In the comments, put everything you would normally write- but tell me, also- what was the first thing that came into your head when you saw the name in the title?
It's dark here. Far too dark to see anything. Though sometimes, when I close my eyes, I find myself watching her... Aretha, I mean. Her eyes are hollow. I recognize the way she acts, the way she speaks now- it's all too familiar. She's gone and done exactly what I told her not to. She turned into one of those cold empty people, like me. Then again, I couldn't keep my promise either.
I'm such an idiot for letting my guard down. If it had been anyone else... Even if the circumstances were different...
I close my eyes again and watch her shove Kerias through a mirror into a cell, and now they're talking. I already knew she killed her family- I watched her do it. Most of it, anyway. The vision comes and goes. I don't even know if what I'm seeing is true- it probably is, though. It's a logical progression of events.
Wait, what did she just say? Kerias actually thought that... We were in love? What the Hell? Did I really get that soft? Well, at least Aretha knows me better than that. Damn right I would never fall in love. No way in Hell. Rule number one: don't get involved. Especially not emotionally involved. Actually, I think I already broke that rule. I open my eyes and the world becomes pitch black again.
"Hello? Is anybody here?" Comes a voice. It sounds like a boy, young and cheerful; so out of place in a dark world like this.
"Well, I don't know if you can hear me, or even if you're real- or if I'm real, for that matter- but I'm here." I was never one to make conversation, but this is the only voice I've ever heard here, save for my own.
"I hear you," He replies. "Who turned out the lights? Where are we? Do you know what time it is? Where are any good restaurants?" Way to many questions at once. Though the more I listen, the stronger feeling I get that I know this person somehow...
"Slow down, kid- one question at a time. But first you tell me something. What's the last thing you remember?" If I know how he died, I should be able to place his voice. I don't know all that many young people, even remotely, to begin with.
"My big sister..." He says after a moment of thought, "She was hurting me. She hurt mama and papa, too." He sounds like he's on the verge of crying now- I think he would be if he could fully comprehend what had happened. "Why did she do that?"
"Does your sister have short brown hair and eyes that change from green to brown?" It might be a stretch, but based on the story, it's possible this is Aretha's brother- if this description fits, I think it's a safe assumption.
"How did you know?"
"I think I know her. She loves Tesla, and she was doing research on plants in the woods, right?"
"Mm-hmm. Are you her friend?"
"Yeah, sure." I'm still not sure what to call the relationship we had, but... Well, it's not like it matters much now what it was. "Look, she only hurt you because she was forced to. She was being controlled. She loves you very much, and she would never do anything bad to you if she had the choice. Do you understand?"
"So it wasn't really my sister's fault?"
"No, it wasn't. Do you think you can forgive her?" Why did I ask that?
"Ok," He answers after a long pause. "It wasn't her fault, so I forgive her."
"I'm sure she'd be happy to know that." I'm almost impressed by how kind I can sound when I want to. I haven't spoken to anyone but Aretha in so long, I had forgotten how easily I can convince people that I'm a perfect gentlemen. How would she describe my voice, I wonder? Probably... Dark chocolate, or something like that. Which is funny, because she doesn't like dark chocolate- that wouldn't stop her from making the analogy, though.
"Mama? Papa?" I heard her brother say, though I couldn't hear anyone else. I close my eyes again, and Aretha is trying to suffocate herself in a drawer... Damn her! I don't miss her that badly. Oh, good, somebody found her. Maybe that kid needs me more than I realized. And now I'm starting to get ideas...
"Are your parents here?" I ask him gently, forcing light happiness into my voice.
"Yep! I'm going to leave with them. They say the've found someplace bright. Do you want to come with me?"
"No thanks- I don't think I belong in a place like that. But will you ask your parents something for me?"
"What is it?"
"Would it be alright with them if I stayed with your sister forever?"
"They said that's ok. And I'm ok with it too, if you promise never to hurt her."
"Mama and Papa think you're an angel... Are you?"
This is a tricky one to answer. If I'm honest? "No. I'll never be an angel. But I'll be there for A- for Mallory, whenever she needs me."
"Did I pass away?" He asked after another long pause.
"Yeah, you did. You should go with your parents now- you'll feel better when you reach that light place with them." I can't hear him leaving, but I'm sure that's what he's doing now.
I close my eyes again, and I'm looking into hers as she lays alone on a bed I've never seen. I can't blame her for becoming so hollow, though that's easier than blaming myself. It really is my fault, though. I've lived for a good few centuries longer than she has- I knew better than to let her kill me so easily. I just couldn't think.
I'm sorry, Aretha. My one mistake was caring too much, but it's one I won't be able to prevent. I think... Well. I know myself pretty damn well, and even if I'm no good at dealing with emotions, I know enough at least to recognize them. I know I just said there's no way in Hell I would ever fall in love, but... At least for now, I'm not in Hell. And I'm going to find my way back out of here if it kills me.