Her knees shake, blood dripping down her skin like she’d just walked through a red downpour. Her eyes bore into mine, daring me to stop her, to fix any of this. I can’t. I’m here, dry, useless. I should have seen this coming, how in all of the known universe could I have seen this coming?!
Her lips part, strings of blood cross her mouth, thin bars doing their best to hold back what’s inside. I try to swallow, my own saliva choking me on the way down. It takes my mind a moment to register her words, but I can’t help but wish they never made it to me.
“I win.” Two words, that’s it. It’s what you yell after your rock skips the farthest, when you climb the highest in a height climbing race. It’s what you whisper as you stand in a pool of blood. She spits, but doesn’t bother whipping at her mouth, it would only replace what she just tried to get rid of.
My head shakes, my mouth opening but remaining silent. I don’t think I was even trying to speak. I just needed to do something, anything. I can’t. I can’t do anything. And guess what, she won, she did it. All I did was show up too late. Get here after the fact. I take a step forward. I see her legs try to do the same, she can’t move them. I’m approaching a wounded animal. A broken soul.
“I win.” She says again, the words somehow quieter than before. Like she doesn’t believe it, or she doesn’t want to.
“Beck-” I try, my arms outstretched, reaching for her. I watch as her eyes move up from the ground to meet with mine. I wish I could understand them, I want so badly to understand what they mean. But all I can see is the bright red painting her eyelashes as she blinks slowly.
“I winIwin-” It’s become a chant, a sick list of words tumbling from her bared lips. I move closer, I feel the tension in her body as though its in mine. Limbs stiff and vibrating faster than human body parts should.
“Becky,” her name hangs on my mouth, like in order for me to keep seeing her through the blood I have to remind myself who she is. As if I could forget. After everything she’s done, all she people she’s embedded her morals onto. Here she stands, ruining me.
I grab at her shoulders, I know I should be gentle, but I can’t. I shake her. Her head baubles for a moment, then her arms jerk up, mirror my grip. Her fingers digging into my arms, insanity crawling out of her like an intrusion of cockroaches. We stare at each other.
“I won,” I close my eyes. Letting the darkness wash over me. “Iz, I bloody did it!” I don’t care.
“Blood, Beck, the blood-” Beck shakes me in return, cutting my words off.
“It ain’t mine,” My entire body sighs, my eyes opening back up. I can feel the slick sticky stuff on her shoulders. That was inside of someone. “Not a scratch.” She reasures me, her hands tightening. I squeez her back. We both need reality badly, at the moment she’s all I’ve got. I pull her in, hugging her tighter than I should. I don’t believe that she isn’t hurt.
“I won,” She repeats again. A gurgled laugh pushing up her throat. I don’t know what else to say.
“You won, kiddo. You did it.” A shiver runs through me as the overwhelming scent of iron hits my nose. I can feel it on my hands and neck. Sticking to any bit of bare skin it can get to. It’s a pain to get out clothes. And no matter how often it gets on me, I still scratch my skin off as I shower, trying to erase every single trace of blood from myself.
None of that matters. The only thing that matters is that I can feel her heart beating into my chest. Her blood is exactly where it should be.
“Iz,” I don’t want to know what she’ll say next. But more than that, I don’t want to stay here, I want to leave this moment, this place as fast as we can.
“Come on.” I stop her. Grabbing her hand in mine, I drag her up through the manhole, and into the control pod. Everyone else has already jumped ship. Well, not Ned, but I don’t think I can count her anymore. I do my best to brush the blood from Beck’s eyes. We both stare at the ground getting closer.
“We need to go!” I urge, she nods.
***** the Germans!” And with that sweet sentiment, she jumps. I watch for a moment, waiting for her parachute to open, then I follow. I can’t help but laugh, the wind taking it away faster than my voice box can make it. If that is the last thing I ever hear her say, then yes,
***** THE GERMANS!”