The Fondness Of Enmity



Scene Title The Fondness of Enmity
Synopsis Eve Mas dreams of death.
Date September 12, 2018

In Dreams

The sky is nothing but pale gray light, so flat it looks like a piece of smoky ceramic hanging overhead. A misting rain falls down, dewdrops hang in the unkempt grass, trampled flat by many feet. There are rows of wooden chairs arranged in the grass, crooked and skewed from the people who rose up from them to depart this place in silence; maybe thirty, all told. Nearby, an old oak looms eternally, its foliage patchy from age and distress, with many branches simply bare of leaves. They are all a vibrant orange in color, and from the chill in the air it's clear that it's autumn.

Still falling

A casket sits on a stand nestled in the tall grass, suspended over a fresh hold dug into the cold earth. Flowers have been left on the simple, brown casket's surface, beaded with the same misting rain that the mourners were. No one who came to mourn is here anymore, the mourners have taken their leave, and soon the casket will be lowered into the earth to join the dirt and the company of the other graves around the site of the funeral. A single person lingers, though, beside the old oak tree. His suit is crisp and black, posture slack and hands in his pockets. He's been there for a while, staring at the grave. Thinking.

Breathless and on again

Eventually, he pushes away from the tree and starts meandering through the cemetery toward the fresh grave. The rain has beaded on the casket, rolls off in thin rivulets. Flower petals are scattered in the grass. Clean Italian leather shoes tread over the petals, flatten what grass hasn't been, and with long-legged strides the last mourner comes to stand by the coffin. "Always figured this would've happened sooner," he says aloud, looking at his muted reflection in the glossy wood. "Part of me always imagined you'd go out on your feet… not…" his brows pinch together, "on your back, in a bed."

Inside today

Breathing in deeply, the mourner turns around and rests the small of his back gently against the coffin, hands still in his pockets, face turned up toward the rain. "It's funny," he says with a faint huff of breath that was almost a laugh, "of all the people I've made promises to, I actually intended to keep the one I made to you." Blue eyes angle down to the casket, and there's no amusement in his tone. Just disappointment. "Of all of them, I actually liked you." He smiles, faintly. "A little."

Beside me today

Silence hangs over the cemetery, save for the distant sounds of the city; cars, construction, and people. The last mourner rolls his tongue over his teeth, contemplating something that's going unsaid. Removing one hand from his pocket, he smooths blonde hair flat to his scalp and wrings rainwater out of it and down the back of his neck. It's not quite cold enough to snow, and the prickling feeling of that cold in the air is invigorating.

Around broken in two

"I remember a lot more than most folks," the mourner says quietly. "Probably more than you, given the swiss cheesing they did to your poor brain." Those blue eyes level back on the casket, viewing it side-long in the way one might warily watch an unfamiliar dog. "It's funny," he says as an aside, "I keep expecting you to flip the lid open, shout surprise, and wring my neck." That draws a smile, the absurdity and the fondness of enmity. "You and I weren't always enemies, though. There was a time that we were friends. But nobody remembers that side of me, the way things were, before…" he rolls his eyes. "Anyway."

Till your eyes shed

"I promised you I'd tell you a secret the next time we met," the mourner offers to the dead. "It's been a long time, but I wanted to keep that. But I…" he dithers, watching the gray horizon of broken skyscrapers and tall red cranes. "Back in the day, when we were on the same side, we were partners. I know, it seems unlikely, but I was never one for desk work and as the children I turned into leaders began to grow old, I never lost that drive to make a change with my hands. We were both alike, both liked to get our hands dirty." Breathing in deeply, the mourner plucks a rose petal off of the casket and looks at it. "The 80s were a hell of a time."

Into dust

Flicking the rose petal away, the mourner blinks his attention over to the old oak tree. A leaf falls from one of the dark, wet branches. "Anyway," he exhales a sigh, "our last case before everyone failed to see reason was rounding up people who'd come from places not of this earth. Somewhere just beside us, just step to the left as the song goes. It was challenging, finding folks who didn't blend in and then making them blend." The mourner leans off of the casket and turns around to face it, resting his hand on the wet surface.

Like two strangers

"Partway through the investigation, we found ourselves in this cemetery." His voice dips down, quieter now. "I'm actually not good at funerals, if you believe it. I've never really been good with death, when it comes to the people close to me." Starting to circle the casket now, the mourner brushes his palm along, sweeping water away with a touch. "You don't remember the funeral, though. You don't remember the car accident, don't remember how happy you were. They took all that away from you, they changed everything in a night." Breathing in deeply, the mourner stops at the head of the casket and rests his hands on either side of it. "We buried your son here, in this cemetery, on a warm summer night."

Turning into dust

Staring at his muted reflecting in the glossy casket's surface, the mourner breathes in deeply again and then exhales a slow sigh. "A week later we found your boy, in Pennsylvania, alive and well. He was one of them. One of the exceptions who we were cataloging and painting into the background of our own little corner of the universe." The mourner drums his fingers on the corners of the casket. "You were overjoyed. You held your boy in your arms and you never let him go. But they wouldn't let it stay like that. There were orders, and you weren't exempt. So they tried to adjust your memory. Wipe the trauma of the car accident from you. Paint over the sad parts, and give you your happy ending."

Till my hand shook

Bitter now, the mourner lifts his hands from the casket. "It didn't take. Each time they tried one of those modifications, you wormed your way out of it. You remembered that the boy looking at you wasn't really your son, and that somewhere else out there, another you was looking for his son and wouldn't ever stop until he found him. It broke you." The mourner's mouth twitches, nearly smiling. "You punched Bob so hard you took out a molar. They pushed back harder."

With the way I fear

Making his way around the other side of the casket, the mourner brushes three fingers along the side of the casket. "The only way to make it work was to cut it out entirely. Choices were made, and they made you forget how much you loved your wife. They made you forget all of the happiness you had, they made you forget your son, they made you a ghost. In their mind, you were no one, a deadbeat who abandoned his family. It was easier that way, the conspiracy simpler to keep." Stopping back at the foot of the casket, the mourner exhales a slow, steady sigh.

I could possibly be fading

"I just wanted you to know," he says in a quiet voice, "for one of them? I quite liked you." He takes one step back, hands brushing across his thighs to dry them off on black slacks before he tucks his hands back into his pockets. "I wish things ended differently for you. I wish you could've gotten your revenge."

Or have something more to gain

The mourner frowns, visibly, then takes a step back again and starts to turn.

I could feel myself growing colder

The rain starts to fall harder, and in the distance dark clouds gather.

I could feel myself under your fate

"Goodbye, Ben."

Under your fate


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