all the torments (excerpt)

He slunk as he whispered it: “Don’t do this.”

“I won’t turn from it,” she said, staring blankly through the void of aching air she had just inhaled, evacuating the room of all hope.

“Think,” he quested, “…of all that has been spent to surmount our challenges…”

She raised her flat palm to the invisible beast in the room and—flutteringly, on a wrinkled-brow-clinching, rebar-reinforcing scowl—muttered, “Nothing will remain.”

He wished on a shallow breath, “I remain…”

She commanded, on a deep breath, “You were never of permanent importance.”

He ghostly-glid, in ravaged-recoil then, to the far corners of his own childhood-shadow, those lightless alcoves reserved for only pain, wincing-silence-in-regret, wasted-timelessness. He dared to choke it back but heavingly couldn’t: “I’ve loved you, truly. I’ve loved you schoolessly. You’ve broken me cruelly, even as the lamb banshees through the blood-letting and barbarous wire…”

“I tire of hefting the hammer,” she raged on the thinnest air. “I long to swing it down on everything I know.”

“Swing it on me, but not love,” he begged like a burlap-legged, best-poorish-only boy. “Crush and grind me with it; do not be threateningly coy with all that stands above us now.”

She gambled, “Love is the name for a toy you’ll eventually neglect, forget or destroy.”

He threw those knuckle-edged die immediately back, “Hammer hard, then, my lady…hot-hatefully strike my heart into an alloy worthier than you were ever prepared to be.”

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