I’m standing at the edge of the world, staring out at the ocean. The beach is rocky beneath my bare feet, grit between my toes with broken seashells, sharp and jagged. I take in a deep breath, filling my lungs with salty air. It feels so good to be alive. To be back.
“There you are,” he says from behind me. His voice is on the wind, blowing over me as my heart breaks. “I thought you left me again,” he continues, “was sure of it, actually. But then Marceline said—” He pauses as I turn to him slowly, my long red braid slipping over my shoulder. Harlin smiles sadly. “You’re different now,” he whispers. “How will I find you?”
My eyes well up, and I step forward into his arms, hugging myself close to him. “I don’t know,” I say. “Guess you’ll just have to look harder.”
Harlin’s breath is warm against my skin, even as the air surrounding us quickly chills. I don’t want to let him go—because the minute I do, he’ll be gone forever. But the cold is starting to burn the bare skin of my forearms, the backs of my legs; the icy breeze burrows into my clothing, searching out my soul.
“You can’t save him,” a voice calls from across the beach. “I won’t let him live. He owes me too much.”
Her words crawl over me, and I close my eyes, holding tighter to Harlin. The edges of the scene are beginning to fray, and I pull back, ignoring the voice as I take a final look at Harlin. His hazel eyes search my face –trying to memorize me before we both evaporate. “I love you,” he says miserably. “No matter who you are, I’ll always love you.”
I lean forward to kiss him one last time, but it’s too late. Instead I’m falling, ocean waves climb to catch me and pull me under; ocean waves bury me before dragging me out, away, from Harlin. I try to scream to him, but the salty water fills my mouth and chokes me.
And then I’m gone, alone again in a vast nothing.