Thriller Drama Romance

You opened the letter.

Of course you did. I mean, why wouldn’t you? Red envelopes are a rarity these days, aren’t they? I myself have once received a love letter in red before—but that turned out to be a prank, so that is irrelevant. Over in the Far East, people make it a tradition to give out red envelopes filled with money on New Year’s Day—but today is not New Year’s Day, I assure you it is not. And there is no money to be found here.

I write this letter to tell you that your death is near.

Are you panicking? Are you laughing? I’ll tell you, the first reaction is a lot more appropriate. This is not a joke. Red can represent love, bravery, prosperity, and yet it is also the colour of the blood that spills out at the slightest incision of your skin. Take a deep breath. Do you smell a faint tinge of metal? The metallic smell of blood? You’re a stubborn one, so of course you’d claim you don’t.

But above all, you are a responsible person.

Please keep that in mind. After all, the reason you are about to die, the reason the pavement you stand upon will soon be stained with the same shade of red as this envelope, is because of you, yourself. No one else can shoulder the blame for you. Nobody else is willing to shoulder the blame for you. You are only getting what is coming to you, so to speak.

This letter you are reading now, is your final warning.

Do you remember Sally? Although I wouldn’t expect you to. The role she plays in your life is somewhat similar to that of a background character, after all. Poor girl. For in her life, you play the role of a very major character.

The role of an antagonist.

Bear with me, even if you may be confused at this point. And let me introduce another character—another one that may carry more weight in your life.

Marcia Evergarden. I suppose the last time you talked to her was two years ago, wasn’t it? Although you still remember her well. When she shone, she shone radiantly, like a miniature sun. When she twirled across the dance floor, she shone brighter than all of the spotlights combined. That was the kind of person Marcia was. Notice that I speak in the past tense, because that is how she was when you knew of her. It has been at least two years since you last saw her, and without a doubt, many things have changed.

You don’t know of this, but she had taken your words to heart. In the moments when she was at her weakest, you were the one that gave her strength, the one that gave her worth. There are many things that you don’t know. Things like how she chanted your words, over and over in the shower, how she thought you were the light-giver, the sun that shone brilliantly upon her life. To you, she was a just a dancing light, but to her, you were more than anything she ever had. Perhaps you simply are no good at understanding people. Or perhaps you never really cared. But one thing you should really know, is that when people feel hollow inside, they latch onto anything they find with an intensity—and when that support is robbed away from them, they emerged more scarred than ever before.

Such was the case of Marcia.

Such was also the case of Natalie. I wouldn’t be surprised if you can barely recall her face, it was nothing more than a brief reprieve, after all. A short tale. You forgot your boundaries again. You forgot it all, and then whispered promises on the spur of the moment, regardless of possibility, regardless of reality. In the middle of the night on your phone, do you remember? Breathing ‘goodbye’ under your breath as you hear rising footsteps in the corridors of your four-room apartment, placing your phone in an inconspicuous position. And upon your face, you placed a smile—

Oops. Did I get carried away?

You certainly did in those few short months. Those were months when truth and lie blended together, inconsistent and incoherent, in a sickly potion of passionate love. That is how she thinks of it now, if you wish to know. A sickly spell. A fever dream. But these are all just thoughts in hindsight, retrospection. At the moment, Natalie thought nothing else mattered.

And in the end, reality caught up to her. Caught up to the both of you, but what can you say when you emerged from it relatively unscathed? What can you say to her, as she was hauled away by the rest of the world, regretting her every action, while you continue to put on smiles in your four-room apartment?

You are a terrible person.

Really, you are.

Do you feel responsible? Maybe you do now, as you read this letter. But I suppose you’ll just brush it off in a moment. How else have you been able to survive? You forget them all in an instant, moving forward to something new. You have that endurance in you. But many people don’t. Many don’t recover from having their roof collapsed upon them. Do you understand that? Maybe you have always known, but you simply didn’t care.

And who is the one for you now?

Who is the one you seek for in the night now?

Othelia Evergarden is an accountant, an abuser of words whenever possible, and I do not doubt that she loves you from the bottom of her heart. What did you say to her last night? A promise to meet up? Nothing out of the ordinary, I suppose. You can never get too far with her. She puts up walls around herself, she hugs herself tight and constantly wishes for a miracle. That is why those are usually the fastest to fall. And she has already fallen, far, far down the rabbit hole.

But here is where the cycle ends.

Unbeknownst to you, this prolonged, repeating tale, is about to come to a halt.

You wouldn’t have known about it, had I not written this letter to you. Your life would’ve been taken, as swiftly as an eagle swooping down upon its prey. There was no way you could’ve foreseen this—after all, your life has been nothing but a bunch of repeats. You’ve lived safely in your little loop, unaware of danger. Unaware of how your most recent flame was well acquainted with the nobody I mentioned earlier in this text. Unaware of how the members of your four-room apartment, those you have deceived for so long, have also come to know of the truth.

All of this, brought about by a so-called ‘nobody’.

And the storm that follows will be a big one.

I don’t believe you will survive. There is very little chance that I will not arrive to see crimson stained upon the pavement in front of your home. But I am giving you a chance.

A chance to take responsibility for everything you’ve done. Take responsibility for everyone you’ve messed up.

It is a minuscule chance. Somewhere around 0.01%.

But it is a chance. A chance to break out of this loop. And if you sincerely feel guilty, if you feel that the responsibility will not crush you to a pulp, walk out into the light now. Walk out, and be prepared.

The consequences will be heavy.

June 24, 2020 08:04

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Matt Strempel
02:56 Jul 06, 2020

Hey, I was sent here via the Critique Circle. Please allow me to offer my critique which will, hopefully, be considered constructive criticism. That said, I honestly can't offer any criticism worth mentioning. It's great. I try to read and critique all the stories I get sent via the critique circle and it's been refreshing to read yours. Well-written, correct use of punctuation, consistency in tense, limited adverbs, the list goes on. Great job on a technical level. I don't like second-person perspective, typically, but you did a great...


Haruko Otonashi
01:57 Jul 07, 2020

Thanks! This is the longest review I've ever received on my work. I'll try to offer any criticism I can on your stories too.


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