Emily Ruth Verona
I wrote your name in blood. There was no other way. I needed it to stain.
Fingers warm and sticky, I spelled the letters out thick. One by one. There is no room for error when conjuring the dead. Precision and intention must go hand in hand.
I wrote your name in blood. Because you would do the same for me. Our parting was not what it should have been. A molten mass of love scarred by pain and misdeeds and everything in between. We were angry—so angry—and it is difficult to speak truthfully as your skin is burning, your soul seething.
I wrote your name in blood. It was the only way to bring you back. I have a talent for bringing back the dead. It’s one of the things we used to fight about back when we were still using words to snip at each other’s skin. I’ve brought back so many people for so many others—why should I not be allowed one conjure of my very own? If it makes me selfish, then selfish I must be.
I wrote your name in blood. Have waited for it to bubble on the pavement. Boil and blister. Changing from red to black to smoke. It is from this smoke that a face emerges. Your face. One I never thought I’d see again. Round and smooth and beautiful. Pale blue eyes like perfect, glittering stars in the night. Staring into me. Through me. Your lips part and my heart lurches on the verge of capsizing. “I want you to know…” I say, voice cracking. It’s been months since you last stood before me like this. Five months, three days, and two hours. Death leaves no forwarding address. “I want you to know…” I say again, louder this time. Each new word feels stronger than the one preceding it. Steadier. Surer. I am constructing my courage through every syllable for words are the building blocks of the bereaved.
“Yes?” you say and to hear your voice again—it shoots a bolt of lightning through me like a needle piercing flesh. In one side, out the other. I loved you. Dearly. I loved you. Desperately.
“I want you to know…” We don’t have much time left and you need to hear it. You have to know. “If I could go back—if I could have saved you”—I miss you I miss you I miss you always I will miss you—“I wouldn’t.”
Your expression sinks like wet sand—those lovely lips parted warily.
“You deserve this.”
There is nothing you can say—or rather, there was nothing from you that I’d want to hear. With the back of my hand, I smear the ashen letters. It closes the channel. Seals you away. Your visage fades—drifting—falling back into the sharp, brisk chill of the night air.
I wrote your name in blood and this is the last drop of it that you will ever get from me.
Emily Ruth Verona received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Cinema Studies from The State University of New York at Purchase. Previous publication credits include work featured in The Pinch, LampLight Magazine, Mystery Tribune, The Ghastling, Blackberry Blood and The Jewish Book of Horror. She lives in New Jersey with a small dog.