It’s All Hallows’ Eve and Renae Saltzman has had enough. After a lifetime of physical and sexual abuse, she’s ready to be free of the mortal coil—choosing to end her life on her favorite holiday. All she wants is to be free of the pain, her abusers, and her useless mother.
Just as she tastes peace on the tip of her tongue, a skull-faced entity accosts her, dragging her soul from the depths. Awakening on the other side of death, Renae finds herself face to face with none other than the Grim Reaper. Renae just wants to move on, but the reaper has other ideas…
Be Warned: anal sex, monster sex, public exhibition, bondage
They say the veil between the worlds is thin tonight, no more than a gossamer whisper between the seen and unseen. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. I’ve decided, fittingly, that this one will be my last. I can’t handle living anymore—it’s just too painful.
Glancing down at my scarred wrists, I pull my long black sleeves down further to hide my shame and heave a sigh. It’s strange how some people lead such wonderful lives, while the rest of us endure such wretched ones. We aren’t living. Not really. Most of us are barely surviving. Hell, we’re hanging on grimly by bloody fingernails, just trying to make ends meet.
I didn’t ask to be born into an abusive, drug-riddled household. I didn’t ask for a childhood of cigarette burns and purple bruises. I didn’t ask to be violated again and again by Mom’s one thousand different junkie boyfriends. I didn’t ask to be the only real adult. I don’t fucking like working two shitty jobs just to pay our rent and keep something other than alcohol and rollie papers in the fucking pantry because my own mother is a useless addict. But here I am.
My mom’s never protected me from the monsters in her life, so they bled easily into mine, like shadows through the cracks of our broken lives. From what I’ve heard, her formative years mirror my own. Ever since I can remember, she’s been lost. Lost in her own wonderland, or nightmare, forever escaping life and its demons, while never leaving it. She’s afraid. I know that much. She has the courage to face the pointy end of a needle, or another filthy fist, but she hasn’t the courage to change it or leave it all behind. She can’t. Or won’t.
I see the resignation in her eyes every single day, and every single day it crushes my soul a little more. She’s resigned herself to a living death—night after night of blurring the edges of her reality—just trying to forget what she feels. All I know is that’s not going to be me. I’m more afraid of not living than dying. Death is the answer to all my problems. It’s my cure. It’s the real escape from it all. There’s no half-assing it. Once I commit, it’ll be done … and hopefully I’ll finally find peace.
There’s no surviving a fall like this. I’ll either be smashed on the submerged rocks, or, if I manage to miss them, the impact of the water alone will be like landing on solid ground, and I’ll break my back. My ribs will likely puncture my lungs, and I’ll drown in a mix of my own blood and the dark waters of the lake. It’s comforting, if I’m being honest. I can’t endure my present situation any longer, and if I were to survive my suicide attempt and be left in a vegetative state? A shudder runs through my bones as the cool night air whispers over me, whipping up my lank, rainbow-dyed hair. I need the guarantee of death, because no one in this damn world is going to look after me, and no one is going to bloody miss me, anyway.
That’s the cruelty of a disadvantaged life. I’m at the bottom of the food chain. No one except junkies want to know me. And even then, they only want to associate for the occasional no-strings-attached fuck, or for the chance to score their next hit at a discounted price. Even if I wanted to better myself, and my life, there’s little to no hope of a brighter future. They say there is, the jerks on high who think they speak for the people, but there isn’t.
I’m an abused nineteen-year-old from the backwaters of Green Pines in Washington State. It’s not even so much a county in its own right as it is a ramshackle trailer park growing on the edge of the forest along the banks of Black Lake. Like a cancer, or a fungus, it just seems to grow, expanding as more trash blows in. There’s a gas station up on the highway, and not much else. I have to catch the bus to work in the next town over because I can’t afford a car, and then I end up walking back, alone—after my shifts—in the dead of night.
It’s fucked. All of it. And I’ve had enough! I’ve had enough of looking after my useless mother, providing for us, and being the touch toy of every stinking creep in the area. I’m done! I’m really fucking done. I’m going to jump, fly for a few seconds, and then that’ll be all she wrote. I’ll be free.
I chug the last of my beer and leave the bottle on the rocks. A sort-of monument to my demise. Standing, I brush off my skirt and rake my fingers through my hair, casting my gaze over the edge of the rocky ledge. The dark waters call to me from below, like sirens at sea, with the promise of eternal peace.
Sucking in a lungful of brisk, fall air, I grimace. “This is it,” I say. “Happy Halloween, Green Pines. It’s been shitty knowing you.” Turning, I get a run up. It just feels like the thing to do. To go out in an epic fashion, rather than simply and anticlimactically stepping off the cliff. Heart racing, I pump my arms, covering the distance from the shadowed tree-line to the edge in seconds—and then I’m committed.
I’m falling, my rainbow hair streaming above me as the dark, moonlit reflective waters of Black Lake draw near. The stars shimmer above, and swirling mist floats along the distant shore. It’s beautiful. All logic screams at me to brace for impact, to prepare for the pain, but I don’t. I just fall, closing my eyes as the frigid water steals the breath from my lungs, and pain radiates through me. I feel the icy embrace of the lake wrapping me up like a lover, and I sink into the darkness. Everything is a blur of pain and cold, but I can almost taste peace. It’s just a breath away.
The air bubbles from my mouth and nostrils as I descend into the depths. It’s so quiet and serene. I watch as they wobble up toward the moonlit surface, and a smile tugs at the corners of my lips. I made the right choice. Just as I close my eyes again to commit to my final sleep, a vise-like grip seizes my wrist, and a shadowed, skeletal form swims into my vision. Hollow, dark sockets stare into my soul, and I scream—the last of my breath escaping in a rush of bubbles as oblivion claims me.