He's gone. I don't know what to say. I don't know what to fucking say. I guess I'll just say everything and hope I feel a bit better by the end of this.
I loved that kid more than anything; he was the only one who let me in and see his true face. Yeah, the motherly attitude? It was an act he was hiding behind. Hiding how much he hurt, how utterly traumatized he was beneath that bubbly and loving exterior. He didn't know what the fuck to do with himself anymore, so he devoted his last years to making goddamn well sure that we were all as happy as we could be.
I remember when we first brought him home from that burning farmhouse. Spence and I had gone down on an ordinary delivery. I was still a bit of a mental mess, but functioning for the most part. We got there, and as if on cue, a tiny boy crashed through a high window, rolled onto the roof, landed on his back...you know the story from there. When August finally came to, he didn't say a word. It'd be weeks before he'd talk, and all the while I could see how dead he was behind those beautiful blue eyes. After awhile, he introduced himself, we got to talking...and the blankness seemed to fade. Something in me knew it wasn't right, though. He couldn't have healed that fast: no one could've. Spence didn't seem to notice it (at least as far as he told me), so a few months in I gently confronted the kid. Not because I was angry or felt like I'd been lied to. I wanted to help him, and with a bit of gentle nudging, he accepted it. I would let him cry, talk, sit in my office with that blank look in his eye. If nothing else, I could give him a few hours a week where he didn't have to pretend. Turn on some Electric Light Orchestra when we didn't feel like talking, discuss some of the best and worst times in our lives when we did. Even if Love is Like Oxygen isn't an ELO song, I never said a word about it. I just slipped it into one of my playlists and he was none the wiser.
All of that time we spent together, the sleepless nights pouring out our hearts to one another, somewhere between close friends and a mother and son, I can't believe he hated me. Was I really making him pretend too? Did I truly cause him that much pain? Did he feel he had no one he could trust? What should I have done differently?
You know, when I saw him in the ground, before Steele and Todd started laying the dirt on top of him, I remembered that first day. Part of me wanted to jump into the hole, pull August out, run back to the van and start bandaging him. Feel the bones of his broken legs so he'd jolt back to life and look at me with those pretty little blue eyes. Scared, but alive: ask me what had been going on, ask why he smelled like a dirt pile, give me a hug. And after I was done putting his legs in splints, I'd tell him that he was going to pull through, that his legs would take a few weeks to heal because he lucked out with how the fractures were. Hold on, I'll drive you to the hospital, just stay with me, you've lost a lot of blood...
But no, I knew it'd be futile. So I stood there, my thoughts swirling about me, manifesting as a thousand angry and grieving voices screaming, enveloping me in a nearly unbearable cacophony. I started hearing voices when I was in the ward, something they did to me gave me a bit of brain damage. My memory's not quite as sharp as it used to be either. Oh, I can think. I can think, and I have so many other voices that try to think for me. Spencer does his best to try and help me quell them, but there's only so much you can do. Todd put the last bit of dirt on top, Steele said some words I don't remember.
As soon as everyone went quiet, I stumbled back to my basement, decided to shoot up because I didn't know what else to do. I've just been tripping balls in the night since, sometimes I think I see him dashing about in the shadows, smiling, or peeking into my office from the gap in the door. About to say "Can...can I come in?" in that soft, cracking little voice. I've occasionally said "Yes, of course!" and "I love you!" and "I'm always happy to talk to you!" to nothing, my knuckles are bloody from punching the walls and the walls are bloody from my knuckles punching them. During the day I've been digging through my old specimens again, making much more sense of their carvings than I ever did before. Odd how brilliance would shine through in grief, but I can read the writing now. All the little femurs and scapulas and humeruses are speaking to me now, those bright and tiny whispers. I remember writing it all now, I was grieving then too. I've been grieving for a long time, for the loss of loved ones and friends and a life I used to know. And whenever it would become too much, my mind would blank. I would find a dead thing, or find something small and kill it if I felt so inclined. Stuff it in a bag, bring it back to my home, write in its flesh and blood His sublime messages as they were meant to be read. I would grieve, and rejoice, and carve. And then I would tuck my work away for later, slip back into my usual self. The mad doctor, the loving friend.
I've found more bones to write on, bones of a species I've never worked on before. Such beautiful tablets once shrouded in living, thriving, screaming flesh. Itching, waiting to reveal their secrets as I carve.