I The Monster

By @Anonymous_Llama
I The Monster

What happens when a disaster turns into the best thing that ever happened to you? What happens when a good day becomes a nightmare? Two social rejects are about to find out. Wait. That's really stereotypical, and honestly not a great way to describe a book. You know what, I'll be totally frank with everyone...I have no idea how to describe this thing. You can find out yourself what it's about by reading it. Whatever description I type here will not do it justice.

Chapter 12

A Forever Now

The boat was packed full. It was a small sailboat, made of wood, a strange man named Drain at the controls. A man of power, clearly, and in an American military uniform. He wore a tortured expression, but a grim one, too, as he set a course for the Beyondland.

And in the boat sat an older man, his hair gray, but with traces still of the deep black color that once fell over his head. He looked perhaps seventy-five, but in truth, he was exactly one hundred years old. His clothes made him look younger—he wore a dark hoodie and jeans. And he sat alone, talking to nobody.

There were others, too. A soldier in camouflage. A child with burn marks on her face. A young man with a bullet hole in his head. An older woman in a hospital gown. A younger woman in a hospital gown. Another soldier in camouflage. Other children. And many old people.

Once someone came up to the man and asked if he wanted to speak. “I’m fine,” he replied.

He did not speak until the boat came to the dock.

“Thank you.”

He was grim. The red light, the desert-like landscape of the Beyondland stunned him. Beautiful. Stunning. Yet disastrous.

And he went to the checkpoint. A man in a black cloak waited.

“Your name, sir.”

“Mortas Leviathan Wayworde.”

“Very well, sir. Date of death.”

“June 6, 2103.”

“A recent one, then. Age.”

“One hundred years.”

“Very well, sir. Occupation at the time of death.”

He thought. Then, he spoke.

“Mourner.”

“Of whom?”

“My wife.”

“Her name?”

“I don’t know her middle name. Can’t remember.”

“First and last, then.”

“Avril Kleinman.”

“Very well, sir. Date of death.”

“June 6, 2030.”

“2030?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Age at death.”

“Twenty-seven.”

“Occupation at the time of death.”

“Lover and entrepreneur.”

“Sir.”

“Yes?”

“‘Lover’ is not an occupation.”

“She was my lover. I want to see her. Please.”

The recently deceased was moved to tears. The official searched his records.

“Sir, Mr. Wayworde, I cannot find her.”

“Look harder.” He was impatient. He had hoped, for all these years…

The official searched and searched through many hopeless years of records. Deaths and names and dates and cruelty.

And then, finally…

“Sir—the Lord is coming.”

“The Lord?”

“Yes. He is coming to assist you.”

So Mortas Wayworde waited again.

And then the Lord came. His long red cloak was proof of his authority. His stately manner, everything about seemed lordly. It contrasted Mortas Wayworde, the monster-turned-hero, to a comical degree.

“My Lord—this man is looking for his wife.”

The Lord looked down on Mortas Wayworde, contemplating.

Finally, The Lord asked him.

“Sir—name?”

“Mortas Leviathan Wayworde.”

“Tell me a bit about you.”

“Sir—my Lord—I am a monster.”

For the last time, he watched God watch him.

Finally, finally, after a troubled eternity, the Lord spoke again.

“Mr. Wayworde.”

“Yes, my Lord?”

“Follow me, Mr. Wayworde.”

The Lord took Mortas Wayworde through the Beyondland, showing him around, showing him all the places, where killers went, where demons went, where monsters went. All the while, he said, “This is not your home.”

And then, finally, he stopped at a large stone door.

The Lord smiled at Mortas Wayworde, who nervously smiled back.

“Mr. Wayworde—this is the place where all good souls come to rest.”

He opened the door.

This was the heaven! This was a magical place, a fairytale, a storybook location. Mortas Wayworde’s eyes ran around like a child on a sugar high. There was just so much to see…

The Lord guided Mortas Wayworde through the long, winding, beautiful cobblestone streets. They went through alleys of romantic buildings. They saw children playing in the streets. They were surrounded by magic, by angels—but none of them were the one he was hopelessly looking for.

The Lord guided his hand around, sweeping over the sunlit land.

“Mr. Wayworde, this is your home.”

Mortas Wayworde’s golden eyes shut.

“Sir—my Lord—this cannot be my home.”

The Lord turned to him as if he was insane.

“Why not?”

“My Lord, I am surrounded by beautiful things. There are angels all around me. But, my Lord, my angel…my angel is the only place I want to be.”

“Mr. Wayworde, this is your destiny.”

“I refuse to accept it.”

“Mr. Wayworde—”

“Please! Please.”

They continued through the magic. They continued walking down beautiful cobblestone streets. The Lord continued to guide Mortas Wayworde, mostly to simply convince him that this was indeed his home. 

But Mortas Wayworde was elsewhere. His shell, his soulless shell, was there. His mind wandered back to the small world he had with his angel for the last time. Her words. Her cries. His tears. The wreck. No, not the wreck—he was the wreck.

“Mr. Wayworde, you seem distracted.”

“I’m a wreck, sir. I’m a wreck.”

“My Lord,” the Lord quickly corrected.

“I don’t care!” He was furious now. “You’re no lord to me. No lord exists to me. I only want my angel.”

They wandered to the sunlit fountain square. There, loads of people, throngs of good souls wandered and talked and smiled and lit up the sky with their brilliant colors. But it was all black and white and grim to the eyes who saw nothing but their loss.

“My Lord!” Dozens of greetings met the Lord. None came to Mortas Wayworde.

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“Oh, my Lord!”

The Lord greeted every one of them, not by any name, but by a simple smile and a “Hello!” 

Mortas Wayworde’s eyes continued to search the throngs of people. Watching. Waiting. Looking for the one green light in the crowds of monotone. He believed in that green light, believed it would be his, if only he could just see it—if only it wasn’t just beyond his reach—

He was a storm now. Not the slashes of rain and the bright lightning that lit up the sky, if only for just one second, but a tornado. He ripped himself apart, the farms, the grass, the trees, the schools, the gloomy house. Where was she? Only the eye of the storm—no, wait—a tornado had no calm eye. No. He was a hurricane, ripping the palm trees and the roller coasters and the homes and the gloomy house out of the ground of his being. Only the eye of the storm held the green light of love.

He continued to look.

And look.

And look.

More greetings came, none to him.

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord! What are you doing here?!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

“My Lord!”

And then, finally, a brilliant, wild, frenzied cry with unparalleled emotion—

“MORTAS!”

And there it was! The green light came rushing out from the throngs of people, revealing itself in a masterpiece of a spectacle that came flying through the hurricane. The hurricane ripped itself apart, the eye of the storm breaking it up from the inside.

And there was the angel, the angel of love and hope and death. Her eyes were frenzied, her hair flew back and forth in its tight ponytail. Her clothes were reminiscent of another, more beautiful, green time.

And he responded.

“AVRIL!”

And they flew towards each other, running as if the world was on fire. The world became smaller and smaller as they approached each other. 

And as they approached, the years fell down to the grass beneath them. There was 2103, falling out of Mortas Wayworde’s face. There was 2102, 2101, 2100, 2099, 2098, 2097…

And then as 2030 fell out of his face, 2030 fell out of her face. Then 2029, 2028, 2027, 2026…

And as they collided in a beautiful swirling of love and joy and angelic masterpiece, there came 2020, falling out, thrown out as they collided and fell into each other’s arms. 2019 remained, 2019 stayed, 2019 ignited in them once again. Free again, at last.

They were sixteen and sixteen, young love, with all the world ahead of them. This was beauty, this was everything good. It would never fall apart again. The world collapsed down to a small little bubble shaped like them. Shaped like joy. Shaped like love.

The Lord left the place where all good souls come to rest, wiping a tear from his eye.

“I told you, Mr. Wayworde, that this is your home.”

And so they returned to the big light orange house on the hillside, the same one, but different. Everything the same, but theirs. Real. Not just a memory, fleeting in grief and mourning. It was no longer a brainwave. It was the same TV, the same table, the same notebooks stacked up. The same computer, the same couch.

And they went up the same wooden stairs, the same finish, to the same second floor. Everything was just as 2019 had left it. Everything was perfect.

And then they went into the same bedroom, as the same storm raged outside and inside. Rain, slashing the world in pieces, bringing life and love and everything that they had dreamed of for so long, far too long, far, far too long.

They threw open the sheets, the same white comforter, the same blue blanket, the same bookshelves and lamp and lights and wolf calendar on Avril’s wall. The same blue walls, the same glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling whose light had long since faded. But that was no matter—that was before 2019. All that mattered was how 2019 had left them.

Outside, a beautiful, glorious storm raged.

And inside, a beautiful, glorious storm raged.

And inside him, a beautiful, glorious storm raged.

And inside her, a beautiful, glorious storm raged.

This was it. This was all they had forever longed for. This was their forever, forever now. Forever they would roam and be free and escape to the cave in the mountains and into the bedroom in the valley. This was freedom, true freedom. This was where the monster and his angel would come finally to rest. This was where the good souls came to rest, together, in love, forevermore.

The green light had flashed, had opened. The world had condensed again, into the two glowing green lights, the two glowing green lights that had once been out of reach, on the far side of the mountain, but now here, forevermore.

The desert had fallen. The hellish red desert had broken apart, flourished in the refreshing waters of the storm, forevermore.

To put it simply, this was home.

And so Mortas and Avril began to talk. He talked about all that had happened, all that Avril had missed by being in the place where all good souls come to rest. 

“Of course I took care of Cecilia,” he said, “She was the third-highest ranked in her entire class. She went to law school.”

“Law school!”

“She started dating a man named Devajee Johnson. He was a lawyer, too. He wanted to become President someday.”

“President! So…our little Cecilia grew up to be the First Lady?”

They sat on the bed now. They sat like old times, as if it was still those better days, eighty-four years ago, when all had been like a dream.

Mortas chucked. “No. My brother Attwell died before that could happen. My father kept telling me I was the heir to the family property, I had to go back to the village I grew up in. I refused. I wasn’t going to leave America.” He wiped away a wayward tear. “I wasn’t going to leave the land that you died in. Not until I myself passed away.”

Avril stared at the young man in front of her. The young man, perhaps, but he was one hundred years old. What a dedicated, devout man! A strong, faithful, committed man with no bounds to his love. She felt warm, almost as if blood still flowed through her gray, disintegrated heart.

Mortas’s head bowed down. He pressed his hands on his knees. 

“I had our company. Cosmoscape.”

“You made games?”

He grinned, a mix of sadness, genius, and mischief. “More than that. Far more than that. We started out marketing space shooter games. Failing, miserably. I was practically living off of your parents’ money. Me, a father with no real stable income. And then I started playing around. I started goofing off with search engines and social media. I started hearing more and more complaints about Facebook, in particular. So I started working. You won’t know how many all-nighters I pulled working on it. And then I did it—I launched CosmoscapeLibrary and CosmoscapeDiary, a search engine and a social media site. All powered by a few custom AI algorithms. I figured it wouldn’t get anywhere. Make a bit of money and be done. I honestly, at that point, felt like I’d be living off of either welfare or your parents’ money forever.”

Avril patted his strong, scarred back. “Mortas! You were on welfare?”

He grinned wider.

“No. I didn’t.”

“Then how did you survive? Off of my parents?”

“Of course not!”

“Then—”

“Avril,” he continued, “I was certain that Cosmoscape would get nowhere. But then I woke up one morning, and all of a sudden, I was getting notifications from my phone. It was blowing up. I had my email set up to alert me when I had a new site visitor. And it was exploding. All of a sudden, our revenue was going through the roof. And then, about three years later, CosmoscapeDiary overtook Facebook. Then, a few years after that, CosmoscapeLibrary overtook Google in daily site visits. A bit embarrassing, actually, since I still had a Gmail account. And then Google was our main competitor, and I was a devout Gmail user. They beautified since you died, but it was basically the same. And then, after that, I kept getting ideas. Most of them were never implemented. I had an idea for a Google Drive-like system, but it never came to be. 

“And then I started hearing people saying I’d invented a ‘New Internet.’ I was skeptical. Of course I hadn’t! And then it dawned on me: I had. I had thrown out the old companies and thrust them into obscurity. By the time Cecilia was in high school, many kids hadn’t even heard of Mark Zuckerberg, or even Facebook at all. Google was on a downturn. These people were seeing falling stocks, falling revenues, while ours were rising on an unprecedented level. 

“And then the ‘New Internet’ took a new form. Cosmoscape had a sudden monopoly over most of the Internet. So people started talking of a new system. Computer scientists started theorizing a new system, based on Cosmoscape. So we took those predictions, those ideas, and we made it happen—giving them credit, of course. The dot-com Internet faded into obscurity as the ‘_scape’ format took its place. AI was a driving force. And then they weren’t websites anymore, they were scapespaces. Everything revolutionized. And I, ever the security freak, made sure it was all done to minimize the potential for people’s data to be used without their consent. People started calling all of that ‘data rape.’ Which, honestly, was rather offensive to me. I tried to get people to call it ‘data insecurity,’ but nobody listened to that. The morals came later for the world. Right now, all they wanted was the product. People could stop their data from being specified to themselves, as in being connected to themselves, and they could prevent it from being exploited by third-party companies, but not from being used within the search engine to improve search results. Anyways, I tried to make sure that the data we collected wasn’t being used in a harmful way.

“But then there was something else. As much as I loved the modern era that I almost singlehandedly ushered in, I was yearning for better days. The fact that I was here, successful as I was, but without you, was more than I could bear. I wanted, in a way, to go back. So I created Backdoor, or technically, Backdoor_scape, a way to connect to the Internet that you knew, or the ‘Old Internet.’ It would take you to the Internet as it existed in whatever year you specified, all the way back to its very roots. And so I spent time on that site so often. I wanted to look back at that world, my better days. Back when you were there for me. I explored the 2019, 2020, all the way up to 2030 Internet far too often, far too long. I fear that Cecilia grew up mostly on her own, since I was so reclusive. But I had to hide myself. I had to hide my obsession, my longing for you. The world would never let me live it down if I didn’t hide it. There were so many times I considered just shooting myself, ending it right there, going to be with you. But I stayed. I knew Cecilia needed to at least have me there, if not always available.”

He sighed a long sigh. “And then, when Cecilia was twenty-six, my brother Attwell died. I refused to go. My father couldn’t travel; he was far too old. I explained everything to Cecilia, and she said, as the gracious lady she became, that she would go. I tried to tell her not to, that any Wayworde in that village would be looked down upon no matter how wonderful they were, and that it wasn’t a woman’s town. She refused to listen. She went with Devajee, abandoning her passion for law, her ambitions, and she left for the village where I grew up. She has a son with Devajee. His name is Jalen. And Jalen has children too. From what I remember, he has two children, Ruby and Henry. 

“But after you died, your parents and grandparents made a promise. They made an exception. They said they would take your ashes to Taiwan and put them in the Hsieh family pagoda. And they saw me, a wreck of a man, wrecked by grief, and they said they’d make an even bigger exception for me. What I think they really wanted was to preserve the love. I don’t think the world has ever seen any love like ours, beautiful yet disastrous.”

Avril couldn’t speak. Mortas had just told her the impossible. He had done something that had defied all expectations. He had first brought their company into near bankruptcy, and had been living off of borrowed money, but all of a sudden, he had brought their company into massive, unimaginable success. He was the lone achiever of something she had barely thought possible. And yet it was her love, the sole object of her affections, that had proven that the impossible could be achieved.

“How?” This was the only word she could speak.

“If I’m honest, I really don’t know. I didn’t think it was possible.”

Avril paused. Then she threw herself onto him and kissed his cheek.

“You really are a god, Mortas,” she burst out excitedly. “I’ve been wishing for my beautiful god of a man to come back to me for so long. I used to tell people about you, other good souls. They told me you were no god, just a man with a heart of gold, a man who would come here, where all the good souls come to rest. Now I know they were all wrong!” She laughed, laughed a beautiful laugh that made the lightning flash outside and in. 

Mortas smiled shyly. “I wouldn’t say that. I’m no god. Just very lucky.”

“You’re a genius. You can think like a god, probably better.”

It was true that his thoughts were a torrent of pondering, a swirling tornado revolving around Avril in the center. The strongest winds were there, with her, but everything swirled. In his mind, lightning always flashed, rain always pounded every crevice, and thunder crashed like a steady firing of a machine gun. He was a thinker, through and through, and everything he’d gone through—the highs and lows, the disastrous beginning and the prosperous end, the shimmering start and the wreckage of the end—all swirled around in that massive tornado that gave him life and an indestructible intellect, unmatched in every regard. Yes, Mortas was indeed a god—he was an impossible person, someone one can only find in books and movies and half-remembered dreams. He had done everything—a wreck, but still barely breathing near the end. No, he was not lucky—he was the genius that the world had lacked, until he unlocked his own self. Until Avril had unlocked him. 

Avril pushed aside Mortas’s luscious black fringe. She looked into his brilliant, swirling golden eyes. There was a slight greenish tinge that she saw in them now—green, the color of life. He may have been dead, but he was indeed very alive.

“There’s life in you still,” she whispered into his ears.

“I’m dead,” he replied, “We both are. Have been for a bit now.”

“No—something else. Not physical.”

He felt the storm grow stronger as she got closer and closer. His eyes closed, opened. 

But there was something missing. Something wrong about the whole thing. There was no pounding heart, no heavy breathing, none of it anymore. His heart and lungs were dead, cold, lifeless, but how would he feel it? Other than—

He realized it now. This was his chance. His first in over seventy years. Now he could finally do all of it again. Love, without the toys and the imagination. Real this time.

Now he began to wonder. Was all of this still possible in the afterlife? Sure, they could see their bodies, each other’s bodies, but would they feel the pleasure again? Was it even possible? Or were their bodies just there as identification?

Avril laughed. She saw the gears turning in his spiritual brain. “There he goes again!”

Then Mortas decided not to think anymore. There was no need for it now.

He tackled her onto the bed. Her arms flew out, her legs flew out. They kissed, and then it got more and more sexual. It went to making out, and then a strong, writhing hug. Avril reached under Mortas’s shirt and threw it off, revealing his tan body, his muscular arms and chest, his defined six-pack. He was pleased to see that his worries were worthless—the pleasure was still there. Somehow he still felt the arousing touches on his skin, skin that was no longer filled with a soul. His heart—the heart that wasn’t there with him—felt warm, and it pounded faster and faster with every second that passed. Even time seemed to pass. Did it? He wasn’t sure.

And then his thinking rested on another thing.

“Should we close the door?”

Avril put a hand on his chest. “Who’s gonna see us? My parents don’t even seem to exist here. I stay here by myself.”

“Well, not anymore.” Mortas let his body fall onto hers. She laughed, smiled.

They separated for a bit, just to talk. They lay down next to each other.

“Isn’t it weird that I still think of you as my boyfriend?”

“Not really. I kind of still think of you as my girlfriend. I mean, look at what age we transformed into when we came here.”

“Well, I wasn’t sixteen until you came along. I was twenty-seven until just a little while ago.”

Mortas laughed. “And I was a hundred.”

“What day did you die, by the way? I’m kinda curious.”

“June 6, 2103.”

Tears welled in Avril’s eyes. 

“You were exactly one hundred years old.”

Mortas laughed again. “And to think that when I was fifteen, I doubted I’d live until twenty.”

He stared off into space. “Maybe it would’ve been better that way…if…you know…I’d died with or before you.”

“Don’t say that. You changed the world. Where would the planet be if you didn’t live?”

“It was nothing without you.”

“You sound ridiculous. But hey—I’ll take it.”

Avril kissed him again. “You defy every expectation. It’s amazing.”

Mortas began to recount their time together on Earth. He spoke quickly, excitedly. 

“Remember when I tried beating Artur in basketball?”

Avril burst out laughing. “You’re athletic, you’ve got the super-boy physique, but you couldn’t beat my brother.”

Her eyes widened. “Remember when all those birds flew overhead in the heart formation? Like, totally randomly? And I was joking around, like, ‘Ohh, how cute, we should kiss!’ And then you kissed me?”

“As much as I’d like to think I planned that, it was totally unplanned.”

“I wouldn’t doubt it if you planned it. Oh, hey, wait, remember when you asked me to prom, but had no idea what it actually was?”

“I knew it was something for couples and all, but I didn’t really know what prom was. We didn’t have it at the tiny school I went to as a kid.”

“I’m glad we didn’t go.” She laughed. “We screwed instead. That was how I learned how much of a crazy beast you were in bed.”

“Believe me, I was so scared. I thought it would end horribly. Probably stupid that we chose to do it sort of impromptu, no protection, but then it went well.”

“What, you thought I was gonna get pregnant?” She teased, poking at his side.

“Actually, kind of! My father would’ve been proud. And anything that made my father proud was no good.”

The house got colder now. It was stormy outside, of course, raining, with a lightning storm going. Night had fallen, too. Dark, chaotic, beautiful. A gorgeous disaster.

Avril touched the window with her finger.

“It’s cold out.”

“I don’t care.”

“Me neither. I kind of like it when it’s cold.”

“Why?”

“It gives me a chance to snuggle up in my sheets. Same goes for when I was little.”

Mortas grinned. He sensed an invitation.

“I’ll take the place of those sheets if you like.”

Avril laughed. “Maybe a little later! But honestly, I know the Lord probably showed you around, but I’d like to go out with you.”

“Wait, can we still eat and drink and all, now that we’re…you know…dead?”

She nodded. “Oh, yeah! Sure we can! Why else is there still a kitchen in this house?”

“Because…it’s supposed to be your house when we were growing up, and it just wouldn’t be right without the kitchen?”

“Well, that, too. But I’ve actually got Coke in the fridge.”

“Just Coke?”

“Well, more than that. But I was just giving an example.”

She sat up. “Anyways, maybe we should go. I think you’ll like it here.”

“Anywhere where there’s you,” he said, “And I’ll be there.”

They kissed again.

Then Mortas noticed the master bedroom.

“Hey…if the master bedroom’s not occupied…”

Avril placed one finger on his chest. “You naughty boy! We may have the whole house to ourselves, but that’s still technically my parents’ bedroom. Plus, put your shirt back on. You’re the sexiest man in the universe, but I don’t want you getting cold when we go out.”

He threw his clothes back on.

And then he noticed the neat stacks of clothes. On Avril’s window bench, there were his clothes, all from when he was in high school.

Avril noticed, too. “Those weren’t there earlier.”

“What should we do?”

“Well, they won’t fit in my closet. You know what, Mortas, you’re right. We should move into my parents’ old room.”

“We can do that later.”

So they went downstairs and left the house, bound for the urban square. The rain made it harder to walk around, but that didn’t matter. They were together. Everything was an adventure again.

The couple came to the cobblestone-lined streets. Street signs in dozens of languages pointed this way and that.

“Where should we go?”

“No clue.”

So they walked around. Avril cooked most nights anyways, so even she was a bit unfamiliar with the streets. As for Mortas, at first an isolated boy from a rural farm town (population of about one hundred) and then a recluse, he was simply astounded by all the activity. And a little nervous. He was introverted, even more so than Avril, something that Avril knew very well.

“Do you happen to have any friends here?” he asked quietly.

“No. I’ve been waiting for you.”

“This whole time?”

“This whole time.”

People who passed them were honestly astounded. Mortas and Avril were an attractive couple, and obviously deeply in love. Most of the good souls had never seen anything like it. Sure, they loved their significant other, but this was a new level of love that nobody had ever seen, much less experienced for themselves. Perhaps they were lucky. But certainly they were meant to be.

As for Avril and Mortas themselves, they had a light dinner. Neither one of them was feeling very hungry. Nothing really seemed appetizing. Then they returned to their house, sick of the presence of others. All they really felt the need for now was each other.

As they walked, they continued talking. She made jokes; he talked about his life.

“You only existed deep in my memory for a long time; only in my heart.”

“Same here. I’m glad that’s not the case anymore.”

“I feel like we’re sort of getting over the fact that we haven’t seen each other in so long, and now we’ve finally met again.”

“Why think about it? We’re here. We’re together. I guess we should sort of act in the moment now. We’re dead; it’s not like we have anything to plan ahead for.”

“That’s going to be a bit hard for me.”

“Good God, Mortas, you’re such a thinker.”

“I know. Maybe my brainpower isn’t always the best thing.”

“Maybe not. Step back, love.”

The rain continued to pound the place. 

“It’s always sunny in the day,” said Avril, “Always stormy at night. It’s beautiful. I guess that’s how they keep the grass green, and the trees green…”

But Mortas had stopped listening to the actual words that she was saying. He was more focused on the melody that escaped her mouth. Finally, finally, he could hear the most wonderful, most exquisite symphony play again. He felt wildly privileged to hear it in the first place. If some man had stepped in and taken her before he had! He knew nothing else now, nothing but pure, frenzied, unbreakable love. He doubted Avril would’ve been as happy with any other person.

They reached the house again, drenched in rain, but neither too bothered by it.

“I almost want to watch the rain for a little bit,” Avril said, “Just stand out here, and let it fall…”

The rain put on a great number, a masterpiece, a thunderous symphony for them. It begged for them, screamed for them to come and dance. So they did. Mortas took Avril in his arms and spun her around, drew her close. He had never danced before in his life, but he somehow knew exactly what to do. And Avril was stunned. She had never imagined Mortas dancing, and had never even thought he was that type. Perhaps it was just a one-day thing, a thing that he just did out of the joy of finally seeing her again.

Finally, after a full ten minutes, even Mortas became uncomfortable in the storm of rain. He led Avril inside and grunted something about a shower. He let Avril go first, while he watched Mysteries of the Abandoned on Science Channel. The better days were back.

They watched TV together for a little while. Then Avril broke out the hair dryer and restored her hair to the glorious wave of darkness it was.

As the episodes and shows blurred by, both Avril and Mortas felt the storm growing inside them again. Slowly, very slowly, they started edging closer to one another. It was a definite thing now, the storm. 

Finally, Avril couldn’t take it anymore. She tackled her godly boy onto the bed and pushed her hand under his briefs. He kissed her. She took off her clothes and let him climb on top of her. They were laughing and screaming and letting themselves finally, finally, after all of these years, open their gates and let the raging storm inside free, free forever.

And then Avril opened the doors, and Mortas felt himself drawn in.

He felt himself become firm, and then he entered.

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