Shadows Ghosts Wraiths
by Eric J. Krause
They were nothing. Shadows. Ghosts. Wraiths. No one acknowledged them. No one glanced their way. But it didn't bother them. They had each other.
Though the teachers didn't call their names during attendance, they showed up to each class every day. What else was there to do? They absorbed the material, soaked up the lectures, and finished each assignment before heading home.
The rest of the school day--passing periods, nutrition break, lunch--while the other students talked, laughed, horsed around, and ignored them, they clung to one another. His lips lingered on her forehead; her fingertips lingered on his chest. Everyone existed but them; no one existed but them.
At the end of the day, they drifted off campus and headed for home--a rose garden across town. They weren't physically bound to that spot, but loyalty kept them there. Their ashes were scattered all around the beautiful blooming bushes, a living memorial to their short lives. Mere feet away, on the edge of the sidewalk, people still left gifts and mementos to mark their passing, their murder. A drive-by shooting. A case of mistaken identity.
As day faded into night, they sat in each others arms, lips fluttering, hands caressing. Tomorrow they'd return to school, as they did every day, though no one knew. They were nothing. Shadows. Ghosts. Wraiths.