Word Count: 242
You press your hand against the hole in her chest. Her breath comes in lurches and gasps – wet and sticky and brimming of the end. You press harder against the wound; praying and hoping and doing all you can- all you know to do- to try and save her.
She says something. The syllables lost to the guttural bubbling of blood that leaks at the corner of her mouth. You want to close your eyes, want to look away to remember her as she was not so long ago (safe and whole and alive and vibrant and warm beneath your hand.) She tries to speak again, you think she might have said “go” or “stop” but the words are still nonsense and besides, both of you know you can’t leave her like this.
“I can fix it,” you tell her, trying for a smile. “It’s alright, I promise, I can fix it.” But you can’t stem the blood, you are helpless here. You feel her pulse flutter beneath your palm and lie to yourself that it’s improving.
She lifts a hand, pale and shaking and presses it against the place where your heart should be. It comes away red and sticky and you know. You know it’s not her blood on her fingers and she smiles for you, with you, you both wear identical lies stretched across your faces. And this time, this time you hear her when she says, “you can’t.”