Darius Wagner never thought about Alexia ‘Alex’ Dramsden as anyone more than a friend. That was, until the day she died.
Alexia , (or Alex as she liked to call herself) had always been extremely tomboyish and energetic. Hardly anyone could remember the last time she wore a dress. She was always doing something dangerous ; something ‘un-womanly’. Tragically, this turned out to be her downfall.
No ‘normal’ girl would ever have tried to climb that roof – much less so in stormy weather. No ‘normal’ girl would have ever tried to leap across the gap between the two roofs, knowing full well that one slip on the wet tiles would cause her to plummet to her death….
Darius had been one of Alex’s closest friend; One of her ‘posse’, if you will. And the news of her demise saddened him as it would sadden any who had just heard the news of a dear friend’s demise.
Her parent’s had arranged an open casket funeral for their daughter and all her close friends were invited, Darius included. In his grief he found a little bit of happiness thinking that at least he could see the face of the girl who had been his friend since kindergarten one more time before the Cruel Earth claimed her.
Darius moved silently through the mourning crowd with his head bowed. He was no stranger to funerals – having attended that of his 102 year old Grandmother – though the environment was definitely MUCH less mournful (almost cheerful, even). He spotted Mr and Mrs Dramsden , standing just beside their daughter’s casket , still crying their eyes out. He doubted whether they’d ever get over the death of their daughter.
Moving extra quietly so as not to disturb the grieving couple. Darius approached Alex’s casket, glanced inside and felt his life change forever.
As I mentioned earlier, no one could remember the last time Alex wore a dress. For that matter, no one could remember the last time she looked even remotely ‘girlish’. Darius had always thought about her as one of the ‘dudes’. But now, in death , she seemed so …..different ; Strangely…alluring.
It was foolish of him to expect her to be buried in the t-shirt and trouser she usually wore. The mortician had dressed her in a black dress…an elegant black dress….a surprisingly form-fitting black dress…
Her ruddy pink skin had become deathly pale, surprisingly complementing her raven black hair – which was no longer tied back and covered in a cap, but allowed to flow elegantly around her pale, white neck…..
Enough ! Darius thought. This girl was – is her friend and moreover she was DEAD ! He couldn’t possibly be fascinated with something that’s dead ! What was he ? Some kind of Necrophile ? Darius tried to move away but he just couldn’t….he just couldn’t…..
“Are you all right, young man ?” a kind, male voice echoed around the atrium. Darius felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up to see the kindly, old parish.
It was only then that he realized that every eye in the room was focused on him. Apparently he had been staring at the corpse for quite a while
“I am s-sorry,” Darius stuttered ” I didn’t mean to..”
“Its quite all right, child”, the parish spoke “We all get lost in grief sometimes.”
A shiver ran down Darius’ spine. He might have been feeling a lot of things but it sure wasn’t grief…
Darius hastened out of the funeral ,abruptly, trying his best to keep his eyes from glancing back at the casket.
He almost sighed in relief when he heard that she’d been interred into her family’s crypt – but the thought of her disturbingly beautiful, DEAD face remained.
It was all probably due to the shock of seeing a close friend dead – he concluded. Nothing to worry about .it’d all be gone by the next day ,right ?
Unfortunately for Darius , he’d never been more wrong….
As the days passed he found himself thinking more and more about Alex – much more in fact than he ever would when she was alive. His obsession with her ….looks…grew and grew until her face started haunting his dreams, both at night and in broad day light. Whenever he closed his eyes the image of Alex’s dead body, lying peacefully in the open, ebony casket flashed before him. He began to space out more and more until one day…
“Urgh….Watch where your going Wagner , you freak ! ” Randey, the star pitcher of the cricket team snapped with mayonnaise and mashed potato all over his new shirt after bumping into a zoned-out Darius.
‘Still thinking about your dead girlfriend are you ?’
The words seemed to yank Darius violently back to the world of the waking
“What ?!” Darius started both with surprise and confusion
“Don’t play innocent with me’ , grunted the sports star wiping his shirt with an expensive looking handkerchief,
” I was there at Alex’s funeral. I saw what you did. Tell me, ” he continued this time with an evil smirk on his face,
“Did you have fun checking out her b…What the… ! Let go !!!” he gasped as Darius’ fingers wrapped around his well muscled neck with enough force to cause him to choke. Radley started to thrash about, trying to dislodge Darius but he held on like a man possessed. For a while no one in the cafeteria moved ;
All sound except that of the scuffle ceased as the entire cafe stood in awe and fear at Darius’s unexpected assault – he had faced much worse insults from Randey without flinching but now …..
Finally Sheen, one of Darius’ friend and classmates, walked up to the entangled pair.
‘Let him go, dude’ he pleaded to Darius ‘ he is SO not worth detention’
But Darius took no heed of him. He held onto his prey with unwavering fury. At this point Randey was turning blue.
‘Hey ! Cut it out man !’ he shouted , grabbing Darius by the arms. That did it – his touch seemed to have snapped Darius out of whatever was possessing him and he momentarily loosened his grip. That was enough for Randey to break free.
“Stay …away from me ! you FREAK !!’ he choked before running out of the cafeteria hysterically. But everyone was still staring at Darius. He didn’t like it one bit. All this staring reminded him of the funeral….and Alex….and the beautiful form fitting- dress she wore….
That afternoon Darius found himself standing outside the Cemetery. His incident at the cafeteria earned him a call to his parents and he didn’t think he could face his dad. He had a tendency to get QUITE angry over such trivial things as a lunch-time brawl. He would obviously cool down in time and until then Darius just had to hang out somewhere else.
Not that Darius usually had a habit of hanging out at the graveyard – but something about that day made him want to go there …to be closer to her…
He was still contemplating on whether he should see Alex’s crypt or not and whether that would actually help him or make his….obsession worse. He didn’t know how long he stood there , on the cold hard pavement. But obviously it was long enough to warrant some attention from a passerby.
“Having trouble letting go of the dead are you, child ?” a familiar voice intoned from somewhere behind him. Turning around Darius found himself standing face-to face to the Parish he met at Ale…HER funeral.
“Oh pardon me , Father I was just -’
“It’s quite all right child, ” the parish politely cut him off, “I can tell that she was quite close to you.”
Not as close as he would have liked , not in life anyway – he thought cynically.His inner self laughed without humor
The look the Parish gave him next, though made him quite uneasy. It was as though he could see through him…as though he could read his mind.
“Maybe you would want some counseling sessions back at the -”
“No , Father, that would not be necessary,” Darius hastily. He may have needed a lot of things but a lengthy lecture by a Priest just wasn’t his cup of tea.
“I see, ” he replied , rather disappointed. He was just about to walk away and leave Darius standing before the graveyard (and Darius was rather hoping that he would). But suddenly he turned back to Darius
“If you are not comfortable talking to me ,” he spoke solemnly ,”then probably my friend can help you with your…problem” There was a slightest hint of a sneer on his face – as if he knew Darius’ dirty secret.
Hastily , he pushed a card into Darius’ palm , bid Darius ‘Good-day’ and quickly disappeared around the corner all within the small interval of 5 seconds. Still surprised that an Old priest could move that fast, Darius looked at the slightly worn card and gasped in surprise.
The office room had a distinctly shabby feel to it . The smell of old spoiled alcohol was thick in the air
Not much of a surprise , Darius thought , ‘Spirit Mediums’ hardly ever get customers . But why any Priest worth his collar would suggest seeking a PSYCHIC’S advice was beyond him. Maybe he did this as an act of charity to help his friend. And by the look of his office he sure needed it.
“Please , take a seat ” he said in a rough, scraggly voice. Darius highly doubted this scrawny, haggard man in a beer-stained suit could help him with his….problem. But he was desperate.
“Now , If you would be so kind as to tell me your problem…” the Psychic roughly but kindly requested.
” Yeah , well you see i kinda think I maybe er…”, he stuttered trying to find the right words that didn’t make his macabre interest sound perverse, “over obsessing about a ..er…friend who – “
“Please ” the Psychic cut him off politely ” you must be quite tired “
“Have some tea ” he stated , gently sliding a dirty old cup full of some dirty gray liquid towards him.
Darius hoped he wouldn’t have to drink it – but the Psychic insisted , claiming it was ‘Green Chinese Tea’.
Warily Darius took his first gulp. Even though the liquid tasted nothing like any kind of tea he had ever drunk it still had a soothing effect on him – it seemed to clear his head. Before he realized it he had drained the entire cup. The Psychic obviously looked pleased.
“Now tell me again, ” he spoke in his polite yet rough tone ” what is your problem.”
” I have fallen in love with my dead best friend’s corpse after seeing her in a funeral ” the words were out of Darius’s mouth before he could have a chance to think them through. Oddly enough the Psychic didn’t seem at all disturbed by his open declaration.
Darius tried to apologize for being so blunt, but the Psychic brushed it off
“That was what you wanted to say right ?” he inquired kindly , and Darius shamefully nodded his head.
The Psychic asked nothing else. Withdrawing a package from his desk’s drawer he handed it over to Darius.
Before Darius could inquire as to the nature of the gift the Psychic spoke.
“As hard as it might sound to believe this object has more Power than meets the eye” he said solemnly, looking straight into Darius’ black eyes with his Sea-Gray ones ” Make your fondest wish upon this within 6 nights ’twill come true. But be careful of its power.For when wished upon the Mirror will only satisfy the wisher’s deepest desire – whether he himself realizes it or not.
Expecting some cheap ‘spirit ward’ or the like, Darius was surprised to unwrap his gift and find a Hand mirror , a surprisingly Old Hand Mirror in fact at least from the 18th century or before if the old decorations were anything to judge from ( he always had been a history nerd). If it wasn’t really an antique it was a goddamn good imitation. They even got the termite bites right
Thanking the Psychic for his gift and advice and paying him for his services (what ? you didn’t think he’d do it for free did you ?) Darius left the office – his heart full of renewed hope.
It had been almost a week since the Cafeteria incidence – rumors about Darius’ ‘obsession’ with Alexs’s corpse had spread – but it seemed Darius couldn’t care less. He was back to his old attentive , slightly nerdy self. His life had become normal once again – if not better than before. Randey and his group were keeping their distance from Darius – he wasn’t about to forget being almost choked to death any time soon.
However Darius seemed to have become more….impatient. He didn’t space out in class anymore but he was always on the edge – as if expecting something to happen. His impatience grew day by day until one day something remarkable happened. Darius actually greeted Randey – with a smile in fact ! Overnight he seemed to have turned extra nice for no reason at all it seemed
Little did everyone know that he , in fact , had his reasons and that they were soon to be much darker than anyone realized…..it had been 6 days since Darius wished on the Mirror. Tonight was the night.
Providence, it seemed, decreed that the night would be memorable regardless of whether anything supernatural happened or not. It started raining heavily even though it had been completely cloudless during the day light hours.
It was almost 11 PM when it happened.
Darius had been lying awake in his bed, unable to sleep due to excitement when he heard a strange murmur. At first he thought it to be the rain on the rafters but it soon started growing louder and louder. Darius got up from bed, searching for the source of the disturbance and his eyes fell upon the Old hand Mirror lying on his bedside table – glowing with an unearthly light in the dark.
In one swift move Darius rushed from his bed to the table, picking up the Mirror. And , with a heart full of both fear and anticipation Darius Wagner looked into the mirror and saw the unbelievable !
—————————————————————————————————————————-The Mirror reflected back an image of Darius’ face even in the dark – a fact strange enough as it is – but stranger still was what else the mirror showed – for behind Darius’ own reflection, standing at the door ,another slightly blurry image was visible – an image of a girl. Slowly but deliberately, Darius turned about and was struck dumb by a mixture of happiness , surprise and fear.
There, standing at his door – silhouetted by a faint, unearthly glow was the form of Alexia Dramsden. She did not look like how Darius remembered last seeing her in life. Her skin was pale , almost glowing and she was dressed in the same Black Dress he saw her in at her own funeral.
The apparition didn’t speak but merely beckoned with its fingers. Its face was slightly obscured by the shadows and by its own long matted hair. Darius followed like a blind man on a leash and the apparition led him out of his room, through the corridor and then up the stairs to the roof.
Even though it was raining heavily, not a single drop of water seemed to touch Alex. She remained dry…as dry as a stone grave. The Apparition motioned once again to Darius and he moved closer to it stretching his arms to touch her….to touch IT. Coming close he pulled it into an unholy embrace
Her skin felt unearthly cold and dry beneath his warm hands – but he didn’t care. Her breath made the hair on his hand stand on ends – but Darius didn’t mind.
For so many days he had secretly wished for this – for so many days he wanted to feel what it would have felt like had his and Alex’s relationship not been Platonic. Maybe he even wished it when she was alive – Maybe the thought simply was buried too deep in his heart for him to ever feel it – Maybe it was the shock of her death that actually brought those feelings out – Or Maybe he was just a Monster – a Pervert lusting after the corpse of his dead friend just to satisfy his own desperate teenage want to make love. None of this mattered to Darius anymore.
Life, Death, Undeath, Perversion, Necrophilia – Darius no longer cared about any of these. The only thing that mattered was that he wanted Alex and here she was. So what if she smelled like the grave ? Did it really matter ? Did it really matter that her beautiful white skin was becoming drier by the second ? Did it matter that her hold on his body was becoming suffocatingly stronger ? Did it matter that she looked back at him with empty sockets where her beautiful eyes should have been ? It didn’t to Darius and as far as he was concerned – that was all that mattered.
They found him the next morning , slumped down , cold, upon the roof. His heart had stopped beating almost several hours before. Asphyxiation but by who or what the doctor couldn’t say – but stranger even than the mysterious circumstances behind his death was the expression on his corpse’s face when they found him .
For the look , forever frozen into his face, was not that of fear ,or anger , or regret. It was one of Ecstasy. PURE ECSTASY.