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Word Count: 410
Warnings: brief mention of blood, death, depression
Created for the Tropetember Event - Rash Promise
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“Promise me, Jamie.” I felt the death grip my mother held on to with every bone in my hand, straining to hold on long enough to finish her demands. “Promise– promise me you’ll be strong. Promise me that you will not break–” Her voice caught in her throat, every word carrying through like feet on a beach of glass, each step leaving bleeding cuts that marked a trail of everything never said before. “Promise me you’ll be happy”
My lips parted to speak but no words came out, my trembling hands holding onto hers as hard as I could, like if I held on tight enough maybe her soul wouldn’t slip from my fingers. “Promise me, Jamie” she repeated, her voice growing weaker with every passing moment.
I blinked, the image of blood cleared from my mind as a wave of tears fell and all I could manage was a lie. A pathetic attempt to ease her mind one last time and finally let her rest.
“I promise, ma”
And with that, her body relaxed, her head falling back with a contented smile as her eyes fluttered shut. The ragged breathing hollowed, leaving behind only silence in her wake.
But that was three years ago. Now I stand in the vacant apartment bathroom, surrounded by the darkness of my unpaid bills and weeks worth of filth stemming from an inability to get out of bed. I stand in the shell of the once happy home I shared with her, stalked by the promise I made to her in the darkest moment of my life. Her words haunt me.
“Promise me you’ll be happy”
I glance around myself, noticing every single thing out of place, every little thing unkempt, dirty or broken, and as I look back at the mirror hung in front of me, I’m met only with failure. The long nights spent chasing crime in the hopes it would give me enough adrenaline to get me through another week were obvious on my face, dragging my eyes low enough to horribly accentuate their depth.
It was as I watched tears stream down my cheeks and onto the sink, mixing in with the remnants of blood that I knew I lied. I’m not happy. I’m not strong. I broke. Not just my promise to my mama as she lay on her deathbed, but my entire being. It’s gone. And this time there’s no one out there to pull me out.