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Endless plains stretched out before the two small figures sitting crossed-legged in the grass. The moon was full, and it shone down on them. The night was silent, and the sky was clear and starless as if they were the only ones left. “There were stars in her eyes.” The words barely escaped her mouth, and they drifted off with the wind, but he heard them still. He wiped away the warm tear that had trickled down into her soft, narrow cheekbones. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t need to. She was enveloped in a never-ending cycle of pain and grief, but he saw the beauty in it and was able to love her anyway.

He brushed a strand of her long dark hair behind her ear as she quietly hummed a tune. All they had to do was sit there together, and the whole world was at peace. For just a moment she looked up into his big blue eyes, letting herself get lost in them. A broken heart and a cracked soul, holding on to life, desperate to let go. “There were stars in her eyes.” The words echoed through her head as if they were on a constant loop; there was nothing she could do to make them go away. Parts of her wanted to scream, parts of her wanted to cry, and parts of her wanted to disappear into the distance, never to be seen or heard of again. But she just sat there, in the grass.

Her existence was of no interest to her. Her lips were dry, and her hands were cold, even as he held them in his. She wanted to hug him but she didn’t want to break the silence. She breathed in, letting the icy air fill her lungs, and it made her feel better for a moment. But she wasn’t better. She was ripped at every edge, she was abused, beaten up, torn to pieces and thrown onto the floor. From her perspective the world was dark and grey, she could hardly remember colour. She wished she could talk to him, she wished she could explain how she felt, but most of all she wished that she could believe that he could help her. Stop her from continuing to stumble around in the dark, feeling fallen, feeling faded.

He leaned forward and their lips touched softly, she closed her eyes and felt his hand crawl up her cheek. Warmth seeped through her body: a gentle, kind warmth. It was a sense of belonging that she hadn’t felt in a long time. Her fingers curled, and her breathing became more even. The sun began to rise, pink and orange spread through the sky, but the figures in the grass didn’t notice. They didn’t talk, but a smile spread across her lips. It was a small smile, but it reached her eyes. “There are stars in your eyes.” He looked into her eyes, and he laughed. She laughed too, but as they laughed a black cloud started to spread across the sky. A man stood in the distance and pointed a gun. He pulled the trigger, and she watched in disbelief as the bullet ripped through his heart and she was alone once more.

Her mouth opened to a soundless scream. She fell to her knees, begging him to come back, wishing that all of this was just a dream. She closed her eyes and felt her heart shatter. She wanted to cry but she couldn’t. She wanted desperately to be overcome by pain and sorrow, but she wasn’t. She felt nothing like her body had been tossed into an endless void of blackness.

Her hands shaking, she reached for his, and she held them longingly, feeling the warmth seep out of them, slowly and painfully accepting the truth. She didn’t want to look at him, but she couldn’t look away, for fear that, as soon as she did, he would be gone. The sun had climbed high into the sky. It shone mercilessly onto the back of her neck, and beads of sweat ran down her forehead. She wondered how it was possible to be so hot but to feel so cold inside. His body lay cold and lifeless beside her. She desperately needed a shoulder to cry on, or someone to tell her that everything would be ok, but he had been all that she had.

A shiver ran down her spine. It shook her from head to toe. Her hand traveled up to her face, and her finger brushed along her lips, where his had been just a few minutes ago, but where they would never be again. She pushed her hair behind her ear as he had done, wishing that she could feel his touch just one more time.

Out of nowhere, she had a flashback to when she was a child, before she had lost everything. She was four years old, sitting in a field of flowers with her mother and little sister. Her mother had made flower crowns for all of them and was softly strumming a guitar whilst singing. Her voice was clear and filled with joy, and her sister was laughing the way small children do. It was one of the only memories that she had of her family that wasn’t blurred, or tainted by the invisible stains left by alcohol and blood. The other was the fire. A day she remembered very vividly, yet wished she could forget. It was night time, and everything was black. She was six years old, and sitting with her back against the door of her bedroom, wishing that she could make everything go away. She could hear her parents shouting things that a child so young should never have to hear. She had seen the countless empty bottles standing on the counter. She knew what her father was like when he lost control.

She winced as she heard a bottle smash, the sound echoing in her head like the constant beating of a drum. Then everything was quiet. The shouting had stopped. Everything had stopped. She waited several minutes before daring to sneak off the bed and begin to open the door, but as she turned the handle and swung it open, she was engulfed in a pool of flames, and with a bang, the memory was gone, and she was on the hill again.

She blinked as she was forced back into reality. The painful reality. The reality that she wanted so desperately to change, but would never be able to. She had been the only survivor.

She felt her mind wander restlessly to where the gunman had stood. She wondered if he had left his gun. She wondered if it had another shot. In a desperate attempt to see the people she loved again, all of whom had left her, all of whom she would do anything for, she got up, her knees shaking, her mind twisting to terrible places. She saw the gun. It was lying in the grass. It looked so innocent from where she stood.

She picked it up and weighed it in her hands. She knew nothing about guns, but if it had another shot, she didn’t want to waste it. Standing over his dead body, she held it to her, head and pulled the trigger.

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