It was a cold night near the end of September. I remember the news reporting some strange government pathogen that had been released that was driving people mad with some weird side effects. Of course I put it off as medical mishaps and was much more interested in the segment that said September was the perfect time to start life anew with the one you love because of how the leaves falling represent the end of the old and a new and beautiful beginning. So I decided the time had finally come. At last I was going to ask for her hand in marriage. Many say that it’s an institution but it would be one that I’d gladly spend the rest of my days in. The evening I planned was utterly perfect. We spent the entire day together doing all of our favorite things from picnics to movies to star gazing and then we returned to our apartment for the dinner I had prepared that featured all of her favorite dishes. How could she say no? We had been together for ages, since we were children. We loved each other with such a deep passion, she couldn’t say no. But… but what if she did?

What if when I got on my knee and presented her with the ring that I had practically sold my soul for while working for that worthless excuses of a man she laughed at me? I couldn’t take that chance, she was my life, I couldn’t live without her, I wouldn’t live without her! So while she was taking the last sip of her wine I made the decision. I was going to steal her heart again in a slightly different way... through her sternum, that way she wouldn’t be able to say no. She wouldn’t be able to say anything.

As she was lowering the glass from her divine, cherry red lips I lifted my steak knife from my plate. The only thing that excited me more than her last “I love you” was the surprise in her eyes as I thrust the knife through her rib cage. It was probably equal to the surprise that she would show when she saw her beating heart pulled from her chest.

After I watched the sparkle dissipate in her breathtaking eyes I reached into my pocket and withdrew the ring and ever so gently slid it onto her her finger. Then I proceeded to carry her into our bedroom and lie down to sleep next to my beautiful bride to be.

The following morning I was rudely awoken by a scratching, no, a tearing pain in my chest. I abruptly opened my eyes revealing my beloved digging at my rib cage. I was awestruck. I didn’t know what to do, then suddenly I felt a quick tug followed by a wave of cold that spread through my body like a swarm of insects. That’s when she lifted her hands from out of my cheat clasping my heart. As she raised it to her open mouth my vision faded and I felt as though I was descending into a sleep I would never awaken from.

Once again I opened my eyes but this time something was different. Instead of being in my room, surrounded by photos of my beloved and I, everything was dark. And out of the darkness my darling stepped.

The only word she uttered was a cold “why?” What kind of question was that? Like she didn’t know. But at any rate, I wasn’t even sure of what was happening. She was stone dead the night before. Since when do bodies regain life? I realized now wasn’t the time to think about things so trivial. I searched my consciousness to find the proper way to explain myself in a way that would make her realize that I had done this out of love. Finally I explained my purposes and the fact that I was afraid she would find my proposal insane.

Once again I saw her eyes burn with emotion but this time it wasn’t a surprise. It almost resembled the passion that had been there when she spoke her last words the night before. She stepped towards me and I took her into my arms as I had so many times before ,and as she leaned her head closer to mine I felt warm again.

I awoke for a third time, but this time I was in my room once more, and in the arms of my beloved. Death had not treated her well. Her flesh was tearing and falling from the bone. When I mentioned this fact she led me to a mirror. I gazed in and realized my features were the same.. excluding the scratches and tears in my sternum that her deeds had left. I also I seemed to be missing my heart but I was relieved to see it in her hands, and not just metaphorically like it had been before.

After accepting with our grizzly appearances we walked out the front door and headed towards the nearest church. Upon our arrival the priest was disgusted and obviously wouldn’t marry us. His opinions were changed with a jerk of his neck. After he had awoken he realized that death no longer mattered. He married us and me and my beloved walked home. Transforming all who objected to our love….. Or appearance.