Well, I'm thrilled to announce that it's finally that time of year again! Welcome to: The 4th Annual No Kiss Blogfest, brought to you by Frankie Diane Mallis! Before we get to the goods, in case your curious, my entry for this year's NKB was inspired by a scene from an odd by nonetheless awesome movie called Elvis and Anabelle and ever since I first saw that movie and that particular scene, I've wanted to write one like it (if you've seen the movie you'll know which one I'm talking about)! The following is my attempt at recreating that scene-hope you like it! :)
In the past, when I would fantasize about being alone with Molly Sinclair, the scene in my head usually involved the two of us in some intimate setting at various locations: like sitting inside a parked car at the local drive-in movie theater watching some gory teen slasher flick while Molly squeezed my hand in a death grip, her eyes squeezed tightly shut in fear, or her and I laying side-by-side on our backs in grass, gazing up at the star-filled sky while we talked and laughed for hours on end.
But never in a million years could I have imagined that that fantasy would one day become a reality, just...not in the way I would have ever expected.
Because now, here I was, finally alone with her, the girl of my dreams, the girl who I had been in love with since kindergarten, except reality was nothing like my fantasies...it was far, far, worse.
Because even though I had finally gotten what I had always wanted and I was finally alone with her, we weren't in an intimate setting, holding hands or laughing and talking for hours like how I had always imagined we would be, instead we were inside my house, better known by the locals as the Weston Family Funeral Home.
Throughout my elementary, junior high and now high school career, all my classmates knew me as Carter "kid who lives with dead people" Weston, and it was because of that fact-and the fact that my Dad was the funeral director-that I had become a school pariah, feared and ignored by all who knew me, afraid that they would catch whatever disease a kid who lived in a funeral home carried.
So naturally, my day-to-day existence at school was a fairly bleak one-except where Molly was concerned. She was my one bright spot in a world filled with death, bullies, and fearful glances. Molly was beautiful and popular, well-liked by everyone who knew her. But what was different about her was that she wasn't your stereotypical popular girl, oh no. Molly was sweet and outgoing, with a huge heart, always willing to give a hand to anyone who needed it, no matter who they were.
So whenever she went out of her way to say hi to me when we passed each other in the hall or even smile at me from across the room if our eyes met, even as her friends looked on in horror, I shouldn't have been surprised, that's just the kind of person she was, but still, every time she interacted with me, even in the slightest and most insignificant of ways, I was in awe. Shocked that someone as high on the social food chain as Molly would risk tainting her squeaky clean reputation just to acknowledge a nobody like me.
Even though we'd known each other almost our entire lives and had barely said more then a handful of words to each other during that time, I was in love. Hopelessly and utterly in love with a girl I barely knew but who made me want to be a better person, who gave me the strength I needed to get out of bed every morning in order to face the firing squad that was my school, who made me happy to be alive with just a smile.
So when my Dad woke me in the middle of the night saying that we had a fresh body that had just arrived, I was suddenly wide awake and chomping at the bit: I had been waiting for this moment for years. Dad had promised that as soon as he thought I was ready, he would let me embalm a body all on my own, 100% solo.
I couldn't wait.
In a matter of minutes, I was dressed and heading downstairs to our basement, where we kept all the bodies to be prepared for burial. I had a feeling that tonight's body was a result of the fatal car crash that I had seen on the 10:00 news earlier that night and my whole body tingled with anticipation.
Unlike most people, I had seen hundreds of dead bodies over the course of my short 16 year lifespan and tonight's body would be no different. My Dad had taught me from an early age how important it was to remain composed and emotionally distant when faced with a new human corpse. Depending on how the person died, it could be quite a shock to the system when you first pulled back the sheet covering the oftentimes still warm body laying the embalming table. You were never quite sure what you would be greeted with or what kind of condition the body would be in upon that first viewing, and you had to make sure to be mentally and emotionally prepared for whatever might happen.
As I entered the pitch black basement, I clicked on the naked light bulb overhead, shielding my eyes from the sudden glare of light as the bulb swung back and forth, casting dark shadows around the room. Once my eyes had adjusted to the light, I peered across the room to find the embalming table already out and waiting, like it had somehow been expecting me, the unmistakable form of a human body laying on top of it, hidden from view by a crisp white sheet.
I walked briskly across the room and stood in front of the table, licking my lips and slowly clenching and unclenching my hands into fists at my sides. I don't know why I was suddenly so nervous; I had been in this same scenario hundreds of times as a bystander while my Dad did all the work, so this should be no big deal.
But it was, and I knew it.
Maybe it was because I was finally realizing that I was no longer a bystander, but a participant in what was to one day become my futer life's work once my Dad retired. But whatever the reason, I couldn't let my nerves get the best of me, not now.
I had work to do.
Once I had gotten my nerves under control, I took a deep, calming breath and slowly pulled the sheet back to reveal the body underneath-
And dropped the sheet so fast, it was like it was on fire.
I backed as far as I could away from the table as the blood drained from my face and my heart stuttered to a stop. No, this couldn't be happening. I was dreaming, that's all. I squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as I could, willing this incomprehensible nightmare to go away. But when I dared to open them again a second later, I knew: This was no nightmare, this was reality.
Molly Sinclair was dead...and laying on my embalming table.
I barely managed to keep myself up on my feet as I felt the room begin to pitch and sway around me. I shoved my head between my knees, fighting the urge to vomit. No, no, no. Not Molly, anyone but Molly. Once the feeling of nausea subsided, my skin now slick with sweat and my heart pumping in a terrified frenzy, I somehow mustered the courage to approach the embalming table once more.
As I stood over the table I knew that no matter how desperately I wanted it to be a lie or a horrible misunderstanding, I couldn't deny it any longer: It was Molly on that matel slab, completely nude and covered in dried blood and cuts and scraps, a gaping wound on the side of her head. Her usually milky skin was now a chalky white, her full red lips tinged blue, her eyes mercifully closed, and her long blonde hair fanned out around her head, matted and caked with blood, full of twigs and leaves.
Tears pricked the backs of my eyes and a large lump lodged itself into my throat as I gazed down at her broken body. "Oh, Molly..." I said in a strangled whisper. "I'm so, so, sorry..." A tear escaped from the corner of my eye and rolled down my cheek as I gingerly reached out to graze her cheek with the back of my hand. My breath caught in my throat when I realized her skin was no longer warm, but cold to the touch.
She had been dead for hours.
A whimper escaped my mouth as the horrifying realization hit me: She was gone. The girl with so much to offer, so much to live for, always happy and so full of life, was gone.
Now I would never know what might have been had she lived. How, if given the chance, Molly and I might have moved from friendly acquaintances to friends and the, maybe, to something more. But now even that faint hope of a possible future with Molly was gone, snuffed out, just like Molly herself.
I bit my tongue to keep myself from crying, even as the tears filled my eyes once more and the lump in my throat swelled to the size of a golf ball. Then, like a man possessed, the urge to do what I had only dreamed of doing for years suddenly took ahold of me and leaned down until my face was just mere inches from her own and prepared myself to give the girl of my dreams, not our first kiss, like I had always imagined, but instead a kiss goodbye, for what was, for what could have been and for what was no more.
My face hovered above Molly's as I closed my eyes and tried to imagine that she was still alive and well, that we out on our first date and that she was as happy to finally be alone with me as I was with her and that I had finally gotten up the guts to give her a kiss goodnight-
"Carter-how's it going down there?"
I nearly jumped out of my skin as the sound of my Dad's voice called from upstairs, shattering my daydream into a million pieces. My eyes shot open and I jerked back, looking toward the stairs. "Fine, Dad!" I croaked.
My heart hammered in my chest at what I had almost been caught doing. What was I thinking? Molly was dead for Christ sake, I couldn't kiss her now. I wasn't a sicko, but I had to be more careful, I couldn't let my emotions get the best of me like that again, they committed people for this kind of thing, sicko or no.
I turned back to the table, ready to replace the sheet over Molly's and put my thoughts of her to rest-once and for all.
But when I looked down, I realized with a sick, slithering feeling in my gut that Molly's eyes were no longer closed like they had been a moment before...
They were open.