Already Removed

by Russ

It’s been fifteen minutes since my heart stopped beating and they’re still pumping away at my chest. It’s the most attention they’ve paid my body in months and it’s being executed just as ineptly as anything before. I watch as my blood spreads across the ice, a slick that will need to be cleaned from whatever wildlife might stumble into it before it congeals, or freezes I suppose. I wonder if they have volunteers for this sort of thing like they do for the oily beaches.

Their breath rises into the air above us, mine does not.

Our car rests against the unyielding tree which so abruptly arrested the movement of everything except me. I’d already removed my seatbelt in hope I might expedite my exit somehow. I guess I got my wish. I remember watching as they groggily tried to reignite the engine and reverse out. I wonder how far they might have got before they realised I was no longer sitting next to them.

Their tears freeze as they splash onto the solid water beneath us. I have not cried.

Our final words had been screamed, or at least the last ones we exchanged were. They’ve snivelled a few more barely-intelligible cries as they’ve tried to beat and blow a response out of me but, since the bang, I’ve remained silent; save one long wheeze which was over before they even reached me. I don’t think I had anything more to say, anyway.

Their chest rises and falls at an unhealthy pace, in a disconcerting rhythm.

Of course, the words of the argument had been about the last glass they’d drunk before we’d started home. About how that was bad enough, without the weather, without the way the roads are. That’s not what we were fighting about though, we were fighting about the same thing we always are.

A voice drifts from their phone, which rests against my hip. Help is too late, but they don’t know it yet.

Finally, they relent their assault on my limp frame and admit what had been obvious from the start. It’ll take them a while to get their breath back after wasting so much of it on me. They lean down to kiss me. They aim first for my lips before thinking better of it, lest the blue be catching I suppose, and place their now dry mouth on my forehead instead.

As they lift away I will them not to say what I know will be infecting their mind but, as they draw air through their nose, I know it won’t be stopped.

‘You can be with her now,’ they close my eyelids with a palm. ‘She won’t be alone anymore.’

I know at least the first part isn’t true, as I feel myself fading to black.