Well, here it is. The final instalment of Senses. I'm rather sad to end it, but, well, that's how things go. I just hope you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing it for you. A huge thank-you to all my wonderful reviewers - you've been too marvellous to me. And a special thank-you to Anna Scathach, for not complaining when I write strange things and dedicate them to her.
This chapter is written for the wonderful Hanna (Mesteria)'s 'senses' challenge at xoxLewrahxox's forum.
Also, a warning: this chapter is dark, possibly disturbing. The imagery isn't pleasant, and it's rather…unhappy. Just thought you ought to know.
Your mouth is closed; tongue lying leaden, a prize behind white doors. If you could, you might remember what a tongue does.
If you could, you might remember the taste of honey and oranges and red peppers – your favourite things.
If you could, you would open your mouth to scream.
In time, your mouth may fall open. Leeches will make it their home. You will not taste them.
Even in death you will know what it means to be alive. You will know you are dead. Your mouth is open and your tongue is rotting but you will taste
There are waterlogged things that bump against you. Little nudges that send your head rolling to the side or cause a leg to move in a sick parody of living.
Heavy grey limbs bobbing.
The weight of the water pushes you into the silt. It caresses your mutilated body. The pressure like a reassuring hug. One hand is upturned, and when a fish passes close by, it almost looks as though you're petting it. You might have smiled your grim smile had you known that you'd finally have a pet, be given a hug, in death.
Underwater, everything is touching.
You are surrounded by inky water. So far from the surface, you could see nothing, even in life.
You opened your eyes as you were pulled in. The strangest show of bravery, when you had never willingly opened them underwater before.
You wanted to see what your graveyard would look like – not that it makes any difference now.
It is you who is seen.
Lamp-like fish eyes sometimes float like two silver moons before you. Sometimes those moons are attached to hungry mouths that take whatever they can from your unresisting body.
The first thing they took was your eyes.
Underwater, everything is foreign. As you were pulled down, your nose was stoppered by an endless push of greasy black water. What no one told you about the inferi is that they smell. Perhaps it should have been obvious to you that the dead, walking or not, would carry the rotting, half-sweet stench of death.
But underwater, as their dead white hands pulled you down, the water stops you from smelling them. It allows you a moment of fantasy, a few moments where you can pretend to be swimming through the brackish water – only flailing because you never learned how.
Your ears are muffled by dirt – damp, heavy and cold. The rhythmic back-and-forth of the dead water pushes silt in and sloshes it back in turn.
When you were younger, you went to the seaside. Mother, father, brother and you. While your mother slept, your father read and your brother built sandcastles only to crush them, you sat on an elevated rock and watched the water slide in to be pulled out again.
You heard the sound of waves, and the high wind that was always more feverish by the water.
And you thought you wouldn't mind dying at sea.
Any last comments would be greatly appreciated.