Write a story that includes: a tombstone, a first kiss, and a butterfly collection…
This is practically stream of consciousness, so forgive any major errors. It went dark on me. Sorry,
It felt like autumn came earlier every year. Devon was too young to really know that, but in his bones he felt it as surely as he felt the chilly wind tangling his too long hair into knots he would not be able to get out. He reached out his hand and ran a finger over the words on the cold stone. “IN LOVING MEMORY” Somehow these words never felt true to him. They were chiseled here for the world to see, like the black nail polish he artfully chewed to look ragged and worn, or the poorly cut hair he didn’t bother the brush most days. It was an outward symbol of mourning. A show. A piece of art. Troy’s parents had done their part, they had wept and wailed along with the rest, publically mourned the tragic loss of their son. Only Devon knew the real story. Troy himself had told him.
“Hey, man,” he said quietly. It always felt like he should whisper here. It felt like the dead were waiting and listening. “I brought you another one.” Devon carefully tucked his fragile offering in the dying grass next to the stone. “It ain’t really a butterfly. Can’t really find them this time of year, but you know that.”
The sun was slipping away quickly and he would have to leave. “It’s a luna moth. The biggest I’ve seen. I know you’ll like it.” The wind tossed leaves around making them sound like little bones shivering in the grass, but the moth stayed where he placed it. “I didn’t forget.”
His throat was tight and his chest hurt. It had been a year now. A year since he woke in the middle of night to find Troy sitting at the foot of his bed. He looked so pale and fragile in the dim light.
“What are you doing here, are you fucking nuts?”
“Promise me something, Devon.” Troy’s voice didn’t sound right. “Promise me.”
“You came here in the middle of the night to ask a favor?” He was completely awake now. How had Troy gotten into the house? His parents kept it locked, especially at night. Something must really be wrong. “You’re freaking me out, man, what the hell are you up to?” He almost forgot to keep his voice quiet.
“Remember when you came over to look at my butterfly collection?”
“You are seriously weirding me out. Of course I remember.” It had been a warm day, school was going to let out soon and Devon was walking home by himself, like always. No one like the weird kid who wore too much black and didn’t cut his hair. Not that he cared. He hadn’t wanted to move to this little backwater town anyway. He had wanted to stay in Chicago with his grandmother, but after his father left for the last time his mother insisted on their moving out here to the ass end of nowhere. Said she wanted a fresh start. Said it would be good for them, but here it was months later and Devon was just as miserable as he had been the day they moved there.
“Hey.” The voice behind him sounded shy. Devon kept on walking. It was just another asshole trying to make fun of him. “It’s Devon, right?” The boy sounded a little breathless, but Devon still refused to acknowledge him.
“I’m Troy, we have science together?”
“Is that a question or a statement?” Devon could not hide his amusement as the earnest seeming young man trotting along beside him. Clean white sneakers kept pace with his thick soled black boots.
“Oh.” Troy laughed at himself. “I guess it wasn’t a question.”
“Do you need something, Troy?” Of course he knew who the boy was. Troy was the darling of the Sophomore class. He was the blue eyed blond epitome of all American wholesomeness. There was no way he was talking to the creepy class goth without needing something.
“Well, not really it’s just that… I mean…well, in class you seemed to like the insect collection and I wondered if you wanted to come over and see my collection?” It all came out in a rush like he had been practicing saying it and couldn’t wait to get all the words out of his mouth.
Troy shifted on the end of the bed bringing Devon back to the present. “Do you need something, Troy?” There was none of the bitterness or sadness in his tone this time. This time he meant it.
“Don’t forget me, Devon.”
“Forget you?” Devon reached forward to slap Troy’s arm, but his friend leaned back. “Where are you going?” He tried to keep his tone light despite the cold pit in his stomach.
“Just promise me first,” Troy pleaded.
“Of course, Troy, I promise,” his voice sounded suspiciously thick. “For real, where are you going?”
Troy didn’t answer he just leaned forward and placed his cold lips against Devon’s. The boy forgot to breath, but then the moment was over. “He killed me, Devon. My own father, killed me.” Devon had felt himself jerk awake covered in cold sweat still seeing to look of pure anguish in Troy’s eyes. It was his last memory of him.
That afternoon the police had come around to his mother’s house and asked him a lot of questions. Troy was missing and his father had complained bitterly about the little faggot down the street trying to get his son to run away with him. Obviously since Devon was at home they had abandoned that angle . there was hardly even time for them to try to come up with a new theory before they found Troy’s badly beat body in a ditch at the very edge of town.
“I promised, Troy. I haven’t forgotten.”