My lover passed away too soon. It was an accident. Perhaps I had restrained him too hard, muffled his screams with too much enthusiasm, closed his throat too tightly for him to breathe. I watched the life slip from his body, his face turn grey and his eyes turn dull. I tried my hardest to revive him, cracking his ribs open with the force and desperation of my repetitions on his chest but it did no good. No amount of tears or pleading would bring him back to me. He had gone.
What happened after that is a blur. I was waiting for the cowl of grief to lift enough for me to rise from my bed for what seemed like an age. When I eventually did summon enough courage to visit the room in which I had left him, he hadn’t moved, despite my begging to the Almighty that this may have been some horrible dream. I wept at the futility of it all. The thought of having to say goodbye, to bury him in the cold ground alone broke my heart. I wanted to die so I could join him.
Then I had a thought that terrified and thrilled me in equal measure. Why should I have to let him go? Enough time had passed and no one had called on me asking where he had gone. I did my due diligence, nothing had appeared in the papers in the weeks previous nor in the days that followed. No one was missing my beautiful, perfect creature. If no one was missing him, then why should I be made to suffer without him?
The first step in our life together was to ensure that his room was comfortable. I sealed the windows and installed heavy drapes to ensure he could rest away from the cruel light of the day which did not become his increasingly pallid complexion. This presented a different problem in that there was a close muskiness to the air in the room that didn’t bother me but may disturb the senses of an unsuspecting visitor. I filled the room with the finest flowers, candles and perfumes I could find, the stronger and sweeter the better. By the time I had finished, this sad formerly neglected room couldn’t have been made more beautiful. I asked him if he loved it too but he did not reply.
Then I would have to make him comfortable. The small, rusty old bed I had kept in this room for visitors was in no way fitting for my lover and I. This presented a problem; my house was old, the halls and doorways narrow, and I myself was hardly built sturdily enough to carry a bed up 3 flights to the top of the house. It was no use, I would have to make him comfortable elsewhere for now. Carrying him wasn’t easy, his limbs were extremely stiff and fragile and his skin had a patina of slippery dampness that made it difficult to get a good grip. Eventually I got him into the master bedroom and out of the clothes he had been wearing since he had passed, which had become unkempt and dirty, presumably due to his gradually degrading viscera.
That was the first night we were together again and it was magical. I placed his hands on my body, kissed his cold lips and lifeless carcass. There were limitations in terms of how physically intimate we could be but nonetheless we were; such is the sheer power of our love. Afterwards, we lay naked together with my head on his chest from which no heartbeat could be heard, feeling his clammy icy skin against my face. I talked to him, told him how much I loved him, how much I needed him, how happy I was that we had stayed together. He said nothing.
The days that followed were more difficult. His condition deteriorated significantly enough that I had to make the decision to remove the organs. He was voiding fluids and gas, his skin was going a dark purple and bloated. He must’ve been in horrible discomfort but never once complained. I sobbed pitifully as I opened the chest with a hacksaw and removed the organs, storing them in various jars and pots I had laying about the place and then placing them carefully in the cellar. I stuffed the cavities with sawdust and herbs and flowers and sewed him shut. The brain, which had begun to liquify and leak out of his nose, was more of a challenge. I read every taxidermy and mummification book I could find — in the end, a wire coat hanger and an immense amount of perseverance over several hours fixed it. I feel like he is more at peace now he is free from the effluence sullying his beautiful face.
It was a Thursday when the men came with the new bed. I apologised profusely about the amount of stairs they would have to carry the thing up, but explained how beautiful the room was and how it was greatly appreciated etc etc. They didn’t care particularly, this was just a job. Once it was up in the room, the larger of the two commented on the odd smell, asked me if I had a cat. The other asked to use the bathroom. I must’ve given them the wrong directions because they found my lover in the bedroom and began to scream. I ran down the stairs, the other one followed, was greeted with the same sight and also started to scream. I didn’t know what else to do. I grabbed the poker from the bedroom fireplace and started beating the larger man over the head with it. I told him to be quiet. I didn’t stop until broken shards of skull were strewn about and I was pummeling his brain. The first screaming man went quiet and then started to bargain with me, backing away towards the stairs. I tried to explain that if he hadn’t screamed or had better bladder control in the first place, this would’ve been rather different. I plunged the poker through his eye and pushed him off the bannister, which snapped under his weight. Annoying, I thought, I would now have to get that repaired.
It was a good week until the repairman turned up and he came at a most inconvenient moment. My lover and I were wrapped in the throes of passion, deep and hot and wet, when the doorbell rang. I was grateful of course that the bannister was no longer an issue as I had nearly dropped him when I carried him back to the top floor. However, considering bringing him to the point of arousal was becoming more and more difficult as time went on — presumably no indication of his feelings towards me — this interruption was not welcome. Once the repair was complete, I locked the front door and bludgeoned the man to death, telling him it was not polite to disturb the physical intimacy of lovers. He also went into the cellar with my lover’s entrails and the other two bodies. I returned to our chamber with a much greater passion, so great in fact I snapped one of my lover’s arms in two. I apologised profusely and tearfully — he did not complain once.
How many weeks passed without us leaving that room I couldn’t say. I ceased to eat or care about eating. Whether I slept or not I couldn’t say, the days blurring together into a fuzz in which only we existed. I didn’t wash because I didn’t want my lover to feel that the smell that encompassed him now caused me to love him any less. His skin became greyer, the softer parts of him were showing signs of decay, the sockets where his eyeballs once were now hollow and attracting flies. We ceased to talk as we once had, merely lying together in the dank darkness, entangled in an unending embrace as if we were one being. Making love now was almost impossible since his member became so putrid with rot that when I awoke one day it was no longer attached to him. None of this mattered of course. How could it? My beautiful one, my perfect specimen, my reason for living is here with me.
It must’ve been early when the police came. The vehicles belonging to the men in the cellar were still parked outside the house and I hadn’t thought to move them — a foolish mistake on my part. People had reported them missing. This was the last possible place they could be. I engaged with him cordially, invited him in, said I would do all I could to assist. Once inside, I stabbed the officer with a kitchen knife, then slit his throat quickly and cleanly. More of them will come, I know. None of them will survive. I smile as I watch the lights go out of their eyes, their breath slow to a stop. They will never understand what it is like to be in love, what it is like to physically ache for the presence of your lover, why even death won’t keep you apart. I will keep stacking the bodies in the cellar as long as they keep coming and trying to tear us apart.
They will not take him from me. My love for him is as unwavering as the earth, as untameable as the sea and as terrifying as the wrath of god himself. He is the fabric of my very soul. I cannot change how I feel about him anymore than I can change how the sun moves in the sky. Our love is stronger than death. I ache for his rotting flesh, damp and cold as the morning dew and as exquisitely scented as a garden of roses.
I don’t care what I must do to keep him by my side, I will do it without a second thought or hesitation. I cannot exist without him. I will never let him rest.