Time and Forgiveness (short fiction)

Elena held onto it for twenty years, kept it back in her closet, hidden among the other accumulated keepsakes and knick knacks. Everybody had a box filled with secrets and junk.

She’d taken that box and sifted through the junk. She’d found the shoebox, taped shut with two or three rolls of duct tape. Just to be safe. She could never be too safe. The shoebox was old and dented, but it’d held together.

She drove to the graveyard, a six hour drive, with the shoebox beside her. When she was four hours away, the box’s contents would thump every so often. When she was two, it made a dreadful growl now and then. When she was at the front gate, it squeaked and clicked with gleeful anticipation.

She almost chickened out.

She thought she’d have to dig Rose up. Elena had brought a shovel. But when she was standing over the grave, the thing in the box clawed its way out. The shriveled gray heart on a dozen little spider legs hopped to the earth and dug its way down, disappearing in a flash.

She waited ten minutes. She almost chickened out again. She didn’t want to have this conversation.

Rose clawed her way to the surface. Tall, lithe, covered in dirt, pushing maggots and worms from her regenerating flesh. Rose had always been beautiful. Even after twenty years in the earth, she was still the most gorgeous creature made by God or things similar enough to God to not squander time debating. It took only a minute for her skin to heal to its glorious flawlessness. Her long, black hair repelled the dirt. It shone in the moonlight. Her only flaw at the moment was the raw, pink flesh where her heart had returned to nest.

“Holy shit.” Rose sucked in a breath, spit out years of accumulated dust. Her voice was raw, but still kind of throaty and seductive. “Never thought I’d see you again.”

“I’m sorry.”

Rose’s bright green eyes darkened. “You’re sorry? Do you have any idea how boring it was down there?”

Elena shrugged. “I can imagine.”

“No, you can’t.”

“Okay. I can’t imagine. But I’m sorry.”

“Is that it? You’re sorry?”

“You could bury me for twenty years if it’ll make you feel better.”

Rose scowled. “I should bury you for a hundred, at least.”

“Fine. Whatever.”

“Forget it. What’s time to us? For the record, I’m sorry too. We’ll call it even.”

Elena had never held Rose’s beauty against her, but there were times, she sure as hell hated how magnanimous she was. Now she was counting on it, hoping it hadn’t atrophied after the decades.

“I love you,” said Elena.

“I know you do,” said Rose. But she left the empty reply. It hurt, but Elena could hardly blame her.

“I missed you.”

Rose approached. She smelled so good. She’d always smelled so good.

“I know you did.”

“What do we do now?” asked Elena.

“We go on.” Rose kissed Elena lightly. “It’s what we do.”

The two immortals left the dead behind and walked hand-in-hand into eternity.

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One Comment

  1. thebibliomancer
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure whether its more impressive how long immortals can hold grudges or how easily they can get over them.

    Now to speculate idly what the initial offense was.

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