Ink: Epilogue

He loves her. He has to: she holds his heart in her hands. What can he do but love a woman who cups his still-beating heart so gratefully, so lovingly? He can see that she cares for it. He can feel that she does. She has stopped crying, leaving only the stains of her tears upon her cheeks. There is something like a smile on her face as she holds his heart in both hands, cradled like a baby, with ink flowing from its torn arteries.

There is a deep sadness within her. It colors everything she feels. Chester feels it running through him like a cold river, filling him up, replacing his blood. But no, perhaps that is not just her sadness, but the ink, taking over his body, making him hers. He doesn’t mind. He loves her.

It is a love of desperation, for he knew the moment her hand touched his chest that there was nothing left for him; nothing left of him, even. It is a love of reflection, because before he knew her, before she held his heart, he hadn’t know how sad he had become about his life. Now he sees it, as he sees her sadness.

It is, most of all, a love born out of pity. As her ink flows through him it writes the story of her life upon his soul, and he knows her, thoroughly and completely. He knows of her marriage and of her one-sided love toward the man that she called her husband, who looked upon her less as a wife and more as a possession.

Her husband didn’t see her as human. He didn’t care that she wept, so long as she continued to obey him. The weeping didn’t bother him at all, itself, but when it inconvenienced him, he berated and belittled her for her weakness. He told her she was worthless and ugly and that her art, into which she poured the majority of her soul, was worthless and ugly as well.

It was not. She made, in live, beautiful, entrancing work out of such simple tools. Ink and paper. In school she learned and experimented with pencils and paints and makers of all different colors, spanning the entire spectrum of light, and yet it was on simple, sweet black ink that she settled. At her touch ink sang. There was more life in her black-and-white ink drawings than in grand, canvas-spanning works by other, lesser artists.

There was more life in her art than in her husband’s entire soul, but he did not see that and so, eventually, he took her life from her.

He didn’t take it all at once. He took it bit by bit, each of verbal and physical strikes taking a bit more from her until she crumpled, with nothing left to support her. When did, he buried her here, beneath the house, locked in the darkness where he believed nobody would ever find her.

Chester doesn’t feel like he found her. He feels like she found him. She called out to him, and he came. Now he knows she needed him, and he thinks — no, he knows he needed her too. He has become hers in a way that nobody ever has been. She needed that desperately. He is a part of her now, as her ink flows through him like blood. He is content to let her hold him here, in the darkness, forever.

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