Author Note: I’ve finally reached the last prompt! Yes! And it’s the prompt that I’ve been looking forward to writing, which makes me feel a little awful.
Prompt#5 is….Kill off one of your characters. Holidays can be extra tough the first year after someone has died. Write a story in which your characters are dealing with the loss of another character for the first time.
There are so many characters I could choose for this prompt. One in particular would be a total story spoiler, not saying who though. I’ll just say I’ll spare that particular character this time around. 😉 So….Who to choose? Hmmm. So many to choose from. So many to choose from. Hmmm.
I think I’ll go with……
No one ever warns you.
No one ever tells you how to prepare for the hurt.
No one ever tells you that the hurt won’t go away after a couple of days. Or after a week. Or after a month.
Dave bit his lower lip as he hung another ornament on the tree.
No one told me that it would hurt this deep and this bad.
He blinked quickly, but the tears fell anyway. His lower lip trembled.
But I guess I should have known.
Dave took another ornament out of the box. It slipped out of his hand and fell on the floor.
He let out an anguished cry and grabbed another ornament. He threw it to the floor.
It smashed into the other ornament’s remnants and exploded.
Dave dropped to his knees. He pressed his hands into the mess. The pieces pierced his skin.
He closed his eyes and pressed harder.
Ropes that rubbed his skin raw.
Handcuffs that pinched.
Sharp, nerve-flailing pain. And Mick never apologized. He never tried to make it up to him.
He gasped out a sob.
“How…” Hank’s fingers traced the scars around Dave’s wrists. Hank looked at him with fearful bewilderment. “What is this?”
Dave didn’t know where to look. So, he bowed his head and closed his eyes. “Mick.”
“He did this to you? What? On purpose?”
“Oh.” Hank hugged him. “You dear, precious boy.”
Dave melted into his embrace.
“I swear I will never do that to you. Not ever.” His large, capable hands held Dave closer. “You deserve to be treated like the prince you are.”
“Hank. What am I supposed to do without you? Our bed’s too big and empty. Our house is too quiet and too large and you aren’t here with me.” His lower lip trembled. “You aren’t here anymore with me.”
A suppressed scream burned his throat.
“Haaank.” He shattered into throat-wrenching sobs.
“Hey. Hey, babe. It’s okay. Don’t cry. It’s okay.”
It will never be okay again. How could it when he’s gone?
Hank is gone.
“Hey.” Feather-soft hands touched his hands.
Dave opened his eyes.
The other hands pulled his out of the ornament shrapnel pile and raised them, forcing Dave to sit up.
He raised his head.
And Hank was there. He caressed Dave’s hands and gently removed the embedded ornament pieces. An ethereal glow surrounded him.
He looked up at him and smiled. “Dave.” He released Dave’s hands and hugged him.
Dave hugged him with all of his might. “Haank!”
Hank felt solid and real and insubstantial all at the same time.
“Oh, Hank! Is it really, really you?”
“Yes.” He let him go and sat back on his ghosty feet. “I can only stay here a little while. I’m sorry, babe. I can’t stay for good.”
It was what Dave had been expecting. But it still crushed his heart. “Oh. How long?”
“Three hours. Three and a half at the very most and then I gotta go back.”
“Three and a half hours is not even close to long enough.”
“I know. But, babe. I’ll always be with you. Until you find someone else to love—”
Dave shook his head.
“—I’ll be with you.”
“Hank, I’ll never be able to find anyone I love as much as I love you.”
Hank smiled. “You will. You’re such an outrageous flirt and such a wonderful person. You will find someone else.”
Dave shook his head again.
“And it’s okay if you do. Babe, I just want you to be happy.”
“Do you mean that?”
Hank ran his hand through Dave’s mouse brown hair. “You know I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it.”
“Eeee! I love you so much!” He threw himself at Hank and hugged him.
Hank laughed and held him in his arms.
Outside, the moon and the stars shined bright on the snow.