It didn’t take that long for me to notice that Charon was approaching me. With the way I lived and live now, I guess (Am I alive? I don’t even know.), I learned to take in every little detail of my surroundings. I decided to greet him.
“Charon, right?” I ask. He seemed startled by me speaking first.
“Uh, yeah! How did you-”
“I heard you being addressed by that name.” I responded cutting him off.
“O-Oh. Yeah.” he stammered out. He then looked at the space next to me.
“May I sit with you?” he asked. Surprised a bit by his asking, I ended up being less than eloquent with my response.
“Uh…yeah. Sure. Go ahead.” unintentionally mimicking his stammering. Charon sat down next to me. He seemed somewhat content when he sat down, but then his expression changed. I couldn’t read it. Sadness? Shame? Regret? He just seemed…off.
“So how are you doing? After, well…”
“My public humiliation by way of vivisection?” I ask in return.
He then curled up, wrapping all six of his arms around his legs.
“I’m…I’m sorry I asked.” he said into himself. It then occurred to me that he was guilty. Which led to all sorts of new questions as he had no reason to be.
“No…it’s not…I wasn’t trying to dismiss your question. Look I’m…”
I touched the stitches that were still in my neck. The I looked back to him and very carefully touched one of his arms.
“I’m fine. I’m certainly better now that I’m stitched back up” I told him. Charon looked back at me. A slight smile appeared.
“Well, I’m glad you’re feeling a little bit better.” He replied, that smile getting a bit wider. I noticed it wavering. He wasn’t just faking joy either, he clearly still wanted to talk.
“You have something else to say. Might as well just spit it out.” I told him flatly. Charon curled back up again.
“I’m sorry. For everything.” He said. For whatever reason, that enraged me.
“Sorry!? What the hell are you apologizing for? You weren’t the one with the scalpel cutting me open! If anything, you’re the only thing making my existence bearable right now!” I yelled.
He shied away from me. I saw tears welling up in his eyes.
“You’re wrong! I have everything to apologize for! All of this…” he pointed to my stitches.
“is my fault! I told God to bring you here! I was the reason you were humiliated!”
“The hell are you talking about?!” Charon looked like he wanted to run away. I froze. I didn’t want him to leave. He started to get up. I then grabbed one of his arms.
“Wait.” I said. “Please…Please don’t go…” Charon looked back at me. My grip shifted to his hand and took another one of them.
“Please…stay with me. At least for a little longer.” I said. Charon relaxed and so did I.
“Can you tell me what you meant?” I ask him. Charon nodded. We both sat down again. He began his story
“My job was to watch over you in your world. I knew things were bad ever since that you were given the idea of the afterlife being the escape. Then, when ‘Father’ killed ‘Mother’ I panicked. I worried he was going to kill you too. So, I went to God and asked him to save you.”
He let out a forced laugh.
“I thought you would finally get a good life with us. I was stupid. I saw the signs that God would treat you no differently than ‘Father’. So, I tried to save you. I thought, I could send you to safety for a time, then help you to escape. But God saw that coming. He punished you because of me.”
He started to cry again.
“I’m so sorry.”
I wrapped my arm around him in an awkward attempt to comfort him.
“We’re all fallible beings. Don’t beat yourself up for him. It’s what he wants.” I told him. Charon looked confused.
“I think my vivisection was meant to punish you too. It was a sort of proxy-punishment to see the someone who you tried to save being humiliated. Sick bastard.”
We sat in silence for a bit. I thought about what I was told. He really did care for me. Not as a prize or something like that, but as an equal. Then I remembered something about him. A feeling that sealed what I thought of him.
“I saw you there.” I said.
“I saw you holding my hand during the vivisection. Even though I was dealing with the most painful sensation I ever felt, you just being there to comfort me made it a bit more bearable. So, thanks.”
“Oh! You’re welcome? I just wanted to be there for you.”
I wrapped my arms around his shoulders.
“I know. That’s what makes you the best thing here.” I told him. He started blushing.
“Can I kiss you again?” I blurted out. I then started blushing myself.
“W-What? Why? I have poison, remember? Why you want to kiss me again? It would only hurt you.”
“I don’t care. It’ll hurt far less than what I’ve already been though. Besides, I’m kissing you. That makes up for it all.”
I pulled myself closer to his face.
Charon was silent for what felt like an eternity. Then he finally nodded. So, we kissed. I felt the pain shoot through my body, but it was easy to ignore. We then pulled each other into a tighter embrace. My existence isn’t perfect. Hell, it isn’t even good. But it’s better with him. He’ll be there for me and I’ll be the same for him. We’ll survive together.