I can see my breath in the dark, green woods. Far behind me in my family’s cabin I can almost hear them counting down until midnight. I check my black checkered watch. Ten minutes til.
I pull my boyfriend’s hood up over my ratty brown hair.
Charcoal fills the air as I pass over a fallen, charred tree. My boyfriend didn’t burn it. No matter how many times I explain that to my family, they don’t hear me.
Just because Quin wears dark hoodies and skinny jeans doesn’t mean he’s a gothic bad boy. It’s just a defense mechanism. We all do it.
I “went to bed early”. Then I snuck out the window. My family thinks I’m pissy because they wouldn’t let Quin come to the cabin for New Years. I am pissy, but if we were a normal couple, then I’d just video chat him. With my shirt off of course. Not that I’d be showing much. I’m a stick.
Seven minutes and I’m not even close to the unmarked grave. It’s not completely unmarked. It has a headstone, but it’s unreadable. Two bodies share the grave now.
Once upon a time, Quin was normal. Or as normal as a math nerd could be. One day his alcoholic mother decided to make toast in the bathtub. Poor little Quin found her. His dad shipped him off to a mental institution. But Quin didn’t come back. My Quin came back. His dad assumed that Quin got worse. But he’s in a better place really.
Sarah’s story is similar. Me, Sarah, am doing pretty well. Other Sarah is with Other Quin.
Three minutes. I spot Quin through the trees. He has the oblong key in hand. Tonight we finish the transfer. Tonight we will belong to this world that has for so long rejected us.
His back is to me so I slip up behind him and cover his eyes with mine. “Amber,” he sighs. The name stings. I yank my hands back.
“Amber has been dead for centuries.” My best friend. His true love. The Other Amber killed her. A reminder that we aren’t invincible.
Quin’s face falls. “Your hands felt like hers.”
I know he sees her when he looks at me. He kisses her when he’s kissing me. We’re together because we are alone. Not because we are in love.
I put my hands over the key. “Once we destroy this, we will destroy her?”
Quin puts his hand on mine. “She killed Our Amber.”
The pain in his eyes breaks my heart. “But she will look like and feel like Our Amber. Can you kill her?”
“She has the hands of a killer.”
But we do too.
I hold up my watch. “Ten seconds.”
Quin lights a match. Nine seconds.
He didn’t even hesitate when he killed the Other Sarah. Eight seconds.
I put my arm around Quin. Seven seconds.
He dangles the key over the flame. Six seconds.
“Do you love me?”
Quin gives me a look. “What?”
Four seconds. “Do you love me?”
“Where is this coming from?”
Three seconds. Two. One.
The key catches fire curling and disintegrating into ash.
Quin’s eyes harden as he turns to me. “We aren’t capable of love.”