin that took up most of his willowy, handsome face. Bringing up his hand, he stroked his slender, icy fingers along her cheekbones.
Kimber closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of his smooth fingertips. The only sound she could hear was the light breeze rustling the brittle leaves and petals of dying plant life and the muted sound of only her breathing.
“Kimber,” Leo said, his voice feather light in its unusually high pitch. The angels called to her in that voice from the brilliantly highlighted skies above her.
“Yes,” she whispered as she breathed in more of the magnolia.
“There’s still time to change your mind,” he assured her for what might have been the hundredth time in the last week.
Kimber exhaled, turning over onto her side so that she would no longer face him. She kept her eyes shut while her hand played with the fragile blades of grass. They mirrored her slowly breaking heart.
What would anyone give to be in her position? She would be given not only immortality but also the man she loved. Leo was her entire existence at this point in her rather short life . . . but what would her existence be in ten years?
Frost stroked down Kimber’s arm. “I’m sorry,” Leo apologized. “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
“You didn’t upset me,” she lied, spreading her palm over the blades. Her hand ran up towards her head, breaking more of them in half.
Wintry fingers ran through her dark auburn curls, and she sensed Leo very close to her. “I can tell when you lie.” The artic breeze from his whispering caressed her skin.
Feeling her eyes brim with stinging salt water, she squeezed them shut. She didn’t want the tears to fall, to let Leo see them. There was no way in this great earth she would allow him to see the indecision of her heart that was surely projected in the screen of her irises. It was the hesitancy to pack her things and leave him for the last time.
“Why are you so quiet?” he asked after a few seconds.
What answer could she give him? Should she tell him the truth? That after tonight they would never see one another again. Was it even in her to tell him that every plan they had for the future would be mercilessly torn apart because of her dreams to be a mother, to stay with her family . . . or to grow old like a normal person? Could she really tell him that tonight was the end, no more Leo and Kimber?
She couldn’t even take it herself. Almost two years of the most intense love affair she would ever experience, gone in just the tick of a clock’s hand. The most amazing thing she’d ever had, gone in less time than it took to snap your fingers. Could she really do that?
Her eyes finally betrayed her, opening to glance at the world. The tears fell freely, like prisoners being released from the confines of their prison cells. As they streamed down, she felt sobs growing in her chest.
Leo’s wiped a hand across her cheek. “Why do you cry, love? Tell me. Please. I beg of you.”
She couldn’t do it. Her entire life she’d been a coward and this proved even more that she was. Instead of facing life like the adult she so desperately wanted to be, she decided to run away. Just like a child, she would dash away from everything that wasn’t to her liking.
With the decision made, she pushed herself off the hardened ground. The garden no longer appealed to her like it had only minutes before. It seemed more of a penitentiary that held her to something she didn’t want to do. Just the thought made her walk faster and her breathing hasten.
“Kimber, where are you going?” Leo called, walking after her. He caught her in a few strides of his long legs.
The sobs broke from her chest in the form of a shout as he grabbed her wrist. She collapsed onto her knees on the ground. Unable to contain herself, she screamed out. Like everything around her would soon die, so would her soulâ€”and not in the way she’d have preferred.
“Stop it!” Her voice cracked in every possible way as she shrieked the words out. There had never been another time in her life when she could remember feeling this much pain. Everything she’d worked so hard for was about to slip from her grasp because of her own stupidity.
She cut him off before he could go on and brushed the hand that had come to brush away her curls.
“Just stop,” she sobbed.
Through the blur of salt filled tears, she saw his confusion. “Stop what?”
“Stop being so good to me. This is already hard enough for me to do.”
Her throat closed up, causing her rapid breathing to turn into hyperventilation. The words wouldn’t come out, the reason being she wasn’t supposed to run away from Leo. The only place she belonged, the only place she wanted to be was by his side for the rest of eternity.
But he was dead. He was something disgusting and unnatural. Leo himself shouldn’t have been in existence. She didn’t want to be like one of them; she wanted to breathe and eat and have a heartbeat. The only thing she’d dreamt of for so long was to have children with the man she fell in love with, have someone who was part of her and a part of him.
Then again, was that all worth it without her precious Leo? Was the world worth all its value and treasures if she didn’t have the one thing that made her life worth living? Could she be Kimber without Leo? Was it really so bad to be something repulsive and twisted? To be something that lives through the centuries as those around her age while she would stay ever young? Was it okay to live off the innocent?
Yes, it was wrong for her to never age, to say as she was in the prime of her life. It was wrong to have the life everyone around her would lust after if they knew it existed. Not in anyway was it okay to feed off of the innocent. But she didn’t think she could be Kimber without her incredible Leo. And the world wasn’t worth anything without him by her side.
Leo came down to her level on the ground, sitting on his knees. She knew he’d recognized the confusion in her face. “You can’t decide.” It was a direct statement, no questioning in his voice.
“Yes . . . No . . . Yes . . . I don’t know. I don’t know what to do.”
He took her cheeks in a grip softer than a baby’s hold between his cupped palms. “Choose to be with me. We can be together for the rest of eternity. Everything you’ve ever dreamed of, I can make it come true.”
She shook her head. “You can’t give me children or a family or any of that. If I do this, I can never see the people I love the most every again.”
“Sure you can. You’ll see them all you want.”
“But I can never cross their threshold without their permission. If I’m supposed to be fifty and still look eighteen, how the hell am I to ask them to cross into their house. What about my sister or my mom or my dad?”
“But you can watch from the outside. You can be their protectors.”
“I don’t want to be their protector. I want to be their daughter. And what about my child? I can’t have one if I’m dead.”
“I will give you a child. There are such things as adoption in these days. I’m sure there are orphans who would love to have someone like you as a mother.”
Bending over, she cried into her lap. Her entire body shook. “But they won’t be mine. They won’t be ours, Leo.”
There was no answer to that. The only thing breaking the silence was her quick breath and random burst of screaming.
“But you’ll have me,” Leo finally said. “Is that not enough for you?”
Kimber sat back up, wiping her face. “Of course it is.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
This would be the final blow, the reason Leo couldn’t argue even if he tried the rest of his existence.
“I don’t want to be dead,” she whispered, looking straight into his face.
His almond colored eyes filled with shock and sadness. It was obviously something he’d never thought she’d argue. Death was her biggest fear, but living while dead was a fate Kimber thought worse than anything the world could throw at her. Dead while living.
Her skin would become marble white; her eyes would slowly loose their color until they too were almost white, lightning from the blue she loved and her hair would slowly lighten from its rich auburn to sparkling silver. Every part of her body would become gaunt as all the fatty parts of it dissipated until she only had muscle between skin and bone. And the most awful thing of all would be the insatiable lust for blood she'd gain.
She’d grow a set of fangs, retractable yes, but still there all the same. Her senses would slowly intensify becoming almost unmatched by any creature on earth in less than a century. By then, she’d be a hunter of any creature whose blood ran warm.
Without blood, she would grow weak and hungry. If a human came within yards of her after only a couple weeks of not feeding, she would hunt them down, catch them, and suck them dry.
This was the future she saw. And the only good thing about it was that she would have Leo. Could he truly outweigh all that?
“But . . . you’re in love with me,” he said, stunned.
“It’s different, though. I’m not what you are; I’m only living with you.” She stroked her hands through her thick hair. “I don’t even think I could live like you do. I can’t even see how you do it.”
“I can teach you. Please, just change. Be with me, Kimber.” Out of his back pocket, he took a knife. He set it below his palm before sliding it along the delicate piece of membrane that kept the blood within.
Kimber thought nothing would happen, that he was as dry as the Sarah inside, but instead, a mercury like substance gurgled out of the newly opened veins and skin. It spilled onto the ground, contrasting the gold grass. The disgusting scentâ€”something like rotting fleshâ€”covered the sweet magnolia.
“All you have to do is give me your wrist.”
At the moment, Kimber was seduced by the thought. Immortality with just the cut of a blade. For just a second, she could see herself as what Leo was. Her body told her to give in and give him her wrist. Every human was built for self preservation, and Leo’s blood was the ultimate in protection.
Finally, she gave up and lifted her arm to him. He set the knife to her skin, sliding it across like he’d done to his own. It seared, a physical pain almost as bad as the emotional pain she’d felt. The razor edge dug into her thin casing of skin and her blood bubbled out, red like the last remaining bit of the setting sun as the earth finished it off in its main course. The moon, its dessert, now awaited its fate.
Kimber thought it rather ironic, dying at sunset. The daytime of her life slipped away while the night over took it. It would be an inescapable darkness; one that suffocated you. There would be no stars, no light, no moon, just a never ending abyss. And Leo’s blood was the precipice in which she would fall from.
As his wrist came closer to hers, she suddenly didn’t want to jump. She wanted to live, to stay in the sunlight where life prospered. Even if Leo would be with her after, she didn’t want to die.
She pulled from his grasp seconds before they could touch. Shaking her head, she whispered, “No.”
He looked defeated when he took his arm back. Through his eyes, she saw his still heart breaking in two.
“Not yet,” she added. “Just give me a little while, Leo. Give me the time, that’s all I ask for. Then I’ll come back to you if you still want me.”
“I’ll always want you,” he promised, “but I can live with your decision. I have to.” From his pocket he pulled a small vile. Putting it to the flowing silver liquid, he filled it to the top before capping it off with a plastic topper. “When and if you change your mind, and I’m not there for you, all you have to do is make a cut as I’ve done and pour my blood onto the wound. After you’ve changed, come find me. I’ll be in Burbank.” He smiled, but it turned more painful than she thought he’d meant for it to be. With shaking hands, he put the vile in her palm.
Kimber flung her arms around his neck. “I promise I’ll come to you.”
He squeezed her back. “I know you will. You’ve never made a promise you didn’t keep.” His attempt at a laugh was rather sucky. “I don’t think I’ve ever kept a promise to you.”
Backing away, she removed herself from his embrace. “Do you remember my last birthday?”
He nodded. “The one I missed even though I’d promised I’d been there.”
“You made it,” she reminded him, “with three seconds to spare. And that was all that mattered to me.” She put her hand under his chin and brought him into her. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Now, do I get a kiss goodbye?”
“It’s not goodbye, Kimber.”
As the sun finished sinking into the ground and the moon reached higher in the sky, they kissed. It was as if it were just another kiss for them simply because it wouldn’t be their last. The grass crunched as he laid her down on the ground.
The sky finally turned black and instead of the past sunset representing Kimber’s death, it resembled the ending of her relationship with Leo for just the moment. But it would only be a matter of time before the earth would eat the moon and a new sun appeared in the sky, ready for the Earth to devour it once again. That sun would symbolize Kimber’s existence, and its sunset would signify her human life ending.
And she would dive in with no second thoughts . . . hopefully.
To Be Continued . . .