"The Great Rest"
a short story
Gary Baker, November 2012
The razor slid across, leaving a deepening trail in it's wake.
Warm crimson began to cover Kimi's wrist, speckling her clenched jaw with flecks of gory mist. She then felt her fingers slack, as if released from taught cording that had them held from lazing too far into relaxation. She looked to the thin blade in the fingers of her right hand as a single drop of blood slowly tried to drip from the lowest corner.
Finally the gore reached the red towel from around her wrist, placed upon the white marble with a few others beneath as an extra barrier between her force of life and the maid having a mess to clean up later. Of course some matter of cleaning would be needed no matter what, but at least in this Kimi could be helpful in such a way that she could control most of it.
She leaned her head back onto the pillow ducktaped to the bath tub headboard, letting the flare of needle-sharp pangs wring her arm with heavy grievances of a loosened hedgehog burrowing higher into her shoulder. Mere moments had passed and already the only thing that existed beneath her shoulder was a massive orb of throbbing hail and electric metal surges.
But it was worth it.
They always claimed it wasn't, but it was. She could almost hear the therapists telling her time and again that "there is no release worthy of taking such drastic risks" whenever they had seen her other attempts. But they never knew, they had never felt this strongly for a way out. Not when they had their own department of therapeutic psychology as a source of income, not when they wore modest suits to work from a large wardrobe of others like them. None of them had a family like hers, if the word 'family' could even be used in this case at all. No one knew what this was like.
Kimi let her eyes drift open once more and focused on the unreachable cobwebs in the highest corner of the shower, where a single black dot seemed to watch her with interest. At least she wasn't alone in this, at least she could recoil in ecstasy knowing that someone would gain more than she could ask for in the end, were this creature to amble down and drink of her essence. It was unlikely, she knew, that the eight legs of this form would ever hold it away from the splatter with the next stroke if it did come down before then.
So she waited, just in case. It was the last thing that she needed, knowing that another life might end up being removed because of her need.
Though if she had the choice, there was a single other with whom she knew she would never feel regrets over ending. They were miles away right now, at work no doubt, but they would surely hear of this.
"Don't be stupid, Kimi," came a voice on her right.
She startled, thinking someone was with her without stopping this act, then found herself looking upon Dane's faded black tee. He leaned on the white stone sink, his jeans torn slightly, his hair unnaturally disheveled, and all with the familiar line that ran from his jaw to his abdomen barely hidden beneath. Kimi almost laughed with delight, but a surge of heat crushing her left elbow somewhere in the depth of the orb instead made her cringe.
He frowned and went right on talking. "We both know you'd never be able to hurt her for this."
Kimi sighed and felt her shoulder go numb next. "It isn't her burden to bear."
"Even though she is to blame."
She glared at the young man with anger. "You take that back!"
He glared back at her and crossed his arms. "Why? She did! If not for her, then that... that..." he grit his teeth in violent frustration at being unable to say what he wanted to. Finally he set his jaw and looked away, "whatever he is, he would never have done this to you if she hadn't brought him in."
"It wasn't his fault," Kimi corrected. "I should have been more aware of how my body had changed. I should have known that he would be unable to...." Tears formed at her eyes and began to slide easily down her cheeks with streaks of mascara and coverup reaching her chin.
Dane lessened his annoyance and looked to her with a hopeful smile. "At least now we will get to be proper siblings, right? Now I can show you the ropes." He pushed off the sink and knelt to her side where he placed one ethereal hand against her left cheek.
She leaned into the softness, leaned into the warm grace of his touch, and knew that she would free her mother and step father of their fifteen year old burden shortly. Dane smiled at her with tears of his own as she began to shudder with cold. Her legs had gone numb already, and something told her that the towels may not have been enough.
Maybe Senora Rosarita, such a sweet, loving woman, would be left with a much greater task than Kimi had intended on leaving. But her energy was fading and she could no longer turn her neck to see how bad it was bound to be.
"Hey!" Dane called, snapping his left hand to bring her attention back, "Listen to me, Kimi, this is almost over. Try to focus, for me?"
"I will," she whispered with a faint smile.
He nodded to himself and licked his lips in preparation. "I want you to know, that now is the time that you need to decide. You need to choose which final fate you wish of yourself, which afterlife will you spend eternity in? Who shall govern this place? What will keep you forever happy and feeling loved?"
Kimi opened her eyes wide, only knowing one answer. "I want to be with you, Dane. I want to be with my big brother until the end of eternity, like a good baby sis should."
He smiled with all his heart, kissing her forehead with warm, moist lips upon her brow. "But I want you to decide where we will go."
"Haven't you already decided?"
"No," a tear slid down his cheek as he glanced into the rest of the bath tub. She knew this must be hard on him, but what choice did he have? This was, afterall, the best choice for everyone involved. "I have been waiting for you, because I wanted you to decide for both of us."
Kimi scowled, though she wasn't sure if her face listened to her commands, "really? You mean you waited all this time, for me?"
"Ever since the accident, Kimi," he soothed, "all four years."
She smiled with more tears streaming down her face out of thankful awe. He had always been the best older brother a girl could ask for, right up until the day he had been blindsided by a drunk driver. Newly licensed and iniexperienced, he hadn't known what to do, and her family had broken into shreds of what it once was afterwards. Dane had been the life force for them all, and their mother had begun to drink beyond belief after his passing, eventually meeting Joeseph. If her mother hadn't been so drunk all of the time, then maybe she would have seen what the man had started doing.
But it was Kimi's fault, the man had always told her that while he destroyed her ability to understand on a regular basis. But nowshe had the upper hand. Joeseph would never touch her again, and Rosarita would never again have to claim ignorance just to keep her job.
That was the hardest part, really, Kimi admitted, that Rosarita had been more of a mother than anyone else could have expected and now would be left without an unofficially-adopted daughter. Yet this was for the better, and this way the stout latina would be able to move on to a better job elsewhere. Somewhere where she wouldn't have to clean up Joeseph's broken glass, or Kimi's blood, or her mother's vomit and turn a blind eye.
If only their father were still around. Dane had told stories about him, about a man from legend taking them for walks and buying them great gifts, about a man who had loved them and had never let them think otherwise. Yet Dane also never mentioned why he had never been there where Kimi could remember.
All she could remember was the lack of a father figure before Joeseph had come along.
Kimi smiled, finally knowing what she wanted for herself and Dane. Her neck went slack, and her lips lost the cheer-intended tension and Dane held her right hand with ever more tears falling from his eyes. Suddenly Dane looked up, staring at something beyond Kimi's ability to see, with a shocked wonder passing over his gaze.
"You did it!" Dane laughed cheerfully, "I don't know how you did, but you..." he turned on his heels, still kneeling at her side, to look around at a scenery that Kimi had yet come to process. Suddenly he was holding her tightly, hugging her limp form as close as he could be without crushing her now-useless lungs. "Oh, Kimi, I knew you could do it!"
Then everything grew brighter than she could handle and, just as quickly, was instantly replaced by an oblivious black.