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The Forgiven

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In May, Carrie and Arkin broke up. The definition of a high school couple, it was a sad sight to see, young love flourishing before wilting away. Arkin, being the dumper of the relationship, was at least a little relieved. Somber, sure, but a weight had been lifted. Carrie, on the other hand, did not take this too well. Arkin was her everything, her world. Without him, her life wasn’t worth living. So, she stopped living it.

Carrie walked two miles to the bridge that loomed over a rushing river, sitting over 100 feet above it. If the fall didn’t kill her, the rocks would. Not to mention her poor swimming skills in the first place. She stood atop the rail, cold and moist winds from the water below whipping around her. She pulled out a knife, dragging it down her left arm. It began glistening with red, before oozing out. With blood now dripping over the side of the bridge, Carrie plummeted towards the water, her death inevitable. She was reported missing the following day, and her suicide was assumed by the authorities.

Two months later, Arkin went with a couple friends down to a lakeside retreat. A nice summer getaway, as Arkin tried to put the past behind him. Tossing and turning, he couldn’t sleep. Of course not. Uncomfortable with himself, and filled with regret, how could anyone be expected to sleep? Arkin slipped out of the cabin, before sneaking out to the end of the dock. He looked up at the sky, it seeming darker than normal. A light flicked on behind him. He turned. David, whose parents owned the cabin, was standing there.

“Couldn’t sleep, huh?” he said.

“Of course not,” Arkin said in reply.

David walked down to the end of the dock and sat down with him. He knew Arkin well enough, and he knew Carrie was on Arkin's mind.

“You gotta forget about her, dude. No one even knows for sure if she’s dead. And you never could’ve known that she’d do that to herself. Just put it all behind you.”

“But David, if there’s anyone who should’ve seen it coming, it’s me. We were together for a year and a half, we knew each other inside out. It’s totally my fault.”

Before David had the chance to say anything else, Arkin noticed something in the water. A person, floating there, lifeless.

“Oh my god,” he said, “Oh my god!”

Arkin dove into the water, swimming towards the figure. In his mind, he had already let someone die, and he wasn’t letting it happen again. He grabbed the person's wrist and swam back towards the dock. The person’s skin was extremely cold and slimy. He hopped back onto the dock and pulled the person up. It was a girl, out cold, and fully clothed. Her skin bleached white and her hair filled with dirt and other scum. A huge gash lay across her arm, with maggots and what appeared to be algae crammed inside. It was Carrie.

Arkin couldn’t breathe. He started to hyperventilate, before throwing up over the side of the dock.

“Oh man, oh god I’m sorry,” David said.

Arkin grasped Carrie, and began pumping his hands against her heart. It was obviously no use, she had been gone for two months, and her body must have floated downstream and into the lake. But Arkin was filled with denial. He kept trying, before breaking down, sobbing, his head lying against her chest.

Then, Carrie’s eyes opened. But there was clearly something wrong. Her eyes were a milky yellow throughout, and missing pupils. Her lips were a deep black, and a fluid of the same color was dribbling out of her mouth. She bolted upright, and smiled. Most of her teeth were gone, but the ones still intact were long and sharp, that of a dog’s. She threw her jaw into the side of Arkin’s neck.

Arkin shrieked in pain as Carrie pulled back, taking a large chunk of flesh with her. He grabbed the wound, howling from the intensity of it.

“I’ve come to forgive you,” Carrie said, in a deep, animalistic tone that sounded nothing like what her voice once was.

“Wha-what?” Arkin said in fear.

Carrie leapt on top of Arkin, digging her claw-like toenails into his calves. Her soaking black hair dangled above his face.

“Just like old times, isn’t it?” she said, cackling at her own joke. “Now, let’s get to that apology. I’ve suffered long enough, I need closure.”

“Oh god, I’m sorry!” Arkin let out in fear.

“Perfect. Now we can be together once more, honey.”

She dragged her tongue up his chin, and locked lips with him. She raised her head above his, and threw up a wave of acid onto his face. It ripped his skin apart, orange blisters forming instantly and red veins popping. Arkin tensed up in total shock from the agony. Carrie gripped his back and rolled the two of them into the water, sinking into the darkness. David ran in fear, going to tell the others at the cabin to pack up and leave.

“I forgive you now, Arkin.”

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