Chase held Eir’s music box in his hands, watching the three proud white horses gallop in an eternal circle, their bodies impaled by a single golden column down their back. The delicate melody wafted in the air; elegant, soothing and sad. It made the most beautiful song that definitely suited Eir’s gentle demeanor.
He glanced up at her from his chair. She was still there, her eyes closed, her lips slightly parted as she exhaled. Eir’s once rosy cheeks were now almost a powdery white. The left side of her face had a large white bandage that covered a long, red gash that would permanently scar her face. He silently watched her for a few minutes before his eyes were slowly drawn back to the slowing music.
Chase rewound the key of the music box, letting the tune begin once again from the start. He continued to stare, his sapphire-like eyes following the white and pale blue steeds. Despite being pierced through, they still stood tall. He envied them.
Then, Chase sighed, entranced in the continuous cycle of Eir’s music box. He began to recollect his memories, back to the first day he met her. Eir was there, her books drawn closely to her chest, her arms hugging them tightly as if to protect them rather than simply holding them. He remembered her wavy brown locks tied in a lilac ribbon, her ponytail cast over her shoulder. Her glittering eyes looked like a perfect day; it appeared so blue that his own eyes could be no match for hers. She was the definition of innocence, and in his eyes now, she still was. Despite the fact that he was a bad influence on her, that she skipped some classes and sneaked out after curfew, she was still the same beautiful girl he saw on day one.
“Come with me,” Chase had whispered to her from outside her two-storey bedroom window at 11 at night. “Stay with me for the night, and we’ll return only when the sun begins to rise again from its slumber.”
And she did. Night after night, Eir crawled out of her window quietly, Chase holding onto her, leading her across the steady tree branch that acted as a bridge from her room and the outside world. They would go out to the park and muck around at the fountains, then they would go to abandoned warehouses and throw rocks at unbroken windows. One time, they graffitied their initials onto the cold brick walls, forever marking their midnight territory. At 11:11, they would climb up a tree and look into the sky, just to make a single wish.
The wishes, of course, never came true. Because Chase was a bad guy that fell in love with a good girl. He brought her to his playground in the dark, and he basically cursed her. No one approved of them. Everyone wanted to save Eir and banish the beast that kidnapped her heart. But Chase knew – and he knew full well – that Eir loved him also. The way she looked at him with adventurous eyes, the way she’d blush whenever he smiled, and the way she hugged him when she was frightened; she loved him and he knew. But alas, he was the reason every wish they made at 11:11 never blossomed into reality, especially the most common, yet strongest wish that could ever be wished:
To be together for an eternity.
He felt something unidentifiable stab him in his head as new memories formed in his mind. He remembered the moment he arrived at school and everyone was murmuring amongst themselves, looking at him. He remembered the way a student bravely stalked towards him, and broke him the tragic news. He remembered the way he turned on his heel and ran, ignoring the fact that his lungs couldn’t provide enough oxygen for him. He remembered the way Eir looked as he forced his way into the emergency room, the majority of her face and left side of her body covered in blood from the wound on her face. He remembered the doctors who yelled at him to get out, who grabbed him by the shoulders and shoved him away, who rushed to save Eir’s life, whose weak figure in a sterilised white bed disappeared behind the door. He remembered the way he lost his cool, which almost never happened.
Chase was a curse; he knew that well. Eir’s accident could potentially be his fault. Maybe if they never met, she’d be alright. Maybe if he decided to refrain from flirting with her that day, she would be safely talking with her friends at school today. But no. He decided to be the idiot and drag her into his messed up life.
He bit his lip. He had almost forgotten his days before he met Eir. He used to be heartless, flirtatious and arrogant. He had no feelings. He never cried.
The graceful melody slowed, and a gentle, frail hand rested gently on the top of the box. Chase snapped out of his trance, now focussing on the slender fingers that merely brushed upon the music box before holding one of his hands. He glanced at Eir, who was now conscious and looking at him through half lidded eyes, a weak, yet warm smile carved on her face. Even though she looked close to dead, her hair a tangled mess, her eyes still twinkled like stars and her smile still glowed. Chase was instantly soothed by her warmth. The monitor beside her beeped somewhat steadily. He smiled back.
“Hey,” he murmured. “Slept okay?”
“Fine,” she replied quietly. “My headache is excruciating, though.”
Chase laughed, as did she, though the air was tense. After a moment’s silence, Eir spoke again, her voice weaker than before.
The music box finally fell silent.
“I love you. None of this is your fault.”
Then, her hand let go of his and fell, and the monitor stopped its steady, repetative beep. Instead, all that was left was one long sound that made even his own heart stop. Chase couldn’t process what was happening, and when he did, he shot up, dropping the music box onto the ground. His whole demeanor changed. In one syllable, his feelings began to flood in his heart and mind, and his eyes were suddenly blinded with foreign tears. In one syllable, all the tragedy, agony and dread he had never felt before hit him hard.
Chase, Eir’s true music box, was broken.