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Let me tell you a story
For I have not long to live

There is a legend
A story
Of two lovers
The love of death and life

Death, Life
Him, her
Lovers
They fight

Sometimes, death wins
Yet there still is hope
For life can still show
Her mercy, and triumph over him

Though life is convincing
Death is sometimes a tyrant
Like a drunken man,
He pounds his fist

Please, cries she
Let them go
No, they must die
Says he, pushing her away

Once death has come upon someone
Life’s pity shows and death’s guilt is evident
For that person shall live again
In heaven or hell

But like lovers
There are days they don’t fight
When his mercy shows
For on those days, life and death are happy

Life flourishes
New life is born
And she brings joy
Joy to those who have received

While death ends
The suffering of those who are ill
His job is surely the hardest
For the pain he feels is limitless

Tearing apart loved ones
Killing mothers, fathers and children
But those who have died are watching
Watching and guiding their loved ones in heaven

And so, my darling
When my time comes
And death has ended
My suffering

Do not rage at death nor life
But thank them, for I will be watching over you in heaven

Panting, I ran. I couldn’t go back. At least, not to where I had once called home. No, if I go back they’ll surely kill me, even after all those years I’m sure they wouldn’t show me any mercy. After all, it was my fault. All my fault, I was supposed to kill him.
Why? Why didn’t I do my duty? I had done it many times before but why was this one so much harder to do? If I had killed him it would’ve benefited me and I wouldn’t have to be killed. Was this time any different than before?
Then, I looked back at him. The familiar brown eyes that had me ensnared in his presence. I wanted to stop, just to look at him. I suddenly remembered when we first met. The day I had been given my mission. I had to be a secretary to a CEO who was a target of “the organization” and I had to gain his trust before killing him.
I knew I might’ve have gotten attached to him but I didn’t expect to entangled in his web of lies. That year of undercover work helped me know his daily work schedule but it also lead me into his life. His daily life of an ordinary man. I was trapped and I had failed.
Because of my ridiculous emotions, I was now running. Running from the organization, and from him. Suddenly, tears were flowing down my cheeks. I stopped running and touched the side of my cheek with my finger. The only other time I had cried was when my mother had left me. Why was I crying now?
Was I that attached to him? Was this what they called love?
I didn’t know anymore. I ran away from it all hoping I could run away from my failure and my whole life.
But I couldn’t. Not anymore, that is.
Layla ran, she ran as quickly as her feet could carry her. She ran away from the burning mansion, what had once been her home, her sanctuary. As she ran, she could feel the tears streaming down her cheeks, sobbing she ran to the park and headed straight for the swings. She had always come here as a child and today she came her to relive her innocent days. Considering what she had done she had no right to do this. Sobbing, she swung slowly to and fro.
Her family was dead. All killed by one person. They were all killed by her. After the years of abuse, rape, and torture, she had enough. She had taken her father’s revolver and shot them all setting the house on fire as she left. Regrettably, she had left her brother and sister to go to heaven. The sadness overwhelmed her, and she was about to pull out the gun and kill herself when she was interrupted.
“Hey babe, want to hang with us?” said a man who was followed by his companions who all seemed to be drunk.
Layla didn’t say anything. She stared blankly out and kept swinging slowly, back and forth.
“HEY, when someone talks to you, you should answer them, don’t be rude,” one of the man’s companions said as he grabbed her arm.
Suddenly, Layla turned her head and looked at them. Glaring, it was obvious she wanted them to let go but they didn’t get the message.
“Ooh, this one’s a pretty one, I’m going to have fun with her tonight,” the man said as he tried to get her off the swing.
As he pulled her off, Layla stuck her hand in her jean pocket and took the gun out. Seemingly merciless, she shot the man in the head without a word.
“Holy shit!! The bitch’s got a gun!” the man’s companions said as they started to run. Too late. Layla was already starting to shoot them. One down, two down, three down, one more left. The last, one who had spoken to her earlier ran toward the fountain and found a rock.
“Bitch if you don’t put the gun down I’ll-I’ll-I’ll kill you,” he said stuttering as he feared for his life.
Layla snickered unfazed by the empty threat. She walked toward the trembling man and placed the gun directly on his forehead. The man was frozen with fear.
“Am I being rude?” she asked sarcastically as she shot him in the head. He fell back with a thud. She looked around and saw the bloody corpses.
Then, she smiled. The smile turned to a chuckle, to a giggle, then to a laugh. Layla, the beautiful girl from the seemingly nice family, had gone mad. She looked into the fountain, red with blood, and saw her face. The familiar brown eyes and brown hair were contaminated with blood. Her family’s and the men’s blood. She was overwhelmed with guilt, relief, and sadness all at the same time. She then took her gun, sat down in the fountain with the water flowing onto the top of her head, and shot herself in the mouth.
Narcisa, her name. It was obvious she wasn’t from this city, let alone this country. The way she dressed, the way she talked, the way she looked, everything pointed to a foreign lifestyle. She didn’t belong in this lowly high school in Tokyo. Yet, she befriended someone like me. It all started on the day she transferred in.
“Hello class, we have a new transfer student today,” the teacher announced.
Full of grace and elegance, she walked in. It was obvious she wasn’t from Japan, with her doll-like blue eyes, reddish brown hair, and her figure. Far superior than those of the Japanese with a model figure and a doll face, all the guys in class were immediately entranced, everyone including me.
“Class, this is Narcisa, she’s from Europe please make her feel welcome,” continued the teacher, “now where shall place you, where do you want to sit?”She walked slowly around the class, everyone’s tension was high. Everyone wanted to be her friend, now someone was getting a chance to.
She stopped suddenly. Her eyes widened, she had stopped in front of me. As I looked into her eyes, it was evident that she recognized me from somewhere but I didn’t recognize her at all. Yet, there was a sense of familiarity, something indescribable, like I had known her in a past life.
“I would like to sit here please,” she said in her quiet, shy, voice.
“Okay, next to Ryuu huh?” the teacher said as he wrote her name down in the seating chart in his hand.
“AWWW,” the class whined.
I just thought this was just going to be an ordinary friendship, but I never knew it would amount to something more.. Much, much more.

“Goodbye, this is best for you.”

The last words he had written to me before he left. Now I knew why he had said those words.

“Hey! You’re here early,” I said as I ran up to Ren, my boyfriend. We had been dating for nearly a year now and it was almost our anniversary. We hadn’t seen each other for a while because he had been busy with relatives.

“Yeah, I wanted to see you,” he said smiling his usual smile but somehow, it had a painful tinge to it. Strangely, I noticed he had a hat on and he had always told me he hated wearing hats. I figured he was just having a bad hair day and shrugged it off and didn’t say anything about it. We hugged each other and kissed like any other couple would and started on our date.

That day, we had planned to go to shopping a little and watch a movie together. As we walked to the theaters, Ren suddenly had a violent coughing attack.

“Are you okay?!” I asked helping him up, “wait here, I’ll go get you some water.”‘ I ran to get water from a nearby vending machine and rushed back to give it to him. He quickly drank it and looked back up at me.

“Thanks, you know what, instead of watching the movie, let’s go shopping,” he suggested.

“Sure, whatever you want, but are you sure you’re okay?” I asked worriedly.

“Mhmm,” he whispered.

“Are you totally sure you don’t need a doctor?” I asked again.

“YES I’m fine,” he answered sternly.

Since we had decided to not watch a movie, we had a lot of time for shopping. While we were in stores, I noticed that every once in a while, Ren would disappear somewhere. During one of these times, I confronted him and asked him.

“What’s wrong?! You keep leaving and I’m getting worried. We haven’t seen each other in so long and I’m getting worried,” I asked.

“I told you, it’s nothing,” he said sternly, “and you don’t have to get all suspicious, I’m not cheating on you or anything.”

“What?!” I said, aghast, “I never said I was suspicious! I’m just worried you’re not like your usual self today.”

“Whatever let’s go home, separately. I don’t want to see your face anymore!” he yelled, obviously pissed, as he walked quickly into his car.

“What?! WAIT, I don’t–” I began but it was too late, he had already zoomed off in the direction of his home. “Wow, he left me here with no ride huh?

After that incident, Ren and I slowly stopped talking. I guess we just got a little tired of each other. For the first couple days, I expected him to text or call me saying anything but after a while, I stopped hoping. Days passed, then weeks, then it was our anniversary. He didn’t visit, call or even text. I just assumed that Ren and I had drifted apart and broken up.

Then, two months after our anniversary had passed, I got a letter in the mail along with some flowers. They were beautiful roses. But they weren’t just ordinary roses. They were white, with a slight tinge of pink on the corners of the petals. Strangely enough the note was addressed to me from Ren, who I hadn’t heard from in months.

I put the flowers in a glass vase and sat down to open the letter.

It contained an invitation and a letter. I read the invitation first and realized it was to his funeral service.

Suddenly I broke down in tears. I thought I had detached myself from him and didn’t love him anymore. As I read the invitation it said the time and place and what most would find on an invitation but regardless I kept crying and the invitation’s ink was blurred with my tears.

Then, there was the letter. It felt like it had been a suicide seeing that he had left a letter for me. The letter was addressed to me and said:

“Dear my lovely Yuki,

By the time you’ve had read this, you would’ve already been invited to my funeral. Now, I know that the last days you saw me were not the memory one would want of someone they had loved so please, try to forget that and think about all the fun we had together. All the times we were smiling.

I know that you would want to know why we had drifted apart but that will be evident in this letter. You are probably also curious about the cause of my death. I died because of cancer. Not suicide like this letter might’ve suggested. Cancer is the answer to a lot of the questions you might’ve had. Questions such as, why didn’t we see each other that much, why was I wearing a hat that day, why was I coughing, and others.

The doctors had told me I only had months to live so, after much thought, I decided it was the best to leave you. I knew you would’ve totally disapproved of this but I’m sorry. It was the best for you. You couldn’t have imagined the pain I went through when I was thinking about my actions on that day. I am truly, truly sorry. Even after we drifted apart I wanted to see you but I couldn’t, I had to stay in the hospital to receive treatment to try to cure me. Regrettably, I couldn’t give you these flowers on that day. These pink and white roses, they symbolize my love for you. I love you and I always will. Well this is it, all the time we’ve spent together, I hope it will only be a beautiful memory in your mind as I want you to move on. Be happy my love. None of this is your fault. I love you. And lastly, goodbye, this is the best for you.

Love,

Ren.”

This couldn’t be, I thought, he couldn’t have just left me. Then it all hit me. Those times he had left early, the times he couldn’t make it to dates. They all made sense to me.

Two weeks later, I went to his funeral. Familiar faces were there such as his parent whom I had grown to adore and cherish and his siblings who I looked to as my own. When we went to place the flowers up onto his coffin, I placed his beautiful white and pink roses he had given to me on his coffin.

“I’ll never forget you,” I whispered, “and thank you, for these beautiful memories.”