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Grey Skies for the Bitter Man

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He always knew when she was near. The stillness gave it away, how the air seemed to go stale. If it’s raining, the droplets would simply stop midair as they are now. The sound of rain on hard concrete fades out as quick as it came. The streetlights above him flicker as though they were about to go out. The grey sky above is the only constant.
As Desmond reaches into his pockets for his cigarettes he says aloud, “You’re becoming easy to detect, Zoey.”
No response, but he can tell she heard him. The lights above stop flickering. He chuckles to himself as he flips open the metal case of cigarettes and slides one out of the corner dispenser. As he retrieves his lighter from his pocket, he leans into the street lamp beside him. To his surprise, he felt someone on the other side. He didn’t have to look to tell who it was. The presence felt familiar enough.
“You shouldn’t be out here in the cold alone.” Zoey says as she begins to tap a gentle beat into the post with her knuckles. “Though I guess I’m not one to talk.”
“You never were.” Desmond responds as he lights his cigarette. He was trying his hardest not to turn his gaze towards her. He could feel hers on him, coming from all angles. What has she become? “Even when my sanity slipped away, you still weren’t.”
“Times were different then.” She says dismissively.
“How?” Desmond asks, finally turning towards her as he puts the cigarette in his mouth. He nearly froze. All this time, she hadn’t changed. Same shirt with the rock band graphic, same pair of jeans, same high top sneakers… same everything. The only thing that has changed is her hair, which now lazily fell down to her shoulders.
She peered up at him, but he couldn’t quite place what type of look it was. Such a blank expression that Zoey- the Zoey he knew- would never wear.
Completely ignoring Desmond’s daze Zoey responds, “I felt human then, I don’t feel human now.”
Those words told him everything he needed to know. Zoey, as usual, is afraid of herself. Only now she has perfect reason to be. In an attempt to sound like the concerned older brother he responds, “I understand-“
“No you don’t.” She interrupts him. Desmond could of sword he detected a small hint of aggression in her tone. Another thing unlike Zoey, she never got mad unless you completely screw her over.
Or tried to kill her, that was also a big one.
“Desmond, I can’t just walk among people anymore. I hear them, all of them. Their minds, their souls, sometimes I can even see how some of them will die. It’s morbid. It’s fucked up. I feel fucked up, cause I know I won’t die. I know we won’t die. I know in the end it’ll be me and you and everyone we knew will die. It’s even more fucked up that, in the end…”

“Them dying is the only time we ever come close to touching that thing we were never able to have.”

“Don’t say that.” Desmond says, turning his cheek to her as he takes a deep inhale of pure smoke.
“Why not, Desmond?” Zoey asks, “Why shouldn’t I?”
“Because it’s the truth.” He says between coughs.
“I’ve always been about the truth.”
“You’ve always been about doing the right thing, not the truth.”

They’ve found each other arguing again, like old times. More things change, more they stay the same. What ever the case, Zoey had enough. The rain suddenly plummets once more, further reminding Desmond of his haste. He has a couple of dogs back at home he needs to feed.


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