He is alone. The cool grey of the cement below her and the clouds above her give everything a washed out tint.
She is waiting. Tiny white flower stuck in her ear that she'd plucked off the sweet-smelling tree near the edge of her house off Plymouth Drive. A cottage so covered in vines it's almost as if it was made from them. She bites her lip, sniffing back a heartbroken sob. He isn't coming.
He won't come.
He won't come.
It is a mantra she repeats to herself as she watches a plastic bag drag its way halfheartedly across the barren lot. No cars today. The market closed down decades ago but the town won't let the space fade from its memory, too stubborn to turn it into something useful. She wondered why he chose this place, isolation maybe? She forgets for a moment what this site meant to him, what it should have meant to her. But she's too heartbroken, too emotional to push past the pain to remember the once good times.
The ground shakes for a moment, and she steadies herself on a wall. An earthquake, maybe. Or she's finally lost it and she's falling apart.
It was the distant beat, a constant beat of a base system in some nondescript car that is driving by that makes her heart skip it's own inconstant beat. He doesn't have a car like that, but maybe, she thinks as it makes it's way, one block closer, he's borrowed it from someone else. He's had trouble with his and that's why he was late. But he's coming.
She's holding her breath, she doesn't know why she doesn't want to. She wants to breathe but she can't.
And as she stands there not breathing, one hand on the rough brownstone wall, the other clutching her chest, the car drives by as if she's not even there. It never slowed, the silhouette of the person inside never even looked in her direction.
“He didn't come.”
She says this only once. Her voice tiny. He won't come and she still can't breathe. Her legs give out from under her and as if in slow motion she's falling, the one hand on the wall leaving specks of blood to stick to the decades of grime, the other a white knuckle grip around a bunch of fabric and the locket about her neck.
Her eyes flutter closed and don't open again, her back hunched over bent knees, hair flipped over her face and skirting the ground.
She won't get up again.
It's only a few minutes that pass in an uncomfortable silence before the squeak of an old bike breaks through. The boy is smiling, pedaling fast on a pink bike too small for him, but the basket filled with wildflowers.
He knows they're what she prefers, above the usual red roses he would have bought any other girl. But these he picked himself.
He sees her limp form and his smile falters. He should have called her, as soon as his car slowed down, he should have ran to a phone and called her. But he'd known she would wait. And what was that he'd read once? 'It was better to apologize than to ask for permission'?
He should have called though.
The bike pauses and he throws his foot over to dismount, bundle of flowers in hand as he sets the bike down and kneels next to the lovely brunette he'd loved since the first time he'd seen her in this very lot.
“Janice?” He says, placing a loving hand on her shoulder.
But she can't feel it. She can't feel anything anymore. And she'll never know that he'd come.
The chilly night breeze tickled the back of her neck as she knelt next to the lamp post. The parking lot held a deep quiet, the only noise was the soft buzz of the yellow lamps far above. The store lot was empty this late, and that set her uneasy but night was the only time she could come.
She placed a single tulip under the painted cross on the cement base of the post. A heaviness hit her as her mind flashed back to that day.
There were people bustling everywhere, going about their daily shopping unaware of the danger that lurked. He was there in the thick of them shady eyes, and sly hands hidden deep in jacket pockets. She had watched him from afar, he was her target and she had him marked from a few alses away. It was going to be an easy take down. Then she saw her, tall, beautiful, her baby sister walking towards her a warm smile on her face. She walked right in front of the man and time seemed to slow.
“Police, stop right there!” The men and women in blue were quick to surround the man, and her sister. The man pulled a gun, and then people fled and there was chaotic screaming and yelling. Her sister looked scared for a moment as she realised her predicament, but a steely resolve came across her face as she grabbed the gun...
There was a swarm of blue bodies as her sister fell, bringing the man down to the hard cement. By the time she got through them her sister’s sweater was a deep red. There are no words to describe the pain she felt as she held her sister in her arms as she slowly bled to death. Nothing makes you feel more helpless. That moment broke her, and the things horribly satisfying things she did to that man when he was out on bail were unspeakable…
The low rumble of an engine brought her back to the present. Through the dim light she could make out a patrol car across the lot. She instinctively slide behind the pole. “Later baby girl.” she whispered softly and retreated back into the night.
Glory days only lasted so long. The nice, fresh layer of asphalt that had been so pristine and welcoming... ruined. The sun didn't bounce off it anymore; the heat waves no longer radiated like desert mirages. A few years of heavy use had leeched the color straight from the surface, wearing it down like a body under too much stress.
Bugs crawl across the cracked asphalt. Weeds unearth the broken chunks to reach the sunlight. Sometimes children play upon it, but when night comes, they leave with anxious glances back at the gloomy lot and the deserted store that sits at the end of it. Aahhh. That's it. Should it be full of humans? Thrumming with the sound of life only those mundane creatures can produce? Littered with their garbage and stinking of their filth, especially on hot days when the sun bears down?
How could that possibly be any better?
It can no longer be full. Its time is up. Its usefulness outlived.
Now it can only sit dejected, unwanted, open. More cracks appear as the days go by, spider webbing like some screwed puzzle only maniacs could piece together. Parking lot lamps tower high, untouched, the dark watchers of... Of nothing. There was nothing to watch anymore. All they could do was to cast about their flickery halos of glow upon the faded asphalt, hoping maybe to guide someone right. But what hope was that? The store had been broken in, vandalized. The lights could do nothing to stop that. Glass arced and scattered out, jagged shards glinting in the light like diamonds, though they were not near as priceless. Diamonds had some purpose; they always had some purpose.
The only things that visit this lot -this sad lot hidden now amongst the rest of the rejected- were the denizens of the night. The secret society of the evenfall. The side of life that only gets mentioned when some big crime goes down. When somebody makes a big fuss over it. There were no more sunny dandelion days. No more "let's go to the store" days.