by Heather Rosdol
He was gone in the night like a dream you want to hold onto or a nightmare you wanted to forget. Her world was forever changed. Silent, colorless, still. She walked....the very same steps they'd walked all those nights. She walked from Trinket to Diamond and every jewel between. The waves crashed on the shore building with the approaching storm. She heard nothing. The birds screamed their night sounds before the wind blew their calls against them. Nothing. She heard nothing. The world was silent. The sawgrass cut tattoos of betrayal and pain on her virgin skin. The blood trickled black, the moon sat fat and white. The rest of her world was black or white. White sand, black water, black clouds, black lashing grasses. Nothing moved despite her journey, the waves, the birds, the storm. Which was bigger-the one brewing inside her or without? Something flashed white in the ocean. Yes, yes she thought as she watched the jagged lines of lightning punish the water. That is how it feels a thousand times over. And the storm was upon her. She cried, she raged, screamed, tore at her clothes and hair and threw anything she could find. When she had no more voice, when the storm inside had ceased, she endured the chilling needle like rain, the loud thunder, the blinding lightning of the outside storm. When both were expended she found Never Again and made a home there. She felt, she heard, there was color, but all of it was muted as if experienced through a veil. She still walked from Trinket to Diamond but traveled just a little farther to Never Again each night, never intending to live elsewhere again. But she did love again, and left Never Again, but the veil remained and a piece of her heart always remained in Never Again-reminding herself of her dream, her nightmare, her days from Trinket to Diamond and to always leave a piece of herself behind, so she never gave her whole self to anyone-Never Again.