Her Tears Tasted of the River Acheron
by Everett A Warren
Her tears tasted of the River Acheron.
That gave me pause. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt such loneliness, such overbearing sadness. A subtle humour that, considering I live in a cemetery, but there you have it.
Now don’t go thinking I’m one of those boggarts or dweomerfale that feed off of that sort of thing, no, not at all! but when those tears spread across the surface of the pond like oil, coloured in a rainbow of agony and pain, I did feel a pang. Story is what I’m after, you see, and sorrow that deep has a tale to tell.
There are stories that tell of walking on water, and I was nearly needy enough to bolt straightaways over that tainted surface, but I held myself back for two reasons. First off, she was in a fragile state, and a forthright charge would do nothing to set her at ease. Even if she didn’t run, she’d not be likely to speak freely of dark secrets, now would she? No story would have meant no reason to rush to her in the first place – not that she’d know that – and I’m sure that if I went fleetly flying over the rippling waters, it would have her thinking all sorts of nasty things were about to occur, and she’d be downright uncommunicative. Not only that, but the second reason for not running the waves is even simpler.
I would sink like a rock.
~ ~ ~
I felt as if someone was watching me. Through the tears, the pond, the trees, the crypts, and the monuments blended and blurred, like an impressionistic painting. Perhaps if I had tried to focus, to wipe my eyes, even just to blink… but I didn’t really feel it was worth the effort.
Didn’t feel much of anything, really.
Like the eyes on me.
Did Van Gogh paint crypts? The one across the way, done with dashes of still-wet paint, held staring eyes. Dead eyes – no, undead eyes, I mused. Vampires, werewolves, and zombies, oh my. Or maybe a psychotic killer behind a headstone, who picked out the perfect prey – blinded by the tears in her eyes. On any other day, those kind of thoughts would drive me away. No sanctuary when you’ve got one eye peeled for madmen with axes and chainsaws and another on the lookout for gypsies and thieves, the third firmly fixed on chimeras and dragons that are feeling a nagging rumbling in their supernal bellies.
This particular day, though, no matter what weird creature might come by to grind my bones to make some bread, it would be my sanctuary.
It was the best I had on short notice, so it would have to do.
That, and, although I wasn’t exactly suicidal, if a serial killer or other monster stepped out from behind a tree and asked for a volunteer to be his victim, I’d be the first to raise my hand.
Yeah. So maybe a little suicidal.
“Hey,” I called out, throwing myself back on the perfectly manicured lawn, arms and legs spread wide, “Take me, I’m yours.”
Yeah. Overly dramatic, too.
Copyright (c) 2006 Everett Ambrose Warren