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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 30, Title: In each nook most melancholy

Posted on 2014.12.08 at 23:45
Tags: ,


The house has been empty for days, the darkness is pervasive. She’s alone and thus chooses to dwell upon a time when she wasn’t so. Sitting in the window seat Catherine glances at the sky. Whirls of dusky yellow touch the clouds and she ignores the row of houses beneath them. Instead she remembers the woods which grew there when she was a child, sees the low branch which jutted at just the right height for her to slide on with tiptoed feet. 

She turns her gaze. Feels fire from an alcove which has long been gone, repurposed into a bookshelf hub. Allows her hand to hover over the desk which looks enough like it could belong in her childhood home, except this one came flat-packed. She remembers laughter and joy; a time when she had an effect, an impact on the world around her. Now there’s no one to hear when she speaks, nor see when she cries.   

The cold bites into her feet despite their insubstantial nature.


*


There comes a point at which Catherine has to cease reminiscing and admit her concern. She’s worried about Elle, the house’s current inhabitant. The woman has been gone for days and it’s most unlike her. She worries about what may have happened to Elle, more so than she would any of the house’s previous occupants. But she’s more invested this time.

It began with simple enjoyment. Days spent listening to Elle play her electric violin, filling the place with stunning and vibrant encompassing sound. It’s a divine pleasure Catherine still revels in. She began watching, listening, drawn inescapably by Elle’s fiery words and passion-filled stances.

She loves Elle (in the only way a person can love someone they must watch constantly without ever meeting) obsessively and painfully.


*


Catherine knows something is very wrong as soon as Elle enters the house. She’s hunched over, pale and sweating. And smaller somehow, the antithesis of her usually spirited self. Then Elle’s arm comes into view; badly swollen and angrily red. She crawls into bed and doesn’t leave.


*


Catherine watches as Elle’s gaze lands on her. Elle blinks, rubs her eyes, blinks again. Then rubs her forehead in consternation before muttering to herself,

“Hallucinations, fantastic.”

“You can see me?”

“Who are you?” Elle asks in a painfully weary tone.

“As your passing draws closer you become able to see the beyond. I’m a ghost.”

Catherine’s terrified that she’s smiling, but can’t help it. She’s desired this for so long. Having Elle hear her speak, see her, interact with her, the idea itself is overwhelming. Still, there is sadness, that the brightness of this woman should be snuffed out so early.

Elle sends her an incredulous look but then just closes her eyes and says, “Fine whatever.”

Catherine’s chest constricts. It’s unfair, so unfair, that Elle has lost so much of herself, that fate brings them together in such a cruel way.

She chastises herself for dreaming of afterwards.


*


After hovering ineffectually for an interminable period of time, Catherine eventually asks,

“Want to talk about it?

Elle snorts. “It was a freaking tiny cut. A scratch. And now I’m dying, ridiculous.” 

“Well, the afterlife isn’t so bad,” Catherine says.

Elle makes a token effort to sit up. “Oh yeah, staying rooted in one place forever must be thrilling.”

Catherine shrugs, “Yes, it has many downsides. But you get to see the world change, see more than you ever could in one lifetime. Watch all sorts of different people.”

“Trying to convince me or yourself?”

“It’s worth it. Some people make it worth it,” she replies, giving Elle a pointed look.

Elle smiles. “You’re creepy as fuck.”


*


One week slides into another. Catherine thinks of cut down trees. Elle worsens. 

“The worst part is not being able to touch anything.”

“Not the whole not being able to talk to anyone thing?”

“That’s bad too; it’s lonely, isolating, and completely horrid. But not being able to touch…not being able to feel anything, move anything, affect anything…it’s almost like you aren’t real, it’s maddening.”

“Will we be able to touch each other?” Elle asks.

“Yes,” Catherine answers, halting her lips from forming any more words.

“Well, we’ll at least have some fun then.” Elle grins.


*


It’s jarring. The grin floats in Catherine’s mind for days like salvation and lunacy and vile temptation. It was a joke surely, nothing more. It’s merely Catherine’s obsession and desperation which has conflated it into such. Even if it isn’t, it’s likely that Elle is merely seeking companionship with the only one available. Still, her imaginings run wild.

Besides, friendship itself is more than she’s ever hoped for. Having anyone at all to talk to is a hope, but to have an eternity to banter and jibe with Elle, glorious wonderful Elle, seems a resplendent dream. It’s unfair to long for such a thing to befall her love. But after so long as a silent watcher, she finds herself too selfish to care.


*


“Stop pacing and say what you want to say already,” Elle demands.

“Very well. I wish to ask whether your comments the other day were genuine.”

“Look, this is the twenty-first century, we don’t spend a whole lot of time courting or whatever. I like you, you like me, it’s just that simple.”

“You don’t even know me,” Catherine states. 

“You’re hot and weird. That’s kind of my type.” 

Catherine doesn’t know what her expression shows but something in it softens Elle’s gaze.

“You’re a ghost who has been watching me for years. I know it’s ridiculous, but everything is ridiculous, I like you, it doesn’t need to make sense.”


*


Catherine hides in a corner, covering her tears of ecstasy; her heart is flooded with warmth, with life. She thinks maybe she could reach out and touch because miracles seem possible. 

And then a miracle actually happens. There’s a new trial medication. 


*


“It’s touch and go. I could live, I could die, it all depends on how hard I fight for it.”

“Well, that’s good news.”

“I don’t have to fight.”

“Why wouldn’t you?”

“I could stay with you.”

Catherine pauses, closes her eyes and opens them again, runs fingers through curled locks, forces her voice into a determined tone, “You should fight, you should live, life is such a precious thing and you’re so good at living it. There’s no point in throwing that away.”

“I wouldn’t be throwing anything away, I’d be taking a risk on something new; going on an adventure.”

“There’s no adventure here. I never really liked you. This is nothing,” Catherine says.

“Did people still fall for that trick in your century,” Elle answers.

Catherine sighs, “I can’t be the reason you let yourself die. I need you to fight.”

“Are you sure?” Elle asks, sombre.

“Yes.”


*


Catherine watches once more, icy numbness fills her veins as she returns to invisible obscurity. And whispers words she knows will go unheard,

“I lied. The worst part is being alone.”



Comments:


i_17bingo
i_17bingo at 2014-12-10 09:02 (UTC) (Link)
Oh my God you just broke my freaking heart! How dare you!

Not only does this piece dart from nostalgia to ghost story to melancholy to unlikely friendship to romance to erotic anticipation to heartbreak (damn you!), but you have created and imbued your characters with such life in such a short amount of time that I kind of hate you for that ending.

This was so beautiful.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-12-10 16:50 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you so much, so glad you found it so moving :).

*Hands you a tissue*
Jemima Pauler
jem0000000 at 2014-12-11 08:19 (UTC) (Link)
Poor Catherine. I'm glad she did the right thing.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-12-11 14:55 (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think she knew she had to

Thank you :)
bleodswean
bleodswean at 2014-12-12 01:46 (UTC) (Link)
*sobs* Oh, J! This is SO GOOD!!! And so surprising and so feely and so.....just everything! You did a great job on this. It works. In ways that you may not even realize. It's complicated and full of unwritten backstory. Just wonderfully done!

And is that YOU??????????????????????????
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-12-12 15:49 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked it and it makes me so happy to hear it had an impact :)

If you're referring to the voice on the vid, then yes, yes it is :).
Kristen
pixiebelle at 2014-12-12 04:45 (UTC) (Link)
Now that we've been revealed, I wanted to come over and comment. I truly enjoyed this piece. I love that it's the tale of two women, something we rarely see in romantic storylines. I love the concept too, it was completely unexpected and well-written.

One of my favorites this week, for sure.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-12-12 15:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you enjoyed the tale and the concept :)

Wow, that's such a big compliment, thank you :)
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