Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 32 (Epilogue)

Three blocks away the winter raven lies.

He has fallen to one side and his tiny heart beats no more.
There is a movement inside his belly where vile little things crawl.
One by one they make their ascent out a warm throat.

From his mouth, they drop to the stark ground and blister.

I fear it has begun. . .

“Dark Monday”

The following day, I went to Ontario with my mom and stepdad for an entire week. Halfway
through this vacation, if you can call it that, I began to withdraw. Like an addict in desperate
need of a fix, and I was becoming mentally unsound. There was no doubt about it, if I did
not get back home soon, I would not be able to last much longer like this. Aside from the
physical aches and pains that 'I would assess' had come from an intense longing, I was
becoming very confused and distraught. Before we left, this had progressed into pure panic
accompanied by a feeling of complete unbridled terror. Unable to do anything, I found
myself agonizing over it, until at last, I'd back in the loving arms of my baby once more. 

                                My beautiful angel, I have so much to tell you!

Even though it snowed here every day, it did nothing but torment me, for in my heart,
I was alone with them. While the powers that be were inscribing my fate, I decided I
should just try to relax and make the best of a very bad situation; not knowing that
once we arrived home, the very essence of my entire life would be displaced.

I picked up so many trinkets for Harmony and was overjoyed at the prospect of leaving!

When we returned home, mom found a letter with my name on it in the dining room.
It appeared our mail had been brought in by Mrs. Papilloni, who left it on the table.

I guess Harmony knew my mother wouldn’t open the letter, cause she never opened my
mail, and would hand it to me like she always did. There would be no reason for her to
start opening them today. I looked at the envelope to find it had no stamp. Since it was
written in Harmony's handwriting, I couldn't wait to run up to my bedroom and open it!

All the while, thinking that perhaps she was feeling better, and maybe she had planned
something wonderful for my return. My heart was racing with anticipation, for I knew
that within the hour I would be in her loving arms again! At least that's what I thought.

Little did I know, we would never feel that excitement or jubilation again.
What was coming for us was relentless in its quest to upheave our world.
How could I have known the monsters would dissect our dreams.
There was no way I could have possibly known it was the end.

As I pulled the letter out of the envelpoe, I was elated!

The sweet smell of her favorite perfume emanating into the air, found my nostrils!
My heart exploded with joy and apprehension at the same time! I was really
shocked by her erratic behavior, that could have had major implications, should
my mother decided to open it instead. As I opened the letter, I saw the impression
of her lips in the form of a ruby kiss on the upper right hand corner of the letter.

The letter read as follows:

My dearest love, I am so sick. I can barely move my legs,
and my arms are weak.
My complexion has become pallid
and my spirit sad. I am dying. I did not want to
alarm you,
but I find I have no other choice now than to tell you.

Please be strong,
and know that I wanted you forever.

In time, you would have been my husband.
(If you still
had love for me then.) You were wonderful to me.
No one has ever treated
me as warm and as kind as you,
but the time has come for me to say goodbye. . .

                                                                               Pg 229

I was diagnosed with cancer last year, and found out last month
that it has spread to my pancreas. For a time it went into remission,
and the doctors told me I should have a positive outlook on life.

I really tried, my love, but I cannot put you through this
any longer,
and there is no way I can survive on my own anymore. My mother
and father have returned to the states
and are taking good care
of me, so you need not worry.
I feel I may not have much longer.

I do have but one wish for you, my little prince.

If you cannot fulfill my one wish, then you never loved me at all.

My wish is that you do not follow me. Where I am going you can
not go. Not now. I will watch over you and protect you, if I can.

Promise me you will not do anything foolish to hurt yourself.

“Promise me.”

If you do, then we will be separated in death.

I know this is difficult, but please try to understand and do
worry my love. God will call upon you when he is ready,
and I will be right here waiting for you.

P.S. - It's okay if you find someone else to love.
          I understand. It is your right.
          You'll always be "my" one and only.

                  Love forever - Harmony

She must have forgot to put a return address on the envelope,
because I wanted to write her and tell her how bad I missed her
and how much I needed to see her again. To hold her in my arms.
To whisper softly in her ear and make everything better again.

                               It never happened.

Once Cupid was our friend. He pulled back on his bow to release a
flurry of love that continues to revolve around the world to this very
day. Such wonderful angelic bliss was ours for the taking, and it is
quite sad, when I finally come to realize that only a handful of people
shall ever come to experience it again. Soon, the days and nights of
contentment and joy will be replaced with indescribable misery to a
point of suicidal rage, for I have been filled with poison arrows, and
the light in my heart that once burned brightly is slowly growing dark.

If you can imagine how much I loved her,
then you're not even close.

After reading the letter, I ran to her house as though I were being chased by demons.
I tried to open the door, but it was locked and so I reached into my pocket for the key.

As I stepped in, I saw with my own two eyes there was nothing there.
In slow motion, the key fell from my hand hitting the dull linoleum tiles
with such a dead sound
, I thought it stuck to the floor. Standing there in
a catatonic haze, I felt my entire body slowly succumbing to shock. Like
an incision had been made in my chest and my heart had suddenly been
yanked out, the blood drained from my face. . . It was over.

The house was now nothing more than a hollow shell, and there was
not one thing in that whole entire dwelling to remind me of Harmony.

Just the cold emptiness of lost dreams,
and one pink plastic Rainbow hanger.

She had been erased.

For a second everything seemed to stop, and I lost my balance.
I was too numb to cry. As I looked around, I honestly thought
I might be dreaming. I trembled as I walked up those stairs into
her room. Upon seeing the red rug and nothing else, I collapsed.

My thoughts swirled in confusion and I needed her so bad right now
that I felt like I might actually die. It was all gone and all I had left was
a tiny picture of her. I never thought it would end. I didn't think it could.

                                                                               Pg 230

The feeling I felt at that very moment, I could not even begin to
describe. It was despair in its purest form, encapsulated in grief
beyond that of human understanding. It is the darkest and loneliest
feeling a human being can ever begin to experience, and there is
no darker a place than that of complete and utter abandonment.

It felt as though the lights had permanently gone out in my universe. . .
It was the beginning of Dark Monday.

Like I had eaten from the tree of life to become a weed of death, and was now
being hewn down and trampled upon. Indeed, I had knowingly sampled the
forbidden fruit and was now cursed to walk the earth forever without her. 

It was a fate worse than death, and I knew at that very moment what
it felt like to be cast out of Heaven; it aches to the very core of reason.

From that point on, school which I had almost begun to embrace, would become nothing more
than a prison term. I distanced myself from everyone, including my parents and pondered this
cruel fate. It got to the point where I could no longer look out my window, for every time I
that house, I saw a graveyard. I saw her dying in that house, while I was so far away.

                                      How alone she must have felt.
                                Probably worse than I feel right now.

                                              Reparata and The Delrons - I'm nobody's baby now

I asked God again and again and again,
why couldn't you have given me the cancer?
Why did my angel have to die?
Why do you hate me so much God?

Tell me why!!!

Can anyone out there understand what it's like to lose everything?
I pray you never know. What hurts the most is when I come to the
realization that I have to replace her. You can replace objects, and
you can repair things, but a woman as wonderful as Harmony
can never be replaced; nor can my life ever be mended.

When the impassioned cries turned to wailing, I buried my face deep into
the pillow and screamed, till the shattered dreams within the numbness
of my own brain displaced my emotions, and all was calm again.

                  Every morning upon waking I would look out my window and weep.

                                                The New Colony Six - Can't you see me cry

Please God, kill me. I shouted and I cried, but I could never quite
come to terms with it. Was what we did so bad you had to take her
away from me? I would have given my life for her and everything in
it, and one day the world would have understood this love of ours!

Are you listening to me? Why won't you hear me?

I then realized in all this horror,
maybe there's no one there either.

                                                                               Pg 231

The most wonderful place in the whole wide world had turned into something so dark
and dreadful, that I went out of my mind. I could no longer understand people when they
spoke to me because the words were no longer being filtered properly, and the only thing
I saw when I looked out my doorway were the memories we shared, slowly dying.

I used a roll of duct tape to completely cover my bedroom window, whereby secluding
myself. There I would weep for hours upon hours on end. I knew my life was over at that
moment, and I felt so horrified and frightened of everyone and everything around me. The
mere thought of not going over there anymore to see my sweet angel had me stricken with
such deep affliction that I wasn't sure I would be able to live through the night.

The very thought of having to change direction
and go somewhere else, after all we've been through
vexed me to a point of rending my own flesh.

It wasn't real.
It couldn't be!
If there was a God out there,
it couldn't be!

I needed to go back to that house,
and I needed for her to be there again.
I needed desperately for this to be just a bad dream.
I needed for us to be happy again, and laugh again,
but happiness and laughter left with Harmony.

Cutaways - Now that you're gone

Everything I once held dear, had been taken and smashed
a million pieces. I don't know who I am anymore. I
feel so lost without you, my
precious angel. So uncertain
of everyone around me. Why must I be the one to live?

In the end, mom made the choice to move away, and so we took up residence
in Annadale. The new kids seemed to like me, and always came around, but on
the inside of my hollow spirit, there was nothing there. Nothing at all. Every
photograph I saw made me think of Harmony, and every game I played
made me feel like the last person I ever wanted to be. I was so lost.

Less than a month went by when I heard my mother in the kitchen
reading the evening paper.
“Oh, no... Charlie,” she said in a choked
up voice. “Harmony passed away last night.”

My blood turned cold, and it was the onset of nightmares and torments, which plague me
to this very day. “She was so nice, and she was only twenty two years old.” Silently, I went
upstairs to my room and cried uncontrollably. Knowing I was losing my mind, I released
a blood curdling scream inside my head of such intensity, it raised the hairs on my neck.

It was sad to say, but there was no time machine, nor Aladdin's lamp that could
send me back into her arms. Nothing could free my soul from the torment
that longed to extinguish the tiny flame that still burned bright within my heart.

As I was dwelling upon our love and all the time we spent together, a song
came over the AM dial. A song that would take me to the very essence of
all anguish in my darkest and most terrifying hour. It was a song by David
Ruffin called, “My whole world ended.” I thought it was a brand new song,
because I never heard it until that very moment, and right there, I felt like
Judas Iscariot before the hanging. I pleaded to God to let this all be a bad
dream; that I would learn from it, but all he wanted to do was torture me.

David Ruffin - My whole world ended (The moment you left me)

Why was I so hated,
and what did I do that was so terrible it could not be forgiven?

I then came to the realization I had been cursed by God.
All because I fell in love and
decided to care for someone?
That's your reason to punish me for the rest of my life?

Because another human being found it in her heart to love me?
Is that really so wrong?

Please, I cried aloud, don't do this to me!
It was like salt being ground into a wound.

Such exquisite torment for someone so young. . .

What was I going to do now?

                                                                               Pg 232

As I sit in another time, typing from a modern day computer, I find
my eyes still produce the same salty tears they did over thirty years ago.

My stomach has awoken and is growling, desperately trying to digest
itself as I again, begin to weep uncontrollably. Why did I have to open
that door? Everything was going along just fine, but I had to go back.

I unearthed her because she needed to live again.

She should never have died in the first place, so I decided
to go back. I went back to breathe life into her one last time.

I feel she deserves at least that.

To live on in the hearts and minds of others who will
carry her spirit with them as they read this book. . .

                                                                      *Our book*

I needed to feel her hand in mine. Her warm embrace. Those beautiful innocent
eyes, exposing the true fragility of my soul. I needed to see you again, and now
I'm sick, again. Harmony, my dearest love, you will forever be my weakness.

                                             Midnight Shift - She's gone far away

Sitting at this desk is like being shackled to your own private nightmare.
I have everything I need, but nothing worth any value because I'm alone.
Gazing into the mirror of lost time, I fear I am surrounded by demons.

One night in my torment, I thought about going over to
her house
and just lying there in the darkness. Maybe
she would come to me
and free me somehow from the
anguish which has burrowed its 
way into my heart,
but I knew that if I went into that house again,
I would not be leaving sane.

Toward the end of the month, a small box arrives in the mail and is addressed
to me. Mother brings it upstairs to my room, and questions me about it. I say,
I'm not sure who sent it, maybe it's from Timmy, and she let it go at that.

Carefully, I opened the box with a very small screwdriver and pulled the letter
out. Upon doing so, something fell out of a tissue and bounced under my bed.
It went all the way back by the headboard, and almost down the shaft where
the missing register was. It was Harmony's peace ring, and I came undone
as I squeezed it ever so tightly in my hand. My universe was rapidly being
consumed by the same black hole I remember from the mushroom experience.

Inside this small box were pages to a letter that had been folded
up and then stapled together. The first paragraph is all I can
reveal to you, and this, I do with much hesitation.

Please don't be angry with me for leaving you, my love.
This is the last thing I
could ever want.
I waited and am sad that you have not replied back to me.
Have you
forgotten me so soon?

I never understood this part, because there was no return address.
Unless the person who mailed the letter opened the envelope,
removed the letter, and rewrote a new envelope before mailing it.

As you can tell by the handwriting,
I am not writing this, but
my brother,
for I am no longer able to write as I am far too weak.
This will be my
final letter to you,
and if you are holding it now, I am in the next life.

As you read on,
you are not alone my little prince,
for I am standing right beside you.

                                                                               Pg 233

This is as far as I am willing to take you. The rest of the letter
is far too painful to relive again, and I will not do that to myself.
I apologize. As I have given you this story and bared my soul for
a world to judge, it now appears that I have opened a floodgate,
I can no longer close. I do not think I will be able to endure this.

As I continued reading the letter, I found that it was five pages of the
most heart wrenching words my mind could ever begin to understand.
All her hopes, aspirations and dreams that washed away were revealed
in this letter. How much she wanted to live and continue revolving her
life around me, until I was old enough to accept the responsibility of
having children. How she longed for the day she could travel abroad
and see the world with the man she loved, and our children.

What I came to realize, was that the love she had for me
would far outweigh any doubt that might have previously
existed, for she spoke of it in depth in her final hours and
my mind shattered. I wanted so dearly to become a man,
that I got lost in her eyes. Till at last, I became nothing.

Nothing but a pallbearer of mourning in a terrifying

world filled with gut-wrenching despair.

There is one part on the fifth page towards the very end
of the letter
that invokes tears every time I read it.

Take what I've given you, my darling, and give it 
in time to someone new. Make her your world.
The world I can no longer give you.

There can never be another you, my sweet love.
I pray for an end that doesn't come, and I weep,
unimpressed by what the years have shown me.

Looking back now, on all the wonderful times we spent together,
I can truly say I love you more now than ever. If only I could hold
you in my arms again. Kiss your lips again. Watch you smile.

What a precious and beautiful dream we shared.
Has anyone ever wept in Heaven?
I will, when I look into your eyes again.

As I look down at my hands, I notice my skin is slowly changing.
I am no longer young. I am forty four years old and that is twice the
age you were when you were taken from me. Will you even recognize
me when I finally come home to you or will I be lost there too?

The letter which tore my heart open
I absorbed into the very fabric of my being,
till I became the pain of losing her.

                                                                               Pg 234

In the last part of the letter Harmony writes,

"I saw something in your eyes that day.
The very first day we kissed, you remember.
The day I wanted to kill you, I was so angry!
Then your eyes filled with tears,
and you told me how much you cared for me.
I was stunned beyond words.
To see you that heartbroken over me
was more than my own heart could bear.
That look in your eyes, I will never forget it.
A woman knows when she is loved, Charlie.

When she is adored.

That is the picture I am taking with me,
when I leave this world.
Before I go,
I will give you a sign that I am okay.
Then you must promise to move on
and not dwell in my shadow,
for I will not be in it."

Do you know that as I got to that part of the letter,
I felt an icy cold mist surround me, as if
something was trying to hug me?

It went through my clothes and touched my skin like a moist towelette.
Then, as subtle as a goodnight kiss, my lover departed forever.
A bond so precious, her loving wraith could not forget.
Harmony I cried, I can't hold you anymore!!!

Then I passed out.

Sometimes, I can almost feel myself bleeding inside. A
gnawing pain that refuses to let up, like a painful addiction
that only hides, it no longer goes away. If only I could stop
thinking about you, honey. To put this whole thing to rest,
so that I can continue living. Maybe it's not too late for me
to start a family. Who am I kidding? I'm hooked on you baby.

If I have to wait a lifetime for the pain to subside, so be it.

Yet sometimes still, I am happy for I am loving you again.
In a place where remorse is non existent, and the innocent
virtues which once captured my heart are alive in your smile.

Traveling to distant places, I make you laugh as I have
always made you laugh, only this time I do it as a man,
but you can still see the boy in me.

Then we arrive at our house, which always seems to be different
in every dream! Nonetheless, it is beautiful because you decorate
it so well. Then, I open my eyes to find that it was all a dream.

We never made Jasmine and Ornelo either, I guess, or is this
the nightmare and the other side real? I'm not sure anymore.

                          It doesn't really matter anyway, for I am almost Home.

Sometimes I wonder how our children would have looked. Part me and part
Harmony, they would have been wonderful kids! We would have given them the
world, and in return they would have given us unending joy and consolation, but
some things are just not meant to be. They are the forbidden fruit of our sorrow.

If I should never have another enjoyable day;

see another beautiful smile;
touch another wonderful face.
If I should never hold another gentle hand;
then I can honestly say with a whole heart,
you were worth it, my darling.

What's worse than growing old, than growing old without her?
This I ask myself from time to time, but can honestly think of
nothing worse than the fate I've been predestined to share with
those kind enough to listen. . . Thank you.

In life, I learned more than I should have about love,
but I just wasn't
ready. Time holds no place for me now.

To be a man before you can be a boy
, will ultimately destroy your soul.

In all truth, what we had was simply too beautiful for this world;
it had to be saved for the next.

Through the terror, the madness and the outpouring of tears, I never
stopped loving God. I thought it was God, who stopped loving me.

The most ironic part of it all is that once I was terrified of death;
now I'm terrified of life.

                                                                               Pg 235

Reviews for chapter 32

Martha Goelles - Oh my God!!!

Sabrina Rubin -
I can't stop fucking crying!

Holly Rydell - I am so sorry. This is the saddest story i ever read and nothing
i ever read can compare to the sadness i feel inside for you. Though i am not a
judge of writing i can still say what i feel and that this story totally destroyed
my heart! Again i am so sorry. I just dont know what to say

Beth Edmunds -
To experience life through your eyes is a rare gift. To be able
to take words and build an entire world from them is awsome! It is frightening
to be able to recall every detail and go back to that place of sorrow. I felt your
happiness and I felt your pain like I was there with you. I feel it with other books
too, but only not like this. A gift as special as yours comes with a price tag and
that price tag is happiness.

Haimavati Agarwal - Life is so precious and beautiful, and you have managed
to extract from it everything. My parents both died when I was still very young so
I can understand the torment of that loss, and the love they once gave to me.

Maria Aranda - Charles, Charles you have planted a seed of despair in my heart
and for that I can not forgive you

Juliann Marpel - Any man who can turn pure lust into beauty, the way you
have done should not go unnoticed in this world. You have turned poison into
pure drinking water and for that I commend you. I am halfway through this
chapter and am loving it so far! I hope it exceeds itself and I'm sure it will.

Lola Goldstein - I thought I was depressed until I read this chapter.
Now I know I'm just sad.

Rachelle Banks - This weekend consisted of nothing more than reading your
book and I have to tell you I am numb inside. I cannot stop thinking of it!
Will it go away? I hope it does or I am going to have insomnia for a long time.

Jacqueline Crevecoeuer - Do you know you wrote the most touching novel
of all time? There is no looking any further. This is the saddest book ever written.

Sandra Lazaro - You should have through the rest out and kept only this

Pamela Ackerman - a shining achievement!

Julie Kopel - I think you're smart enough to realize when people read your book
they are going to know you didn't just stumble out of a mental hospital, so give it
up. Who are you?  What college did you attend? Where did you study writing? At
least give me your initals and don't say S. K. (I know you're not Steven King!)

Diana Troy - This book drips despair

Annette Maniscalco - Why couldn't every boy be you?

Sheryl Ludlow - I love the words you use! Are you in
any way related to H. P. Lovecraft? Just figured I'd ask

Betty Young - What a beautiful tale of love you have woven!

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