Ashes to Ashes
Mariel Venitia Rice Ghirlandaio
Salazar Arturo Ghirlandaio
So this is how it ends. Both bodies beneath the ground. Side by side for eternity, as flowers upon the graves wither and blow away. The mourners walk away, a few wipe a tear aside. None remain to watch the darkening clouds roll in. None see the thick drops of water, icy and intense, pound down onto the twin mounds of fresh earth, turning them so dark they appear charred. Some say when it rains, the angels are crying. None stay behind. But one is forgotten. Egan is left.
Small and easily lost, perhaps the others had been too consumed with their own grief to remember…And so she stayed still and quiet as she could, occasionally shivering under the unforgiving blanket of ice water the sky laid upon her, hidden behind an alabaster statue of an angel, great and terrible in its beauty. A destroying angel, maybe, or one that saved those who could not save themselves? Save me, please. All I ask, it’s all I ask, please. Send…something. Someone for me. You took them, took all I had. Take me too!
She cried this aloud, pitifully weak, the sound inaudible. The greedy wind snatched it away as soon as it left her throat and flung the words to the sky. In desperation, Egan clung to the hope that the words had a better chance of being heard now that they were closer to who ever was up there. Tears ran unchecked to rival the rain, hot where it was cold, salty where it was pure.
Somewhere, God knows where, some vestigial urge, a shred of self preservation made her move her tiny water-logged body from the glorious, furious statue, a statue with no power to save her now. Her angel was somewhere else, her mind told her, and she had to move and look. She had to find her saving grace.
Egan is long gone by the time she enters the mind of anyone who was supposed to look after her. But, being the semi-responsible people they are, they worry and feel guilty; authorities are contacted and alerts subsequently sent out. Police lights of red and blue blur together as they spin against brick walls of back alleys, vainly attempting to illuminate the missing miniscule body. Everyone is sure she must be in the near area; how could one as small and fragile as Egan have gotten anywhere far? But she is underestimated; she is long gone and has been for days. By the time it occurs to someone to broaden the parameters of the search, she is lost in the more than 301 million bodies occupying America. Nonetheless, an Amber Alert is put out, and a recent picture of her white face is circulated, as well as physical statistics such as height, weight and date of birth. The increased efforts of the authorities yield nothing. As time passes, Egan’s case is moved farther and farther back on the Tennessee State Police Force’s list of priority cases. Two years after her disappearance, Egan is declared by the Tennessee state courts, for all intents and purposes, legally dead. A small memorial is held, her remaining family opting for an enlarged picture of her for once smiling face instead of an empty coffin.
The photograph was already rare, a picture of Egan, something she had almost never allowed. The fact that she appeared blissful in the forever frozen frame of time made it all the more treasurable. A copy is made and sealed inside a small box of alabaster stone. It is buried between the graves of her parents.
Egan sat alone at a picnic table in Central Park, a long, long way from home. This wasn’t Nashville, that’s for damn sure. “No one looks for runaways’” she thought. Oh, how wrong she was, but she didn’t know that, she couldn’t. There was no way for her to have known that where she came from, she was dead. That was why no one looked. On the streets and in and out of mission shelters, she didn’t keep up with the news and the missing peoples report so much as where she could get some food. Life’s hard for the homeless, especially a homeless 17 year old girl.
Her odds had been impossible, but somehow she had beaten them. Loss had made her skin thick and her heart freezing cold. Her size had worked to her advantage because, thin as she was, there was less air resistance, making it so that she could run fast. She also had the advantage of being able to disappear into small spaces. But it could hold her back as well. Her lack of body fat meant she suffered from the cold all that more bitterly and, should her running fail her, she was almost always outmatched in muscle. She had scars to prove it.
Egan sat alone in a tattoo artist’s chair. Eighteen today. Happy fucking birthday. Did the alleged dead even have birthdays?
She was getting a new tattoo, adding it in with her growing collection. This one was the largest yet, an old fashioned Spanish-style cross. It covered most of her small back. Her skin was so chalky it looked like paper. She could have been a canvas for all the ink on her.
Two sky blue pills slipped to her by a friend earlier that day took the edge off the sting of the needle.
Egan sat alone, slumped against a dank and moldy wall. Where am I? She thought groggily. She sat up a little, wincing in disgust and pain. The crooks of her arms were sore and she had used them to push herself up. She sat up completely and shivered, folding into herself to try and keep warm. Funny, you never noticed the cold when you were high. She couldn’t even remember most of last night. What had she done?
Blurry snapshots swam in and out of her head. Some made her shudder. Oh yeah, that’s right. She’d gotten fucked up beyond belief. How many things had she done? God, she didn’t even want to remember. There had been loaded needles and the inside of her elbow, burning liquids running down her throat to wash down tiny lumps that were beautiful colors. The combinations she had put together intensified and glorified everything the way only good pills could do, but made her bounce with uncontrollable energy just like crack. And for a moment she was lost in remembered pleasure. But the moment ended and in came crashing a tidal wave of fear and guilt and self-loathing
God, how could she do this to herself? She was throwing her days away like they were never ending.
But it felt so good…Mmm, God it felt amazing. There was nothing better…
Oh yeah, it feels fan-fucking-tastic when I wake up like this, in some old house with a bunch of strung out losers-
You are just like them, you’re just some sick, strung out junkie too. This is all you’ve got so just sit back and-
Egan sat alone in a corner of a trash filled alley with a small Ziploc bag clutched in her hand. Two years down the line, two years since she’d woken up in that godforsaken house. She had know then that it had to stop sometime, but much as she tried, she could never pull herself out of the hole she’d dug, and it continued to get deeper each day. She took whatever she could find to make it seem not as deep.
There had been a time when she’d thought she would live forever.
Egan sat alone in a waiting room in a police department somewhere in New York, or maybe it was Jersey. She was too tired and wasted to remember. She had been brought in when the cops had raided an abandoned apartment building where no telling how many people like herself were gathered, shooting up and drinking down. Many had run when they saw the sirens; less had gotten away. She hadn’t even made an attempt. She hadn’t had it in her. So she just sat quietly as handcuffs were locked around her wrists, and she hadn’t struggled when she was heaved to her feet and brought down the stairs, out the door and put in the back of a squad car. The officers had handled her gently; perhaps they could sense how despondent and empty she was. Perhaps they felt sorry for this poor creature.
Egan sat alone in the dorm of a detox facility on a cot that smelled of harsh industrial grade cleaners. A worker entered the room and she looked up, recognizing the face of one she knew. Her name was Pamela, but she asked everyone to call her Pammy. She always smiled at Egan and she always looked sad doing it. She lifted the packed bag that sat next to Egan on the bed. It contained everything that belonged to her, and it was obscenely small.
Pammy smiled at Egan and asked ,”Are you ready?”
Egan didn’t say anything. She just stood. Pammy walked out of the room with Egan’s bag and Egan followed her down the hall, looking at the floor. It was made up of yellowy-white squares that had teal and maroon splotched and swiped on them. They walked through the left of a set of double doors and into the lobby. They were discharging her. She was going to go live with a sponsor now. For a year. And they would check up on her they said. She had their number if ever she needed them, they said. Egan didn’t know what she needed, but she had a good guess it wasn’t the facility’s number.
Egan sat alone in the backseat of a dark car as it pulled up in front of a large house. She was scared and didn’t know why, and she tried to remember to breathe as she unbuckled the seatbelt the driver had made her wear.
Holy fucking fuck she thought. She pulled the handle and stepped out of the car.
Author’s Note: This symbol ~*~ denotes time has passed. Also, there’s some Italian going on in this chapter, so here’s a little back-story. “Pace”, the inscription on the gravestones, means “peace” in Italian (Pretty easy, yeah?). And Egan’s parents’ last name is Ghirlandaio, which is derived from the word “ghirlanda” which means wreath or garland. This last name is also my private homage to Liza Minelli, featured on The Black Parade in “Mama”, whose mother was Judy Garland. Get it? Just thought I’d let you all know :] Egan’s mother Mariel’s middle name is Venitia which means “mercy”, while her father’s middle name “Arturo” means “bear”. Also, Mariel’s last name, Rice, was actually Ricci (In my mind at least), which means “curly”, but her father had to change it upon immigrating to the United States. This is all completely fictional, of course, as I just said, but I had a lot of fun picking out names (Which are real. The meanings are as well) and giving them history. Also, “Mariel” means “Sea of Bitterness”, but it’s English in origin.
Finally, may all the world rejoice, for today is the 31st anniversary of the birth of Gerard Arthur Way, the Savior of the Broken, the Beaten and the Damned.