It wasn't supposed to happen like this. They'd won. Mother was gone. Lophii was dead. The Gates of Hell were closed. She was human again after over 300 years of blood, pain, and murder. There was supposed to be a happy ending. She'd become a better person throughout all of this. She'd saved her lover. She should be happy. Like the movies and the novels. But this wasn't a movie. It wasn't a novel. There was no way to see it as such. This wasn't fair. It wasn't fine. And she wasn't happy. Fictions and fairy tales weren't how Carmilla saw the world. She could only think of one person who did. It wasn't fair.
"You were supposed to stay safe. You were supposed to go back to your nice little life, Laura."
"Yeah...yeah...but then I wouldn't have been me."
"Please don't leave me. Not after all of this. Please. Please!"
"I don't...I don't want to...there's still so much I... I wanna d-do...Like...Like...I..."
"I was supposed to keep you safe." Carmilla whispered to the one person she wished could hear her.
"Carmilla, honey," She heard a soft voice calling her, accompanied by a supportive hand on her shoulder, "I've got you sweetheart."
For a moment, she'd forgotten where she was. She'd forgotten what she was supposed to be doing. Her eyes slowly lifted from the mahogany wood under shaking fingers to Sherman Hollis's own unstable hand on her shoulder to the crowd of faces looking at her in pity and sadness.
"I was supposed to keep her safe. I just hope wherever she is, she knows that she meant-. That she means more to me than anyone ever has." Unable to think of anything more to say, she edged away from the podium, making her way back to her seat in the front row.
She froze, breath stuck in her throat as she approached the final step. There she was. Dressed in white, flowers in her hair. She looked angelic. For all Carmilla knew, she could've been sleeping. Her fingers shakily traced themselves across her cheek before gripping her hand. For a second, she almost felt warm. But, the chill in her fingers erased any idea of life. The sunshine she once only needed a smile wasn't there anymore.
"Oh, Laura." Carmilla choked back a sob. Yellow was no longer a happy color.
Sherman wrapped an arm around her waist, guiding her back to the front row with sorrow in his eyes. Together they fought back tears as the minister began.
They decided to have her funeral in a church; the same church Laura's mother's funeral was held in. It's what Laura wanted. Sherman and Laura had both agreed that this was what they both wanted when their time came. Sherman had only wished it would've been him to leave this place first. Burying Laura was like saying goodbye to his wife all over again. He had no idea this could feel ten times worse.
The sun wasn't shining as brightly as Carmilla wished it was. It surely matched the mood. She sighed, breathing deeply. Standing next to a giant pile of dirt with knowledge of who was going under it was not something easily prepared for. She wasn't ready. No matter. It was happening and she could do nothing. Again.
All of Laura's friends were there. Lafontaine. Perry. Kirsch. Even Danny had come when she'd heard the news. The Summer Society was there. Kirsch's frat brothers came. Betty flew in. Carmilla was sure she could feel Mattie's presence as well. No matter how many people were standing beside her, she felt completely alone. The person that made her feel a part of something was minutes from leaving her. She gave Carmilla hope. She gave her a chance. And Carmilla handed her into the hands of death a second time. It didn't matter how close she'd gotten to any of the people here who were mourning her death. It didn't matter how much they wanted her to call if she needed anything. It didn't matter how many people were keeping her in their thoughts. Laura was gone. It didn't matter.
The coffin began to slowly descend into the ground. Everyone began to retreat solemnly, heading to cars and funeral home limos that had given rides to family and those who were close enough to be. Even Sherman walked away, not wanting to see it happen. Carmilla was the only one to stay behind, watching the box sink lower and lower. Watching Laura sink. As afraid as she was to experience the confines of a coffin again, she would've happily taken Laura's place. Laura was leaving her. Soon she would be gone forever. Trapped under a pile of dirt meant to form and fill six feet of space.
Something about this realization pierced her heart. Her legs buckled. Her body convulsed. The dam holding back her everything began to sprang leaks as heavy sobs pushed at her heaving chest. Letting out a cry of despair, she took several faulty steps before launching herself towards the nearly invisible coffin.
Lafontaine and Perry weren't far enough that they'd missed this. They were talking to a solemn Sherman Hollis when they turned in time to see Carmilla break. Lafontaine ran to catch Carmilla before she buried herself with Laura's body. Laf and Danny both made it in time to catch her before she could take another leap. Lafontaine brought themselves down to their knees to restrain Carmilla, ending up sitting on the ground with a completely shattered Carmilla in their arms sobbing uncontrollably as the top of the coffin disappeared underground.
"No! Laura, please! Don't leave me here! Don't leave me!" Carmilla scrambled for the coffin again, now restricted by two sets of arms. Danny kneeled beside them, arms wrapped around them both as a comfort and restriction.
They held Carmilla's shaking body as the dirt was placed on top of the coffin. Each crash of dirt made her shakes more violent. The higher the pile grew, the more pain she felt. As the final shovels finished covering the six-foot gash in the ground where her girl was buried, Carmilla was able to contain her heavy sobbing. Now only silent tears and a shaky frame revealed her agony. Reaching a hand out towards the grave, she sobbed once more as she read the gravestone of Laura Hollis. She read the dates and she read the engraving.
Laura Hollis. The Greatest Gift the Earth Ever Gave
"Please....don't leave me," She whispered into the air. When nothing returned to her, she shrunk back into Lafontaine's arms. She was too weak, too vulnerable, to pretend she wasn't, "Laura..."
Waking up, it was extremely dark, dark enough that she couldn't even see her hands in front of her face. For a moment she thought she'd been left in the pit alone to die. But, as she tried to get up, two things became clear. 1) She was on something soft and cushy. 2) She couldn't move. There was no room. Nothing but wood in every direction. Her eyes widened in the darkness as she realized where she was. But why? Banging on the top of the wooden barrier, she called out for help; help she knew would never come.
Sitting there, waiting for the air to run out, she thought about her life. Her father who was probably sick out of his mind with grief. Her friends. Perry was probably up to her elbows in Pin Sol. Or brownie mix. Or both if she was as upset as thought she'd be. Laf was probably still working on their laser eye as a distraction from the fact that Laura was gone. Danny wouldn't know. She probably wouldn't care after everything. And Carmilla...she'd seen what Carmilla could become if something had happened to Laura. Broken. Hollow. A shell. She hoped that this hadn't happened in this world; that Carmilla was able to be strong and live her life without her.
Pain already filling her chest from lack of oxygen and whatever else, she let her sobs consume her as any hope of seeing Carmilla's face again washed away with her tears. As soon as she prepared herself for death, something happened. She heard what sounded like shoveling. She felt herself being shaken violently, like she was being lifted. Suddenly, the lid of the coffin came flying off. She had to cover her eyes to prevent wood splinters and stray dirt from flying into them.
"My God. The dead has arisen," A familiar voice spoke from the outside. It was filled with humor. She couldn't believe it, "Welcome back."