For some, it’s simply one of life’s certainties, nothing more. For others, it’s merely a fleeting thought, one often overshadowed by the reckless delusion that they have been blessed with the gift of immortality.
For Aubrey Miller, death is the definition of her very existence. Overcome with the guilt resulting from the loss of her beloved family, she alters her appearance from the once beautiful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl to that of one shrouded in complete darkness, enveloping herself in her own unbreakable fortress of solitude as a form of protection for others.
As she enters her first year of college, her goal is simple: Earn a degree with the least amount of social interaction as possible. What she never anticipates is the formation of very unlikely relationships with two people who will change her life in ways she never believed possible: Quinn Matthews, the boisterous former pageant queen, and Kaeleb McMadden, a childhood friend from her past who never really let her go.
Over the years, as their connections intertwine and grow, a seemingly indestructible bond is formed between the three…
But when death painfully reemerges, Aubrey is lost once again, burying herself deeper than ever before inside the familiar fortification of her fears.
Will the refuge of friendship, the solidarity of life-long bonds, and the power of unconditional love be enough to do the impossible?
Will they be enough to finally bring about…
The Resurrection of Aubrey Miller?
The memory escapes slowly from its confinement, almost cautiously, before finally freeing itself, rushing my mind so quickly I physically wince in response. The pain it will yield is inevitable and I’m defenseless against it as it begins to replay in my mind:
“I don’t want to go, Kaeleb. I’m scared.” I wipe the endless streams of tears from my cheeks as I search desperately for the relief of comfort from his glistening eyes. But there’s nothing that can help me now. Cold darkness threatens to swallow me as I’m pulled under and barely breathing. I’m dying. Just like my family.
“Bree,” he responds, quickly removing the salty trails of sorrow from his own face. “You have to go. You – ”
“I know. I have no one here.” I sigh. “They’re all…gone.”
Kaeleb nods ever so slightly before pulling me into his arms. Only eight years old, same age as me, yet his hold feels so strong, so secure. I know he doesn’t want to let me go, and as the pretty lady with the rose perfume comes to break us apart, the need for us to grasp onto each other becomes more frantic. She calls for help and as they pry us apart, the tears continue to roll down our cheeks with the knowledge that this will be our last moment together. We hold as tightly as we can, but are eventually broken apart, our fingers the last to let go as we reach for each other.
“I love you, Kaeleb,” I whisper to myself as they gently guide me into the back seat of an unknown car. Before they close me in I scream as loudly as I can. “You’re my best friend!”
His eyes meet mine as they shut the door between us. With purpose, he stalks to the car and just as they start the engine, he places his palm flat on the window with his fingers spread as far as they will go. Slamming my hand against the cool glass, I mirror his gesture, knowing this will be the last time I will ever be in the presence of my friend. My best friend.
As we drive away, I watch out the back window as he runs down the street as long as his weary legs can carry him. They eventually buckle underneath him and his knees hit the ground, unable to keep up any longer.
Throwing my hand against the back window, the car turns the corner and I lose sight of him. Not until he’s gone do I allow myself to surrender to the darkness. I no longer fight for the need to breathe as I let go. Stepping out of myself, I watch the pretty, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl slowly dying as she sinks, spiraling lower and lower, until finally disappearing into the bottomless pit that consumes her.
“Hell-ooooo!” Quinn’s voice filters slowly through the searing pain of my memory, bringing me back into the present where I’m still standing on my bed and the damn poster is still swinging from side-to-side behind me. But now, instead of the sound barely registering, it’s grating against my eardrums like nails on a chalkboard.
L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science. She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.