That's what I am. My breaths birth frost across a dark visor, creating spiderwebs in the cracks of well worn plastic. Cold. I pull a white jacket tighter around my shoulders; a feeble attempt to fight a plague that eats me from the inside out. One so frigid that it burns, that it eats away at my flesh and no matter how close I pull the thin fabric, I will find no relief. Boiling coffee forced down a closed throat is only good for leaving my tongue a burned, throbbing mess. I drink it anyway. It keeps heavy eyes open, straining for something in a darkness that I cannot seem to break.
District Seven is quiet. I like it here, my back pressed against rough bark and the wind biting at my skin. I'm sure this place is riddled with crime, that every eye I meet is that of a murderer or a rapist but I can't find it in me to give a shit. There is death and destruction everywhere I go. There is pain laced through every tight smile thrown my way and there is fear in the eyes that dare meet mine through dark plastic.
I am a villain. A peacekeeper. I'm no idiot; I'm not foolish enough to think my comrades, drunk on their own power, have treated these people like their equals. They are cold and they are bitter. They are something dark like the monsters that hide within the branches of these trees. Maybe I will grow to be like them, the forty-somethings squeezing their beer guts into their uniforms and seeing who can punt that cat to the farthest tree and splatter its brains across the grass. Maybe someday.
But there is pride sewn to the veins inside my wrists. Never an outcast, never truly under my father's thumb. Second youngest, second most disappointing. My titles are sewn to the front of my coat, medals detailing honor and sacrifice. By all means I am good at what I do but good is never enough when faced with a man like my father.
The name is enough to clamp mouths shut, to force silence upon an unwilling crowd. The silver spoon that was placed so gently upon my lips at birth has been shoved further and down my throat until every breath is forced and shallow and I am going to die. I'll die trying to tear the suffocating privilege from the back of my throat because I never wanted this.
Not that I had much of a choice.
There was a plan etched into my flesh with greedy fingers the minute I took my first breath. Free will is an illusion. Choice a foolish dream. Who cares that I crave a simple life and a simple death? That all I have ever wanted is to settle down upon the edge of The Capitol? Perhaps a younger me was eager to please my father, to throw myself into the peacekeeping force just to earn a smile from his tight lips and a gentle hand upon my shoulder.
"I'm proud of you, Jasper."
With age comes knowledge and with these years comes regret.
So I tip my head back and force extinguished flame from beneath my lips. A cigarette's hearth is the only thing I've found that keeps me from fully freezing over.
I'm not sure when I lost it, this certain fire that once kept my heart beating at a steady pace. It was all so sudden, this ethereal winter that took away the warmth of the sun's gentle kisses.
At least I tell myself that, insist that this living death is some trick of fate. That I don't know what happened to me. I was happy one day, empty the next. Life is a fickle lover, treasonous and as willing to shove a blade between my ribs as every man on the goddamn task force. Connections are not something I seek, they are weakness. An opportunity to stick grubby fingers into a wound four years deep.
I was told that every gash has to heal. That skin must once again bind and that you will be left scarred but whole. So much is true for every wound to kiss my cheeks and chest, my stomach my thighs and my neck. The bullets and blades that have sunk their teeth into my body have gone from raw to red to white. They have become ghosts upon my flesh. And yet this empty will not leave. This wound left by neither hand nor tool.
Who was I to know words could rip one open so wide?
There is soft skin beneath my fingertips, slick with sweat and warmer with every touch. He is gold and I am greed, lips searching this splattered canvas for meaning. I am determined to find every inch of beauty beneath these chaotic colors and abrupt changes. He has never been easy to understand, every word a piece of a different puzzle. There are no straight lines, no easy answers when it comes to him and there is something so satisfying about every conclusion I can draw with my fingers across his body.
His collar bones leave gashes upon my palms, and I try to coax nervous smiles with my lips pressed against his. He tastes sweet, like bitter blueberries and cream. Everything is art. He once told me, years ago when childhood was more than a mere memory of spines kept straight and suits chafing my wrists. Back when my sister was still alive and everything was somehow more and less okay than it is now.
I still don't believe him. It is foolish, childish, to look for beauty in everything. No matter how may times a corpse is called a rose it will never smell as sweet. And so you cannot force the world into a pretty portrait, cannot find the silver lining in every sob. But he is art. He is even more magnificent and pure and breathtaking with every awkward laugh shared between us.
I've never said it aloud. Never told him that I love him more than the cherry tree we sat 'neath every summer evening. That I love him more than the sweet red fruit that we shared over hushed whispers and stupid jokes. And I've never told him that I was planning on kissing him for the first time months before I actually mustered the courage to do so. That I waited until cherry blood stained pink lips to grip his chin between soft fingers and act as though I was surprised at the mess he was making.
(How could I be, when he is beautiful and painful chaos disguised as soft smiles that wrinkle the corners of his eyes?)
I wonder if he knows that when I offered to clean up his mess I was only planning to press my lips to his and taste the bitter blueberries for the first time.
And I've never told him that I love him but I think he knows.
But there are syllables trapped upon tongue that traces swollen lips and-
"I love you." It comes out as a desperate gasp, tufts of hair sticking out between the gaps of my fingers as I pull him closer, trying to rid us any remaining distance after the words I uttered have just left me so vulnerable, so raw. And I know that only he can make me like this, make the cold facade of a perfect soldier melt away. He rips apart my seams, shattering my porcelain mask into bloody pieces and here I am, fingertips gripping the soft skin of his back and feeling his lips trace the broken skin of one statue that he will never fix.
It's not as simple as filling my imperfections with plaster.
(But I fear he will abandon this project once he realizes how ugly an art piece I am.)
He is all I have ever had. There were not parents that showered me with love, with praise and encouragement. Father was cold and mother was beautiful. They had no time for the children they forced into this world, especially the ones born after her. And she was named after the soft purple of a dawn sky, the sweet scent of nature and honey, where even the bugs fight to carry her pollen across the land. She was perfection and I?
They named me after a stone. A perfect name for a frozen-solid child.
My parents were alive but they were dead to me, they were nothing in comparison to the sunlight I once spotted bouncing in between splattered paint and carved marble. There was a certain agony to his beauty, a sudden hunger that was nothing short of overwhelming. I was a dying man, desperate to lace our fingers together and to stitch hearts into the palm of my hands. He was blinding, able to leave my ice a puddle upon the grass that we sat. He took the nothing away and he gave me a pain so sweet that it left my knees weak.
He was my Oblivion, and mine to keep.
And so I told him, that night. I told him the truth. But it was so much more than that, so much more potent a drug. We were high off love, we were drunk on lust.
I know you just love my calls but I guess- I guess you're busy right now and that's fine. I just need someone to talk to, you know? Even if you're not answering. Why aren't you answering?Are you mad I missed your birthday? I'm sorry I know I promised I'd be there. I'm sorry I know I promise a lot of things.
I've been thinkin' again 'n you know it's never good when I get to thinking. Remember that time when we were kids and I got it in my head that I was gonna put a firecracker underneath Miss Crocker's gigantic a-
I just mean you know I'm a fucking idiot with too much time on my hands.
District Ten smells like fucking sheep, maybe literally I dunno what the locals are into, but it's just hard to sleep these days and all I have to keep me company are these damn barnyard critters. And they never shut up. I think I'm gonna go insane if I hear one more animal's greedy screams for food or attention.
What kind of crimes do the people here commit anyway? Other than getting too friendly with the four legged locals I mean~
Shit, Copper I can't keep this up anymore. I can't even laugh at my own stupid jokes. I feel like it's all bottled up somewhere I can't reach, this being angry and sad and confused. I know I should be feeling that, right? Like, he married some girl I'd never even heard of the first time we were apart for more than an hour in like ten years? That's fucking terrible right? That's a shitty thing to do to someone, right? I should feel something about that, right?
Am I broken, Copernicus?
If that boy you love, your best friend, if he did this you would not be sitting in District Ten feeling nothing but the wind on your cheeks.
I know we kept it a secret from you guys but you understand, you know how our fathers can be and maybe you're upset I didn't flat out tell you we were dating but- It was pretty obvious right? It isn't bad that I just wanted to be with him without anyone giving a shit. I wanted to stay out of the Fenwick dating game.
This family is a fucking minefield, Cop.
In the end that doesn't matter anymore huh? We're over. Done. He's married to some girl and I'm out here stationed in a nowhere district. And god dammit I feel like I should be so broken up over this but I just can't feel anything. It's like I keep waking up and expecting him to be there and then-
I'm in a single bed in some motel and there's an empty liquor bottle next to me.
Speaking of, I've taken like four shots so none of this probably makes sense but at least I don't give a shit, y'know? At least I don't give a shit about anything right now because the world fucking sucks and do you think he's slept with her yet because there's no way I can see him fucking anyone let alone some prissy asshole girl?
Did I force him to be with me this whole time? Did he not want me?
God, Copper, what the fuck is wrong with me?
He must have been miserable and I just didn't see it. I was too caught up in being in love that I couldn't comprehend he didn't love me back and then he took his first chance he could to get away from me. From someone he must have seen as a tyrant. Maybe he was seeing her for months behind my back. Maybe he hates me. Perhaps he just wanted to hurt me and this girl means nothing to him. I don't get it, I don't get any of this but-
There has to be some fucking reason.
I bet it's all over the news right? Famous artist getting married and shit. Is it pathetic I've considered buying the paper just to see he face?
Why am I even asking, of course it is.
I'm fucking pathetic.
I don't even think I want to be a peacekeeper anymore. It all just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Living just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Is it stupid to hope I don't wake up tomorrow?
In the end, I still love you Copernicus. Even if you hate me. Take care of that pretty boy you always have on your arm and I'll see you sometime.
Just not sometime soon."
FEEL YOUR LIPS AGAINST MY SKIN.
Last Edit: Jan 22, 2016 20:08:30 GMT -5 by not arx
He made me a ring. Hammered out the silver with long, dainty hands and carved our names into the dying metal. Half of a j half of an o linger upon my middle finger, every glint of sunlight caught upon the jewelry sending my heart back down to the pit of my stomach. The skin underneath is pale, neglected because never has that ring left my finger. Not even after he left and married a woman I did not know he loved.
And I know that I am pathetic, clinging to a life that I no longer own. That part of me has been buried underneath every year that has come between us, every day that I do not return I further myself into a grave of which there is no return. And soon I will not be able to see the sun peeking past the mountains of shadows that have built themselves behind my back.
My fingers shake, thumb unsteady upon the trigger. click. A spark burrows its way into the skin of my palm, bright white pain that I don't feel nearly as much as I should. click. It's stronger this time, extinguished immediately by the screaming wind but stronger. More definite. click. A tear drop forms atop the lighter, eating away at my cigarette and filling my lungs with sweet pollution.
I never used to smoke. Part of me, I'm sure, picked up the habit in an attempt to kill myself faster.
He was my innocence. The reason to place this perfect porcelain mask over the cracks in my skin and to pretend that everything was okay. He made my weakness okay. Because I was small and obedient, willing to do just about anything I was ordered to. I was a perfect, a stoic soldier, even when my older brothers forced me to stand still with my hands clasped behind my back and practiced until I could taste the blood crawling up my windpipes, drowning me from the inside out.
A part of me envies the younger brother I have never met. The one that Lilac took under her wing and the one that did not have to grow up with these monsters beside them. Perhaps he would have had his hands tied behind his back too, been left in the closet for no one to find.
My father has never been one to resort to physical punishment. I think that it is too much energy to waste on the spawn he must despise. He was a smart man, well aware of each of our weakest points and eager to abuse him.
And oh I was so good. Never raised my voice, disagreed with the man who would have silenced me anyway. That was strength, I thought, knowing when to keep my mouth shut. To just avoid the pain because it would do me no good to endure one of his punishments every night. Yes, I was the first to bow my head.
Yes, I was the first to steal that pen from insides of his dresser and leave a long black line upon the polished oak.
Between my brother's 'practice' and my father's punishment, I'm surprised I haven't fallen apart sooner. I think that maybe Oblivion was the only reason I haven't considered begging for a bullet kiss my temples sooner. With him, I didn't notice just how cold I was becoming, numb to familiar pain. With him all I could feel was warm.
Manipulation came far too easy, as laid back and calm a child I seemed. I wonder how many avox I got killed simply for telling them that my father sent me to fetch his glasses from his office. (After all, who would question the boy so good at following orders? Who took every bit of abuse his brothers dare preform.) It was some kind of retribution, revenge against the father I had come to despise more for every order I obeyed.
And sometimes, I just ruined things because I could.
Now that I think of it, I was an especially vengeful child. A quiet disaster, the destruction left in my wake neatly tied with a silver bow.
Father had created a monster, one who could not be stopped by simple threats to his own well-being.
I wonder if they knew they could only get to me through him. I wonder if they know that they still can.
I am pathetic, after all. Clinging to a life that is long since over. Four years since I have so much as said a word to him. Four years since he told me that he had never loved me and I would still drop everything at the mere mention of his name. I would still slit my own wrists to keep him happy.
I never got to ask him if that's what he wanted, after all.
I've never taken the time to question why I am so devoted to a boy that I'm sure has not thought about me for a long while. He's too busy with a beautiful girl on his arm, feeling her lips upon his skin where mine once lay. But maybe he is the only thing that has ever kept me from freezing to death.
And I need him to stay alive, so I cannot let him go.
Last Edit: Jan 22, 2016 23:24:03 GMT -5 by not arx